On International Women’s Day every year, the voices and stories of women across the world are celebrated, as we address the issues that cause gender inequality and diversity. But despite these issues remaining, such voices and stories take a backseat once the day is done.

We think it’s worth doing the opposite and actively challenging the issues that create these gaps in our industry. So, we’ve launched this weekly series, Wednesday Women, where we’ll profile the stories of the inspiring women in this great and wide industry.

Today we speak with Amber King, Director of BrightSide Executive Search, whose passion goes beyond drinks, to supporting every person who plays a part in the industry.

Coming from a sales and marketing background, King almost stumbled into the recruitment industry. When she made the move to London after holding the title of National Account Manager within FMCG, it was a recruiter who suggested she consider switching up her career, and soon she was recruiting for FMCG & Beverages in the UK.

When King returned to Australia 15 years ago, it was at that time she decided to carve out the drinks space.

“When I returned home to Melbourne, I worked for a couple of agencies predominantly recruiting across FMCG, amongst other sectors. I was always promoted into management roles, but my passion was still to own the drinks space in Australia,” she says.

“I met my now business partner Sue at one of those agencies, and after a few years of working together along with some big changes at that agency we decided to go out on our own. We started BrightSide 10 years ago in December.”

As one of the Directors at BrightSide, King’s role is to ensure that clients’ needs are continuously met, candidates are well looked after, and the business continues to grow. While she thrives in client facing positions, King is also involved in marketing, strategy, projects, and leading part of the team, as well as being a single mum to a four-year-old son.

While balancing all of the above, the achievement of starting her own agency and having 10 solid years of success continues to drive King’s passion.

“I am so proud of the pivotal role BrightSide plays in connecting the drinks industry, and that my dream to build a drinks specialist agency is a reality,” she stated.

“I am passionate about the industry and the brands we represent, I love the diversity of our clients from startups to tier ones, they’re all my favourites – that’s an inside joke, but I do get a kick out of partnering with businesses and watching them grow, as well as helping shape people’s careers”.

“There have been many defining moments from literally crying when we first started and realised we were on our own with no IT support, to investing our own money into the business. Backing yourself like that isn’t easy.”

King notes that many startup businesses don’t make it, and that was almost the case for BrightSide too.

“Nearly losing the business during the first year of Covid, and managing to not only save it but grow it year-on-year was a huge challenge,” says King.

“However, even more challenging was doing it from home, alone with a newborn baby, being locked down with him for the best part of two years, isolated from the support of family and friends.”

In those difficult days it took King sheer grit and determination to not give up, especially while sleep deprived, but it also led her to some of her most interesting ideas that have kept the business relevant, and helped clients, candidates and the industry.

Talking about the next steps for the business, King says there is a focus on expanding the scope of BrightSide’s service offering and extending its support to more of the industry than ever before.

“BrightSide is my livelihood, and the dream that became a reality must continue to grow. We have always been well known for our expertise and networks across sales and marketing. However, with our growth, strength in relationships and capability, we’ve expanded our service offering and have been successfully recruiting across other key functions including finance, HR, supply chain and production.

“We want BrightSide to always be a genuine partner to the drinks industry. We don’t just recruit, and we are not transactional. We actually care, and we’re here to drive growth for our clients by uncovering and delivering the brightest talent in the market, ensuring the whole industry shines.

“All in all, I love what I do,” she concluded.

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