Judith McKenna, chief operating officer at Asda, and two George clothing executives – brand director Fiona Lambert and womenswear buyer Hayley Hartwell – have been shortlisted in the Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards.
McKenna has been shortlisted for the Leader of the Year Award – in a business with a turnover over £200m – alongside Michelle Nelson, head of retail and distribution HR at Homebase; and Claire Barron, customer experience manager at Vodafone UK.
Lambert is shortlisted for the Innovator of the Year Award – sponsored by Cisco; and Hartwell is shortlisted for the Star of the Future Award – in a business with a turnover over £200m.
Now in their fifth year, the Awards were originally launched to address the disproportionate lack of women in senior roles in the retail sector by shining a spotlight on the achievements of those that have already climbed the ladder.
According to the female business organisation, everywoman, the industry is one dominated by women, with over 60% of staff being female, but this number dwindles to less than 5% female CEOs in retail companies, and only 8% of purchasing decisions within these organisations are made by women.
However, the sector offers ambitious, aspirational women a diverse range of career options that will allow them to realise their goals and reward them for their success, said everywoman. The variety of roles available is immense. In addition to customer-facing positions, retail offers opportunities for all skill sets, including logistics, marketing and PR, IT, finance, buying and management.
The finalists are:
Star of the Future Award – in a business with a turnover under £200m
Alyssa Smith, founder, director and jewellery designer maker, Alyssa Smith Jewellery from Hertfordshire
Lydia Smith, assistant manager, Whistles from Nottingham
Jennifer Welford, owner/operator, The Pokey Hat from Glasgow
Star of the Future Award – in a business with a turnover over £200m
Charlotte Crideford, online marketing specialist, Vodafone UK from Newbury
Hayley Hartwell, womenswear buyer, George – Asda from Leicester
Sarah Jones, senior buyer, Homebase from Milton Keynes
Leader of the Year Award- in a business with a turnover under £200m – sponsored by Penna
Jo Davies, founder and managing director, Black White Denim from Cheshire
Sarah Halsall, retail director, Liberty from London
Terri Roberts, HR manager, Farm and Pet Place from Llanrwst, North Wales
Leader of the Year Award – in a business with a turnover over £200m
Claire Barron, customer experience manager, Vodafone UK from Newbury
Judith McKenna, chief operating officer, Asda from Leeds
Michelle Nelson, head of retail and distribution HR, Homebase from Milton Keynes
Innovator of the Year Award – Sponsored by Cisco
Leanne Curtis-Cobb, creative director, QuackQuackMoo from Kent
Fiona Lambert, George brand director, George from Leicester
Lizzie McAuley, director, Baker Brothers Diamonds from Bedford
Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by Asda
Geraldine Hurd, company director, Betty and Belle from Cheshire
Viviane Jaeger and Emma-Jayne Parkes, co-founders, SquidLondon from London
Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, co-founders, Tatty Devine from London
Online Retailer of the Award
Dessislava Bell, founder, Zaggora from London
Carol Kane, joint CEO, Boohoo.com from Manchester
Melissa Littler, marketing and PR director, BrandAlley.co.uk from London
Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, said: “Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK, and is evolving rapidly – with many more job opportunities transpiring through the explosion of online shopping. The industry offers huge variety and diversity of opportunity. These finalists demonstrate, despite the challenging economic climate,determination, hard work and leadership can underpin commercial success, and they are a shining example to others looking to make their mark.”
Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, said: “There are some excellent opportunities for women in the retail industry. Although there are not as many women in senior positions as there should be, there are many good prospects. At Specsavers, many of our stores are owned by female opticians who recognise the importance of excellent customer service and high retail standards. I congratulate all the entrants in this year’s awards – to come this far shows commitment, resourcefulness and true retail flair – each is a shining example to all women in business.”
The winners of the seven different categories will be announced at The Savoy, on 13 September 2012, along with the Woman of the Year who will be selected from all of the finalists.