LYNNE Mallinson has been a Non-Executive Director for H&H Group for almost two years now and has influenced a great deal across the firm in this time.
Lynne, who lives at Dacre, near Ullswater and assists husband, David and son, Rory in the running of their 300 acre tenanted dairy and sheep farm, is one of the Group’s two female Non-Executive directors.
What is your background and career path?
I was brought up on a farm, with a long line of farming in my family. As such, I have very strong roots within the Agri Sector. I have always been in business in some way or another. I joined my local bank aged 16 and worked my way up to become a Bank Manager at only 22. Working for the bank gave me the foundations for understanding the financial aspects of running a business, as well as reading a set of accounts and dealing with customers. These are all key skills which I have drawn on ever since.
Eventually, I switched to running a business myself, almost purely because of my love of baking! I ran my company, Country Puddings Ltd, initially from the farmhouse kitchen which then quickly progressed to an industrial bakery on a business park. Dovetailing my experience of making food with the strategic and financial aspects of a business was my dream job.
When you start a business, you have to learn everything, and the journey from running a kitchen table business to then exporting pallets of puddings around the world certainly brought with it excitement and opportunity. I ran Country Puddings for almost two decades.
How did you become a Non-Executive Director for H&H Group?
I was appointed Non-Executive Director in August 2019. After a life connected to farming, I have always been very aware of H&H. I’ve been to several marts and even sold my first puddings at Borderway farmers’ markets. I have been brought up with the organisation and brand of H&H all my life, so when I was approached, I really felt that I had the tools and skills in my background – as well as the passion needed - to take up this role. within H&H Group plc.
What do you bring to your role?
As a Non-Executive Director, I believe that in order to ensure we are “Fit for the Future,” I must play a key part in both supporting and constructively challenging the Executive teams within each of the Group’s companies. Whatever the issue or opportunity is in the decision-making process, we are there to ensure that everything gets debated and suitably considered. So, my role is essentially about checking we are going in the correct direction.
Historically, agriculture has typically been a very male-dominated industry. As a result, I find it so refreshing to now see two women on the board of H&H Group, given it is an agriculture-based company. I am very much for equality and for women in business, though personally I have always tended to shy away from women-only events in business and commerce. I believe in a mixed approach to staffing and appointments, and although I of course want to encourage women to go into business, I personally believe that this should not be at the cost of business progress. We want a seat at the table, but we do not want to take it over.