Women in Retail Roundtable Highlights March 2023

Women in Retail Series - Bringing a community of like-minded professionals together

To celebrate International Women’s Week in March, makepositive and Salesforce held their second exclusive Women in Retail event.

Themed ‘A toast to our mentors and allies’, the event started with a panel discussion on how different opportunities and challenges contributed in molding our guest panelists’ careers, and the role peers, mentors and allies might have played in shaping those careers.

Although everyone’s path is different, there were some important advice and takeaways shared throughout the event around career progression, relationships, family, and luck.

Career progression

Discussing the obstacles and opportunities they had over their careers, our panelists had different trajectories, but there was a consensus that creating a supportive and inclusive work environment that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion can help women thrive in their careers.

  • Mentorship: Having a mentor who can provide guidance, support, and advice can be extremely beneficial for women who are looking to advance in their careers.
  • Networking: Building a strong professional network can open up new opportunities and help women make valuable connections in their industry.
  • Skill development: Continuously developing new skills and staying up-to-date with industry trends can help women stay competitive and advance in their careers.
  • Advocacy: Women are often underrepresented in leadership roles, so having advocates who can promote their skills and accomplishments can be crucial.
  • Work-life balance: Employers who prioritize work-life balance and offer flexible work arrangements can help women manage their personal and professional responsibilities more effectively.
  • Equal opportunities: Ensuring that women have equal access to opportunities for advancement, pay, and recognition can help them progress in their careers.
  • Confidence: Building self-confidence and assertiveness can help women overcome barriers and challenges that may arise in their careers.

Children and family

Our panelists and guests were at different stages in their life but most agreed that today there is a lot more support to allow women to continue progressing in their careers whilst raising a family. However, there are still obstacles and it’s down to employers to ensure they have in place family-friendly policies and work environments that support women in managing their family responsibilities while pursuing their career goals. This can help to mitigate the impact that children and family have on a woman’s career progression.

  • Time constraints: Raising children and managing family responsibilities can be very time-consuming, which can limit the amount of time that a woman can dedicate to her career.
  • Limited opportunities: Employers may be hesitant to offer women with family responsibilities opportunities for advancement or high-profile projects that require significant travel or overtime.
  • Gender stereotypes: Women are often stereotyped as primary caregivers, which can lead to assumptions that they are less committed to their careers or less capable of taking on leadership roles.
  • Work-life balance: Employers who offer flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible schedules, can help women balance their work and family responsibilities more effectively.
  • Support system: Having a supportive partner, family, or employer who understands and accommodates family responsibilities can help women navigate the challenges of balancing work and family.


While luck can play a role in career success, it was unanimously agreed that it’s not the only factor. A combination of hard work, talent, skills, and opportunity are necessary for building a successful career. It’s up to the individual to make the most of their abilities and opportunities to achieve their career goals.

  • Hard work and dedication are essential for achieving success in any field. It takes time, effort, and persistence to develop skills, build a network, and make meaningful contributions to one’s profession. Luck can help open doors, but it’s up to the individual to make the most of those opportunities.
  • Talent and skills are also crucial for career success. Natural ability or learned skills can help individuals excel in their roles and stand out in their field. Employers are always looking for talented individuals who can bring value to their organization.

Relationships and networking

All panelists referred to relationships and networking as very important in building a successful career. Building and maintaining relationships with others in your field can help you stay connected, gain new insights, and open doors to new opportunities.

  • Job opportunities: Many job openings are never advertised, and are instead filled through personal connections and referrals. Networking can help you learn about these hidden job opportunities and put you in touch with the right people.
  • Learning and growth: Networking allows you to learn from others in your field, exchange ideas, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments. By attending conferences, workshops, and other industry events, you can expand your knowledge and develop new skills.
  • Mentoring and support: Building relationships with more experienced professionals in your field can provide valuable mentorship and guidance. These mentors can offer advice, help you navigate challenges, and provide support as you advance in your career.
  • Visibility and reputation: Networking can help you build a positive reputation in your field, and raise your profile among potential employers, clients, and collaborators.
  • Collaboration and partnerships: Networking can lead to new partnerships, collaborations, and joint ventures. Working with others in your field can help you achieve shared goals, and expand your reach and impact.


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