Taking care of business – a conversation with My Food Bag co-CEO Cecilia Robinson
Business advice counts. Cecilia Robinson and I talk vocational lessons we should all be taking notes on.
My Food Bag co-founder Cecilia Robinson is a woman I describe as “one of the most positive and enthusiastic people I have ever met”. She’s not only an incredibly successful business woman who knows how to pull teams together, but a devoted mum to 4-year-old son Thomas and baby Leila.
I’m inspired by the fact that Cecilia is a dedicated mum who’s kicking career goals left, right and centre. Here I share some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt from Cecilia – and Cecilia explains a little more about her approach to life and business.
You do ‘you’
Nadia: Cecilia taught me that it’s important to focus on what you’re best at doing. For me, it’s creating recipes and food content and staying ahead of food trends. Know what your strengths are and let others who are better than you in other areas take the lead in those.
Cecilia: I am a big believer in ‘build on your strengths’ rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. At My Food Bag my husband James and I are co-CEOs. Luckily, we have complementary skill sets and have divided the business accordingly. I manage our development kitchen, procurement, operations and ‘customer love’ teams. He manages marketing, IT and finance. There are areas where our passions and skill sets cross over, but we are really comfortable with the other person being in control and I trust implicitly that he will do what’s right for our customers and our team.
Nadia: Authenticity and transparency in business are the key to a successful company.
Cecilia: I always say that my favourite ‘T’ word (other than Thomas) is transparency. Transparency must be one of the least sexy topics in business. However,
I believe it’s one of the most important ones. In my view, leaders need to ensure that every decision, every move that they make, is made under a banner of complete transparency.
Often, in both personal and business relationships, a key word that gets used to measure a relationship is ‘trust’. I think it works a little differently, though. While I believe trust is imperative to have a truly healthy relationship, the value of transparency must always come before trust, as my belief is that trust is ultimately built on transparency. It is only through real, unfettered transparency that trust can truly be built.
Create social change
Nadia: You can have a successful business that is also a really nice business; one that does social good.
Cecilia: My philosophy is simple: those who can, should. Twelve months ago I read an amazing article on how companies overseas (such as Spotify and Facebook) were taking incredible steps to better support their working parents and their children, the next generation, through enabling parents to be home to raise them.
And I realised something incredible: My Food Bag was in a position to do this for our team and therefore we should do it.
I was thrilled at the positive feedback and support from our board and within a few months we had launched our 18-week parental leave programme. I am thrilled to say that we have already had four team members participate in the scheme.
To be doing what I am today is a dream come true. It all started when I was 12 years old. I was watching TV after school one day and Jamie Oliver was cooking up a storm on The Naked Chef.