Barrie Rogers spent the first half of his working career in industry. He spent 7 years in Intel followed by 3 years in Nypro before moving into the financial industry as an independent financial consultant. Over these years he worked in many different areas including operations, training, management and finance, this experience contributed significantly to the setting up of Chia Bia.
Founded in 2009 Chia Bia is one of Europe’s largest suppliers of chia seeds, when it was first set up Barrie did not envisage the journey that was ahead of him, from concept generation in his kitchen to creating a brand and bringing the chia market from zero sales in Ireland to the number 1 selling seed in the Irish retail market. Chia seed now accounts for 32% of all seed sales (Nielson, 2016). Chia Bia is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of chia seed, a nutrient dense versatile seed. Barrie is a firm believer of local and the importance of the community, from inception the company has had a key focus to support local events and clubs. Barrie also gives his time as a minis’ coach with Tramore Rugby Football Club and a volunteer for the Waterford Irish Surf Lifesaving team, while himself competing at masters level.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Leaders help themselves and others do the right thing by setting direction and building a vision. For that reason I think leadership can be taught. Once people are mentored and managed by inspiring individuals and are given the right support networks they can become confident leaders. I would say in order to be a leader, one must want to be a leader to succeed.
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
Being a SME we still need to be entrepreneurial so I look for an entrepreneurial streak matched with healthy mix of confidence, decisiveness and vision.
If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?
Keep doing what they are doing and when they hit an obstacle don’t over think it, find a way around it and go with their gut!
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years time?
Personally I keep learning. In addition I nurture my staff, they are the life blood of the company. The business keeps up with operational and technological advancements, we put financial measures in place, enter new markets, look at opportunities to extend the range through NPD and most importantly continue to build on our brand and speak to our consumers.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
In recent times Aidan O’Brien is somebody that I feel is an immense leader, very humble, yet effective in his field. He speaks about the importance of his team and the importance of everyone’s role in making a success story. This in my opinion is a great leadership trait as there is team member buy in which is hugely important for any organisation. From another perspective I have great time for Michael O’ Leary as leader, his back story is very interesting and how he used marketing to grow the Ryanair brand is fascinating. In my opinion he speaks a lot of sense and his bluntness is fresh.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
Over the last few years I have read articles about start up businesses and I relate to similarities in every story. I follow a successful entrepreneur called Gary Vaynerchuk and find his advice simple, true and to the point. For a team building day I came across this motivational video Dream I have watched it several times since and each time I take something different from it.