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Zorba People – Maria

4th Mar 2021 | People

Zorba People - Maria

As a teenager, inspired by her love for New York through the films she watched in her youth, Maria Saunders had dreams of working as an accountant on Wall Street.

Thankfully for Zorba Foods, she went on to choose us rather than the Big Apple, although she still gets her regular fix of the latter through frequent holidays to the city that never sleeps.

Maria joined Zorba on a temporary basis in 2011 and ten years on, is now our Financial Controller, overseeing the finances of our multi-million-pound business.

She also knew a little about food before she joined us because whilst doing her Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification at evening college, during the day she worked at a bakery, so a little different than making houmous or dips, but definitely still food service.

Maria, 32, then worked her way up the ladder in a variety of finance roles before taking a break to have her first child Chloe.

It was then that she took on the temporary role at Zorba and the rest is history!

Maria says: “I knew I wanted to be an accountant from the age of 12 or 13 and having watched lots of films set in New York and falling in love with everything about it, I thought I would end up in Wall Street.

“That didn’t happen, but I have since been to New York on holiday, so it’s the next best thing!”

During her time at Zorba, Maria has worked in difference finance roles before becoming our Financial Controller in 2019.

It’s a role which is wide-ranging as she explains: “I oversee all aspects of finance within Zorba from our management accounts and budgeting process, through to forecasting and profit and loss.

“At a business with a turnover of £56 million that means it can be challenging, but I really enjoy what I do.

“I manage a team of seven people and the greatest satisfaction I get is from seeing them achieve something, whether it’s a new qualification or promotion and knowing I may have played a small part in this.”

Outside of work, Maria enjoys spending time with her children (she also has a nine-year-old son Tyler) and indulging her love (with husband Gavin) of fast cars.

She explains: “We are both petrol heads and this has taken us to places likes the Nürburgring race-track in Germany where we drove on the Formula 1 circuit and got up to 163 miles per hour.

“I have driven various nice cars the faster the better for me!”