Pioneering finalists defy tradition in the Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards 

“What is retail in 2018?”, “How do we define it?” and “What makes a retailer in today’s world?” were just a few of the questions posed by some of the retail industry’s most senior female executives as they judged entries for the 2018 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards, the finalists for which are announced today.

The evolution of the retail industry and how much it has changed since everywoman launched its awards back in 2007 was hotly debated by retail heavyweights including Sandra Federighi, Chief Financial Officer at Stella McCartney; Helen Dickinson OBE, CEO of BRC; Claire Picard, Vice President of Merchandising at Burberry; Boden’s Global Brand Director, Penny Herriman; Simmone Haywood, Head of Talent at Marks & Spencer; and Carrie Rubin of Pentland Group. Also contributing to the conversation were some of the most senior women from this year’s supporting sponsors - Amazon, Tesco and Specsavers.

What the judges unanimously agreed on was that retail is a far cry from the traditional exchange of goods and services and has expanded to include delivery of bespoke products and personal experiences to meet the customer’s every need.  The retail experience has become both more immersive and more liberating with retailers growing closer to their customers and understanding far more about their individual wants and needs.  

This year’s Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards finalists range from entrepreneurs creating bespoke experiences to leaders creating an impact in the businesses for which they work; all representing the extraordinarily diverse career opportunities that retail offers. They are the role models the £333 billion industry needs to feed the pipeline of talent and ensure more women take on senior roles.  Many of this year’s finalists are challenging the traditional customer experience whilst a new award for Male Agents of Change applauds a man for his commitment to advancing women working in retail. 


The 2018 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards finalists are:

Above & Beyond Award
  • Vicky Armstrong, Regional Manager - Sainsbury's Argos, Kendal
  • Emma Bartholomeou, Senior Corporate Responsibility Manager – ASOS, London
  • Zuzana Starjakova, Team Manager - Ocado, Luton


Customer/User Experience Excellence Award
  • Rebecca James, General Manager - Argos, Truro
  • Sarah Marshall, Optometrist / Director - Specsavers, Bicester
  • Wendy Smart, Business Development Manager - Post Office, Manchester
Entrepreneur Award – Sponsored by Amazon
  • Joanna Jensen, Founder & CEO - Childs Farm, Basingstoke
  • Amanda Johnson, Owner/Director - Elsie's Attic, Nottingham
  • Claudia Lambeth, Founder & CEO - Luna Mae, London


Executive Leader Award – Sponsored by Tesco
  • Claire Canning, Senior Director, Head of Stores, UK and Ireland - Gap & Gap Outlet, London
  • Tina Mitchell, Divisional Managing Director - Co-op, Manchester
  • Anne Secunda, Managing Director - Wallis and Evans, London
Innovator Award
  • Rachel Beattie, Co-founder / Director - Careaux, Manchester
  • Niamh Sterling, CEO - Recipe Guru, Dublin
  • Ilana Taub, Co-founder & CEO - SNACT, London


Leader of Change Award
  • Sue Knowles, Marketing/HR Director - Costco Wholesale UK, Northampton
  • Lidia Long, Director, Customer Service - Amazon, London
  • Julie Thomas, Network Operations Director - Post Office, London


Male Agent of Change Award - sponsored by Specsavers
  • Dave Brittain, Sr. Manager, Technical Advisor, International Retail - Amazon, London
  • Graeme Smith, Managing Director – Amazon Development Centre Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Darren Wilding, General Manager - Sainsbury's Argos, Barrow in Furness


Rising Star Award
  • Lily Carter, Compliance and Safety Apprentice (Retail) - Card Factory, Wakefield
  • China-Jade Illidge-Mundle, Floor Manager - Gap, London
  • Ellen Murley, Founder - Wild Peach, Cheltenham

Maxine Benson MBE, Co-founder of everywoman, comments, “This year’s finalists sparked a crucial debate around redefining retail. We are witnessing more women dispelling traditional models and are creating products and services that fit the customer first, rather than trying to attract customers to what already exists. Others are demonstrating stellar leadership within the companies for which they work, whilst our rising stars show enormous potential at very early stages of their careers. With Barclaycard and all judges, we aim to elevate the conversation around the role of women, and the men who support them, in advancing the British retail industry.”

Anita Liu Harvey from Barclaycard added: “Retail has changed dramatically over the past few years, from rising consumer expectations to new technologies enabling companies to thrive and grow. We think it’s only fitting to recognise the women, and the men who support them, who are helping to redefine the landscape ‘on both sides of the counter’. We wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to seeing them have an outsize impact on the industry for years to come.”

Lauren Kisser, Director, AWS, said: “It was great to see such a high calibre of award submissions this year, which demonstrates the sheer level of inspirational talent we have in UK retail. These men and women show just how bright the future of UK retail is. With the digital age, retailers small and large, now have access to a global audience, democratising the ability to start and run their own business - allowing innovative retailers to reach far beyond the shop window to a global audience. It’s a great time to be a women in retail and I’m looking forward to seeing their success take centre stage at the awards night in September.”