Moira Harris – Managing Director – Hygrade Water

Arete Podcast with Richard Triggs

Mar 14
Moira Harris – Managing Director – Hygrade Water EOA Social

In this episode, I chat to Moira Harris, the Managing Director of Hygrade Water Australia, a subsidiary of a highly successful New Zealand family-owned organisation.

The company manufactures, imports and distributes specialised water-related products for the civil construction industry, and employs 25 people across its two branches in Brisbane and Sydney.

Moira is a strong business leader with experience in operations management, sales management, negotiation, marketing and stakeholder relations - all roles she held since emigrating from Scotland to Australia in 2000.

She shares the lessons she’s learned along the way as a female in male-dominated industries, and as the managing director of a ‘isolated’ startup in Australia. Moira also touches on the pressure to assimilate and how executive coaching has taught her to stay true to herself.

In this episode: 

  • Background of Hygrade Water Australia - a startup of parent company, New Zealand-based Hynds Group
  • Most of Hygrade Water’s products are brought in from Europe - specialised products
  • Why the owners of Hynds wanted to branch out
  • Moving from being distributors into the specialist space
  • Morphing Hygrade Water in New Zealand and Australia
  • Corporate vs family-owned business
  • Moira’s background - born in Singapore, moved back to her family’s small village in Scotland and the youngest of her 7 siblings
  • Moira’s first job working for the Ministry of Defence delivering mail to warships
  • Why Moira emigrated to Australia in 2000 - bored with everyday life in Scotland
  • The different jobs and companies Moira has worked for up until now
  • Succession planning for external candidates - a surprise for Moira in her career
  • What executive coaching has taught Moira - never change yourself
  • Working in male dominated industries
  • The pressure to assimilate as a female
  • Moira’s thoughts on the lack of female representation - looking at why they’re not attracting female applicants
  • How Moira came back to Queensland from Melbourne - Humes’ $120m superplant in Ipswich, QLD
  • Moira finding out she had breast cancer in 2017 - working through it to maintain a shred of normalcy and reflecting on what she wanted to do
  • The mandate for Hygrade Water Australia - slow and steady conservative growth by building up its customer base that won’t go anywhere else
  • Preparing to grow into the manufacturing space in the future
  • What Moira does to invest in growing herself professionally - industry forums and workshops
  • How the manufacturing space is changing and what Moira thinks about it
  • Five-year plan for Hygrade Water Australia
  • Moira’s professional future - nothing is off the cards
  • Being an introvert in business - forcing yourself out there
  • How Moira switches off - a member of F45, not for her fitness but for her mental health

“I’m ambitious; I want to be the best possible version of myself, so nothing’s off the cards.” - Moira Harris #HeadhuntedShortlists #Business

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