2018 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards winners announced


14 September 2018: Last night, hundreds of business leaders from the UK’s leading retail brands gathered at East Wintergarden in London to celebrate the winners of the 2018 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards.

Nine inspirational winners were selected by a judging panel of industry heavyweights including senior women from Stella McCartney, Burberry, Tesco, Specsavers and Amazon. After debating “What makes a retailer in today’s world?” and “How do we define it?”, judges handpicked the trailblazers who are redefining retail to be more than the simple exchange of goods and services.

In the course of their deliberations, they discovered women fusing STEM skills with fashion, entrepreneurs blurring the lines between retailer and content provider, and innovators who are driving personalisation by seamlessly incorporating people’s lifestyles, interests and even their personalities into each bespoke product.

The overall Woman of the Year perfectly illustrates this changing retail landscape. Niamh Sterling, the Founder of Recipe Guru, proved herself to be more than just a traditional content provider, by re-imagining how creative content can produce tangible retail sales. She transformed a simple idea into a business that is now the trusted partner for some of the leading global publishers to digitize and syndicate recipe content to the Smart Appliance, Food Brand, FMCG and Grocery Retail sectors in the U.S., UK and European Markets. With Recipe Guru, Niamh takes traditional cookbooks and turns them into revenue generating, bite-size digital content delivering access to new audiences and increasing basket value. By solving the problem of sourcing celebrity chef influencers & white label recipe content at scale, Recipe Guru allows retailers to deliver personalised and relevant online experiences like never before.

Not only is she a successful businesswoman, but also a mentor for the Founders Institute, helping young companies become “investor-ready”. Through her work with Trinity College “LaunchBox”, she also ensures young women develop entrepreneurial skills and unparalleled business acumen.

This year’s other category winners include the founders of fast-growing brands offering bespoke services and women spearheading the most complex operations at some of the country’s largest retailers, such as Co-op and Gap. Also celebrated were the rising stars at the beginning of their career journey, already contributing to unprecedented increases in sales, and the Male Agent of Change actively supporting the advancement of women in the sector.



The 2018 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards category winners are:


Above & Beyond Award

Zuzana Starjakova, Team Manager – Ocado, Luton. After spotting gaps in Ocado’s “Return to Work” policy, she was inspired to create a brand-new policy supporting women returning from maternity leave. She also personally mentored several Personal Shoppers into senior managerial roles and her stellar management has led to the current impressive 99.5% customer satisfaction rate.

Customer/User Experience Excellence Award

Rebecca James, General Manager – Argos, Truro. With the customer’s need at heart, she is the brainchild behind Argos’s brand-new customer initiatives, “Speedy and Spark”, which help identify the in-store barriers that stop colleagues giving great service. These programmes have now been adopted across the whole Argos estate.


Entrepreneur Award – Sponsored by Amazon

Claudia Lambeth, Founder & CEO – Luna Mae, London. At the age of just 22, she founded a bespoke lingerie service specialising in fitting excellence. After successfully pitching her idea to 14 Angel Investors, she secured the funds to launch her products in Fortnum and Mason. She now has a flagship store in Belgravia with an in-house atelier of exceptional British seamstresses, and a loyal client base of 85% repeat customers from as far away as New Zealand.


Executive Leader Award

Tina Mitchell, Divisional Managing Director – Co-op, Manchester. Under her leadership, the overall performance of approximately 10,000 colleagues has improved, absence has decreased, and employee turnover has reduced significantly. Her phenomenal work extends to managing Co-op’s “Aspire Women’s Network”, which ensures more women are represented at senior levels.


Innovator Award – sponsored by IBM iX

Rachel Beattie, Co-founder / Director – Careaux, Manchester. By combining her mathematical background and love of fashion, she designs classic dresses with different sized tops and bottoms, to suit the wearer’s body shape. Rachel now promotes mathematics through STEM clubs and workshops, using the iconic dress design to show how seamlessly STEM skills can fuse with fashion.


Leader of Change Award

Sue Knowles, Marketing / HR Director – Costco Wholesale UK, Northampton. She has an eagle eye for talent and is passionate about bringing out the best in people. The “Journeys” network she created promotes self-development through mentoring for all employees, while her work within the “Costco University” – an internal training program – has helped develop over 3000 employees.


Male Agent of Change Award – sponsored by Specsavers

Dave Brittain, Senior Manager / Technical Advisor, International Retail – Amazon, London. His contribution to boosting diversity across Amazon through the employee affinity group “[email protected]” is unmatched. He actively advocates for inclusive recruitment policies within the business including flexible working, as well as mentoring opportunities for women.


Rising Star Award – Sponsored by Tesco

China-Jade Illidge-Mundle, Floor Manager – Gap, London. At just 19 years old, she progressed from Sales Associate to Floor Manager, and her customer-focused leadership supported the Lewisham Outlet store in achieving a significant increase in sales. Once she became accountable for The Health and Safety Audit, it achieved a 100% compliance score, without a single fail.


Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder of everywoman, comments: “This year, everywoman and Barclaycard were determined to showcase the individuals reimagining the traditional idea of retail. As the industry evolves, so do the role models we celebrate. The diverse range of success stories shared by this year’s winners will inspire the next generation to pursue the ever-widening range of career opportunities that this industry offers.”

Anita Liu Harvey, Director of Strategy, Barclaycard added: “Huge congratulations to all of the winners, who have proven what it means to re-imagine the traditional retail landscape. From the use of technology to create better fitting clothing, to crafting a bespoke customer experience, each winner has showcased fantastic innovation within retail. Barclaycard is delighted to be partnering with everywoman in celebrating the success of these individuals and we look forward to what next year’s candidates will bring to the table.” 

Further information about the 2018 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards,



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