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Ashaya studied Bachelor of Business - Entrepreneurship at RMIT University
What's your job about?
My role as an area manager involves overseeing the operations of five stores to ensure that they are achieving their key performance indicators (KPIs). As a discount supermarket, it is important that we are minimising our costs as a business to pass the savings on to our customers. One of my highest priorities is to coach and provide feedback to my managers to develop them into the best leaders that they can be. On top of that I am a recruiter, a project manager, a counsellor, an auditor, a leader. You definitely wear many different hats as an area manager at ALDI.
I manage five ALDI stores in regional Victoria and each day I will visit two to three stores to check in with the store manager, review the store to ensure they are meeting expectations and provide feedback about their current performance. I always try and plan my days in order of highest priorities as things can pop up unexpectedly – you need to be able to manage your time effectively in this role. It’s amazing how quickly the day goes by when you are working in a fast-paced environment.
What's your background?
I’m originally from Mullaway, a small town just north of Coffs Harbour, NSW. I attended Woolgoolga High School and graduated Year 12 in 2010. Throughout my schooling I focused on my passion of fashion design and had always planned to move to Melbourne and study fashion design at RMIT University. However, after being unable to apply for the course, I changed direction towards business (I thought I could always study fashion afterwards). I guess you could say the rest is history.
After graduating I packed up my life, moved to Melbourne and began the next chapter of my life – studying a Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship) at RMIT. Studying entrepreneurship taught me to see opportunity all around me and gave me the confidence to be creative within a business environment.
My journey to ALDI was by chance. I had never considered working for the company, or any supermarket in that case but I came across an ALDI stall at a careers fair and everything about the position of graduate area manager resonated with me – challenging, rewarding, leadership experience, running your area like a business.
I completed an internship program with ALDI and this allowed me to understand more about the area manager role and the ALDI business. After a successful internship I was offered a graduate position. Over the past three years, I have grown personally and professionally beyond my expectations, thanks to ALDI...and the best thing is I am continuing to learn more and develop into a better leader and business woman every day.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes! At ALDI I have colleagues with degrees in nutrition, teaching, accounting, IT, sports science, marketing – just to name a few. You don’t need management experience to become a graduate area manager but it is necessary to come with a strong work ethic, resilience and the desire to continuously improve.
To be a successful area manager at ALDI you also need to have effective time management skills to handle conflicting priorities and a heavy workload, the ability to build rapport as a leader with your reporting team and colleagues and you must be results focused in order to run an efficient business and meet KPIs.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I love that I have the ability to develop as a leader within my role. It can be a challenge to manage people but within my role as an area manager I am able to reflect on my own performance and identify ways that I can be a more effective leader. It is so rewarding to see that when I grow as a leader, my team develops new skills and awareness themselves.
What are the limitations of your job?
Working for ALDI is not for everyone. It’s a fast paced environment and you take on a lot of responsibility very quickly which can be a challenge for some. As an area manager, you give a lot of yourself to ALDI. We are on call for emergencies, we work weekends, we work more than 40 hours a week and for me personally, I am heavily invested in my teams and my stores. You work hard but you certainly get rewarded working for ALDI.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Get involved and embrace opportunities – real life experience is worth much more than reading a textbook.
- Love yourself – you are probably your harshest critic. Know who you are, believe in yourself and that will be your greatest asset.
- Be authentic – whether it is when you are applying for a grad role, starting a new job or making friends, you don’t need to pretend to be someone else. Everyone is different and that’s the beauty of life.