2012 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Award finalists announced

Now in their fifth year, the Awards were originally launched to address the disproportionate lack of women in senior roles in the retail sector by shining a spotlight on the achievements of those that have already climbed the ladder. The industry is one that is dominated by women, with over 60 per cent of staff being female, but this number dwindles to less than 5 per cent female CEOs in retail companies.

This years finalists are:

Star of the Future Award – in a business with a turnover under £200 million
Alyssa Smith, Founder, Director and Jewellery Designer Maker, Alyssa Smith Jewellery Limited from Hertfordshire
Lydia Smith, Assistant Manager, Whistles from Nottingham
Jennifer Welford, Owner/Operator, The Pokey Hat from Glasgow

Star of the Future Award – in a business with a turnover over £200 million
Charlotte Crideford, Online Marketing Specialist, Vodafone UK from Newbury
Hayley Hartwell, Womenswear Buyer, George – Asda from Leicester
Sarah Jones, Senior Buyer, Homebase from Milton Keynes

Leader of the Year Award- in a business with a turnover under £200 million – Sponsored by Penna
Jo Davies, Founder and Managing Director, Black White Denim from Cheshire
Sarah Halsall, Retail Director, Liberty Ltd from London
Terri Roberts, HR Manager, Farm and Pet Place Ltd from Llanrwst, North Wales

Leader of the Year Award – in a business with a turnover over £200 million
Claire Barron, Customer Experience Manager, Vodafone UK from Newbury
Judith McKenna, Chief Operating Officer, Asda Stores Ltd from Leeds
Michelle Nelson, Head of Retail and Distribution HR, Homebase from Milton Keynes

Innovator of the Year Award – Sponsored by Cisco
Leanne Curtis-Cobb, Creative Director, QuackQuackMoo from Kent
Fiona Lambert, George Brand Director, George from Leicester
Lizzie McAuley, Director, Baker Brothers Diamonds from Bedford

Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by Asda Stores Ltd
Geraldine Hurd, Company Director, Betty and Belle Ltd from Cheshire
Viviane Jaeger and Emma-Jayne Parkes, Co-Founders, SquidLondon from London
Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, Co-Founders, Tatty Devine Ltd from London

Online Retailer of the Award
Dessislava Bell, Founder, Zaggora from London
Carol Kane, Joint CEO, Boohoo.com from Manchester
Melissa Littler, Marketing and PR Director, BrandAlley.co.uk from London

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, said: “Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK, and is evolving rapidly – with many more job opportunities transpiring through the explosion of online shopping. The industry offers huge variety and diversity of opportunity. These finalists demonstrate that, despite the challenging economic climate, determination, hard work and leadership can underpin commercial success, and they are a shining example to others looking to make their mark.”

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. I congratulate all the entrants in this year’s awards – to come this far shows commitment, resourcefulness and true retail flair – each is a shining example to all women in business.”

The winners of the seven different categories will be announced on 13 September, along with the ‘Woman of the Year’ who will be selected from all finalists.