Hundreds of senior figures from the UK’s retail industry gathered in central London on Tuesday night to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme.
Twelve women working in retail were hand-selected and appointed as this year’s ambassadors.
These included founders of global superfood brands, to women reshaping complex operations at some of the country’s largest retailers such as Argos and Gap, as well as individuals driving change around mental health and disability.
Of the 2017 ambassadors announced, one woman was selected to be the Retail Ambassador of the Year: Lauren Kisser.
As operations director at Amazon Prime Air, Kisser was singled out for her dedication to addressing the gender gap in retail and technology.
In the UK, although women account for 60 per cent of the 2.8 million retail employees, there is still an absence of female talent at the 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 per cent of women hold executive roles.
Kisser has led outreach efforts dedicated to inspiring young girls to continue studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, inviting them to Amazon’s drone lab in Cambridge, and regularly visiting schools as a Prime Air STEM ambassador.
Kisser is also the executive sponsor of the Diversity Working Group at Amazon’s Development Centre.
At Amazon Prime Air, she leads a team of roboticists, scientists, engineers and former NASA astronauts who experiment in research labs around the world.
The other Everywoman in Retail Ambassadors announced are:
• Rebecca Douglas, Energy Manager, Tesco, based in Hertfordshire
• Denise Fender, Digital Director, FitFlop, based in London
• Alison Garbutt, Head of Strategic Projects, WHSmith, based in Swindon
• Ellen Green, CEO, Blue Badge Co, based in Bristol
• Sarah Kermode, Store Manager, Gap, based inManchester
• Lauren Kisser, Director of Operations at Amazon Prime Air, based in Cambridge
• Emma Lindhorst, New Business and Events Manager, Harvey Nichols, based in London
• Julianne Ponan, Owner & CEO, Creative Nature, based in Surrey
• Lisa Sohanpal, Founder & CEO, Nom Noms World Food, based in London
• Emma Whittaker, Store Manager, Argos, based in Milton Keynes
• Vanessa Wood, Supply Chain Manager, Card Factory, based in Wakefield
• Heidi Woodhouse, Managing Director, Dixons Carphone PLC, based in London
“This year’s ambassadors are true advocates for ‘reinventing retail’, with all judges agreeing they are an incredibly impressive example of the best of retail talent,” Everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson said.
“Their success stories are exactly what the industry needs to prove how much diversity there is among ever-evolving retail job roles.
“As they prepare to become everywoman ambassadors, we’re confident they’ll have a lasting impact on the retail industry by inspiring talented women to follow in their footsteps.”