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the amazing women of itsu

With International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day book-ending this week, it felt like no better time to celebrate the amazing women of itsu.

itsu is very grateful to have an army of talented, driven, ambitious women who dedicate their professional lives to its progress. In fact, we’re proud to say that 2/3rds our itsu [grocery] team is female, working under a female MD. Ladies, your contribution is irreplaceable! We thought we’d share some of their personal & professional achievements, because it turns out when they’re not making our next best-selling gyoza, or making sure our miso gets here all the way from the Nagano Valley in Japan, they’ve been doing some pretty cool things…

Claudia Santagada, Managing Director of itsu [grocery]

Claudia heads up our supermarket division – no list of itsu women would be complete without her. Beginning her career as an intern, she rose to Managing Director in just 3 years at the age of 28! Incredible. She now manages a team of over 40 people, double the size of when she first started. She’ll hate us for having put her at the top of our blog… sorry Claud! The itsu [grocery] team would be lost without you.

Favourite dish on the itsu menu: spicy tuna dragon roll

Your most shopped itsu supermarket product: spicy veg bao’buns

Livi Byrne, Graphic Designer

Livi designs all of the packaging for our supermarket range. You know our beautiful noodle cups, chic seaweed packs & classy bao boxes? All her! Not that we’re obsessive, but with ‘eat beautiful’ as our mission it’s fair to say we can get a little hung up on the detail. Is that pink the ‘itsu pink’, and do we think that gyoza looks a little too crispy.. now maybe not crispy enough… should we maybe try them steamed? Livi your patience is never-ending and, quite frankly, you’re a creative genius. To top it all off, Livi ran 100km in January to raise £1,305 for her Nanny’s care home. Wonder woman!

Favourite dish on the itsu menu: California rolls

Your most-shopped itsu supermarket product: satay rice’noodles

Katrina Burrows, NPD technologist

Katrina spends her days in our development kitchens at itsu HQ creating delicious new products for our supermarket range [all top secret of course!]. Her most recent project, which we’re finally allowed to talk about, is our new range of udon noodle pots available now in Sainsbury’s, Amazon & Ocado. Katrina worked with Toshio, who is famous for his broths in Japan, to create two new flavours that paired perfectly with our udon noodles. Thank you, Katrina, they’ve made our boring lockdown lunch breaks a whole lot yummier. An impressive fact about Katrina is that she played Squash for England until the age of 19, and at one point ranked #6 in the country! Amazing.

Favourite dish on the itsu menu: no meat mondays

Your most-shopped itsu supermarket product: hoisin duck bao’buns

Katie Wood, Category Technical Manager

Katie works on our technical team, working closely with our amazing suppliers to bring our products to launch. Earlier this year she was instrumental in ensuring we achieved our BRC Agents & Brokers AA certification. Katie is one of the longest-standing members of the team and knows our gyoza better than they know themselves. She recently won the hotly contested employee of the year award 2020 – a worthy winner indeed. Take a bao Katie!

Favourite dish on the itsu menu: i’thai noodle bowl

Your most-shopped itsu supermarket product: chicken gyoza

We asked a couple of our leading ladies what advice they would give to aspiring women

Chloe Marchant, our itsu [grocery] Business Account Manager

“Share your ideas often, at every opportunity. In a busy room, don’t shy away, be proud of the uniqueness you can bring. Feel comfortable opening your ideas up for discussion, challenging the status quo, and embracing being challenged in the same breath. Every idea you don’t share is a wasted learning opportunity.”

Aster Guerrini, our talented Grade 3 General Manager

‘‘Never be afraid of chasing your dreams. Accept that life is an uphill, a long climb, with many stops where you can rest and admire the landscape. Learn to enjoy the journey and fight for your beliefs with strength and tenacity, as did the 15,000 women in New York when they marched for our rights. My advice to young women in operations is to face obstacles with joy, perseverance and, finally, but not least, to always believe in yourself.”

Agne Kazberaite, our first female Operations Director

”Don’t be scared to be different. Think differently and act differently, even if you are the only woman around the table. Challenge old ways made by others, find your style and don’t be scared to make decisions. It is a pure myth that women cannot perform as well as men.”