The CEO leading a new era at one of Britain's best-loved multiples.
Collaborative. Honest. Energetic. Three words that sum up Anna Blackburn’s approach to business and the traits that sealed her promotion to chief executive of the UK’s leading independent multiple retailer, Beaverbrooks, in September 2013.
Having been part of the business since 1998, Anna has taken to the role with zeal, and in the past 12 months has steered the company through several celebrations, including its 95th anniversary (which inspired a number of own-brand commemorative jewellery collections) and the Best Employer Award at the UKWJA 2014. “I have been incredibly motivated by the team around me. Their support over the past 12 months has been phenomenal,” she says. “Mark Adlestone, our chairman, has been an inspiration to me for the past 16 years, and now we are working closely to drive our business forward.”
2014 has of course brought its challenges, with the jewellery retail market becoming ever-more competitive and multiples going head-to-head to win high street spend. But, Anna says, it is all about building on Beaverbrooks’ strengths to ensure it creates the best shopping experience possible for its customers and a great working environment for its teams. “Love your product, love your customers and enjoy what you do,” she offers. “While you’re busy looking to the future, make sure you keep a solid eye on the here and now. Set the standards and set the example, making sure you are a role model for every one of your team while ensuring you are always consistent.”
If there is one thing Anna admits, it’s that she likes things to be done quickly and efficiently in business, and her multitasking manner also applies to her activities away from the office. “I’m a mum of two young children and a wife, so do I rest and play? Well you’re likely to find me on a bike, beach or in the park having fun with my family. I’m also proud to have just completed my first triathlon raising money for the Down’s Syndrome Association. Family and charity are two things very close to my heart.”
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