Diane Ashton-Jeanes – IIM Case Study Winner 2009 with Tom Brass – IIM Chairman

The UK’s largest independent membership network for women in business, everywoman, is inviting entries for the 2012 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards. Now in their fifth year, these awards recognise the achievements of women in the retail sector. By highlighting inspirational female role models who are excelling, the awards aim to demonstrate to other talented individuals the exceptional opportunities offered by a career in retail.

Research released in January 2012 by the Professional Boards Forum found that the number of women directors in British boardrooms has reached its highest ever level (14.9%), which demonstrates that the tide is turning for women at the highest levels. The retail sector in particular offers the chance for swift career progression by demonstrating hard work and initiative. 29% of all recent graduates working in management roles are working in retail* attracted by the variety, flexibility and excellent training schemes. The Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards celebrate the success of the sector’s female leaders and seek to encourage a pipeline of future talent into the industry. *Skillsmart 2011

Maxine Benson, Co-founder of everywoman comments, “Retail is an attractive sector offering flexibility and the opportunity to learn transferable skills. Given that women are estimated to be responsible for around 70% of household purchasing decisions* clearly it is essential that the management of retail companies reflects the demographic of their customer base. The economic climate means retailers need to think intelligently to remain globally competitive. Those companies that nurture and progress their female talent will be those most likely to reap success.” * Women on Boards report, October 2011

Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers says, “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.”