Meet… Fernand Dignadice

Meet… Fernand Dignadice

Fernand Dignadice, or Fern for short, is Territory Manager (Route) – East Auckland and Waiheke at Frucor Suntory. He was also the runner up of the 2022 NZACS Peter Jowett Scholarship. This is his story…

The Peter Jowett Scholarship, held by the New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) is an opportunity to celebrate and challenge future industry leaders. Candidates must be under the age of 36 and are given the platform to present their ideas on a specific topic in front of leaders of the New Zealand convenience industry.

Here we speak with Fernand Dignadice, Territory Manager (Route) – East Auckland and Waiheke at Frucor Suntory, who was the runner up of the 2022 scholarship and won a trip to Las Vegas to attend the NACS Industry Trade Show in October.

C&I: Tell us about yourself and the role you’re currently in:

Dignadice: I was originally born in the Philippines and moved to New Zealand with my family when I was four. I was raised in the Auckland suburb of Howick and attended Macleans College. Growing up, I was always passionate about being part of a team – football in particular – and have been part of Bucklands Beach Football Club for more than 20 years.

In my current role as Territory Manager (Route), I can apply many of the values I hold dear in my personal life, such as being dependable to both my customers and my team, contributing to a great team culture and creating strong relationships.

C&I: Why did you decide to participate in the Peter Jowett Scholarship?

Dignadice: I am passionate about self-development and being honest with my areas of weakness. Presenting was a big weakness that I wanted to address, and I believed the best way to accomplish this was by throwing myself in the deep end. The Peter Jowett Scholarship provided a challenge to holistically develop my presenting skills, innovative my thinking, as well as making internal connections within the business.

C&I: How did it feel to come runner up?

Dignadice: Achieving runner up was a very rewarding feeling as it took many hours on top of managing my workload. It took a couple of days after the event to fully appreciate how far I had come from the start of my Peter Jowett journey, where I had initially severely struggled presenting to only my direct team of five people.

C&I: How important is the Peter Jowett Scholarship to young people in the industry?

Dignadice: The petrol and convenience industry will face many obstacles, now and in the future. The Peter Jowett Scholarship plays a very important role as it provides a great platform for young people to share their enthusiasm for innovation. The concepts presented in this competition will help to combat the pain points our retailers will face in the future.

C&I: How do you think this experience will help you within your career?

Dignadice: It taught me to embrace feedback and my areas of development. It helped my confidence in creating internal connections to assist me to learn new skills. It has also helped me promote my personal brand to industry leaders, something I know I will appreciate further down in my career.

C&I: Do you have any short or long-term career goals that you’d like to share with us?

Dignadice: Short-term I am focusing on presenting and winning Frucor Salesman of the Year. Long-term I will continue to strive and further develop my skillset to help attain a Key Account Manager position within this industry.

C&I: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your Peter Jowett experience?

Dignadice: Keep your idea simple. Get out in the trade and listen to your customers/retailers as more often than not they’ll provide you the platform to come up with a strong concept.

This is easier said than done, however try to enjoy the journey. It was an amazing feeling to have my whole company wanting me to do well – it was like they were all on the rollercoaster ride with me! It motivated me to keep persisting in delivering a great presentation. 

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