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Anna Ball | CEO | Ball Horticultural Company

What has initially triggered your interest in the world of flowers?

  • I am super lucky because I was born into the flower world.  My grandfather started our company and my Dad carried it on and they both loved flowers like I do.

 

How long have you been professionally engaged in the flower industry?

  • All my life!

 

What are some significant milestones in your career? Can you briefly describe some of your most special or most appreciated projects?

  • One of my biggest challenges was entering the Asian market, starting in the 80s. Setting up our companies there was a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun. We made plenty of mistakes but we finally figured it out. (I think…!)
  • Another project is one I have been working at pretty much my whole career – establishing and reinforcing the culture of our company, our “Seeds of Success”. This is a never ending process and one you have to work at 24 hours a day to make sure you have the culture you want and that attracts the best people.And finally, I have been fortunate to collaborate with some amazing people in our industry and form lasting partnerships.  Those relationships are so rewarding and so crucial to success in this close-knit industry.

 

What are some common challenges that women face in this industry? And what kind of challenges have you encountered personally? How did you go about overcoming them?

  • Being born into the family business, I didn’t have to overcome some of the biggest challenges that women often faced.   I was fortunate in that way.  Probably the biggest obstacle in the early days was that as a woman you were usually just ignored.  But in another way, there were positives to being a woman back then– there were only a few of us so we stood out and supported each other.

 

What’s your best word of advice to young women starting out in this industry?

  • Do your best all the time.  Don’t follow the “balance” advice, but try to meld your work and family life together.  Sometimes balance won’t work- there are times when you need to throw yourself into work and times when you need to be there all-in for your family. And, at least for me, having children has been the ultimate joy in my life  – so don’t give up having kids for your career!

 

What do you love most about your work?

  • I love the wonderful people in our industry – almost all are open and friendly.  And seeing cool new flowers still makes my heart beat fast!I also love the complexity of it all. It is an industry where we collaborate with, sell to, and buy from many of our competitors – and that is cool!  That is one of the unique things about our industry and – and it also makes relationships so important. ·

 

What’s your special flower (if there is a special one)? What flowers do you love most?

  • I adore peonies because they have so many petals and because they are around for only a short time.

 

Apart from flowers, what else are you passionate about?

  • I spend all my “free” time either reading or playing music- the piano and the ukulele.

 

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

  • Horticulture is such an amazing industry full of hardworking, passionate people. We should all feel so lucky to be able to work with such a beautiful product everyday that can bring happiness into the lives of so many people around the world!