Lesley Gillespie OAM, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Joint CEO – Bakers Delight

Leslie Gillespie at Baker's Delight

Lesley Gillespie, BSc (Hons), Dip Ed, is an  inspiring woman, not to mention humble and generous. She says one of the  highlights of her life was graduating from Monash University in the 1970’s with  her parents by her side chatting with her professors.

“I had some fantastic teachers at Monash.  Professor Roy Jackson taught me chemistry - he was great and very memorable,”  she said. “I loved science, it was definite – and I was expected to work at a  high standard with academic rigour at Monash.  I  liked  that.”

Lesley worked part-time in a bakery while  studying, with her now husband, business partner and fourth generation baker, Roger  Gillespie.

Upon graduating Lesley taught at Loreto  Mandeville Hall Toorak for around 10 years, juggling teaching, two new babies  and her role on the board of Bakers Delight. Hard work and no fear of failure  have led Lesley and Roger onto a highly successful international business  through  Bakers  Delight  which  they founded in 1980.

“If I have to get stuff done, I just go and do  it. It’s all part of that Aussie ethos of ‘have a go’.” she says.

This ethic and strength of character has  helped build Australia’s largest bakery franchise with annual network turnover of  over $564 million in FY11/12. Bakers Delight is now a large franchise  organisation with a strong community base. Since 1999 Bakers Delight  has  raised  more  than  $6.5 million for Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), directly  supporting thousands of Australian women and their families through their  breast cancer journey. Through its network of bakeries it donates over $143  million in bread to  charities  each  year  to local communities. The company  supports a range of health and community-based organisations and this is  something Lesley feels strongly about.

A quiet achiever, Lesley has been the  recipient of many prestigious awards, including an OAM award for her service to  the community through support for charitable and sporting organisations and to  business and commerce.

Lesley and Roger have two children who are  continuing in the family bread tradition, one working in Canada for their  international arm, COBS Bread; and the other having recently returned to  Melbourne now heading up the Marketing team of Bakers Delight.

In case you’re wondering, Lesley said the name  ‘Bakers Delight’ originated from the belief that every baker should be  delighted by the product they bake and that every customer should be delighted  by the service they receive. “This belief drives  Bakers  Delight's  current  day  practices and culture” she said.