As part of International Women’s Day, we have collated stories from inspirational women from across our Society.
Sarah Knapp is an admin team leader at Co-op Memorials in Shepshed
I began working for Co-operative memorials in 2008. My two children were a lot younger then and so I began my administration role on a part-time basis which suited me with regards to school run and after school clubs etc. I became a full-time administrator in 2015, to which I enrolled onto a team leader apprenticeship and completed with a distinction. In 2019 I began my current role as masonry admin team leader.
As part of International Women’s Day, my message for women who work in the Society and our customers and members is that it is important to claim our achievements, not only to achieve the same job satisfaction as men but to shift a woman’s place in the society for the better. Recognising diversity leads to a greater performance levels and may encourage other women to reach that little bit higher and refrain from feeling undervalued. To celebrate International womens Day gives us the opportunity to dismantle stereotypes that still hold women back. We need to 'toot our own horns' and celebrate how far we have come and take the credit we deserve.
Claire Koziol is our head of stores
I started working for the Society in 2011 as a store manager at our Wildwood Supermarket store which was purchased by the Society from Somerfield. After a year I moved as store manager to our Erdington large supermarket, and while there I applied for an area manager role which I was pleased to be appointed to. I thoroughly enjoyed the five years I spent working with different area store teams across Derbyshire and Staffordshire. After which I was promoted to regional manager for the West region, this was by far my favourite role working with seven area managers and their store teams. Currently I have been successful in moving into the head of stores role, one that I’m still getting to grips with and very excited in taking the role to shape the future of retail operations!
As part of International Women’s Day, I feel it is incredibly important to celebrate women’s achievements in and out of the workplace to support ambitions and courage in attaining whatever your goals maybe. In my workplace experience, retail has been traditionally dominated by male colleagues particularly in more senior roles within the Society. Seeing other women succeed and make a career around a family work for them has been inspirational for myself, and having the encouragement of other senior female colleagues has given me more confidence and drive. My message to others would be to dig deep, find that self belief and talk to people about overcoming obstacles - you’re never on your own and anything is possible!
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