Anita Holdsworth thrives on a challenge, which is one of the main reasons she finds her job as Plant Manager of Cascade Brewery at CUB so rewarding. ‘Each day presents me with a new problem to solve, encourages me to work with my team on innovative solutions and stretches all of us to be better.’
Starting at CUB as National Quality Manager in 2014, Anita was initially attracted to the company due to the iconic brands in its portfolio. Being a part of the Supply Team involved in bringing these products to the Australian public presented an exciting opportunity. But, once in the job, she soon discovered that just as rewarding as the opportunity to work with much-loved brands was the culture of innovation and the chance to work alongside like-minded people who are as passionate about brewing as she is. As Anita puts it, ‘What keeps me at CUB are the dynamic, passionate leaders and our agility as a business that enables us to respond quickly to consumer needs.’
CUB’s commitment to innovation extends beyond its products. The company is equally dedicated to fostering creative career pathways for those employees keen to stretch themselves and hone their abilities in different areas. Anita has experienced this first hand, saying, ‘What I love about working at CUB is that I can have a plan to continue going from strength to strength in Operations/Supply, but the reality is that another completely different opportunity may arise, taking me in another direction.’ Anita acknowledges that the support the company provides has helped her to ‘embrace being comfortable in the uncomfortable’, from which has come significant personal and professional growth.
In fact, Anita credits the fact that her team, peers, leaders and friends frequently remind her of her strengths for helping her to overcome her greatest work-related challenge – that of a tendency to underestimate her own abilities. Anita feels that her successful career can in part be attributed to the culture of camaraderie and commitment to developing talent at CUB.
Anita is cognisant of the fact that, as a woman working in beer, she is part of a vanguard of change in the once male-dominated industry. She says that CUB has not shied away from the task of encouraging diversity in the workplace, actively working to engage and retain women. Her own experience of the culture at CUB has been overwhelmingly positive. She describes the working environment as ‘a meritocracy: inclusive, dynamic and innovative’, values that led to her own appointment as not only the first female Plant Manager at Cascade but at CUB. And she is excited about the future for women at the company, which she sees as ‘full of potential’.
In the legacy-building phase of her own career, Anita is keen to play a role in shaping this future. She has a passion for helping women in STEM careers and appreciates the platform CUB provides her to express this interest, from being a mentor to public speaking. These opportunities are just one expression of the commitment CUB has as a foundational principle to ‘recruit, develop and train people who can be better than ourselves’. Anita encourages new and prospective employees to take advantage of this willingness of the organisation to nurture talent: ‘It is our job to help you, teach you, stretch you and develop you. Ask questions, interrogate our thinking, learn from mistakes, innovate, change and grow.’
Asked about her favourite position of her career so far, Anita responds enthusiastically: ‘Plant Manager! Being at the forefront of the business of making great-tasting beers and ciders has been the most rewarding and the most challenging role.’ One such challenge is the $10.3 million upgrade that Cascade, Australia’s oldest brewery, is currently undergoing, necessitating a change in the way brewing is undertaken as well as the way that the brewery fits into the wider CUB network. Anita’s role involves managing the site through this development, a task she is tackling with customary positivity: ‘My aim is to ensure that, as we navigate this change, we don’t lose sight of the reason we are here, which is to make great-tasting beers and ciders for our customers while driving value for CUB.’
As for the future, Anita is ready and willing to embrace whatever opportunities come her way. ‘The only certainty is that I will continue to face challenges with enthusiasm and a firm belief in the work that we are doing.’ For the moment she is relishing her current role, which sees her ‘working with a diverse range of people with different skills sets, all coming together in an iconic location, all with the same passion for Cascade – it doesn’t get better than that.’