Asda executives shortlisted in Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards

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Recognising women in retail

Recognising women in retail

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.