Getting to know our incredible team: Jen Gibbs, Project Manager Queen!

Getting to know our incredible team: Jen Gibbs, Project Manager Queen!

Getting to know our incredible project manager, Jen Gibbs.

Jen is a passionate and integral part of our team, and the reason we were able to launch prior to Christmas 2020.

I had a good laugh when her answers came back. and yes, I did have to google the meaning of a few words…


Kirsty Harkness (KH): Please describe to us a bit about you and your normal day job. 


Jen Gibbs (JG): Project Manager for the inimitable Hark & Zander face and body oil products, mum of three children, author of four books and wife of one man… my “different-every-day” days evolve in a sometimes precarious balancing act! Pre-children and pre-books I was in project and programme management so picking up this seriously exciting project with Kirsty is a fun way of dipping my toes back into the world of critical paths, Gantt charts and key milestones.

KH: Tell us why you know we will love this H&Z product. 

JG: I jumped on board with the H&Z project without knowing anything about the product except that it was initially a hempseed-based face oil. And then I tried the product not expecting to notice much (if any) differentiation with other skincare products on the market. But I was soooooo wrong! Here are the three things that have seen me become a HempTonic addict:

  • Day one: I used it on my eye make-up and it miraculously came off - I likened it to the miracle of an obedient child and I was in love.
  • Two weeks in: My sensitive skin was lifted to a rather joyful chorus of “Hark! This oil is amazing!” 
  • First trip away: I took it to Waiheke Island for a rare weekend away with husband #1. This little bottle of goodness replaced three cumbersome bottles of cleanser, moisturiser and eye makeup remover… winning!


KH: What has been your career path into this industry?

JG: As an Arts (English Lit) graduate I literally fell into project management while working in London for the regulatory equivalent of the NZQA. Quite seriously, they put me in charge of a UK-wide project and I went straight to the library and got out Project Management for Dummies. (Yes, it was an actual hard copy book.) I went from there to Westminster Council where I was project managing a stream of a $600m end to end transformation project and I ended up as a Programme Manager across the whole shebang. Returning to NZ, I worked for AirNZ on all projects over $250k. And then came the babies, and then came the books, and then along came Hark & Zander…

KH: In what way are we making a difference?

JG: There’s no reason for me to be so on-board with Hark & Zander.

I could be an impartial bystander who happens to be working on XYZ-project.

But observing the way Kirsty is wholly committed to creating a business that a) values people and b) serves the earth by doing things differently, has been impacting. 

KH: What is the biggest challenge in the industry at the moment?

JG: Personally, I think the challenge for Hark & Zander is cutting through the beauty industry noise to direct attention to all the wonderful benefits of our HempTonic Face Oil. I mean, you can’t hold people down and pour it over their faces every morning and night until they have their “A-ha” moment. People have to be brave enough to try it for themselves and gentle encouragement is the most H&Z can do.


KH: What makes you want to work with Hark & Zander? 

JG: “Six hours a week,” she said! 

Yes, it rapidly turned into an all-consuming, full-time, eat, sleep, dream project but it’s been a blast! I’ve known Kirsty for years and knew when I said yes, I’d be serving the Hark & Zander vision, but also that I’d be gleaning business acumen from the best.

(KH: Yes Jen, you should know me by now, in boots and all!)


KH: What future product would you love us to look at making next? Why?

JG: Body oil. My sensitive skin loves this oil.
(KH: Request accepted, our HempLavish Nourishing body oil should be out by March 2021 – very excited too!)


KH: Any interesting fact or story you would like to share?

JG: The first time I met Kirsty we were on a train together heading out to an airfield where a friend who was learning to fly was taking us out on a reccy to get his flight hours up. He wanted to show off some G-force aerial acrobatics. Needless to say Kirsty’s first memory of me is likely to have been a rather wobbly, ground-loving, green-looking version of myself.
(KH: We love green here at H&Z Jen! Ha)