Founder, managing director, architect, a true aesthete in every sense and very recently, ‘mother’ – it has been a busy ten years for Lauren Smith, with many different caps to don.
When guests visit the estate, it is clear that Cavalli Estate, in every minute detail, has been a labour of love, with Lauren firmly in the driving seat.
With August being recognized as Women’s Month in South Africa, we take a moment to chat to Lauren about what power means to her – as well as the importance of women in the workplace.
Q: What does the idea of power mean to you?
A: Power commands influence, but requires an equal measure of responsibility
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a powerful woman?
A: I baulk at the word “powerful” in describing myself, I resonate more with the words “determined, confident, dynamic”.
Q: What are you most proud of doing?
A: I’m most proud of my incredible little boys. I’m exceptionally proud of what my father and I envisioned and executed in under a decade at Cavalli.
Q: What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?
A: I dreamt of being a veterinarian.
Q: How do you think the role of a woman in senior positions, has changed in the wine industry?
A: I believe women are embracing their innate strengths and bringing them to the fore in their roles. The UN has singled out women’s leadership for their unique ability as drivers of solutions when empowered. With climate change amongst other issues facing the wine sector, this has the potential to radically impact the industry.
Q: Majority of your team are all female, from the winemaker to sales and marketing, can you tell us a little bit more about why it’s so important to you to have females in high positions?
A: I didn’t consciously set out to employ women- In fact I’m from a very male dominant peer group. I’ve always employed the best candidate for the position, irrespective. It’s just so happened that over time women have been the strongest candidates to fill many of the management roles at Cavalli, but certainly women bring a passion, creativity, and drive to certain roles and in the hospitality and wine sector, where these qualities are so crucial, it certainly is rewarding to be able to empower women in these leadership positions.
Q: What is one piece of advice you give to women looking to make a career in wine?
A: Failure is a normative part of the process, the determination to continue daily despite adversity is what will determine your ultimate success or lack thereof.