name: Neil Healy
job title: Brand Manager, EMEA
Company and Location: Minors, London
education: University College Dublin. Bachelor of International Commerce (Spanish)
What made you want to go into the food and beverage industry? I grew up in Dublin, but spent most of my childhood in the South East of Ireland. The quality of the fruits and vegetables in the area is truly outstanding and I feel very lucky to have been in the beautiful countryside since my childhood. When I worked in a bustling Dublin hotel during my college years, I would spend hours chatting with chefs about menu choices when I should have been doing other work. I loved spending so much time talking and stopping just before I pulled up my chair to join them in their meal. demonstrated the importance of food and drink as both social nourishment for
Describe your job in one (or two) sentences. Minor Figures is a B Corp certified coffee company specializing in barista-quality Oat M*lk and plant-based products. As Brand Manager, I primarily act as a liaison between the creative and global marketing crews and the sales team to bring the Minor Figures brand to life in the EMEA market. I love contributing to the rapid growth of minor figures through marketing touchpoints and seeing their impact daily, both internally and externally.
What does a typical day look like for you? Luckily, Minor Figures is a very supportive organization and everyone is invited to the party no matter how the day goes. Our office is filled with people who are constantly looking for the most unexpected and unconventional ways to do what they love, weaving their skills and expertise into a wacky way of thinking.
We all have our fingers in a lot of pies, so a typical day can be filled with many projects in progress and rotating plates. Together we spend time planning and executing campaigns and activations, liaising with operations and NPDs on forecasts, and explaining new ideas to support our sales team.
Please tell me the process leading up to applying for a job. Prior to joining Minor Figures, he was based in Panama, where he played a prominent role in a global Irish Whiskey brand. On weekends, I spent a lot of time participating in permaculture projects and spending time at some of the best coffee plantations in the world. I moved to London because it is currently a melting pot of innovation when it comes to food and drink trends. I was familiar with Minor’s figures, but was surprised to find such a great presence in his coffee shops and independent retailers in East London.
I found the role on LinkedIn and applied. Shortly after applying, the team announced that he would be attending the London Coffee Festival in a week, so he excitedly introduced himself. After that, I had an initial introductory interview, and in the second interview I was asked to present an end-to-end campaign execution plan with strategic budget splits. I was hired as an Export Brand Manager. This was a major shift from working with distribution partners in South America to building support plans for commercial partners in Europe. I have made progress within the company and now cover all of his EMEA with a focus on the UK and Ireland.
What is the appeal of working at a food company? Being on the cutting edge of new trends, hanging out with some of the most creative people you’ll ever meet, and interacting with the big names in your city. There is a great sense of community in the food industry. I love being able to visit cafes with my friends, show them the hard work and dedication of my friends in the hospitality department, and see how my role in a minor figure adds to their story.
And what is the biggest misconception people have about working in the food and beverage industry? Many believe that life in the food and beverage industry is all about fun and socializing, but behind the scenes there is so much hard work going on that it is rarely shouted at. There are many great examples of brands that started as passion projects and eventually evolved into viable businesses. This is thanks to the sheer passion and commitment of people who have a genuine belief in what they do and why.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to enter the food and beverage industry? Learn as much as you can and don’t rush to define your own path. Experiment with different roles and sectors with Spongebob’s mentality and take it all in early. Meet as many amazing people as possible. listen to them. ask a question. Our industry thrives on human connections. Please accept it. Most importantly, enjoy the experience. Explore the exciting culture and nuances the food and beverage industry has to offer.
What are your ultimate career dreams? I love brainstorming ideas, strategizing and executing campaigns, and supporting those around me on my journey. With , I can see myself coaching teams and advising brands.