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Aug 04, 2020

YES Alumni Spotlight - Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell participated in The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme in both 2009 and 2010 at Southland Girls' High School where her YES companies created Teal bows and women's underwear raising awareness for cervical cancer and Unfolding cubes promoting the beautiful Southland region.

We recently caught up with Anna to hear about her reflection on her time in YES, career highlights, and of course, we couldn't leave out the fun stuff..


What do you remember about your YES company?

When I did YES it was an extracurricular activity. We really treated it like we were running a real company, even though all our customers were mostly friends and family. Our goal was to get to Nationals both years and we did it. I was also awarded Southland Young Entrepreneur of the Year and it is something I really cherish!


What business or life lessons did you learn from YES?

Literally saying 'yes' to joining a YES team can be a step towards so many brilliant opportunities. I was selected to attend the Enterprise in Action weekend in Auckland and from there a New Zealand delegate for the International Trade Challenge in Singapore. The foundational business skills you learn in YES transfer really well to other competitions and business studies at University.


What advice would you give to students who are currently doing YES?

While YES is about building your business acumen, you also meet like-minded students that become great friends. I was recently a bridesmaid for one of my YES teammates, and love catching up with our ITC team.


What have you done since leaving high school that’s led you to the career you have now?

I studied International Business and Art History at the University of Otago and Global Management in France at Grenoble Ecole de Management. I was awarded Distinction for my Masters in Entrepreneurship and got to travel to Germany as a delegate at the World Business Dialogue and talked about Globalisation with world leaders. While studying, I competed in business competitions such as SEED and Startup Weekend and also began helping local startups with their businesses.


I secured a graduate role at global app company Timely and wore a few hats from social media to relationship management. I volunteered for various organisations including Otago Chocolate Company in their effort to retain chocolate making in Dunedin after the closure of the Cadbury Factory. We raised $2M in two days, the most successful equity crowdfunding campaign at the time. I later joined the team as a Marketing Specialist and was promoted to Marketing and Sales Manager. 


Tell us about your current role

I am employed by the Oakwood Group as the Group Marketing Manager for Cooke Howlison and look after 8 dealerships. Cooke Howlison was founded in 1895, and is locally owned. Automotive is a really interesting space at the moment with the shift to sustainable transport solutions. While the company is the exact opposite to a start-up, the products we take to market are at the forefront of technology, innovation and design. I also am loving working with huge global brands such as Toyota and BMW in a local context.


Share a highlight from your career so far

An amazing experience was cocoa sourcing in the Pacific Islands in my role at OCHO. My day job was typically filled with creating reports, graphic design, and spreadsheets, so taking a banana boat to a live volcano off the coast of Papua New Guinea was a real thrill. I have a passion for sustainable enterprise and being able to connect with the place and people where our value chain began was really special. I think it is so important we know where the things we buy come from and it isn’t unreasonable to expect a company to be transparent, especially with food. You can read more about my cocoa sourcing experience here.

 anna video


What’s your dream job?

I am quite curious about sustainable social enterprises. I have hens in my suburban backyard and am studying apiculture so will soon have beehives as well to keep me busy. I love dance, art, going to events, exploring the mighty South, fishing, and I have to admit a bit of rugby too. I am pretty content with enjoying these things as hobbies and any job that enables me to continue to do the things I love is a dream.

What’s the best or worst part-time job you’ve had?

I sampled mandarins in supermarkets which was excruciating!


Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?

Hans-Olaf Henkel. He was the head of IBM in Europe, Middle East and Africa and introduced the first computer into India. He also single handedly convinced Cuba to get rid of the death penalty. Business, politics and peace are his vibe and it he is awesome.


Finish the sentence: On holiday, you can find me…. an art gallery.