From family therapist to winemaker

Moa Gurbuzer is a trained social worker who has worked as a family therapist for many years. Having met countless children whose lives had been blighted by alcohol, she wanted to help bring about broad structural change. She thought long and hard about how she could change deep-rooted attitudes to drinking and pave the way for a new approach:

“A person who drinks is often seen as normal and the one who doesn’t is the odd one out. I wanted to help people make good choices without browbeating them. One way of challenging this in a social drinking context is to replace alcoholic wine with a fantastic alcohol-free alternative, simply by asking the question: ‘Would you like wine with or without alcohol?’.” It shouldn’t be any more dramatic than asking someone whether they want their coffee black or white.”

MRG Wines – aiming for 100% taste, 0% alcohol

And so began the idea of developing her own top-quality, alcohol-free wine. For the business concept to succeed, the product had to be really delicious and replicate the experience of regular wine: alcohol acts as a flavor carrier, and alcohol-free wines have tended to be dismissed as tasteless.

Moa made contact with Richard Juhlin, one of the world’s most respected champagne experts. Combining his unique expertise with newly patented technology and avoiding the use of chemical additives, they managed to jointly develop a premium product that everyone could enjoy with a clear conscience.

This marked the birth of MRG Wines. Five years later, the company has four employees and is just about to increase its workforce and expand internationally.

Executive program key to business development

In a drive to nurture her business concept, develop the company and improve her leadership skills, Moa enrolled in the 2018 Executive Management Program.

“The program covers a broad spectrum of what business leaders need – it’s practically a must.”

“It touches on areas that are really close to your own situation and that of the business. I gained concrete tools alongside a theoretical underpinning that provided weight and relevance. Thanks to my new perspectives, I’ve become more businesslike and my leadership has a whole new depth to it. The program has left me better placed to succeed with my business.”

Valuable exchange of experience and thought-provoking market intelligence

Moa highlights interacting with other experienced participants in group discussions and constructive guidance as critical:

“It doesn’t matter that we work in very different industries – the dilemmas and challenges we face are very similar. The marketing intelligence module also made a strong impression, picking out trends and tendencies that have prompted me to make more strategic decisions. As an example, I now understand how to read if the company is in the right development phase to expand abroad and, when the time is ripe, draw up the right plan for this.”

New perspective on value creation in the company

Moa feels the Executive Management Program has confirmed that her business concept and focus are key factors in both creating and developing the business. There doesn’t have to be a conflict between being simultaneously socially committed and commercially driven.

“Companies with a strong social profile have to be just as business-oriented as everyone else if they are to grow and be profitable – and continue making a difference. Similarly, investors need to realize that socially responsible companies are not just wrapped up in their values. They are also focused on commercial success and therefore worth investing in.”

Education program sparked new brand strategy

Fired up with new insights and experience and with the help of a professional team, Moa has established a whole new brand strategy.

“I now have the right insights and tools to hone our communications and marketing, drawing up specific personas, a distinct tonality and a clear digital focus.”

Personal development – on many levels

As a leader, Moa says she now works more strategically, specifically in setting up events and planning customer relations over a longer period of time. The course also provided her with tools to prioritize better before making important decisions. She has found a distinctive voice for her enterprise and learned to see how her background as a social worker has influenced the management of the company.
“I’ve learned to be clearer, to have the courage to set requirements and to bring in the right talent. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what, but something has definitely happened to me since the program. I just feel stronger and reinvigorated. My colleagues say I even walk differently! I’ve found a new strength in my way of being, working and dealing with the world around me.”

Who should participate in this program?

“Anyone who wants to be a better leader and create a better company for the long term. You shouldn’t hesitate to sign up if you feel you don’t understand enough: before, I barely knew what a brand was, let alone accounts payable! The program isn’t just for CEOs of big companies. It’s equally suited to leaders of smaller companies with a firm focus on values.”

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