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Heather Lee Championing people excellence on the PiRA24 Judging Panel

We are excited to announce our latest judge for the People in Retail Awards 2024—Heather Lee. Returning for the second year, Heather brings a wealth of… View Article


Heather Lee Championing people excellence on the PiRA24 Judging Panel

We are excited to announce our latest judge for the People in Retail Awards 2024—Heather Lee.

Returning for the second year, Heather brings a wealth of experience and insight as the Chief People Officer at Lincolnshire Co-operative. Renowned for her exceptional leadership and dedication to the industry, Heather’s contributions have earned her the prestigious title of Executive Leader of the Year at the People in Retail Awards in 2023.

In this interview, Heather shares her thoughts on the importance of recognition in the retail industry, the critical role of people in business success, and what she looks for when evaluating nominations for the awards.

What inspired you to take part as a judge again for the People in Retail Awards?

I am inspired by the incredible stories of colleagues from across the retail sector nationwide and am always interested in learning about the emerging talent entering the field. Participating as a judge offers a unique opportunity to contribute to our industry’s growth and make a positive impact on the broader economy. To achieve this, we need a deep understanding of the current gaps in skills and education. Developing employability skills is critical, and being part of these awards is an excellent way to gain diverse perspectives and discover untapped potential.

What role does recognition play in the retail industry?

Recognising talent and their potential, then showcasing these attributes across the sector, is essential. Often perceived as the ‘Cinderella’ of industries, the retail sector’s critical role has been underscored by recent challenges, particularly those highlighted during the Covid pandemic. Retail has proven to be an indispensable part of our daily lives, underscoring the importance of acknowledging and valuing the people within it.

How important are people to the success of a business?

People are not just part of the business; they embody its very essence – its heart and soul. This is especially true in the retail sector, where employees are the frontline representatives of the brand to the customer. They are the ones who establish the company’s culture and tone. As brand ambassadors, their role is pivotal; they have the power to elevate the brand, ensuring its success and excellence. Their influence in shaping customer perception and driving the business forward cannot be overstated.

What criteria or qualities are you particularly looking for when evaluating nominations for the People in Retail Awards?

When evaluating nominations for the People in Retail Awards, I’m looking for nominees who are inspiring and energising, showing how they’ve embraced challenges and opportunities to make a real difference in their businesses and to their colleagues. The key is their impact—how they’ve transformed their environment positively, whether through innovation, leadership, exemplary customer service, or by building a supportive culture. Essentially, it’s about individuals who not only excel in their roles but also contribute meaningfully to the retail sector, inspiring change and excellence around them.  #makingadifference.

Any advice or top tips for companies entering?

Tell your story authentically and be yourself. Highlight your achievements and what sets your organisation or people apart, focusing on how you’ve overcome challenges, seized opportunities, and made a lasting impact. Remember, the authenticity of your narrative is what will resonate most, showcasing not just your successes but the real, human experiences behind them. Also, include photos. Last year, it was wonderful to have photos and videos included. This approach will not only enhance your submission, but your stories will also serve as an inspiration to others.

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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