Alex Yau reports on five things he learned at the Women in Wholesale conference

1. Research from consultancy Him suggests that, while two in three HR professionals at wholesale businesses run an internship or work experience programme, none of them are targeting female or student graduates. While 23% of employees on average agree it is very important to have an even split of genders in a company, 0% of managing directors had the same mindset.

2. Unilever Food Solutions UK and Ireland managing director Hazel Detsiny warned attendees of Women in Wholesale about the dangers of undermining the presentation of ideas by pitching them with openers such as, “This may be a silly idea…” She also stressed the importance of not giving up your place at the table during important meetings.

3. Speaking about her time raising a child while working, Pricecheck Wholesale’s joint managing director, Debbie Harrison, highlighted the importance of how being different should not hold anyone back from progressing in their careers. She said: “Do not be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same as everyone else.”

4. Bidfood’s head of insight and customer experience, Sarah Whiddett, raised a point about speaking to lone attendees at events. She said: “We have all been in the situation where we have been at work events alone. Strike up a conversation with that person, regardless of the topic. You will make new contacts and can receive new ideas.”

5. Finally, speaking about her time at major companies such as IBM, RBS and the Chartered Management Institute, Heather Melville, OBE, spoke about how vital it is to follow your instinct. “It has helped me move through some of the most important parts of my career,” she said.

Read more: Women in Wholesale launches Wholesale Star Awards

Alex Yau has four years of experience breaking exclusive news stories across the retail, wholesale and telecommunications markets. He is a wholesale and convenience expert, and has interviewed c-level executives from Booker, Tesco, Spar, Co-op, EE, BT, Vodafone and Samsung, alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Alex can be reached on or


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