As a business that was in-part founded by a woman, UCOOK continues to take the responsibility of gender-equal opportunity very seriously. This August, the brand is launching a campaign focusing on their leading women – giving each the opportunity to create a meal, for inclusion in the weekly UCOOK line-up. Three of these delectable meals will be available for order each week over the course of August.
”We may feel like we have come a long way since 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, but with gender-based violence cases continually on the rise, we have such a very long way still to go.”
UCOOK is doing their part to change the perception of women in food, and this Women’s Month they want to introduce you to some of the power women who drive innovations and operations in the UCOOK team. Meet Abigail Goschen, UCOOK’s head of national operations.
Abigail started her journey with UCOOK in November 2017 as a junior member in the operations team. Three months later, she took over as the Gauteng Operations manager and was responsible for building the team from eight members and 150 weekly boxes. Under her leadership, the team grew six-fold in less than half a year. By July 2019, Abigail became the head of national operations and is now responsible for all warehouse operations, and ensuring nearly 5 000 boxes are packed every week.
Tell us what you do at UCOOK?
As the head of operations, I am ultimately responsible for everything related to the physical fulfillment of your order – basically everything from when the produce arrives at our warehouse to when the completed order gets dispatched. As the head of the department, this primarily involves the management of our two fulfillment centers and the teams that run them, to ensure we can meet key business objectives and plans, as well as ensuring operational readiness for new projects/products that are introduced.
What does Women’s Month mean to you?
It is an opportunity to take some time to really appreciate and celebrate women and their womanhood! It is an opportunity for men and women to stand with, support and empower women from all walks of life. It is an opportunity to unite and celebrate, but it is also an opportunity to recognise, acknowledge and stand face to face with the immense struggle and oppression that still takes place on a daily basis. We may feel like we have come a long way since 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the unjust pass laws enforced on women in South Africa on 9 August 1956, but with gender-based violence cases continually on the rise, we have such a very long way still to go.
How do you feel about being a key decision maker at UCOOK?
I am very proud and grateful to be part of the leadership team at this point in time. While I am currently the only female, the challenges I have experienced so far have been more around my own feelings of imposter syndrome and inadequacy (we have all been there and there is no shame in speaking about it) than behaviour from the other male members. We have very caring and kind men at UCOOK, who value and celebrate women.
Is there any advice that a woman in your life has given you that you’d want to pass on?
Women don’t need to lead like men to be successful or to be considered a good leader. Because most leadership positions are still filled by men, we often believe that in order for us to get there, we need to be bold, fearless, direct, a risk taker etc. and while these may be true characteristics for some of us, others may want lean into their strengths of empathy, collaboration, communication, a healthy level of risk aversion etc. to lead. My point is not that one style is necessarily better than the other, but that there is room for both and that as women, we should lean into and lead from our strengths and that which makes us uniquely us.
Check out ucook.co.za for more stories from incredible women who are changing the way you see women in food.