Female bosses share tips for success as Retail Ambassador nominations sought

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The UK’s leading female retailers are lending their support to encourage women and girls to see the career potential offered by the retail industry. As the UK’s largest private sector employer, with 2.77m people working in it, retail has a predominantly female workforce but only 5% of women occupy the senior decision-making roles. Successful retailers including Specsavers founder, Dame Mary Perkins, Hobbs CEO Nicky Dulieu and Kelly Hoppen MBE have given their backing to the Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassador programme.  

Created to highlight the breadth of opportunity within the sector, women working in all areas of retail, of all ages and from across the country are encouraged to nominate themselves and the successful colleagues who inspire them, for the 2014 programme. Some of the UK’s leading female retailers and past everywoman Award winners have shared their top tips for getting into the industry and navigating your way to the top.

McKenna: find a mentor

McKenna: find a mentor

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The initiative is spearheaded by everywoman, the UK’s leading membership organisation that champions the advancement of women in business.

Co-founder, Maxine Benson, said: “An estimated 80% of purchasing decisions are influenced by women, demonstrating the already significant influence they have on the success of the retail industry. But in order for the industry to thrive, it is imperative that we see more women in decision-making roles across all job functions. Leadership teams are most effective when they better reflect the business customer base.”

Accessible role models achieving success in the industry play a vital role in attracting more talented women to it. That’s why the Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme is such an important initiative, one we hope all retailers will get behind by nominating the women playing a role in their success. Our 2014 Ambassadors will be asked to share their experiences and advice, speaking at schools and to the media.” 

Specsavers’ founder, Dame Mary Perkins, Britain’s most successful female entrepreneur, said: “Getting ahead in business requires passion, enthusiasm and a lot of blood, sweat and tears to navigate all the obstacles in your path. It is inspiring to see more and more women succeeding in retail, either in senior posts for established brands or opening and growing their own companies. A lot of women run small companies really successfully and profitably, and they’re heading them up because it belongs to them and they can make the rules rather than having to play by the rules in big publicly quoted companies. I completely appreciate the hard work and determination that drives these inspirational women towards their goals and recognising all such achievements will help inspire many other women to pursue their own business ventures and career ambitions.”

BRC director general, Helen Dickinson, said: “The retail workforce is around 60% female so celebrating the success of the women who work in our industry makes perfect sense. I’m proud that the BRC is supporting this programme.  For millions of people, working in our industry is more than just a job, it’s a career. By showcasing the achievements of inspiring female role models we can spread the word that a bright and successful retail career is open to everyone. This in turn will encourage more young women to choose retail as the place to build, and even more importantly, continue to progress their careers as well as pointing them towards the right support and tools to help them on their way.”

The 2014 Retail Ambassadors will be announced at an evening reception at the Waldorf Hilton on Tuesday 23 September 2014. To nominate a woman in retail or to request a speaker visit everywoman.com/retailambassador