Asda George

July 25, 2012 13:00 ET

Finalists Announced in 2012 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards

Innovator of the Year Award-Sponsored by Cisco

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 25, 2012) - everywoman, the UK's largest female business community, has today announced the high flying women who have made it to the final of the Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards. These women, working within large or small organisations, or as leaders of their own enterprises, demonstrate the exciting and diverse opportunities that are available for other women looking for career satisfaction and reward.

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% of staff being female, but this number dwindles to less than 5% female CEOs in retail companies, and only 8% of purchasing decisions within these organisations being made by women*. Yet the sector offers ambitious, aspirational women a diverse range of career options that will allow them to realise their goals and reward them for their success. The variety of roles available is immense; in addition to customer-facing positions, retail offers opportunities for all skill sets, including logistics, marketing and PR, IT, finance, buying and management.

The finalists in the Innovator of the Year Award Category - sponsored by Cisco are:

Leanne Curtis-Cobb, Creative Director, QuackQuackMoo from Kent

Fiona Lambert, George Brand Director, George from Leicester

Lizzie McAuley, Director, Baker Brothers Diamonds from Bedford

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, states: "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."

Amanda Whiteley, Head of Retail Enterprise, UK&I at Cisco states "Cisco is delighted to be sponsoring the Innovator of the Year Award at the 2012 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards. Cisco's association with the Awards is a continuation of our commitment to encourage UK innovation. These Awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise and reward women that are excelling in their career and go a long way to shaping role models for the future workforce."

The winners of the seven different categories will be announced at a glittering ceremony at The Savoy, on 13 September, along with the 'Woman of the Year' who will be selected from all finalists. For table bookings and ticket enquiries, please contact everywoman directly on 020 7981 2574 and for further information visit

About everywoman

everywoman is an expert in the advancement of women in business. Founded in September 1999 by Karen Gill and Maxine Benson, it is a membership organisation with a community of over 40,000 individuals and growing. everywoman challenges and changes the mindsets of individuals and business through its programme of events, awards, training, online content and projects such as; Modern Muse - showcasing successful women in business to inspire young women and girls into the world of work, and the Navigator-a practical guide to business success.

everywoman supports members though the various stages of their business life, focusing them to clarify their goals; ensuring they have the right mind-sets to realise them; equipping them with skills to generate long-term success and elevating their achievements. 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. Karen and Maxine were both awarded the MBE in January 2009 for services to women's enterprise.

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 employs more than 30,000 people and has more than 1600 stores in ten countries worldwide. All are owned and run by optician joint venture or franchise partners.

About Cisco

Cisco's products are designed to transform how people connect, communicate, and collaborate. The company designs, manufactures, and sells Internet Protocol (IP)-based networking and other products related to the communications and information technology industry. As part of our business focus on the network as the platform for all forms of communications and IT, Cisco's products and services help our customers use technology to address their business imperatives and opportunities-improving productivity and user experience, reducing costs, and gaining a competitive advantage.

*Source: Skillsmart Retail

Liz Bell, Group Talent Development Director, Kingfisher
Fiona Briault, Operations Director of Central Retail, Asda Stores Ltd
Sue Brownson OBE, Managing Director, Blue Bell Group
Jo Delbridge, Director of Public Relations, Specsavers Optical Group
Tanith Dodge, Director of Human Resources, Marks & Spencer
Vanessa Gold, Managing Director, Ann Summers & Knickerbox
Wendy Hallett, Founder and Managing Director, Hallett Retail - The Concessions People
Katrina Nurse FCMA CGMA, Finance Director, Topshop/Topman
Karen Richards, Founder and Chairman, Women in Retail
Carrie Rubin, Director, Pentland Group plc
Sue Shipley, Partner, The Miles Partnership

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