Meet Another FGF Rock Star: Joyce Lei

Joyce Lei has had an exciting career here at FGF and is another great example of Home Grown Talent. So much has changed since she first started so we decided to sit down with her to talk about what it’s like to work here and how she has grown.

FGF: Let’s start with a simple one. What’s your name and what do you do here at FGF?

Joyce: Sure! My name is Joyce Lei and I’m the Product Life Cycle Management Team Lead.

Tell us a little about you.

I’m an immigrant born in a tiny peninsula called Macau, right next to Hong Kong. I moved to the West Coast of Canada with my family when I was really young, and went to the University of British Columbia (UBC) for my undergrad degree in Vancouver. I was hired out of school and moved to Windsor for my first job where I worked for a distillery in their Planning Department, we made Whiskey! After a few years, I decided to move to Toronto where I worked in the cosmetics and personal care industries in the packaging design and commercialization departments. Six years ago, after I had my daughter, I decided to try something new and that’s when I found FGF.

When did you start at FGF? What was it like when you got here?

I started in the spring of 2011. I was one of two people who worked in the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) team. When I started, the company was still quite small. At the time, we had just two production facilities.

Can you tell us a little about the PLM group? What do you and your team do?

My team and I offer sales support to our Sales Team Leaders and manage critical paths for all new product development projects. Think of us like a one-stop-shop for almost anything they need. Our goal is to move projects along quickly and efficiently from concept to commercialization. We are the hub of all activities relating to projects as we work with R&D, Finance, Engineering, Sourcing and Production.

You mentioned that when you started, there were only two of you. What has the journey been like?

It’s been amazing. When I first started, I was managing projects and sales support for FGF’s Foodservice group. Shortly after, I took on packaging development and provided support for all of FGF new product development projects. About a year and a half ago I was asked to help expand and build a team and that’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. 

On that note, what do you think is special about working here?

The speed, change and uncertainty. It’s a motto we live by here at FGF and it’s true to who I am as a person. You know, even though I’ve worked here for 6 years, I learn something new every day which is fantastic, it’s never boring!

What are two things you’ve learned here at FGF?

One, how to build a team.

In the last year and a half, I was given the tremendous opportunity to evolve and grow – to go from a team of one to a team of ten. I love coaching the team. It’s great to be able to see them take a project from concept to commercialization and reap the benefits that come along with that.

Two, how to have fun at work. FGF is about the product and people. We work hard and we play hard. We focus a lot on the people and get to know who they are. I love coming to work every day. You get to learn a lot of different things just by working on different projects. I also love the culture and collaborating with people.

What drives you?

The biggest motivator for me is knowledge. That’s what drives me every day; always being able to learn something new. And I’ve been given that opportunity here.

What surprised you about working here?

How open the owners are. When I came here they told me “we have an open-door policy”. You hear that a lot in the industry but they are in the trenches with us. If something goes wrong or something needs to be done, they are right there with us. To the degree of what they do, and how much they care about the people and the product, and making sure the customer is satisfied, that surprised me. 

Can we talk about some of your achievements?

This is hard for me, I don’t really like to toot my own horn. If I had to pick something I would have to say, we have never missed a launch. If the customer needs something by a certain date, we always make it work. And that is across all teams in the whole company, we’re proud to be part of the success.

Any advice for someone looking to start a career here at FGF?

Embrace the culture, it’s not for everybody, but if it is for you and you embrace it, you’ll learn and gain a lot. Also, don’t be afraid to ask if you need help because everybody is here to make sure you are setup for success.

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