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RWRC Virtual Leaders' Summit Watch on demand



Be the best possible leader in testing times

This is the most challenging period in your career to date.

Unprecedented trading conditions, rapidly shifting consumer behaviour, a revived focus on diversity and a nationwide mental health crisis are testing strategic thinking and leadership skills like never before.

How do you drive team and company performance under pressure while also ensuring workforce wellbeing and a standout company culture is kept centre stage? 

With a series of thought-provoking lectures from leadership experts, intimate invitation-only boardroom debates and virtual networking, the Virtual Leaders’ Summit is here to help.

Where? Online, on demand. Enter here.

What does it cover? Everything you need to know to succeed, from prioritising racial equality and employee mental health to practising responsible retailing and keeping recessionary shoppers loyal. See the full agenda below.

Join your peers and access a week of free online content to explore what it means to be a leader in retail today.

Who is it for? Senior leaders, retail chief executives and board members who know that we are at a turning point in how we do business. This will be thought leadership aimed at guiding, inspiring and supporting you through a difficult but potentially revolutionary time to ensure the sector and its workforce thrives post-pandemic. 


 Time Session 
From 9am


Be the best possible leader in testing times

The Virtual Leaders’ Summit will launch with exclusive thought leadership to kick start your thinking on how to be a great leader in challenging circumstances.





Lean in, step up, be accountable

Hear from Charlotte Hardie, group content director for RWRC and chair of Be Inspired, on why a leadership summit has never been more important than in these testing times.


KEYNOTE: Kate Hardcastle MBE, TV consumer and business insight expert and founder, Insight with Passion

Responsible retailing: what is expected of leaders in 2021?

Kate Hardcastle MBE will be opening the Virtual Leaders’ Summit with an open and frank lecture on what will be expected of retail leaders as we enter 2021. Expect to hear:

  • Insight into what consumers behaviour is like right now
  • How you should be developing talent internally
  • The harsh reality on what’s expected of  boardroom leaders post-Covid.

A leading expert in consumer behaviour, Hardcastle is the go-to business expert for BBC TV & Radio, ITV and Sky News. Her global projects have included the successful turnaround of ailing retail brands and shopping centres, the creation of powerful consumer brands and consulting on business redevelopment, restructure and takeovers.




The future is here: get ready for Gen Z

The next generation of retail leaders have already entered your workforce: Generation Z. Known for being tech-savvy and entrepreneurial, Gen Z were demanding flexible ways of working even before it became the norm.

But by prepping for this disruptive demographic, you’re not simply ensuring a happy workforce of the future. Gen Z’s desire for dialogue with superiors, their rejection of stereotypes and their thirst for creativity should be adopted now to create a more innovative environment for all colleagues to thrive in.

In this lively panel discussion, we’ll uncover what retail leaders can learn from their future workforce and how it can benefit your business today.

Panellists include:

  • James Gold, founder, Skinnydip London
  • Rory Westbrook, chief executive, True Vintage
  • Nouman Qureshi, category lead, eBay


LEADERSHIP LECTURE: Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, founder, The Black Farmer

Racial equality: why doing nothing is not okay 

Do you know how and where you have licence to act on racial inequality, or is your brand more likely to stay silent and avoid rocking the boat? Do you have concrete goals for how you’re going to do better? What are the true metrics of diversity and how are you tracking them? 

This talk might not be easy listening as we delve into where retailers are going wrong, but it is a must-attend.

10.45- 11.10am


Coming together: why collaboration is critical in a recession 

How do you ensure that your business is moving forward with new ideas in these recessionary times? From Aldi and Deliveroo to Ocado and M&S, partnering with others is becoming a real trend and one that should be celebrated as it brings fresh ideas to the sector and will ultimately make it more robust. 

We all want retail to thrive during the recession. In this panel discussion, we will hear from leaders who have found success in working with other businesses and in turn futureproofed their own. 

Panellists include:

  • David McDowall, chief operating officer, Brewdog
  • Steve Dool, head of brand partnerships, Depop
  • Rob Feldmann, chief executive, BrandAlley



No Limits in association with Be Inspired: social mobility in the retail sector

Talent is evenly distributed; opportunity is not. Retail Week is launching its No Limits campaign to highlight issues around social mobility in the retail sector, looking into what businesses can do to help people from all socioeconomic backgrounds have a fair shot at the top. 

Watch our short documentary featuring leaders including Sir Terry Leahy and AO.com’s John Roberts sharing their own journeys, what they think needs to change and why they believe leaning into the challenge will be critical for every business leader.



Time Session



Creating a culture of innovation, collaboration and engagement  

Retail host: Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive officer, retailTrust

Sponsored by DataRobot

Join us for the first boardroom breakfast of the week to debate the key issues impacting you and your colleagues and the practical solutions to the current leadership crisis. 

This is your chance to help shape retail strategy and talk candidly and off the record about what the industry needs to do collectively to survive and thrive. The agenda will distributed to attendees in advance. Email Tiffany.Gumbrell@retail-week.com to register your interest.

Wednesday – Senior Leadership Academy:

INVITE ONLY: 2020/21 Senior Leadership Academy cohort





Becoming better leaders 

Charlotte Hardie, chair of Be Inspired, will welcome our new Senior Leadership Academy members and highlight the importance of such a programme as we enter 2021. 



What to expect from the next year

Meet Tim Robson, managing director, NSU media who will be running the Senior Leadership Academy programme and sharing what content you have coming up.



How I transformed my career

Alice Boaten, regional manager at Sainsbury’s Argos and a former Senior Leadership Academy member, will share the story of her career trajectory - from starting on the shop floor to interviewing Tommy Hilfiger in front of thousands of viewers and leading a team to success through the pandemic.





I am remarkable, with Google

Many of us struggle when it comes to talking about our own accomplishments. Cultural and gender modesty norms, as well as impostor syndrome, can prevent anyone from acknowledging their remarkable attributes and expressing their achievements.

During this workshop, presented by Google, you will learn the importance of self-promotion in your personal and professional life, and become equipped with tools to develop this skill. 

INVITE ONLY: 2019/20 Senior Leadership Academy cohort




The leaders of the future

Charlotte Hardie, chair of Be Inspired, will give a short speech on the importance of dynamic leadership as we enter the new world of retail and galvanise you to take all you have absorbed this year and make a difference within your businesses.



Your next career move and how to get it right

Tim Robson, managing director, NSU media will join us for the final SLA workshop of 2020. We will look into the direction you are headed and calculate the best way to get there with actionable insights to take away.


Time Session

8.30- 9.15am                                           


Responsible retailing - leaning in to what your consumers and colleagues want

Retail host: Debbie Hewitt, chair, The White Stuff and Restaurant Group

Join us for our second boardroom breakfast of the week to debate the key issues impacting you and your colleagues and the practical solutions to the current leadership crisis. 

This is your chance to help shape retail strategy and talk candidly and off the record about what the industry needs to do collectively to survive and thrive. The agenda will distributed to attendees in advance. Email Tiffany.Gumbrell@retail-week.com to register your interest.


Time Session


LEADERSHIP LECTURE: Clarke Carlisle, ex-professional footballer and commentator, ITV Sport

This is mental health: why wellbeing should be central to your strategy  

The economy has slumped, yes, but alongside that the country is experiencing a mental health crisis and experts predict the stress of lockdown has yet to be felt fully. What do you need to know in order to support your workers to do the best job they can? And why is mental health awareness crucial to protecting your bottom line?

Listen to this lecture to learn more.                                       



A life lived online: what it means for your company culture and leadership style

Sponsored by Dell Technologies

When the country went into lockdown in March, swathes of office workers began logging on remotely, and working from home is now commonplace. How do you effectively lead when you cannot see your employees face to face? Can true cohesion and inclusivity ever be achieved when no one is in the office?

In this debate, we will look at how the way we work has changed and tactics to ensure your company culture is fit for ensuring everyone feels like part of one team.

Panellists include:

  • Fiona Dawson, global president, Mars Food, multi-sales and global customers
  • Wendy Hallett, founder, Hallett Retail
  • Debbie Johnson, retail director, Dell Technologies



‘Which university did you go to?’ and other questions impeding social mobility in retail

Following on from the impactful No Limits screening on Tuesday, this panel discussion will look at the state of play with social mobility in the retail sector. What are we doing right? And what needs improving?

Watch and listen as we delve into why it’s good for business to have people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds throughout your organisation.

Panellists include:

  • Ella D’Amato, chief commercial and marketing officer, Notonthehighstreet.com
  • John Williams, former UK director, Under Armour
  • Ben Marson, director of partnerships, The Prince’s Trust
  • Jody Walker, social mobility commissioner, The Government’s Social Mobility Commission

11- 11.30am

FIRESIDE CHAT with Dave Lewis, former chief executive, Tesco

Yes, doing good is good for business, but we need to do better

For our closing session of the summit, we look into how everyone can work together to lift the retail sector up. From diversity to ethics, how can we ensure that going into 2021 the retail sector really is the best it can be?





Taking on the pace of change

Retail host: Linda Campbell, managing director UK, The Body Shop

Sponsored by Google Cloud

After ruminating on the entire Summit’s content, join us for our final boardroom breakfast to discuss what you have learned and what the changes you intend to implement will mean to your business. 

This is your chance to help shape retail strategy and talk candidly and off the record about what the industry needs to do collectively to survive and thrive. The agenda will distributed to attendees in advance. Email Tiffany.Gumbrell@retail-week.com to register your interest.

RWRC Virtual Leaders' Summit Watch on demand