Your Say: Jess Daniell

Boss at Jess’ Underground Kitchen

I’d name my autobiography…
What Spare Time?!

To me success means…
Waking up and being inspired to do what you do every day, with a team of amazing people beside you that are just as inspired as you are.

Best advice I’ve been given…
Be yourself – it’s what got you where you are in the first place.

I made my first dollar:
I used to get $5 for vacuuming both of my parents’ cars. My dad’s a farmer so his car would always be full of dried mud and sticks, so they definitely got the better end of the deal! But $5 went a lot further back then, anyway…

The most rewarding part of my job…
Catering a wedding and being involved in the whole day! It feels like such a celebration and it’s awesome to surprise people with fresh and delicious wedding food – we always get so many compliments.

Life motto: Trust your gut. I’m a believer in following your instincts rather than a business plan, and it’s led me through all my major decisions with JUK.

Favourite book: The Tea Rose trilogy by Jennifer
Donnelly – I read it whenever I go on holiday!

The women who inspire me: There are a handful of young Auckland women who all started food businesses around the same time as I launched JUK – some are still doing it, some aren’t – and we’d meet up for coffees or wines and just talk and talk and talk about everything that was going on in our work lives that other people wouldn’t understand. Every time would result in the most refreshing and empowering conversation; I know we all walked away from those catch-ups with a weight off our shoulders and ready to tackle the next hurdle in our respective businesses. They kept me sane during a very unknown and crazy period of my life, and that support meant everything!

The gender stereotype I can’t stand:
That men are stronger than women. Our kitchen team of strong-ass women lift 30kg crates at a time and we move mountains every day to feed our loyal customers.

The main challenge for women in business is…
Not being taken seriously. How many times have I been a “little girl with a hobby business”, especially by successful, middle-aged men!

We need pay equality because…
We are not women in business, or men in business, we are people in business and gender should be irrelevant.

Gender diversity in the workplace is…
Important but I also think that gender shouldn’t sway our decision on who is best for any particular job. Diversity and equality has to come from both sides.

I advocate for change by… hiring on attitude, personality and work ethic, not gender.

The change I want to see in 2019 is… a movement away from the curated feeds of social media that suck us all in; for people to re-engage in real life opportunities, relationships and experiences!