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Fiona Lambert brings empowerment and experience to PiRA24 Judging Panel

Exciting News Alert! Joining our rockstar judging panel for the People in Retail Awards is none other than the remarkable Fiona Lambert. Fiona is a true… View Article


Fiona Lambert brings empowerment and experience to PiRA24 Judging Panel

Exciting News Alert! Joining our rockstar judging panel for the People in Retail Awards is none other than the remarkable Fiona Lambert.

Fiona is a true powerhouse in the world of fashion retail with an illustrious career spanning major retailers like Next, River Island, and Jaeger (M&S). Fiona brings a wealth of experience and a passion for both product and people to her role as a judge for the People in Retail Awards. We talk to Fiona to find out more about the importance of recognition, the critical role of people in business success, and what she’ll be looking for when evaluating nominations for the awards.

What inspired you to take on the role of a judge for the People in Retail Awards?

I believe passionately that people and culture are fundamental to the success of any business. Recognising and celebrating what individuals contribute is crucial because it can truly make or break a business. It’s about valuing and respecting our colleagues, acknowledging their contributions, and understanding the significant impact this can have on morale and engagement within the company.

You mentioned the importance of recognition. How do you think this contributes back to the individuals and the business as a whole?

Recognition is incredibly powerful. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt was to thank people. Genuinely thanking and acknowledging people can be one of the most motivational things you can do in business. And it’s not just about the acknowledgment but about understanding the wider impact this can have; recognised individuals feel more engaged, are likely to pass on positive behaviours – i.e., they pay it forward – and this creates a ripple effect throughout the organisation. As a leader, you don’t always appreciate just how much of a ripple effect something seemingly small can have.

Can you share an experience that highlights the importance of recognising excellence in your career?

Probably the biggest opportunity I had was working with George Davies when he asked me to be part of the start of George at Asda. I was only 26, and it showed me the power of recognising and nurturing potential in younger individuals. It’s about giving opportunities, celebrating their achievements, and encouraging them to grow, which I’ve always aimed to replicate throughout my career.

From your perspective, how critical are people to the success of a business?

Absolutely vital. In retail, understanding and respecting those who work directly with customers—whether on the shop floor or behind the scenes—is key. These individuals often have the best insights and ideas because they’re closest to the customers. Fostering an environment where their suggestions are valued, and they’re treated with respect is fundamental to any business’s success. I’ve worked in businesses where you had to go and work either on Boxing Day or Christmas Eve, stacking shelves because that’s what the colleagues would have to do. And you are walking in your colleagues’ shoes. I assure you, there is no better opportunity to learn and understand the team.

When evaluating nominations for the awards, what specific criteria or qualities will you be looking for?

I’ll be looking for individuals (or teams) who not only embody the culture and values of their business but also show inclusivity, initiative, and the ability to go above and beyond. It’s important to recognise those who aren’t afraid to challenge the ‘status quo’ and really try to make a difference, reflecting a culture of growth and innovation.

Finally, any advice for companies or individuals entering the awards?

Don’t underestimate the value of showcasing your strengths and achievements. It’s so important to recognise and celebrate your superpowers! Encourage your peers to acknowledge their contributions too – this can really go a long way in building a more supportive and motivated environment. Remember, it’s an opportunity to shine and inspire others, so embrace it fully.

There is still time to get your entry in.

Deadline: 1st May, 2024.

To find out more, visit The People in Retail Awards 2024 or 

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