My career in retail started when I was 16 years old and I was still in school, working in SuperValu Wellingtonbridge part-time, on evenings and weekends. I was an Honours student up to Leaving Cert year but chose not to go to college after finishing school. I knew even back then that I wanted a career in retail.
I started my position as a Trainee Manager when I was 19 years of age and within one year my manager put me on the Musgrave Trainee Manager programme. The training included completing a rotation around the store, spending 3 months in different areas, project work and working though the challenges and learnings along the way.
My Store Manager was my Mentor at the time. His work ethos for everyone was to start at the bottom and work your way up, doing every job along the way. He was great to go to person, he took time to explain things in a way I could understand. He had a really good way with employees, was very fair and you respected him. He took the time out to work with me even outside working hours and took a great interest in developing me.
At age 23 I became Assistant Manager of the store and we had approximately 50 employees. Just over 15 years ago, the Store Manager position became available and I applied for the job and got it. I am now working in the store for over 32 years. I’m very proud to say that this year we were a finalist in SuperValu Store of the Year.
As Store Manager when I first started going to regional meetings, I was the only female Store Manager in a room full of men. I was not at all intimidated, in fact I felt quite comfortable there as I was very vocal and interacted easily. It is only in the past 4-5 years there are now more female Store Managers and this is great as it brings more diversity. There has never been a day that I have never wanted to work in retail.
I am now a Mentor myself. I mentor younger employees, in particular while working on the floor. I see my role as a Mentor to support and challenge them, letting them know why we do what we do and being involved personally with them.
We also run our own Trainee Manager programme. If a Trainee Manager leaves or if a position becomes available, we will first try fill the position internally and we will send them on all the courses to develop them in their position. Some of the trainees that have come from our store have gone on to become store managers and butchers in other stores through the training opportunities we have given them.