Everyone thought I was mad when I decided on a career in retail, but it totally made sense to me. This business plays to my strengths and beliefs—it’s fast paced and embraces change.
Throughout my career with Tesco, I have touched pretty much every in-store management role, have been developed as a project manager when there were only 11 stores in the UK with dotcom, and have worked International for a year in Budapest.
My biggest challenge to date was the decision to take the role of Coventry Store Manager. I knew it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. As I was in my twenties and one of the first females to do this, I was particularly proud of myself—especially with an 18-month toddler at home.
While in the Store Manager role I was nominated for new position in Budapest. This was another stretch for me: going to work abroad. My role was to set up governance between retail and commercial, which developed my understanding of the different functions of the business while operating in the support office. It felt brave to say yes to this opportunity. While the experience was both exciting and challenging the first couple of months, I did feel very homesick and was out of my comfort zone. I am so glad now that I stayed.
These challenging roles have provided me with a lot of personal learnings. Firstly, the importance of working with my partner when it came to the logistics of childcare and managing the home. Together, we set up work-life balance guidelines that worked for us as a family, individually, as well the business.
Secondly, communicating through a translator, living and surviving in a different country and understanding cultural differences really developed my resilience. The experience changed my perspective of the UK and also enabled me to understand the need for a strong operating model.
My relationship with Tesco is strong. The company has given me many opportunities—ones that I have taken eagerly and delivered to the best of my ability. I do not profess to be the best at everything I have done, but I do know that I have learned from any mistakes and I have remained humble enough to look in the mirror and understand myself better than anyone.
I am proud of the relationship I have built with my employer, as I know that we have both been very honest about who we are and what we stand for throughout this relationship. I am now a Store Director and I still look forward to going to work every day.