Three inspirational women at Central England Co-op (CEC) have been recognised as role models for inclusion in the workplace after being listed in the Role Models for Inclusion in Retail Index 2022.
Store Manager Sunni Stewart (pictured above), based in Leicestershire, Social Change Manager Hannah Gallimore and Chief Technology Officer Liz Robson, both based at the Society’s Lichfield headquarters, have all been included in the inaugural index published by Diversity in Retail, in partnership with The MBS Group.
The index aims to celebrate individuals in the retail sector who are driving progress on diversity and inclusion.
Sunni and Hannah are members of CEC’s inclusion workgroup, while Liz is the group’s executive team sponsor, and are all passionate about ensuring colleagues from whatever backgrounds are listened to and encouraging a more inclusive workplace.
Sunni is manager at CEC’s food store in Kibworth and she said she it was ‘incredible’ to be included in the index alongside so many inspirational leaders in the industry.
She said: “I’m shocked and honoured to be included in this list and to see my name included among so many inspirational people who are doing such great things to encourage inclusion in retail and in society in general.
“I’m extremely proud to work for a business that puts diversity and inclusion at the forefront of its values and being a part of the co-operative movement as a whole which is recognised for being inclusive and supporting to those groups that are naturally vulnerable within society.
“To be recognised as a role model is something I’m particularly proud of and humbled by. It’s something I take very seriously, and I’m determined to be the best I can be for my team.”
Hannah Gallimore is Social Change Manager at CEC where she has been part of the team since 2015 and inclusion has been a key focus area for her in her role.
She has been a key driver in the set-up of CEC’s inclusion workgroup and said it had been a hugely rewarding experience for her.
She said: “Our inclusion workgroup has given me the opportunity to meet wonderful people I might not otherwise have got to know, and I’ve shared experiences that have made me happy, sad, sometimes angry and that have given me hope.
“I’m passionate about the work we do to support colleagues and ensure they feel comfortable to have open conversations so we can continue to improve and make strides as an inclusive employer.
“We’re a co-op guided by strong values and principles, and I see it as a privilege to work with people that see value beyond profit and are more likely to ask, ‘why not?’ rather than ‘why?’
“I’m really honoured to be included in this list and be among so many exceptional people in our industry and it gives me confidence that we are doing positive things in this area and gives me an extra determination to do even more.”
Liz Robson is part of the Executive team at CEC and is the executive sponsor for the Society’s inclusion workgroup, something she’s passionate about and takes an active role in the group’s work.
She said: “Diversity and inclusion is important to me, particularly in the sponsorship of gender diversity in sectors and roles that have previously been challenging for women to join.
“In my current role as a member of CEC’s Executive team, I’m in a fortunate position to help influence and improve inclusion and accessibility for our members, customers and colleagues.
“To be recognised in this way as a role model for inclusion alongside such respected peers is extremely humbling and I’m determined to continue the work we’re doing within our organisation to ensure we’re an inclusive and progressive workplace.”
The full Role Models for Inclusion in Retail Index 2022 be found at www.diversityinretail.com/research