Rowan Lowe, Trade Marketing Representative, British American Tobacco (BAT), praises the Peter Jowett Scholarship program for its ability to motivate and empower young industry leaders.

C&I: What did it mean to you to win the Peter Jowett Scholarship?

Lowe: It’s gotten me very excited about the industry. To have the opportunity to think through and present a meaningful concept is something I am very grateful for. It’s broadened my thinking within the sector and given me confidence in carving out my future career.

C&I: Can you tell us a bit about your submission to the competition?

Lowe: My concept is ‘Ecocery’ – a branded, cooperative buying group that endorses selected convenience products. The endorsed products must all be New Zealand made, sustainably packaged and have fully traceable and ethical supply chains. These products would be housed in ‘Ecocery’ units in convenience sites, making them easy to identify. I wanted the feeling of a farmer’s market, but in a convenience store.

C&I: Why is the Peter Jowett Scholarship so important to the sector?

Lowe: It empowers those in the industry to think creatively and critically about their sector in an open and encouraging environment. The entire experience from top to bottom is designed to challenge and grow participants, and with such strong investment in their people the sector is greatly benefiting as a whole.

C&I: How important is it for the convenience sector to have an association like NZACS supporting them?

Lowe: It’s incredibly important. NZACS promotes industry cooperation, community and networking opportunities to make the sector a more dynamic and successful place. The support they give in facilitating initiatives such as the Peter Jowett Scholarship is invaluable for aspiring leaders within the industry. 

C&I: What has been the most inspiring or pivotal moment you have seen in 2020?

Lowe: While COVID-19 has been devastating, it has also stimulated a lot of creativity and resilience in our people and communities. The ways in which we live and communicate have been challenged, and we have been pushed from traditional ways of working. The new digital landscape is so inspiring as it is representative of all of these collective moments.

C&I: What are you personally looking forward to most in 2021?

Lowe: Continuing to take the insights from an incredibly challenging 2020 to influence the way we work and interact for the better.

C&I: How do you see the convenience landscape evolving into 2021?

Lowe: Moving into products that have a strong homegrown and community feel. Particularly in New Zealand, the desire for consumers to support and shop local is continuing to increase. Providing the opportunity to do this in convenience sites, which are often in the hearts of communities, is a natural progression I see forming in 2021. 

C&I: What is your key message to the convenience category this year (2021)?

Lowe: Keep communities at the heart and encourage cooperation, as this attitude is essential to cope with such uncertain times.

The sector, along with the rest of the world, is moving into unchartered territory. Finding a collective way to not only cope, but to identify opportunities to thrive in the rapidly changing environment is going to be a significant, but achievable challenge.

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