We sat down with John Latu, Sales Director at Skillsnacks to find out who he’d invite to dinner, greatest motivators and running a business in Newmarket..
N.Why do you love working in Newmarket?
Newmarket is awesome, with the best retail stores in NZ we’re spoilt for choice, whether you’re looking for entertainment, beauty or the business district there’s something for everybody. For me, it’s a beautiful place to work with a homely feel.
N.What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who was looking at starting out in your industry?
Attitude is everything and every day make sure you bring a positive one to work. As a business owner you will face many challenges and need resilience to drive towards your business goals. Setbacks are part of the learning process and if you’re moving forward with the right mindset good things happen.
N.What would you do if you weren’t in your current role?
Business development for a large corporation. My background is in new business acquisition and key account management for either the Telecommunications or Learning & Development industries.
N.Name 3 people that you would invite to a dinner party (living or dead).
Nelson Mandela – For words of wisdom and hope Steve Jobs – For futurist insight
Michael Jordan – To understand the drive of the greatest athlete of my generation
N.What was your first job?
As a university student I started work as a bartender and quickly managed bars, cafes and nightclubs in Australia and NZ.
N.What motivates you?
Family and business.
N.If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
New Zealand. I’ve been around the world multiple times. My wife and I enjoy travelling, learning and experiencing new cultures but nothing beats New Zealand.
N.Where is your favourite place to get coffee or a drink in Newmarket?
L’affare, with honourable mention to Teed Street Larder. For a beer, there is The Lumsden’s outdoor area on a great summer afternoon.
N.Describe Newmarket in 3 words:
Fashionable, vibrant and comfortable.
N.What do you wish you’d known before you started your career?
Your career is a marathon not a sprint so take your time to understand what is important to you. Once you find your passion, focus on developing the skills required to have a career in that industry.
N.How do you start each morning?
I wake up at 6am, have my breakfast and plan my day before the kids wake up. Once the kids are up I get them ready for school and drop them off on the way to work.
N.What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve received?
“No matter how bad things are, there is always someone else worse off than you.” When days are tough this piece of advice gives me perspective.
N.What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Rome, Italy. I visited family based in Italy as a 14 year old for Christmas and fell in love with the people, culture and food. 15 years later I convinced my fiance to get married in Rome and was lucky enough to stop in to Venice, Milan and Paris before coming home.
N.What is Newmarket’s best kept secret?
Skillsnacks and to think one day they’ll say it all started in Newmarket
N.What would you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My family and being a father is my greatest achievement.
N.Name one item that you can’t live without.
My iPhone, without access to email and my calendar I would be lost.
N.It’s 10am on a Sunday morning. Where would we find you and what are you doing?
Playing basketball with the boys trying to relive the glory days and keeping fit of course.
N.Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Michael Friis gave me the opportunity to start a career in sales. Michael invested in my professional development and acted as a mentor in shaping my career. It’s why I’m part of Skillsnacks, I get to pay it forward by helping shape someone else’s career through training.
N.What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is having regrets over opportunities not taken. Every time I’m presented with an important choice this key thought is what I ask myself as part of my decision-making process.
N.What do you love most about your job?
Skillsnacks helps grow retail sales by upskilling people 3 minutes a day, every day. Skilled people have a positive impact on our community and growing retail sales lifts small businesses and our economy. These key drivers are what makes me proud to share Skillsnacks with the world. I also love the fact that I’m sharing the journey with a couple of good mates.