I began my career with the Group in 2013 as General Manager of the de Bijenkorf Rotterdam store. Moving my family from the US to Netherlands to Canada was an exciting time in our lives as we embraced a new country and culture. And it was the perfect time to join de Bijenkorf - they were making lots of positive changes to the business. After three years an opportunity became available in Canada at Holt Renfrew, to join as the GM of their newest store being built at Square One Mall in Mississauga. After a successful opening I then transferred to the Yorkdale store in Toronto.
What have been your career highlights?
A real highlight at de Bijenkorf was achieving the €100m sales benchmark in 2015. And opening a new Holt Renfrew store was a big moment. Seeing the store from shell to opening day was an exciting time.
What was it like living and working in the Netherlands?
It was great to learn the Dutch beliefs around team ethic and collaborative working. On a personal note, the Dutch have a fantastic appreciation of the outdoors, travel and focus on quality time with family. Finally, I know the French are proud of their cheese - but if you haven't tasted a great Dutch cheese you're missing out – heel lekker (very tasty)!
What is the best careers advice you have been given?
There have been several pieces of advice I think of often: don't let cultural differences discourage necessary change; find what speaks to your team and move forward because you eventually have the team you deserve; and don't compromise your standards for anyone because the customer will notice.
What made you want to stay within the Group rather than move to a different company?
The biggest factor to my staying with the Group is its vision of where we're going, and the incredible investment in our future. In this competitive environment where we see other's retracting, we are forging ahead to own our space in each country's market.