Meet the new wave of female leaders progressing with Asda

News Manager
March 5, 2020

Meet the new wave of female leaders progressing with Asda

In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with two female store managers and the Senior Director for the West of Scotland, to find out why there are so many female leaders in this region.

Asda’s West Scotland has eight female Store Managers, but Senior Director for the West of Scotland Region, Jason Martin, says this number is only set to increase this number is only set to increase in 2020 as a new wave of female leaders look to progress.

One of those Store Managers is Larkhall’s Amie MacLean, who has been with Asda for five years and came through the graduate programme.

Asda Larkhall manager Amie MacLean

After completing a HR and Management degree, Amie, 28, knew that there was only one career route for her.

She worked in five different stores before she bagged a deputy manager role in our Robroyston superstore in 2018, which ultimately led her to her first store manager role in our Girvan store, before she moved to manage Asda Larkhall.

She said: “When I joined the grad scheme I was told that becoming a store manager was about five years away, so when I landed my first store manager role in four I was really pleased.

“I think it’s important that no matter whether you’re male or female, if you’re good at what you do, it shouldn’t hold you back from doing a great job and progressing.

“I like to help people to see their potential and progress. Since I have been here, we have had three section leaders step up and three colleagues who have joined the ‘You Can Be’ development programme, who are also female.

“Sometimes it can be daunting if you’re the only female manager in a room full of male managers, but ultimately you’re there because you’re good at what you do and so are they. That’s one thing I really like about Asda – everyone is equal and no-one is treated any differently to anyone else.”

Asda Blantyre general store manager Gillian Dillon

Our Blantyre Store Manager Gillian Dillon has been with Asda for 22 years, but it wasn’t until Ayr store manager George McFarlane told her she was ready for the next step that she believed she could progress. Since then she has gone for strength to strength and is one of West Scotland’s rising stars.

Gillian, 37, has a two year-old son, and says that juggling her responsibilities as a parent and as a leader in Asda is made easier by the company’s approach to work-life balance.

She said: “I started with Asda straight out of school after I did work experience here and did such a good job they kept me on. I moved about stores and progressed from section leader to section manager and so on.

“When I fell pregnant I did have that moment where I thought ‘will my career go on’, but it just does and I’m lucky that at Asda I can have that work-life balance. I make sure I get everything done between 7.30 am and 5.15pm so I don’t miss anything at home.

“For me, the reason we sometimes struggle as women is the whole confidence piece and the self-doubt we sometimes experience. Until I had the tap on the shoulder from George, it didn’t occur to me that I could do this.

“My message for anyone thinking ‘can I do this?’ would be that you can still have a career and be a mum. I come into work because I love what I do and working for Asda gives me the chance to have a good family life.”

Jason Martin, our Senior Director for the West of Scotland Region, said: “We have two great female leaders for the business in Aime MacLean and Gillian Dillon, who have both been through the regional talent development programme. I’m sure there will be many more to come, as in most of our stores in West Scotland we have an even split of male and female leaders.

“We have held female mentoring groups and female only leadership courses in the past, but I think the real reason we have such a high number of women in leadership roles is because we have some great role models who are successful and inspire others.

“I know that lots of our leaders talk to each other and support one another to progress and take the lead, which is brilliant.”

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