This week I had the pleasure of speaking to Mark Dennis, the Chief Operating Officer of COOK Trading – a thriving manufacturer and retailer of high-quality frozen ready meals with a growing home delivery network across the UK.
Founded in 1997, it has placed 14th in the most recent Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Companies to Work For’ and became a founding B-Corp member in 2013. Mark has had an exceptional career spanning over 20 years, 14 of which have been spent with COOK Trading.
In this episode, we discuss the inspiring and successful history of COOK Trading and how it remains the same values-centric, purpose-driven business that the co-founder’s Ed & Dale set out with. Over 24 years, the company has gained a strong reputation not just with their customers but has garnered a huge amount of respect from industry peers too. Along the way, it has received several accolades and certifications – namely from the Living Wage Foundation and The Sunday Times amongst several others.
We delve into what it truly means to be a B-Corp, a global movement committed to using business as a force for good in society. Mark explains that being accredited allowed them to look inward and use the business to do the right things, mentioning “it’s a great way to shine a spotlight on your business, in the areas where you’re doing great and those which need improvement”.
Mark also shared the key traits and attributes he believes make a good leader and those that have helped him along the way. He listed building and nurturing relationships, constantly learning and being agile to make rapid changes were some of the key aspects that helped him and COOK Trading continue to grow and adapt during the pandemic. We talk about how good role modeling, great benefits and offering support are key factors to creating the right environment for employees to grow in, especially in current times where culture and purpose-led businesses are being actively sought out by new talent.
Finally, Mark shares his tips and advice for career success and we also highlight the incredible initiative ‘RAW Talent’ – offering second opportunities to those who have been met with hard times and giving them the tools and resources to learn new skills and work within the team.
As ever, if you’d like to get in touch for any reason you can reach me at Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org