Alison Quesnel

Business leader and mentor.
Former CEO of Business In The Community, Alison is a great believer in the Mentoring Programme and how it is helping small businesses to survive and grow. Alison has served as a Judge on the WestpacTrust business Excellence Awards in the North Shore and Manukau for three years, has served as President of the Export Institute, is a Director of Business In The Community and a Trustee of the Equal Employment Opportunity Trust. She is a member of the IOD and Small Business Advisory Group and still acts as a business mentor .

Alison was educated in Wanganui and Wellington and left to do her OE in the early ‘70’s. Thirteen years later having lived and worked in Scotland, England and the Cameroons in West Africa she returned and settled in Tauranga. There she worked for a company specialising in fruit processing. In her eight years there she was part of a team that took the company from a small unit of 36 people and turnover of $3million to staff of 180 and a turnover of $30million. Alison had Export Marketing responsibilities and was also responsible for Quality, Customer Service and Human Resources. In 1994 she was asked to become a voluntary mentor for the Tauranga Agency for Business In The Community.

In 1995 she moved to Auckland and worked for 18 months as Marketing and Sales Manager for Hubbard Foods Ltd while continuing to work as a voluntary mentor for three of the Auckland Business in The Community Agencies. When the opportunity came up to head this Charitable Trust at the end of 1996 she decided to make a career change and became Chief Executive of Business in the Community Ltd. The organization was in need of new strategies to achieve funding and service targets. Business Mentors New Zealand now operates nationally through 21 Agencies around New Zealand and has approximately 1500 mentors available. It now assists over 3000 small businesses a year.

Alison can speak about the changes she made at Business In The Community which increased its turnover threefold in the period she was CEO and can speak about the Business in the Community Mentor Programme and how it is helping small businesses to survive and grow. Alison believes that mentoring is one of the most important tools for success.

Having completed the turnaround of Business In The Community, Alison returned to the commercial sector and was appointed General Manager of Blackmores (NZ) Ltd in January 2000. She managed the company through a period of market downturn and maintained market shares in that declining market. At the same time she restructured the business and outsourced some services, and early in 2003 negotiated a Licensing Agreement for Blackmores in NZ. Alison can speak about change management strategies she needed to utilize at Blackmores, about understanding FMCG business development in pharmacy, grocery and health food channels and working with trading partners. She undertook a similar change programme for Blackmores in the UK. Currently Alison is International Manager NZ, UK & Emerging Markets for Blackmores. As well as overseeing the New Zealand relationship she has spent the last 18 months researching and presenting business cases for several possible new international markets for Blackmores.

As well as being a Director of Business In The Community, Alison is a Trustee of the EEO Trust and was an inaugural appointee to the government’s Small Business Advisory group which she served on for three years. She is an appointee to the Food & Beverage Taskforce. Alison consults privately to the small and medium business sector and also works as an executive mentor for senior managers.

Presentations: 

TOPICS:

§ Mentoring as a tool for staff development
§ Changing the culture in an organisation
§ Change Management
§ The Art of Business
§ Marketing
§ Business Development
§ Customer Service