Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards 2010 - inspiring women in business

everywoman, the UK’s largest independent network for women in business, is welcoming entries from women in retail for their third Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards. With the UK coming out of recession, this is an excellent opportunity to shine the spotlight on the women who have successfully steered their companies through these tougher times.

Online PR News – 08-June-2010 – – • As of the end of September 2009, the UK retail industry employed over 2.8 million people, which equates to 11% of the total UK workforce*.
• Although 60% of employees in retail are women, there are very few females in senior management positions, with less than 5% female CEOs in retail companies and only 8% of purchasing decisions within these organisations being made by women**.
• This situation has not changed over the past decade, which indicates the urgent need for action to rebalance this situation by identifying positive role models to inspire other women.
• Retail Week earlier this year ran a story entitled, “Retail Needs More Women in Top Jobs”, but what is actually being done to address this?

The Specsavers everywoman Awards were established to help readdress the gender balance in management roles within retail by highlighting inspirational role models and their various accomplishments, many of which would otherwise go unnoticed. These are encapsulated in the differing awards categories which include; ‘Star of the Future’ for a young woman striding ahead in her career, ‘Innovator of the Year’, ‘Inspiration of the Year’ and ‘Leader of the Year’; an open award to any woman heading a team, department or business successfully. In addition the overall ‘Specsavers Woman of the Year award’ will be presented to an inspirational female whose vision and success is exemplar to all within the industry.

Maxine Benson, Co-founder and Director of everywoman remarks, “Every year these awards uncover stories of inspirational women who are great role models for the industry. They are women whose success will inspire and motivate more young women to consider a career in the sector. These talented women are working in every organization, and we want to encourage these women and employers to enter this year to receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work and achievements.”

The panel of judges involves a select group of women who are dedicated to the cause of increasing the number of women working in management roles within retail. Judges include Rose Foster, past CEO of Monsoon Accessorize & La Senza; Kim Morton, Chair of the Fashion Retail Academy; Carrie Rubin, Director of Pentland Group; Sharon O’Connor, Managing Director of Oasis Group PLC and Julia Reynolds, CEO of Figleaves.

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.”

The awards are open for entry until 11 June. The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at The Savoy, on 14 September which will be compered by Gok Wan of Fashion Fix fame. For table bookings and ticket enquiries, please contact everywoman directly on 020 7981 2574 or for further information visit www.everywoman.com


Notes to editors:
Judges are available for interview, in order to arrange and for further information, please contact Emma Jarman at LUCHFORD APM on 0207 631 1000 or email emma.jarman@luchfordapm.com

About everywoman
About everywoman: Founded in September 1999 by Karen Gill and Maxine Benson, everywoman is an organisation dedicated to the empowerment, inspiration and support of women in business in the UK. With 38,000 members and growing it is the UK's largest female business community - the online and offline network is a hive of activity, contact-building and business debate. The events, training and awards programmes are designed to educate, inspire and support both those women who have already started their business journey and those who have yet to set off. Its ambition is to become the world’s largest and most influential female business network, inspiring generations of businesswomen and championing their cause, talents and prospects on a global scale. Karen and Maxine were both awarded the MBE in January 2009 for services to women’s enterprise. For more information, please visit: www.everywoman.com

About Specsavers
Specsavers Opticians was founded in the spare bedroom of the Guernsey home of optometrists Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. Specsavers has more than 925 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain and Australia. All are owned and run by optician joint venture or franchise partners

Categories for everywoman’s Women in Retail awards are:

Hidden Talent of the Year Award, sponsored by Asda
This award will go to the woman whose contribution to the success of the organisation may not be obviously visible, but nonetheless invaluable and greatly appreciated.
This could be someone who supports a successful team/individual in the organisation. It could be someone who holds a position unique to your business.

Star of the Future Award sponsored by Royal Mail
This award will go to the woman aged under 30, whose energy, ambition and generosity of spirit represents the positive future of the retail industry. She will be the one to watch.

Leader of the Year Award
This category is open to all female team, department and business leaders working in retail.
This category reaches across all job functions and nominees could be team / project leaders, managers, department heads or directors within the business.

Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by Santander Corporate Banking
This award will go to the founder/operator of a retail business whose entrepreneurial talent and vision will inspire others to start their own venture.

Inspiration of the Year Award
This award will go to the woman whose efforts are bringing about positive cultural change for women within her organisation.
This could be someone who is influencing / implementing programmes to support the development / advancement of women in the business.

Store Manager of the Year Award
This award will go to the woman whose leadership skills and commercial flair set her apart from her peers

Innovator of the Year
This award will go to the woman whose innovative ideas, fresh approach and vision for improving an aspect of the business is having a positive impact on the organisation and/or those working in it.
This could be someone who has introduced innovative sourcing ideas to the business. It could be someone who has devised new processes/functions to the business to the business more profitable/effective.

The Specsavers Woman of the Year Award
This award will be selected by the judges from the finalists of our seven categories listed above and will go to one exceptional woman whose vision, innovative approach and success make her an outstanding role model that will inspire more women to choose a career in retail.

* British Retail consortium
** Skillsmart Retail
*** BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Karen Barter, founder of Women in Retail
Jane Guillaume of the Retail Trust
Kim Morton, Chair of the Fashion Retail Academy
Anne Seaman CEO, Skillsmart Retail
Rose Foster who ran La Senza
Sue Shipley, Partner & Head of Retail Practice at Odgers Berndston
Carrie Rubin, Director of Pentland Group
Gaynor Gillespie, People & Corporate Development Director, Capital & Regional plc
Sue Brownson, OBE, The Bluebell BMW Group
Jo Delbridge, Director of Public Relations, Specsavers Optical Group
Julia Reynolds, CEO of Figleaves
Sharon O’Connor, MD Oasis Group PLC
Michelle Irving, Head of Employment Policy, British Retail Consortium
Karen Hubbard, Operations Director, Supermarkets, Asda