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Celebrating the women reinventing retail


Hundreds of senior figures from some of the UK’s most-loved retail brands gathered at 8 Northumberland Avenue on 12 September to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Worldpay everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme.

Twelve inspirational women working in retail were hand-selected and appointed as this year’s everywoman ambassadors. These included founders of fast-growing 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 who are driving change through their organisation around mental health and breaking perceptions around disability.

In the UK, although women account for 60% of the 2.8m retail employees, there is still a significant absence of female talent at the very 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% of women hold executive roles. One of the causes of this imbalance is women’s lack of confidence to apply for the most senior positions*. This is why everywoman remains committed to celebrating the women who are reinventing retail and encouraging others to advance their careers in retail, with the support of other advocates for gender diversity including Amazon, Pentland Group, Specsavers, SSE, QVC, and Tesco.

Of the 2017 Ambassadors announced, one woman was selected to be the 2017 Retail Ambassador of the Year.  Lauren Kisser, Director of Operations at Amazon Prime Air, was singled out by the judges for her dedication to addressing the gender gap in retail and technology and awarded the 2017 Retail Ambassador of the year.

Lauren has led outreach efforts dedicated to inspiring young girls to continue studying STEM subjects, including inviting them to Amazon’s drone lab in Cambridge and regularly visiting schools as a Prime Air STEM Ambassador. Alongside this, she is the executive sponsor of the Diversity Working Group at Amazon’s Development Centre.

As a strong believer in technology’s importance within retail, Lauren leads a team of roboticists, scientists, engineers and former NASA astronauts who experiment on Amazon Prime Air in research labs around the world.

The 2017 Worldpay everywoman in Retail Ambassadors 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

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, comments: “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. 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”

Kirsty Whitehead, General Counsel at Worldpay UK commented: “Almost three million people across the UK work in the retail sector, and over half of them are women, so tonight’s awards are testament to some of their incredible achievements.  Worldpay are honoured to be sponsoring this year’s Retail Ambassador Programme which continues to provide a valuable platform to champion those women who are pushing this industry forward and celebrate their success.  A huge congratulations to the winners tonight who have truly inspirational stories and should be proud of what they’ve achieved.  I hope that their achievements will go on to inspire even more women across this exciting sector to succeed in their retail careers.”

For further information about the Worldpay everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme visit