Claire Wood (ILF2015)


Institution: Australian Institute of Company Directors
Course: Company Directors Course

I am the managing director of Carême Pastry, a food manufacturing business specialising in the production of high quality ready-to-use butter pastry dough. I established the business with my husband in 2005 after leaving behind a career in wine marketing. As the business has grown it has gone through various stages of evolution, from a very hands-on small start-up to manufacturing and selling pastry nationwide through a large network of distributors in the retail and food service sector. At the time Geoff Vogt approached me back in 2015 we had just completed an external review of the business to identify where our weaknesses lay and what we needed to work on to grow the business over the next 5 years.

Thanks to Geoff’s persistence, and the realisation I could squeeze in some extra study, we began discussing my options for further study that would support the growth of our business. Development of good governance and leadership was an area we identified needed some work, particularly in preparation for future growth. Through Geoff’s recommendation I commenced the relatively straightforward ILF online application, followed by an interview with the ILF board, to study the Company Directors Course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The ACID course ran for 5 days covering everything from Decision Making, Directors’ Duties & Responsibilities; Legal Environment; Risk; Strategy and Financial Literacy. It was an intense week of study with excellent, thought provoking presenters throughout. The delivery was very interactive giving participants the opportunity to connect, which I found incredibly valuable as many of the other participants had far greater leadership experience than I and were from a diverse range of business backgrounds.

I have not only put into practice in our business much of what I learnt but it has also benefited the contribution I am able to make to my volunteer board roles.

I have also benefited from participation in ILF Scholars network program including an excellent day spent at the University of South Australia’s Centre for Business Growth with other ILF Scholars.

I would like to thank Geoff Vogt and the board of the ILF for this fabulous opportunity and the ongoing opportunities that are made available through the ILF Scholars network. I am now thinking about my next course of study!