Aoife Wycherley

Aoife Wycherley - The Times Top 50 Employers

Published on : 4/24/19
  • Aoife Wycherley recently found herself at a crossroads in her career when her family life took her to Ireland and a new home in rural Cork. However, she’s found Sodexo to be flexible, willing and able to accommodate her changing needs, allowing her to continue a career she loves as head of procurement for Sodexo subsidiary PSL, a leader in fresh food procurement in the UK…

    What I have always appreciated about working at Sodexo is the fact my line managers have had the confidence to challenge me. I joined in 2011 as a junior buyer working in the chilled category and then I progressed to more challenging categories such as meat and poultry as well as working on developing our sustainable and social procurement strategy in line with our Better Tomorrow strategy.

    To be honest, there have been a few times when a career choice presented itself and I thought to myself ‘I’m not sure that’s for me,’ but my manager has said ‘trust us, we think you can do it’, so I took the challenge, and they were right. I have always found that my Sodexo line managers have been able to identify skills in me that I didn’t know I had!

    If someone presents you with an opportunity, it is because they see potential in you now which they think you will grow. This happened when I was asked to take on the role of head of procurement with PSL.

    Then, when I was facing a choice to move to Ireland, which I thought might mean leaving Sodexo, my managers said ‘we will figure out a way to make it work.’ The company was flexible and understanding. I think this is a big advantage of working for Sodexo because I compare with friends and see I have the better work-life balance.

    I was given a promotion while I was on maternity leave, which surprised quite a few friends and family. At the time I was always clear with my boss about what I wanted to achieve when I returned to work - which was basically to be challenged! It was up to me to set my ambitions. Now I have a two-and-a-half year old and a 5 year old. It’s worked out that I actually spend more quality time at home with them now than I did before I moved to Ireland.

    In my role with PSL we supply the hotel industry and have some very high-profile customers including 5* hotels like The Lanesborough in London and the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, along with chains like Radisson Hotel Group, Marriott Group and Jurys Inn.

    Our customers need to pay the right cost for the right product, sourced from the right suppliers. They are high profile and discerning.

    My team also spots culinary trends - we make it our business to know what the next big food trend will be and ensure that the customers are aware of it and know that we can already provide it, to keep them ahead of the game. This has definitely been the case with the recent growth in vegan food, for example.

    I love my job. I am a strong believer that you really do have to love your job to do well. Part of that is aligning with the company’s values and culture and knowing that you can add value.

    The SoTogether global leadership programme has been a real inspiration. In such a big company, SoTogether events give me a fascinating insight into the range of services we provide and the chance to meet other Sodexo women, in particular, in a wide range of roles.

    These networking opportunities have proved a fantastic boost for my own career development. I continue to have confidence in Sodexo - provided I continue to perform and meet their expectations, they will provide me with the job I love and stretch me as well.

    At Sodexo we are committed to the importance of promoting equal opportunities, valuing diversity and creating an inclusive working environment for all our employees. Find out more about a career with us.

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