Institution: MIT Boston (Cambridge)
Course: Driving Strategic Innovation Program
My name is Chantale Millard, and I am the CEO Maggie Beer Products, part of ASX listed company Maggie Beer Holdings Limited.
Maggie Beer Products is a premium food and beverage brand that sells products nationally through major and independent retail, e-commerce, food service and export. It is committed to providing innovative premium food & beverage products to consumers using local produce, supporting local farmers and their communities.
Maggie Beer Products is a business that is continually innovating, creating new products, new ways of doing things and new ways to more with the products that we have. I wanted to create an innovative mindset in the business and for people to understand that they had the ability and the potential to influence the success of the business, by continually improving the way that they worked, no matter what area of the business they worked in. As well as making new products and taking them to market, you could also improve the profitability of the business by finding efficiencies in the supply chain and most times these efficiencies had a longer lasting positive impact on the business and its profitability.
I found a course at MIT in Boston, Driving Innovation through the Value Chain which looked fantastic and covered all the aspects that I was looking for and I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship by the ILF in 2017. I attended the course in Boston in September 2018.
The course was fantastic, giving me time away from the business to take a higher-level look at our strategy and what we needed to do to achieve it. It gave me great tools, which I could use to assess business opportunities and to review all aspects of the value chain of our business. The tools were things that I could then take back and teach to my senior leadership team.
The teachers were great, and the professional networking was excellent – it was fantastic to be able to spend time with people from all sorts of business backgrounds from all over the world. This professional network is something that I have already used for business development overseas, as well as sound boarding new business ideas. I will definitely keep in touch with a number of people from the group.
I feel privileged to have had such a great experience and the skills and knowledge that I gained from the course has given me a new perspective on certain areas of our business my leadership approach. I can see that my learnings will have a positive impact on the business and the way we operate – one key lesson was when something is working well, to double down your investment until competitors catch up and if something is failing, fail fast and put your energies and money into something new!
I would recommend applying for an ILF scholarship, for anyone who is keen to expand their knowledge, increase their professional network and ultimately grow their business.