Women in Retail – Driving Change and Innovation

Over the years, the business landscape has shifted drastically on a global level.

Consumers have modified their purchasing habits, technology has innovated the way companies operate, and overall social expectations have changed.

As the world evolves, businesses need leaders who have the ambition and vision for driving change and innovation.

Did you know that many of these strong business leaders are women?

According to Canadian Women’s Foundation, women comprise 19.5% of the board members for Canada’s top 500 companies.

In addition, women held 31% of senior management roles in North America in 2019.

An excellent example of a great woman leader who continues to push the boundaries of the retail world is Bonnie Brooks, former Vice Chairman of Hudson Bay.

With her drive for innovation and ambition to reinvent the way Hudson Bay sells, Brooks successfully modernized Canada’s oldest clothing retailer’s presentation style. Hudson Bay is now viewed in the Canadian retail space as a dynamic upscale retailer that offers style, comfort, and variety to its target audience.

As an homage to Women’s month that happens in March of every year, and to highlight the ongoing efforts of women leaders, we interviewed Storesupport’s very own President/CEO, Sara Clarkson.

Q. Please share your story – how did you decide to lead Storesupport?

A. I began in the Sales & Merchandising industry over 20 years ago as a Business Development Manager and immediately fell in love with the industry. Throughout my career, I have worked for several different companies that were based in Canada. When the opportunity was presented to launch a new Canadian organization that was originally based in Sweden, I knew I couldn’t say no!

I love that Storesupport’s value proposition is all about helping people, which aligns perfectly with my own guiding principles. It was difficult at first to start a new company from the ground-up, but I’m very grateful that I had an excellent and dedicated team by my side right from the beginning.

Q. How are you leading Storesupport to help retailers drive change and innovation?

A. Our organization works closely with retailers, brands, and manufacturers to the support the changes that are being implemented. As the world evolves rapidly, project timelines get tighter and promotional calendars are frequently updated. The need for data becomes more and more important and the focus of going digital becomes more prevalent.

At Storesupport, we work hard to constantly update our technology platform, become more adaptable to meet the demands of retailers, and develop solutions to help manufacturers with their brand presence online and in-store.

Q. Can you give some examples of women leadership you see?

A. There have been several key leaders in retail and in the CPG sector. We still have a long way to go in the segment of women leadership as some of the sectors are male dominated and harder for women to break through. However, we are seeing more and more women take on leadership roles each day in our industry which is great!

Q. How do you think innovation will shape the future of retail, brand management, and business ownership in general?

A. Over the last year, as a business owner maneuvering through the pandemic, I truly believe that we have all learned how to make our businesses more adaptable. The current world situation is nothing our generation has ever experienced. I believe that for many people, we have learned some invaluable life lessons about staying resilient in a time of change and uncertainty.

The phrase “We are all in this together” has been an ongoing theme over the last year. I would love for this industry to truly embrace that phrase. I hope that through this experience, we find ways to work together because we are all impacted by the pandemic in one way or another.

Q. For women looking to drive change and innovation, can you give them any advice?

A. Change is a good thing. Many people are afraid of change, but I look at change like moving into a new home. The move itself is hard and can be painful, but once you are settled in, it is great! Never be afraid of change. Innovation keeps the wheels turning, provides upgrades to your business, and provides a positive outcome for your business in the long run. I see businesses as ever evolving and that is what truly successful organizations continue to do!

If you’re looking for ways to drive innovation and change for your business, Storesupport has the tools and solutions to support you!

Learn more about how we can help by calling 1-877-421-5081 or visiting www.storesupport.ca.

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