International Women’s Day: Team Monsoon

For International Women’s Day, as well as speaking to inspiring influencers we love (read here), we also wanted to speak to some of the inspirational women that make up Team Monsoon! We found out what they are inspired by, what motivates them and about some of their biggest achievements…

 

Louisa Webb

Head of Trade & Customer Relation Manager

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

For me, it means a few things; a celebration of the collective successes of women all over the world. A reminder of how far we have come in terms of equality. A moment to reflect and be proud of other women’s achievements; famous, friends or colleagues. And finally, to remember it doesn’t stop here, the fight isn’t over, and we must keep striving for more! 

 

What women inspire you in your life and why? 

My mum, who sadly isn’t with us anymore. She was a fighter and stoic to the end, if I could show any of the courage, values and love that she did in my lifetime, I would be proud. 

 

Tell us a little about your job and what advice would you give to young women trying to get into your industry?

I am Head of Trade & CRM in the Digital Department of Monsoon; working with an amazing team of people who make our website operate, our customer emails land in your inbox and our direct mail arrives on your doorstep (and much more).  

When I left university, I knew I wanted to work in Marketing & Retail, I applied for so many jobs and was beginning to think maybe it wasn’t going to happen. Someone had said to me to maybe start applying for other industries and roles, but I knew I didn’t want to do anything else. So, I persevered and eventually landed my first marketing role. My advice would be if you know what you want to do, don’t give up, keep going! 

 

What women in the public eye are you inspired by and recommend the work of? E.g. painter, author, speaker etc

Whitney Wolfe Herd – her story makes me smile!  The world’s youngest female self-made billionaire – starting a business catering to women, led by women. She has ‘Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry’ on her office wall. 

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’d love to hear about an achievement in your work or personal life that you’re proud of?

Losing my mum was an extremely difficult period of my life. You never fully move on from grief, but I am proud of finding ways to cope and process it where I struggled for a long time, and for taking the courage to ask for help when I needed it most. 

 

Claire Wain

Chief Financial Officer

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

For me, it’s a day to celebrate and promote the successes and incredible hard work of women across the globe, as well as support and remember those less fortunate than we are in this country, who don’t enjoy the rights and privileges that we do.

I feel lucky to be born in a generation where I can feel equal to men in society, that’s quite a recent situation really but the reality for some is still quite different to that and there is more work to do.

 

What women inspire you in your life and why?   

Anyone who either stands up and has a voice to drive positive change or those unsung heroes close to me, who just get on quietly and cope with multiple challenges thrown at them.  For example, my Mum who was a working single parent and gave so many years of her life to raising my sister and I, and funding us through university. Or several of my friends who are currently working into the small hours of the morning to juggle home-schooling and running the household on top of demanding jobs.

 

Tell us a little about your job and what advice would you give to young women trying to get into your industry?

As a CFO I have to understand how all parts of the business work and what performance drivers we have to grow sales and profit, as well as managing the purse strings and controls, and I love getting involved with so many areas of the business.  My advice – anyone who enjoys and is good with numbers can work in Finance, no need for special qualifications before you start.  Firstly, have a clear goal, and make sure you always have the confidence to believe you can achieve that.  Get as much breadth of experience as you can early in your career in different roles.  And finally – be brave, take risks.  Never turn down an opportunity which you think is too big for you.  Failure and managing difficult situations are what makes us stronger and wiser to achieve more in the longer term.

 

What women in the public eye are you inspired by and recommend the work of? E.g. painter, author, speaker etc. 

Maya Angelou, an author who published many works including her autobiography set out across 5 books.  I read the first of these at school and was blown away by the power of her writing but more so her battles through adversity (as a black female born in Missouri in 1928), and her resilience and successes in the face of all the challenges.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’d love to hear about an achievement in your work or personal life that you’re proud of?

My career has always been a big part of my life and my dream was to become Finance Director of a fashion brand, so I feel proud of achieving my goal which took a lot of hard work!  Particularly so as, while things are changing, the majority of FDs or CFOs are still men, so it’s great to fly the flag for women.

 

 

Zara Gentles

Customer Engagement Manager

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I like to think of International Women’s Day as a day for all women to unite, to support and be there for each other and for our voices to be heard louder!

 

What women inspire you in your life and why?

There are 3 women in my life who really inspire me, my mum and my two grandmas.  My grandmas both immigrated to the UK back in the 50s and 60s one from Canada and one from Spain. To think of the move they both did, the different way of life they adapted to and to carry on raising a family and running a household in a new country makes me think that they were strong women for the time. My mum also inspires me as, at the age of 50, she decided to change her career from retail to nursing and now she’s in her 60s and works in a hospital looking after people suffering from dementia.

 

Tell us a little about your job and what advice would you give to young women trying to get into your industry?

My role within the business is to look after the customer service proposition that we provide our customers. I have been with Monsoon Accessorize for 21 years working my way from the shop floor. My advice for anyone trying to get into a Retail Customer Engagement role would be to start from a shop floor and integrate with the public. When moving to an office environment I was advised to submerse myself within each department, building relationships so you really get to know the business you work for.

 

What women in the public eye are you inspired by and recommend the work of? E.g. painter, author, speaker etc.

I really admire strong women and one woman in the public eye who I admire would be our Queen. I am always amazed at all the vast volume of historic events she has lived through and when times are tough, she is always such a calm and supportive figure to the public. Despite her role she is always seen as the key figure within her family as well, we all know that every family has their problems, but she still is the main piece that keeps everyone together.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’d love to hear about an achievement in your work or personal life that you’re proud of?

A recent achievement I am proud of is my gardening. I got into gardening a few years ago when I decided to clear a lot of bushes and brambles in the garden and start growing my own vegetables. At the time I did get few laughs as I had never done anything like that, but once I got started, I certainly caught the ‘grow your own’ bug and grow quite a few different vegetables each year! Now the garden has extended to a veg patch, greenhouse and polytunnel as well as numerous flower beds.

 

 

Dawn Pine 

Group Supply Chain Director

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I doubt that many people know that International Women’s Day had been in place for over a century and every year it seems to get bigger and bigger which is fantastic. To me, it’s about celebrating, supporting, encouraging, and raising awareness of all things Woman. I like to send a small token and an uplifting message to the women in my life. I also love that as a Trustee for the Monsoon Accessorize Trust, I can make a difference as we are actively involved in projects that directly support women and girls. 

 

What women inspire you in your life and why?

This is a tricky one as there are so many women that inspire me. I love working for brands that have so many women and often see that working together we can generate idea’s and build on them; we also challenge each other and that helps us all to grow. In my personal life, my friends and family inspire me all the time, some are very creative, others have so much perseverance it amazes me.

 

Tell us a little about your job and what advice would you give to young women trying to get into your industry?  

My role is the Group Supply Chain Director, it’s a very broad role that gives a great overview of the entire business. This involves people, process and planning to enable the effective movement of stock from origin to whichever channel it’s intended for, which could be stores, web customers, marketplaces etc.

This is still a male-dominated sector that is getting better with groups like Women in Logistics, chaired by Ruth Waring FCILT, another inspirational woman. They also have a web site linked to the CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) which is a great resource. 

My advice would be to seek a Mentor who can support you and offer advice but above all, never be afraid to ask questions, remember the “5 whys” which is a great tool for root cause analysis and process improvement. 

CILT – Women In Logistics (ciltuk.org.uk)

Women in Logistics UK: Overview | LinkedIn

 

What women in the public eye are you inspired by and recommend the work of? E.g. painter, author, speaker etc.

One of the women who has influenced me was Penny Ferguson who is so inspiring, she totally changed her life at the age of 50 and that taught me that it’s never too late to go for it and not to let limiting beliefs stop you. I was lucky enough to have attended the Living Leader, Personal Leadership programme some years ago and it really stayed with me in both my career and personal life. I would recommend reading her book to anyone.

I also need to call out everyone that works in the NHS, this year more than ever we truly see what heroes they really are, I wonder what Florence Nightingale would make of that.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’d love to hear about an achievement in your work or personal life that you’re proud of?

I’m proud that I have helped and developed so many people over the years, it’s great to see them grow and progress.

 

 

 

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