Three Minute Squiz With… Julie Coates

From maths teacher to Managing Director of Goodman Fielder, Julie Coates has had a fascinating career to date. Goodman Fielder makes many excellent carbs including Helga’s, Lawson’s and Wonder White breads. Before her current role, Julie ran Australia’s largest discount department store, BIG W. And she and hubby Peter have raised three incredible young women along the way. Please welcome another awesome Squiz’er to the Three Minute Squiz.

Where and how do you Squiz?
As soon as I get to my desk and with my coffee. Ensures I’m on top of things for the day.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Adam Spencer, Anh Do, Hilary Clinton and Adele.

What was the first album you ever owned?
Susie Quattro, Can the Can. My 12th birthday present from my Dad.

You’re a country kid – any pangs to get back to the bush?
You are kidding right? Although the South Coast of NSW is my happy place.

Seen a good movie lately?
Yes, would recommend my new all time favourite movie, Hidden Figures. So good on so many levels.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
Singing and/or playing a musical instrument. Not a musical bone in my body – but I do like to think I can dance!

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I’m not one for history. I don’t tend to look back. Although I do have some empathy for Galileo.

You’re the MD of Goodman Fielder in Australia. It must be satisfying to put bread on table of thousands of homes across Australia?
It’s a privilege to lead a team passionate about creating food that people love. Food is associated so much with family and friends and making memories. I love my job.

Before your current role you ran BIG W, HR and logistics for Woolworths. What’s your advice to other underachievers like yourself?
Work hard and do your absolute best for whatever opportunity you are currently in. The rest will follow.

How do you get a burly truckie to eat out of the palm of your hand?
People are people. They all want to be engaged with what’s going on and what the future holds. Its the same no matter who or where you lead.

You started out as a maths teacher. We find maths really hard – is your brain just wired that way?
I think my previous answers probably tell you something about my passion for numbers. Maths and optimising things is just my thing. I like to ‘deal in the facts.’

What’s the best piece of advice your mother/father gave you?
You can achieve whatever you want, you just need to be focussed and work hard enough to get there.

You and Pete have raised three awesome young women. What do you think has been key to equipping your girls for the future?
Giving them self-belief whilst keeping them grounded. They can achieve anything but how they behave in getting there is paramount. When they travel we say, “Just remember three things: stay safe, have fun and learn lots.”

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience. Probably because I don’t have any.

Is it true you do an ocean swim every day, even in winter?
Yes. It is the best thing I do ever. It sets me up for my day, and my life. Its pure therapy. If I can, I will always live near the ocean.

What’s your go-to dinner party dish when you’re trying to impress, but also trying to look super casual?
Whole snapper on the BBQ. Its so easy, looks so sensational, and my husband Pete is a fantastic BBQ cook.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
The quality of teachers and teaching methods is fundamental to the success and growth of our economy. We don’t reward or recognise enough the importance of the role of good teachers.

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