Managing director, SBH UK and Ireland (Sally Salon Services)

What was your first job in retailing?

A graduate trainee at Marks & Spencer.

Which retail company do you admire most and why?

John Lewis because of the incredible loyalty it generates in its customers.

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

Impatience – once the team and I have taken a decision I want it to happen yesterday.

Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

I have been immensely lucky to have worked with great people, and it’s impossible to single anyone out. A summary of what I gleaned from all of them is really understand your customer, get the right analytics to support decisions and, crucially, build a great team around you.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

Be prepared to learn every day, and have no preconceptions.

What keeps you awake at night?

Apart from transatlantic conference calls, it is knowing that there’s much more to do tomorrow.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Seeing a plan at head office deliver results in store.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Apart from my four children, it is turning SBH UK & Ireland around.

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

A pilot on a Boeing 747.

What’s your favourite shop and why?

Very tricky, but I am addicted to the iTunes store. I really like the Genius application that looks at your music and suggests other titles.

What was your last purchase?

A pair of Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones.