Director and Chief Executive Officer
A founding director alongside George Collier, Sharon is a leading New Zealand fresh produce marketing and export professional with more than 30 years’ experience in exporting and marketing New Zealand cherries, among other fruit.
Sharon’s boundless energy and passion for developing New Zealand’s cherry industry has seen her develop an extensive network of global markets as a rising middle class in Asia drives an insatiable appetite for luxury New Zealand food products while other exciting markets emerge in Europe and the United States.
Sharon’s background as a horticulturalist is a rare commodity among fresh produce marketing executives, providing her with an authentic and informed perspective into crop specifics to communicate to customers throughout the growing season.
In 2016, Sharon and orchardist husband Ross Kirk combined their experience in horticulture, orchard production, packhouse development and export knowledge to launch Hortinvest Limited, an expert in cherry and horticultural management, which works closely with investors to set up and take advantage of an integrated grower-packer-shipper-model to export premium New Zealand cherries.
Sharon’s career includes 13 years with export marketer Turners and Growers and 18 years running her export business, Southern Kowhai Exports. She has also contracted to multiple leading New Zealand fresh produce companies, to develop their export and marketing functions, including applying her expert understanding of global clients’ needs to oversee the design and production of effective packaging and marketing materials.
In her role at Deep Creek Fruits, Sharon keeps the board abreast of orchard and market developments, develops the export compliance systems necessary to send high volumes of cherries to the world and oversees the development of effective branding and packaging to appeal to target markets.
Sharon has a Bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Science and Marketing from Massey University and a Diploma in Management from the Institute of Management. She was appointed in March 2020 and is based in Wanaka.