Bankside resident Cathy O'Neill, human resources director of Fortnum & Mason, has been named 'inspiration of the year' at the Everywomen in Retail Awards.
This new awards scheme recognises the accomplishments of women in the retail sector who are going above and beyond the call of duty to achieve success in their chosen field and acting as a positive inspiration to other women looking to start their career in retail.
The winners were announced at a ceremony at The Marriott Grosvenor Square this week.
Cathy O'Neill describes herself as "born at Fortnum's"; she joined the firm 29 years ago as an assistant in the personnel department and today is human resources director with additional responsibility for customer service and corporate social responsibility.
Cathy's experience gives her a thorough understanding of all aspects of the business and she is a highly respected figure amongst colleagues.
She helped to lead Fortnum's through a difficult restructuring which involved 200 redundancies.
Her handling of the situation ensured that the company received no appeals or grievances.
Perhaps Cathy's greatest achievement is in inspiring other women to follow in her footsteps: 70 per cent of management and 60 per cent of directors at Fortnum's are female.
"You don't have to power dress like a man or pretend to be something you're not; just be yourself," she says.
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