1. How did you discover a career in retail?
Retailing is in my blood! My first ever job was selling fruit and vegetables on a market stall when I was a teenager which I really enjoyed. Whilst at University, I did try a few other sectors but after a graduate summer placement with Marks and Spencer, my mind was made up! I applied to join the graduate training schemes of most of the major retailers and decided to join John Lewis due to the unique ownership model and strong reputation. That was 22 years ago and I have not looked back once!
2. Any life lessons that prepared you for your career today?
There's no harm in making a mistake as long as you learn from it. That attitude builds a culture of continuous improvement and resilience which is so important in life. We all face challenges but if we can grow our personal resilience and establish an attitude of lifelong learning then we are building skills that will help us both at home and in work. A leader is also only as good as the team around them so it’s critical to support the development of your team and to help them to be the very best that they can be.
3. What makes you start work with a spring in your step?
I love my job and I get a buzz from working with a fabulous team of Partners, providing amazing customer service and selling beautiful products. Every day is different and retail gives you a real sense of achievement.
4. What advice would you give your 17 year old self?
Follow your heart and do what you enjoy. As I narrowed my academic field of interest, my exam results got stronger and stronger as I enjoyed what I was doing more and more and my performance was enhanced. We spend a lot of time at work so it's important that you enjoy what you do. The more flexible and geographically mobile you are, the faster your career will progress.
5. Most unusual customer request you’ve been tasked with/memorable experience?
We have supported customers with a whole host of interesting projects, particularly in Home Furnishings. We have worked on everything from boats to Castles and everything in between. It's fabulous to see the photos of a finished Home Design scheme developed by our talented Home Stylists.
6. What would you have invented?
A time machine would be fabulous, sometimes there are just not enough hours in a day!