Emerging Leader of the Year 2021: Ben Ross

By Cooperative Business New Zealand | March 2022
Ben Ross, Branch Manager (Wellington) for MG Marketing, was recognised for his outstanding leadership at the Annual Awards as the 2021 Emerging Leader of the Year.

Ben Ross lives and breaths MG Marketing having joined the co-operative part-time as a High School Student in 2008. He was recently recognised for his outstanding efforts as the Wellington Branch Manager, being awarded the Emerging Leader of the Year Award for 2021.

This award allows us to recognise those individuals “making their mark” on their co-operative and the sector. It supports succession planning to enable the co-operative community to continue to thrive here in New Zealand. 

“We were pleased to see such a high quality of nominations from young leaders who are excelling in their positions,” says the independent judging panel. 

Since joining MG Marketing, Ben has been on the fast track of leadership – progressing quickly through to a senior sales role, then the key account manager position before being accelerated into the leadership position at the MG Wellington Branch in 2019. 

He is currently MG’s youngest Branch Manager across all 9 branches but age doesn’t mean a thing in terms of results. In the 2020-2021 year, his Wellington Branch recorded the best financial result in the branch’s 97-year history. He leads a team of 59 employees with ease. 

A stand out with Ben is how he shaped the way his branch achieves targets – recognising that the traditional approach of “just selling more produce” wasn’t going to make a significant impact or achieve the best outcomes for grower-members.  

Ben implemented an innovative communications cycle which allowed his staff to feedback and takes part in monthly workshops. This resulted in continuous improvement across grower-member engagement, customer service and efficiency. His work in this area has shifted thinking to one of shared responsibility and ultimately resulted in growth and greater market share.  

Ben has also put significant work into advocacy efforts with members and taking the lead in a strategy to raise the profile of their grower members – an example being his work in connecting grower-member Woodhaven Gardens with Foodstuff’s Pak n’ Save – helping drive mutually beneficial marketing initiatives.  

As El Tappin, Ben’s nominator for this category stated “Ben is a motivated and talented emerging leader who is passionate about the horticulture industry. He would be a worthy winner of this award.”  

We couldn’t agree more! Congratulations Ben. 


Ben Ross (L) accepting his award from MG Marketing CEO Peter Hendry (R)

The other finalists for the 2021 Emerging Leader of the Year Award were:

  • Angus Dowson, Science Extension Officer (Technology & Solutions) at Ballance Agri-Nutrients 
  • Emma Hinton, Head of Business Development at Farmlands 

With thanks to Anderson Lloyd and LBMX. The Annual Awards would not be possible without your support. 

Want to read more?

You may also be interested in

Year in Review 2023/2024

Year in Review 2023/2024

It’s Cooperative Business NZ’s financial year end which is a great opportunity to provide a round-up of our past year’s activity! Here’s a wrap-up from our new CEO Saya Wahrlich.

read more

Stay in Touch

Want to stay on top of sector updates, international news, opportunities, the latest events, and insights?

Subscribe to our monthly industry update.