Finalists announced in Specsavers Everywoman in retail awards

With the UK coming out of recession, this is an opportunity to recognise the women who have successfully steered their companies through the economic downturn, many of which would otherwise go unnoticed. 
Everywoman say that the chosen finalists demonstrate the wide range of career options available for women and the exciting opportunities available in the retail sector.
Star of the Future – in a business with a turnover under £200 million
Claire Elbourn, Retail Area Manager of Ann Summers Ltd from Basildon
Kerry McDowall, Area Business Manager – Scotland East of Hallett Retail – The Concessions People from Glasgow
Victoria Taylor, Marketing Manager of Ann Summers Ltd from Surrey
Star of the Future – in a business with a turnover over £200 million
Alison Ford, Buying Manager of Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc from Bradford
Bola Oke, Senior Store Manager of Vodafone UK ltd from Leeds
Stacey Skinner, Store Manager of Marks and Spencer Plc from Bristol
Leader of the Year – in a business with a turnover under £200 million
Octavia Morley, Managing Director of Crew Clothing co. from London
Samantha Murray, Manager of Dorothy Perkins from Lichfield
Catherine Owens, Founder/Managing Director of Amber & Jade from London
Leader of the Year – in a business with a turnover over £200 million
Lisa Miao, Commercial Director – Chilled Foods, Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC from Bradford
Sarah Miller, Head of Region South West, Marks and Spencer from Newport
Paula Varley, Head of Region (Simply Food London City) Marks and Spencer from London
Innovator of the Year – Sponsored by Hallett Retail – The Concessions People 
Miranda Elliott, Operating Model Workstream Leader of Asda Stores Ltd from Leeds 
Becky John, Managing Director of Who Made Your Pants from Southampton
Keren Long, Bangladesh Sourcing General Manager, George Clothing – Asda Stores Ltd Nottingham
Entrepreneur of the Year – Sponsored by Asda Ltd
Georgina Cooper, Company Director/Founder of PretaPortobello Ltd from London
Harriet Kelsall, Managing Director of Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design from Cambridge and North Hertfordshire
Ann-Maree Morrison, Director of Labels4Kids Limited from Stirling
Online Retailer of the Year 
Sarah Curran, CEO & Founder of from London
Paula Hassett, Head of the Multi Channel Foundation Programme of Marks and Spencer PLC from London
Debbie Morris, Senior Channel Development Manager of Vodafone (UK) Ltd from Newbury
Maxine Benson, Co-founder of everywoman stated “The quality of entries in this year’s awards was very impressive – inspirational women like this show that with hard work, passion and leadership, there is a place for ambitious women in retail. These finalists are a huge inspiration for other women and I wish them all the best of luck”.
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.”
The winners of the seven different categories will be announced at a glittering ceremony at The Savoy, on 14 September.
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