The Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme is fronted by retail icon Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, and supported by a number of forward–thinking organisations that are committed to showcasing the career opportunities retail offers women of all ages.
Please find their biographies and press release summary below. Her photograph and the full press release are attached.
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Emma Pacey, Senior Buying Manager – Toys, aged 32 from Leeds
Having joined Asda eight years ago, through a commitment to self-improvement and demonstrating strong commercial acumen, Emma Pacey worked her way up to her role as Senior Buying Manager in Toys, the first woman to take this position.
During her first year in this role, Emma has led her team to develop and deliver a completely new proposition in store. Having identified that Asda customers wanted great quality and beautifully designed wooden toys, but at an affordable price point, she worked in partnership with George designers, suppliers and technical specialists to bring 30 amazing products to market, priced around 30%-50% cheaper than competitors. Taking a risk in buying large quantities of the products for Christmas 2014 paid off; sales were 70% up on the previous year, 60 new lines are currently being developed and the brand is being launched by Wal-Mart in Canada in 2015.
Emma is described as ‘an Ambassador for Asda…with over 10 years’ experience giving her great gravitas in the market.’ She is credited for the company winning the ‘Progressive Preschool’ award for ‘Best Retailer’ in 2014, and shares her experience with others, by mentoring other women in the broader business and ensuring she has a diverse team around her, in order to get the best out of everyone.
Gillian Baird, Store Manager, Asda, aged 26, based in Birmingham
Following graduation in 2013, Gillian moved from a part time service employee of Asda to a full time member of its retail graduate programme, on the fast track to a role as Store Manager. Her role has seen her develop invaluable store experiences throughout the Birmingham region, including being part of the opening team for a new store proposition in Coventry, being credited with embedding a culture of success and drive that remains today.
A promotion to Deputy Store Manager at Bordersley Green followed, Gillian adapted well to the store, which brought many challenges through being in an ethnically diverse and low economic area. During this time she continually lead and coached the team to deliver her high expectations and standards of shop keeping, resulting in an increase in profitability of £40,000 year on year. Customer transaction numbers were +6.5% YOY and growing, colleague retention numbers were 92%, significantly higher than the regional average, and Gillian had zero leavers of the 40 work placements from the local community that she employed permanently.
Gillian’s constant hard work and determination to succeed has not gone unnoticed, she has recently been rewarded with the promotion to Store Manager of Leamington Rugby Road PFS.
Gillian is a keen member of ASDA’s Women in Leadership programme, has attended all planned modules and is more confident in following her natural leadership style that she prides herself upon. Gill’s leadership stems from her passion for basketball – she captained two championship-winning teams, has played at the highest level in England and has represented Scotland’s National team at the European Championships every year since she turned 18.
PRESS RELEASE SUMMARY: 2015 SPECSAVERS EVERYWOMAN IN RETAIL AMBASSADORS ANNOUNCED
Hundreds of business figures gathered at Claridge’s Hotel in London to celebrate 12 incredible women working within retail who have been chosen as 2015 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassadors, singled out for their outstanding career achievements and ability to inspire others. This programme is fronted by retail icon Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, and supported by a number of forward-thinking organisations that are committed to showcasing the career opportunities retail offers women of all ages. Guests included senior figures from 35 retail brands who joined together to congratulate the Ambassadors and celebrate their achievements.
The world of retail is immense, and the UK is a global leader. Those considering retail as a career have numerous opportunities open to them, whether their passion is to work in fashion, grocery, sports or gifts, and with the growth of e-commerce there has never been a better time to join the sector. Yet more needs to be done to ensure equality at a senior level in retail – only 13 out of 100 on the Retail Week Power List 2015 were women. These phenomenally inspirational women unveiled have been chosen to help balance this inequality – by sharing their story with other women, showing them what a career in retail really looks like, and influencing them to understand that they too can achieve great things.