Making an impact as the CEO of Foodbank
Master of Business Administration
Jason Hincks is the CEO of Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief charity. It is a non-profit, non-denominational organisation which acts as a conduit between the food and grocery industry and over 2,500 charities that provide emergency relief in the form of food and groceries in the community.
“Last year we distributed 30 million kilograms of food (or 110,000 meals) a day. As manufacturers, producers and retailers strive for greater efficiency, surplus food is on the decline, so we must find innovative ways to fill the need,” says Jason.
Jason completed his MBA with UniSA while running a media business in New York and volunteering for a local charity called City Harvest. He says he was bitten by the “Not for Profit” bug. He had migrated from entertainment marketing roles into broader management positions and had an aspiration to lead as a CEO. Jason joined Foodbank in April 2015 after four years as Chief Operating Officer for the highly successful men’s health charity, Movember.
He says his proudest career achievement so far has been “helping to grow the Movember campaign from annual fundraising revenue of $26 million to $151 million and having a tangible impact on the lives of men across the world.”
A passionate mentor in UniSA’s Business Career Mentor Program since 2013, Jason says having access to a mentor is “incredibly important”. While in New York, he was lucky enough to engage a brilliant man called Bill Jemas as his mentor. Among his many achievements, Bill took Marvel from the brink of bankruptcy to a multi-billion dollar company. Jason also sings the praises of Tim Greenhill, “an amazing local mentor who taught me a simple, but critical lesson. As a CEO you should be focused on working on the business, not in the business. You need to allow others to develop a skill set in the same way that you have and sometimes that means making a few mistakes.”
We asked Jason, with the benefit of hindsight, what advice he could offer for young graduates starting out in their career.
“How do you answer this without sounding like an old man or the king of clichés? Firstly, don’t be in a hurry to narrow your options too quickly, although focus is important, you will probably have a couple of false starts before you find your passion. Second, network the hell out of it! Every person you meet, conversation you have and bad coffee you sit through may represent an opportunity down the line, take the time to know as many people in your industry or sector as possible. Third, be honest and authentic all the time and finally, don’t forget to have some fun along the way!”
“We have some great programs at Foodbank,” Jason says, “the Key Staples program utilises donated production capacity to manufacture staple food, and our Cause Related Marketing campaign, The Food Fight, which launches this August. You do not get too many opportunities in life to say you have had such an extraordinary impact.”
To find out more about Foodbank and how you can get involved, visit www.foodbank.org.au