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5 Female Leaders on Their Top Advice for Business and Life

Women form a critical part of our workforce and our community at Michael Hill. We work to #BreakTheBias continually by upholding an environment that is free from discrimination and enables all people to realise their full potential. 

We are proud to have 100% gender balance in the Michael Hill Executive Leadership team reporting to the CEO; as well as a global workforce comprising 88% women and 60% of leadership positions held by women globally.  

So in celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, we’re highlighting some of the amazing women who contribute to making our organisation great

Jo Feeney, Chief Marketing Officer 

Can you please sum up what you do at Michael Hill? 

As the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) I’m responsible for revitalising the company’s brand, leading all marketing initiatives, shaping the company’s messaging and delivering an outstanding omni channel experience to the Michael Hill customer. That includes all creative, social media, visual merchandising in our stores, and the running of the Michael Hill Brilliance loyalty program.  

Customer is a key part of the role of CMO, ensuring we know our current and future customer to ensure we’re driving sustained growth for the brand. Along with understanding the customer, is the data and insights that help shape the programs, product and experience we deliver.  

What does success mean to you? 

Success = doing what you love, and loving what you do. Success is being happy with what you have; if you’re grateful, you’re successful. For me the biggest measure of success is being regarded as a good human – caring about others with empathy and kindness. To be respected for the job you do because of the outcomes and output, but also how you achieved your results. The ‘how’ is as important as the ‘what’. Success is more a state of mind than a state of position, no one can take that away from you.  

If you could share one piece of advice with other women, what would it be?  

Don’t stop until you’re proud. Trust your instincts, listen to the niggles, and roll with the punches. You’re tougher than you look.  

In a nutshell – be curious, resilient, a problem solver, and a good human. Practise gratitude and kindness. Adaptability is critical – change is the only constant, be OK with imperfection (but don’t settle for it). As Charles Darwin said, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” 

Chantelle, Group Learning & Development Manager 

Can you please sum up what you do at Michael Hill? 

I am lucky enough to lead the Learning and Development team across Canada, New Zealand and Australia. My team looks after the delivery of learning pathways and workshops for the business, as well as creating systems, procedures, and processes that enable coaching, development and continuous growth here at Michael Hill. On any given day, you might find us in stakeholder meetings, coaching our leaders, in store with our sales teams, analysing people data or behind our computers creating learning content for new workshops, sales skills, new product launches or systems. Never a dull moment! 

What does success mean to you? 

Success to me means creating and maintaining balance in my life, both professionally and personally. I measure success through my ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others. It’s important to work hard and accomplish your goals, but it’s critical to remember to take care of yourself – exercise, eat well, spend time with friends, family, and loved ones. A balanced mind is a happy mind! 

If you could share one piece of advice with other women, what would it be?  

I have two – the first being, chase your tribe. Develop a robust network of people that you trust, and make sure you surround yourself with people who have different strengths to you. That way, you’ll be able to create well rounded ideas that stem from different perspectives.  Secondly, take responsibility in finding a mentor or coach. Your mentor might be from the same or different field, but there is so much value in having deep discussions with someone to help guide your career path. 

Kerrie, Sustainability & Strategic Project Lead 

Can you please sum up what you do at Michael Hill?   

I am very fortunate to work in the Strategy team at Michael Hill, I work closely with the CEO and Group Executives to deliver projects around making the world a better place whilst running a future-focussed, efficient business.  

What does success mean to you?  

Success for me used to be a big job with a big title. I thought when I achieved that goal – that’s it – I will have made it!  

However, after having children and changing career paths, I realised success for me is doing something I love; which is contributing to society through driving sustainability. It’s more important for me to have a strong purpose than chase a title.  

Don’t get me wrong, I am still hugely ambitious, however I have a great work/life balance and really enjoy my new area of expertise which makes me much happier. When I am happy, my family is happy – and to be honest that is the most important thing.  

If you could share one piece of advice with other women, what would it be?  

After having children, don’t push yourself too hard to be back at full time too quickly – you will pick it all up again, and be as great as you remember. You forget how many working years you have ahead, and there is lots of time to keep achieving your goals, so enjoy the time you have adjusting to your amazing new role in life. I know many ambitious women who feel they have gone backwards in their career after having children, and it’s not the case at all – believe in yourself and the life experience you have gained through the process – it will all work out in the end.  

Also, don’t underestimate yourself – too often I have doubted myself in my role as a mum, as a team member, as a leader, as a friend, and it is just not worth it. Have faith in who you are, and what you are doing – I bet you are doing a much better job than you think!  

Tyra, Brand Manager 

Can you please sum up what you do at Michael Hill? 

After two years of working at Michael Hill, I still find it difficult to put this into words! I guess, put simply – I’m like a gatekeeper for the Brand. My incredible team and I are responsible for ensuring that all touch points across the business are on brand and reflect our business’ core values, and that we are creating exceptional experiences for all those who shop with us!  

Alongside this, we have the incredible job of leading our exclusive Bridal and Fashion Collection launches, and are working closely on our exciting and important sustainability and philanthropy initiatives which is something that I’m passionate about. 

What does success mean to you? 

From as early as I can remember, whenever I’ve been asked, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I’ve always responded, ‘happy’. And today, the response is still the same. 

What I love about this is that it allows me to keep checking in with myself, ensuring that I’m putting my values first in all areas of my life. Am I happy with the decisions I’m making, the people I surround myself with, and within my day-to-day values?  

I hope that with this, I will be successful in being happy and therefore, the best version of myself – not just for others, but for me first and foremost! 

If you could share one piece of advice with other women, what would it be?  

I’m practically a walking textbook of cliché sayings – and as much as I’m jovial about them, I actually live by them! But, if I need to narrow them down, I would probably prioritise: 

If at first you don’t succeed… try and try again. Success isn’t built overnight, it’s a series of trials and tribulations that help to build your character and help you reach your desired outcome. If you truly want something, be willing to work for it (no matter what it takes). Diamonds are built under pressure after all! 

If you’re not laughing, you’re crying. Now, I’m not saying to not cry (crying is great!). However, it’s often easy to be overwhelmed by a series of unfortunate events – so it’s important to know what’s in your control and what’s not, to breathe and to make the most out of the situation! 

Inge, Senior Buyer  

Can you please sum up what you do at Michael Hill? 

I’m the Senior Buyer for our Gold, Colour, Gents, and Watches categories. Day to day this involves working to refresh and elevate our core jewellery ranges alongside developing and delivering new in-house designed ranges; working with cross-functional teams across the business to deliver company strategies, co-ordinate new launches, product development, planning layouts for stores and providing support as required for our catalogues, photography requirements and more. 

Innovation is really important and one of the most exciting parts of my job. I believe it’s one of our competitive advantages in the marketplace so it’s important to have that unique ‘wow’ piece in a range that really makes a statement and pushes the envelope. 

What does success mean to you? 

Success is about adding value – for the business as well as managing and developing my team. I work with a lot of strong, talented women and I want to support their development and progression. I have 1:1 weekly sessions where we focus on coaching, addressing challenges and any other queries they may have. 

Success to me also means putting in hard work, perseverance, learning from mistakes, and working with people that I admire and respect. 

If you could share one piece of advice with other women, what would it be? 

I’m a strong believer in following your passion. I have always loved retail in any shape or form; I have bought everything from clothing to perfume and children’s pyjamas. I have loved working on them all because I am really passionate about what I do - it doesn’t matter what I buy, I want to deliver the best product and achieve results.  

As Steve Jobs said, “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” 

- Supporting women’s empowerment, we are proud to continue our partnership with Dress for Success in 2022. Learn more about the cause and how you can help us contribute. Read more ›  

- Learn more about our commitment to having a positive impact on our Team, our Communities, and our Environment here › 

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