A Week in My Life: Lisa Gawthorne, Team GB Vegan Athlete

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Lisa Gawthorne is a Team GB Duathlete, author of vegan and fitness bible 'Gone in 60 Minutes' as well as the Co-owner and Managing Director of Bravura Foods.

Lisa is Liverpool born and bred, and she is entering her 17th year of veganism after turning vegetarian at the age of six.

Bravura Foods is the leading vegan distributor in the UK market and is on course for 50% annual growth after it had a 2018 turnover of over £5m.

Lisa was also recently named by The Telegraph and LDC among its 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders. Here, she tells us what a week in her life is like...

Monday

From the offset of an 8am start right through to 6pm, today has all been about the artwork. We’re preparing for an important trade show so the whole stand needs planning: branding and design for panels, pillars, backdrops, point of sale and marketing materials. After a morning of briefing it all in to my designer, the afternoon was spent signing off on some wholesale and consumer adverts that my marketing assistant has been working on.

Cut to an hour or so later and I’m collating some new Panda Liquorice packaging design images ready to present to a retailer. The day ended with a look at the overall project cost of launching a new line and some brief discussions with the designer again (we have a dedicated phone line to him!) to discuss top-line design directions. This was quickly followed by some taste testing of some new sweets – analysing taste, texture, aroma and overall experience to make sure we’re on the right track with our next launch.

The next phase of this project is for me to organise some external testing with consumers. At the end of the day, I somehow managed a 20-mile bike ride and a core weights routine! Working out is my way of unwinding and keeping my mind sharp at the end of a busy day.

Tuesday

Dialled into an interesting webinar on plant-based market trends, then analysed the social media and PR reports for our brand. I signed off on next month’s core activity and the social influencer focus for our brand 'Free From Fellows' and continued with some budget tracking.

I call my designer again. I spent some time working with him to design point of sale items so that a high street retailer can support a new listing. In the afternoon, I managed to start an NPD report that I’ve been meaning to get around to for the last month - I’m hoping to finish in the next fortnight!

The report looks to identify strategic brand positioning objectives over the next 12-24 months. After work, I got stuck into a session of 6x800m run intervals and finished off with a 6-12-25 weights routine for good measure!

Wednesday

Midweek already! The first three hours of my Wednesday were taken up in a much-needed board meeting. We have a massive opportunity for growth right now and need to prioritise activity in order of strategic importance.

To make this happen, we examine brands that have approached us as their potential distributor, along with developing our own lines. We costed up all projects to see if they will fit in best this year or next.

The afternoon was spent putting together a presentation on all things vegan, as I have been asked to present at a food show on current plant-based consumer trends. Despite another busy day, I managed an interval session on the bike at lunchtime and hit the gym in the evening for some German volume training. It got my blood pumping.

Thursday

The first activity was a sales meeting with our team of national account managers who work across supermarkets, health food wholesalers, convenience, discount and export sectors.

We analysed last month’s sales with year-on-year comparisons, looked over next month’s forecast and to-your-door performance vs. budget, before moving on to highlights and lowlights for all accounts.

We made sure all the promotions are locked down with the retailers and stock has been forecasted accordingly.

At midday, I managed a quick 40 min running session of 400m sprints before getting back to my desk and writing some vegan content for a magazine. A quick glance at my Trello list told me that I hadn’t done anything that I was supposed to do today.

I’m sure we all know that feeling. But a Tabata session in the gym late doors finished the day off nicely.

Friday

I started the morning with a marketing meeting to ensure the projects are all running on time and to plan out the following weeks’ priorities for the department. As it’s been a pretty hectic week, I’ve been unable to keep on top of emails, so the afternoon was all about driving down the inbox and trying to give it a fighting chance for next week!

I just about managed it in between two long conference calls with a retailer who we’re working with on a new launch plan.

Finished the day with an hour on the watt bike, steady-state - nothing too strenuous as I’m racing on Sunday. Dinner was a vegan pizza and vegan carrot cake at Pizza Express! A great end to a jam-packed week.