In the run up to the UK Food & Drink Shows 2024, we’ve been sitting down with some of our key speakers attending this year! Join us as we explore the stories behind the speakers, discovering the motivations that fuel their work, the challenges they've overcome, and the lessons they've learned along the way.

First up is Carol Welch, CEO at AF Blakemore

Years working in the food and drink sector?
I love working in the food and drink sector and I’ve been lucky enough to work in it for over 30 years including holiday jobs!

First job in food and drink?
My first professional job was with Walkers Crisps as a Brand Manager, but I’ve also done my fair share of waiting on tables and stacking shelves.

How do you describe your job to your friends?
I’d describe my job as inspiring teams to delight our customers, whether that be in stores, on deliveries, or finding innovative food and drink solutions for partners.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the sector it would be to reduce the amount of abuse and theft that our customers and retail colleagues deal with on a daily basis. It’s critical to elevate the perception of convenience within the sector – our financial contribution to the UK economy is significant with over £47bn in sales, employing over 430,700 people and making contributions to communities across the breadth of the country including those increasingly isolated.

You’re joining us for a session focusing on inspiring female leaders at the show in April, what can our visitors expect from it?
You can expect to hear why everyone can be a great leader if they have the confidence to be authentic, with skill.

Finally, if you could go back in time and speak to a younger version of yourself, what is one piece of advice you would give them?
Value your contribution, collaborate don’t compromise and speak first, with confidence.


For more information on the sessions Carol will be featuring on, click here.