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Charissa Liew

Charissa Liew completed a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Food & Agribusiness) at The University of Sydney and is now an Own Brand Graduate at Coles.

6.00 AM

My alarm goes off, however, I quickly realise I was too ambitious the night before and snooze it… several times. I eventually roll out of bed at around 6:30 and start getting ready for work. I only live 10 minutes from work, but I like to take my time with my morning routine.

Depending on the day (and how many times I snoozed my alarm), I might have breakfast, but otherwise I'll just pack something to have when I get into the office.

7.40 AM

Off to work! I could technically walk to work - it's about 30 minutes - but I have at least three bags (four if I head to the gym after work) and the Coles SSC has parking available which makes it super convenient to drive in.

8.00 AM

I always start my day by checking my emails while sipping a cup of tea - my latest obsession has been French Earl Grey. Majority of my emails are from suppliers regarding product feedback, product samples or other actions relating to the product development process. I also review my calendar and to do list.

Now I'm ready to start my (work) day!


9.00 AM

I head to my first meeting, our weekly Own Brand WIP with other stakeholders involved in the product development process.  Here we run through our work-in-progress (WIP) sheet which has all the products we are currently working on. We provide updates, discuss actions, and flag any projects that might be at risk.

10.00 AM

I have my first tasting of the day, some new cake slices we are thinking of bringing into the range. Tastings are a massive part of the Product Developer role. We evaluate samples based on appearance, texture, aroma, and taste and provide feedback to our suppliers. Sometimes we might spend 3-4 hours of our day just tasting food!


11.00 AM

Following my first sugar high of the day, I get stuck into some admin tasks. This includes sending out feedback from yesterday's tastings to suppliers, reviewing artwork for one of our new products, and picking up samples from the Loading Bay.  

12.30 PM

Its lunch time! Most days I bring my lunch to work as buying lunch everyday really adds up. We do have some pretty great food options though - the Coles Cafeteria often cooks up some delicious meals (look at our breakfast menu!), you can order a custom sandwich at the sandwich bar and there’s also Nando's across the road.


1.30 PM 

It's time to jump into another meeting, this time with one of our suppliers. This supplier is based in Victoria so we meet in-person and they present some of the new products they have been working on. We taste and review them and discuss next steps.

2.00 PM  

At 2PM on most days, we have Sensory Panel where Product Developers present products to our Development Chefs to be signed off. Today we presented a Chocolate Cake which was approved. Unfortunately I can’t include a photo but keep your eyes peeled – it’s launching in store soon!

3.00 PM

I start to hit my 3PM slump so decide to meet up with a friend and walk across the road to the Boost located in Coles Tooronga. As part of the launch of Boost, Coles Team members have been offered a 40% discount for the month so we've been drinking A LOT of Boosts.


3.30 PM  

With my Green Tea Mango Mantra boost in hand, I head to our Own Brand Bakery Team Huddle. This is a chance for the team to catch up, discuss any learning or insights from recent launches, and share any updates from leadership meetings that may have happened that week.

4.00 PM  

Last meeting for the day! This one is with the Own Brand Innovation team to prepare for our upcoming ELT Spring/Summer Showcase. This is where we present the products that we will be launching over the Spring/Summer period to our Executive Leadership Team. These presentations occur a few times a year, the biggest ones being for Easter and Christmas. Here's a little snapshot of our Christmas ELT Showcase this year!


4.30 PM

Time to start winding down for the day. I check my emails and respond to anything I wasn't able to get to during the day. I also review my to do list and head to the kitchen to wash the multitude of dishes that have piled up on my desk.

5.00 PM 

Home time! I head home to rest and have dinner before heading out again to a netball game with some friends from work.

I try and plan something after work at least a few nights a week (work-life balance is very important!). At the moment, on Mondays, I head to the gym, Tuesdays to a pub for trivia and Thursdays to netball.

9.00 PM  

Once I get home, I start to wind down for the night – shower, skincare, apartment cleaning, life admin… I have also been trying to limit my screen time before bed so I open a book. I love historical fiction - at the moment, I'm reading The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams.

10.00 PM

Zzz…Lights off and I'm fast asleep.

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