It’s winter, which at St. Pierre’s means it’s manager conference season!
After the second day of our 2020 conference was called off due to a COVID-19 lockdown, this was our first full conference in two years – and it was great to get everyone together!
Day 1, Tuesday 6 July, saw about 100 people attend, including all the head office staff, area managers and most shop managers. (Day 2, without the head office staff, had 75 attendees). The venue was the beautiful Allely Estate, and even the crisp weather north of Auckland couldn’t cool the warm atmosphere.
The conference theme was “Setting Challenging Goals”, and the morning session began with a particularly striking goal: A store manager presenting how he, at age 41, took up Muay Thai kickboxing to train for a live fight with an opponent 20 years younger! After just four months of training, the bout was in May this year. While the judges awarded a unanimous points decision to his opponent, the manager showed great technical skill and determination, refusing to let the age gap show.
The powerful emotions continued to flow, as Perry, Nick and Costa talked about their family history, from a small Greek island, to Bulgaria, surviving World War II, then to Athens, and on to NZ. After settling in Wellington, the family opened a fish shop on Cuba St – which to this day is a popular St. Pierre’s location! – succeeding in the food business after many trials and much hard work over the decades. Their journey provided powerful inspiration to everyone present, peppered with humorous anecdotes about life in Wellington which had the audience roaring with laughter!
A particular highlight was the prizegiving, recognising outstanding shop managers, area managers and head office staff. Store partners who achieved great results included Yohanes in Rotorua, Xie in Queenstown Central, and Nan and Art in Invercargill – well done all! Support staff who were recognised included area manager Lili, Sayaka in logistics, Rakel in marketing, and James in project management. Congratulations guys!
The first day also featured presentations from each head office team member about the new developments and challenges ahead in their fields, showcasing the dynamism and creativity which drives the company. From IT to marketing to people development, everyone is focused on improving the customer experience, showing from many perspectives how we are a ‘people-first partnership.’
Finally, it wasn’t all totally serious. The first day ended with a 90-minute team building session from Team Up events, setting creative, artistic and mental challenges for random groups of eight staff to solve together. Everyone took on the challenges, which ranged from the serious (houses of cards, yoga and ballet poses) to the silly (passing rubber bands between straws held in your mouth?!?), in the process learning plenty about the value of communication and teamwork. Enjoy the pics and videos below! As we always say – great things happen when we work together! We can’t wait to see what’s next – see you soon everyone!