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Why everywoman can make a difference in business

By Laurna Woods

I was honoured to join the Specsavers team at the Worldpay everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the event, which celebrates female role models in business. And who better to be attending such an occasion with, than the inspirational Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins who is a patron of everywoman?

It amazed me to learn that in the UK, although women account for 60% of the 2.8 million retail employees, there is still a significant absence of female talent at the very top level. Of the 24 retail companies listed on the FTSE 100, only three have female chief executives and when it comes to the boardroom, just 10% of women hold executive roles.

Lack of confidence to apply for these senior roles is one of the main factors in this. So an organisation like everywoman is vital in inspiring our gender to push forward and make a difference.

Dame Mary is involved with a number of national and international charities, including Modern Muse, a charity founded by everywoman that inspires and empowers girls to make more informed career decisions.

Every year, 12 inspirational women working in retail are selected as everywoman ambassadors. They include founders of global brands as well as individuals driving change through their organisation.

The 2017 Retail Ambassador of the Year, Lauren Kisser, has led outreach efforts dedicated to inspiring young girls to continue studying STEM subjects, including inviting them to Amazon’s drone lab in Cambridge and regularly visiting schools as a Prime Air STEM Ambassador. Alongside this, she is the executive sponsor of the Diversity Working Group at Amazon’s Development Centre.

Lauren is Director of Operations at Amazon Prime Air, and a strong believer in technology’s importance within retail. She leads a team of roboticists, scientists, engineers and former NASA astronauts who experiment on Amazon Prime Air in research labs around the world.

Here’s a little about the sort of projects Lauren is involved in:



Other Worldpay everywoman in Retail Ambassadors were:

  • Rebecca Douglas, Energy Manager, Tesco
  • Denise Fender, Digital Director, FitFlop
  • Alison Garbutt, Head of Strategic Projects, WHSmith
  • Ellen Green, CEO, Blue Badge Co
  • Sarah Kermode, Store Manager, Gap
  • Emma Lindhorst, New Business and Events Manager, Harvey Nichols
  • Julianne Ponan, Owner & CEO, Creative Nature
  • Lisa Sohanpal, Founder & CEO, Nom Noms World Food
  • Emma Whittaker, Store Manager, Argos
  • Vanessa Wood, Supply Chain Manager, Card Factory
  • Heidi Woodhouse, Managing Director, Dixons Carphone PLC

These women were selected for their role in ‘reinventing retail’ and just listening to their inspirational stories shows how much females have to contribute in business – if only they believe in themselves and push the boundaries to make a difference.


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