Sheryl Steens

MD, Steens manuka honey, on being studious, moving mannequins and gorgeous gardens

What was your first-ever job? When I was 15 I had a Saturday job at an old people’s home. I got paid a hefty NZ$3 an hour.

What’s been your worst job interview? At teacher college - they asked me if I was studious and I told them I hadn’t been that particular year. I didn’t get in, but they did tell me I was the most honest candidate they had interviewed. I got accepted the following year!

What was the first music single you bought? Guitar Man by Bread.

How do you describe your job to your mates? Working in the beekeeping industry for 32 years is a lifestyle; I don’t think of it as a job.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Working with our people and seeing them develop is absolutely fantastic.

What is the least rewarding part? Whenever a spreadsheet with ­numbers pops up.

What is your motto in life? To be worn out at the end from doing everything I possibly can.

What’s your nickname? When I was teaching, the children called me Mrs Honey.

What’s your favourite movie and why? Funny Girl. I love the drama of it and it pulls at lots of emotional strings.

What’s been the most embarrassing moment in your life? I was in my local fabric store, imagining costumes for a school production, when a mannequin suddenly moved. I screamed so loudly the entire store came running. I spent the next 10 minutes apologising to the poor elderly woman I had mistaken for it.

Do you have any phobias? Deep water terrifies me. I would never have any of my body parts dangling outside a boat.

If you could pick a celebrity to join your staff who would it be and why? I am unsure if Sir Ken Robinson is a ‘celebrity,’ but I love the way he thinks: he is a creative academic who challenges society’s views.

If you could change one thing in grocery what would it be? That the ultimate purpose of producing basic foods was to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

What luxury would you have on a desert island? Gorgeous gardens filled to the brim with organic food and visual feasts.

What animal best reflects your personality and why? A dog: they love family and friends gathering for a great time and they love the garden.