Four women alongside one wholesaler have become the recipients of the very first Women in Wholesale (WiW) Star Awards.
The awards, which celebrate top talent in the sector, were handed to winners at the close of a fourth conference for the initiative, which saw more than 200 delegates gather in central London.
Sue Mann, group marketing manager at JW Filshill, whose video campaign for National Women’s Day was described by judges as a “brilliant initiative” won Best Newcomer of the Year. “Sue has been a real catalyst in the development of the business,” judges said.
Ramsden International’s operations manager Leanne Parkin won Inclusive Manager of the Year, in particular for her revamp of her company’s sales system which saved 200 hours work for her staff.
Judges also noted: “She is a problem solver – buying a one-handed keyboard to support a staff member with a wrist injury is truly proactive.”
Castell Howell’s sales and marketing director Kathryn Jones scooped Woman of the Year award, with judges commenting that her work, in particular her mentoring women “needs to be seen and heard in the industry.”
“She’s clearly invested a lot of time and money into training and development; with some innovative ways in doing so such as her work with young farmers and secondary schools,” they noted.
Pricecheck’s managing director Debbie Harrison came away with Leader of the Year. Described as “in a league of her own”, she has worked to raise the visibility of wholesale as well as push new boundaries within Pricecheck. “The fact that her apprentices want to stay and work at Pricecheck goes to show they are making wholesale attractive and exciting,” judges said.
Finally, JJ Foodservice came away with Best Initiative to Attract and Retain Talent. Its Women in the Warehouse campaign was described as “an industry first” alongside praise for its Family Reward Scheme which gives employees big discounts on popular high street brands. Judges were also impressed with the new “JJ Breakfast club” set up to support and develop aspiring female leaders.
Judges for the Star Awards was composed of the following industry figures, with some further notes on the winners below:
James Bielby, FWD chief executive
Jill Livesey, HIM & MCA managing director
Paul Hill, Better Wholesaling editor
Sarah Hawkes, GS1 engagement manager
Clare Bocking, DSC Group chief commercial officer
Best Initiative to Attract and Retain Talent- JJ Foodservice:
“Warehouse Women is an actual initiative that supports women – it’s a true industry first”
“I loved the the JJ Family Rewards Scheme and JJ Breakfast Club – great initiatives to retain good people”
“JJ’s inclusive advertising across multiple platforms including Instagram successfully attracted a more diverse pool”
Inclusive Manager of the Year- Ramsden International’s operations manager Leanne Parkin:
“She has really gone out of her way to help her team – introduced a range of new initiatives to truly support them.”
“Leanne has really been able to stand her ground”
“Someone who puts her team first and really cares about their wellbeing. Her testimonials were all brilliant, as were the various things she’s brought to the business, particularly the revamp of the sales system, which is said to save up to 200 hours of work for her staff each month.”
“She is a problem solver – buying a one-handed keyboard to support a staff member with a wrist injury is truly proactive”
“Leanne’s Inclusivity is not just about women – it’s about people with mental and physical disadvantages, too”
Best Newcomer of the Year- Sue Mann, group marketing manager at JW Filshill:
“Sue has been a real catalyst in the development of the business”
“The video campaign for National Women’s Day was a brilliant initiative”
“Sue’s was a stand-out, exceptional entry”
“Fresh ideas, a new approach, had a tangible impact.”
Leader of the Year- Pricecheck’s managing director Debbie Harrison:
“Debbie is in a league of her own.”
“A clear leader in the field who leads by example and goes out of her way to make wholesale an attractive and enticing career opportunity, whilst consistently looking to push new boundaries with how her company operates.”
“The fact that her apprentices want to stay and work at Pricecheck goes to show they are making wholesale attractive and exciting.”
“She has gone above and beyond to raise the visibility of her business and of wholesale generally.”
Woman of the Year award- Castell Howell’s sales and marketing director Kathryn Jones:
“She’s clearly invested a lot of time and money into training and development; with some innovative ways in doing so such as her work with young farmers and secondary schools.”
“Kathryn has personally supported and mentored an impressive amount of women in the business.”
“The work Kathryn has done needs to be seen and heard by the industry.”