Alumna Claire Peters shares top tips for a successful career in retail

Claire Peters

Speaking to an audience of Business and Economics students, Claire gave insights into leadership and retail from her role as Managing Director at the Australian retail giant, Woolworths Group.

Claire’s international career has spanned 24 years so far. She worked in the UK, Thailand and Australia for Tesco, and most recently joined the Woolworths Group in Australia.

As the Managing Director of Woolworths Group’s B2B and Everyday Needs, the alumna leads new commercial partnerships and chains of department stores such as Big W.

The conversation with the students ranged from resilience and learning from mistakes, through to sustainability, cultural and gender diversity, and mental health.

When asked about routes into a career in retail, she encouraged students to gain weekend and holiday work experience and take part in extracurricular activities.

Claire said:

“A Saturday job or playing a sport will give you many more real-life examples to draw from in an interview. Remember to be authentic when applying; think about how to get people to understand your personality through a CV.

“Don’t just put an activity on your CV because you think it will make you look good if it’s not something you are actually passionate about.”

Reflecting on her role leading the crisis management team for the company during Covid-19, Claire commented:

“It was important to keep a single point of focus in the crisis. For us that was to keep our team and our customers safe, that was our purpose and single goal.”

Claire also emphasised the need to be intentional about personal development and self-care:

“Get a mentor, make a personal development plan and keep it up to date, share your plans with your managers and make your ambitions clear.

“Say yes to opportunities to get a breadth of experience.

“Remember that self-care is important.  To be able to look after others, you have to look after yourself.

“When it is your responsibility to look after over a hundred thousand colleagues, you have to protect yourself from burnout. For me, I make sure the time I spend away from work is quality time with family and friends.”

Claire graduated with a degree in Economics and Sociology in 1996.

Thank you to Claire for volunteering her time.

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