Head of commercial product offer, The Co-operative Food

What was your first job in retailing?

A Saturday job in a baker’s shop selling doughnuts, fruit buns, farmhouse loaves and many other bakery specialities.

Which retail company do you admire most and why?

John Lewis has a real grasp on what is important to its customers. Its offer is consistent wherever you shop, with a strong value proposition.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I’m too much of a perfectionist, I like to be prepared so maybe over prepared at times.

Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

A variety of people. Guy McCracken, former M&S managing director of food, Nick Canning, former marketing director at Iceland and Sean Toal, former commercial director at Co-op.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

Really understand your customer. Constantly check that you are aware of their latest needs and thoughts.

What keeps you awake at night?

Usually it’s family stuff – what are my girls up to at school, how best to fit family, friends, work and everything else into the week ahead.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

When new Co-operative products exceed sales expectations or win awards for great quality – not just for me, but for everyone in the teams.

What’s your proudest achievement?

The rejuvenation of all 3,000 Co-operative own-brand products into a modern range that is available in 4,000 stores covering every UK postal area.

What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?

I would love to read the BBC News.

What’s your favourite shop?

Delicatessens or shoe shops, I couldn’t live without either.

What was your last purchase?

A Christmas present – a special pasta steamer for my husband, who is a great cook. Good job he doesn’t read Retail Week.