Nadia Jubinville – Goodfood
During COVID-19, housebound Canadians hankering for ready-to-cook meals inspired found relief just a mouse click away.
That is, thanks to Goodfood, an online grocery and home meal kit company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. Under its business model, customers can subscribe and order fresh food, or savory snacks delivered the same day with no delivery fee nor minimum order size, says Nadia Jubinville, Goodfood’s vice president of legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary.
Founded by entrepreneurs Jonathan Ferrari and Neil Cuggy in 2014, Goodfood became listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: FOOD) in 2017. To date it has already captured almost half of the Canadian meal-kit market and ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 3 in North America on the list of fastest growing companies by the Financial Times this year—the only Canadian company to earn that designation.
“The pandemic fast-tracked our growth plan,” Jubinville says. “What happened in one year was initially planned to happen over a longer period of time—but here we are … and we are just getting started. Our vision is to be in every kitchen, enabling our members to complete their grocery shopping and meal planning in minutes, all online.”
Since arriving at the company seven months ago, Jubinville’s work has been nonstop. Within days, she was busy establishing the company’s first legal function while leading real estate transactions and other major projects to support Goodfood’s objective of opening more distribution centers across Canada.
According to Jubinville, the company has three core business lines: ready-to-cook meals, ready-to-eat meals and private-label grocery items. Goodfood’s offerings are expanding, and Jubinville works on supplier agreements, marketing, financing, e-commerce, privacy and employment matters, to name a few.
“There’s plenty to keep me busy,” Jubinville says with a laugh. “I’m setting the legal foundation and helping support major growth plans, all at once.”
With six distribution centers operating in Canada and a seventh under construction near Toronto, Jubinville knows her team will need to be ready to support even more growth. To keep pace, Jubinville is considering artificial intelligence-based solutions, a contract management platform, and a standardized digital contract process to handle everything from onboarding suppliers to collecting digital signatures.
Right place, right time
Whatever path she chose, Jubinville had plenty of education, skills and experience to draw from: a civil law bachelor’s degree from University of Montreal earned in 1996 and an MBA from HEC Montreal completed in 2003. Starting her career at top-tier Canadian law firms, Jubinville first took a position in litigation at McCarthy Tetrault. Later she joined the corporate and securities law group at Stikeman Elliott.
Prior to joining Goodfood, Jubinville had spent more than 20 years in management, including more than 16 years as in-house counsel for four companies. She was vice president of legal and corporate affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at Solotech; vice president of legal affairs at Fiera Capital Corporation; associate general counsel at TELUS; and senior director of legal affairs at the National Bank of Canada.
A friend then tipped her off to the opportunity at Goodfood when COVID-19 hit. Jubinville says she wasn’t really looking for a change, but after meeting the team she concluded that it was the right fit for her based on her experience and professional aspirations.
“I had always wanted to be part of a growth story from the ground up, working closely with founders and helping them achieve success. This was it. I had to seize the opportunity,” says Jubinville. “The online grocery industry is still at an early stage in Canada, but is among the fastest-growing and rapidly-changing industries in the world. It’s exciting to be part of a trend that’s gaining momentum and growth.”
Jubinville says the scope of the work touched upon her prior experiences including litigation, daily commercial and corporate work, managing securities law compliance and navigating highly regulated industries. She was also accustomed to handling fast-growing technology-driven work with security and privacy components. Her management experience also came in handy building Goodfood’s first legal department.
With the pace of operations, Jubinville recently hired a new team member to support real estate and construction matters with her. That leaves her more time to turn her attention to other strategic aspects of the business, namely the private label grocery and procurement.
“Most rewarding to me is knowing that I’m contributing to the growth of the business in an industry that’s experiencing rapidly changing movement in consumer habits,” she says. “The satisfaction comes when colleagues approach my team for business advice with a legal component—because they trust that together we can find the right solution to make things happen. People who know me know I am a problem solver. I don’t see roadblocks. I only see solutions.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Summer IV 2021 Edition here.
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