Following the departure of Fair Food’s Executive Director in September this year, a quiet evolution of Fair Food’s leadership took place.
Seeing an opportunity to trial a new leadership model, Fair Food’s Board of Trustees decided to put a Leadership Team in charge: Deborah Mclaughlin – Chief Financial Officer (front), Roschelle Marshall – Head of Marketing, Communications and Fundraising (back) and Tracey Pirini – Head of Operations and Relationships (middle).
Melissa Crawford, Fair Food’s Board Chair said “We could have chosen one person but why have one person when we could utilise the smarts of all three very capable team members”.
With a distributed leadership model in place, Fair Food’s Ngā Kaihautu – Leadership Team currently has māori, pasifika and pākehā representation making strategic decisions, collaboration is essential, and with a new sense of ownership for each of the leaders, it’s brought renewed creativity to Fair Food. For example, a discussion about values with all employees showed that these needed to be refreshed. Fair Food’s values now include manaakitanga, tautua, courage and fun! Grounded in the teams’ shared passion for sustainability, the team is actively working towards reducing Fair Food’s carbon footprint such as changing energy retailers to Ecotricity, and the recent partnership with Future Post to recycle food packaging into fence posts.
Distributed leadership is not a new concept but it is rising in popularity as a means to make faster decisions, improve customer outcomes and share knowledge. Successful businesses like Sharesies – a platform to make investing easy – have a 3EO leadership model, and the Chia Sisters – who jointly own and manage an award-winning healthy drinks company are thriving!
Trialing a new leadership model meant that Fair Food continued to deliver impact and do what we do best (#feedpeoplenotlandfills!) at a time when food insecurity numbers escalated to unprecedented levels. In July 2021, the month before lockdown, Fair Food distributed 125,000 meals to our communities. In September 2021, the number of meals distributed nearly tripled to 334,000 and even now, as we head into the end of the year, the ‘new normal’ is still over double what Fair Food were distributing in July.
In September 2021, the number of meals distributed to families & whānau nearly tripled to 334,000. Fair Food’s experience with this new leadership model has clearly shown that with equality, collaboration and creativity, great outcomes can be achieved!