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People - Illovo sugar

how we safeguard, develop and inspire our people

People - Grad girl in china

Iris Rodriguez

Logistics Manager

La Bañeza, Spain

The Faces of AB Sugar
Iris Rodriguez Logistics Manager La Bañeza, Spain

Iris is inspired by women across the business who are developing, growing and who have the strength to face new challenges head-on. She’s determined to learn from those before her, and from those around her now.

We spoke to Iris about what motivates her, what she learnt from spending five months split between the UK, Malawi and Zambia, as well as digging deeper into her new role as Logistics Manager at one of our Spanish factories.

“Developing my skills, knowledge and experience has always been an important factor for me professionally. I seek to learn from others around me and continually try to evolve in the workplace. To be given the opportunity to connect with Azucarera’s parent and sister businesses within the AB Sugar Group as part of an International Experience Programme (IEP) was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t turn down.

“A few months later, I was on a plane to the UK for a month before setting my sights on Malawi and Zambia. Spending time in other businesses forced me to broaden my mindset. Not only in terms of the culture change, language, and way of working; but also, skills such as communication, motivation and team work. In a new environment, you just have to get on with the job at hand! I was working on an irrigation project with the team at Head Office in the UK, before taking the concept into country in Africa. For me the highlight of the whole experience was seeing how the project was progressing, how it was being led by teams on the ground and how everyone working together to achieve the desired outcome. I learnt that you should never give up. It’s important to try again with a different approach until you reach where you want to be – there is always a way!”

Making connections

“During my time on the IEP, I made friends and connections that will last with me a lifetime. As well as focusing on moving the project along, I was able to also take some time to explore my new surroundings – it was a trip I’ll never forget. Connections are what make us human and I believe that my time spent in a variety of cultures and countries has enhanced the work that I do in Spain. Before joining the logistics team, I worked in agriculture, building mutually beneficial relationships with our growers. During my time in that role, I supported the growers from seed until they delivered the sugar beet to the factory.

“Since moving to logistics, I am now involved in the opposite end of the supply chain which is fascinating for me. Ensuring all finished products and co-products from our factory are ready for sale and delivered at the right time and quality to our customer and consumers. Moving from agriculture to logistics has allowed me to broaden my understanding of the supply chain, I can continue learning and expanding my business knowledge. Plus, the new challenges we face are very different from those in the field! However, the perseverance and resilience that I learned during my time in the field both in Spain, as well as the UK, Malawi and Zambia have stood me in good stead to take on the challenges I face now with a whole new team of people to learn from too!”

To find out more about Azucarera, please visit their website:

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