A board director with over 30 years experience in commercial leadership roles. My corporate experience with John Lewis, Tesco and Marks and Spencer gave me fantastic training in retail principles, process improvement, change management and leadership. I broadened my business expertise by completing the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD business school, Fontainebleau, France.
In retail my DNA is Buying & Merchandising and I have led teams in categories from Fashion, Beauty, Jewellery and Accessories to Homewares, Furniture, Technology and Toys. I have also covered many market sectors from department stores and fashion brands to multiples and supermarkets. Increasingly, the focus has been on digital channels. Internationally, I have sourced extensively in Asia and traded in North America & Europe, including three fantastic years based in Paris in my 20’s. At Style Group brands I was involved in post-merger integration and a PE backed turnaround.
Outside of work, I have always been passionate about the arts, education and travel. I have enjoyed using my commercial and leadership skills to mentor leaders in the arts world and have supported an educational and development Trust in Tanzania for many years, visiting high school graduates to hear how they have transformed their lives through education. I always look for opportunities to continue my own learning.
In 2018 I realised that I wasn’t spending enough time on the areas of the job I really loved: setting strategies, leading transformational change, solving complex problems and developing leaders to realise their ambitions. I decided to focus my time on sharing my experience to help businesses and individuals realise their commercial potential and that’s when Sarah Morris Associates was born.
I love acting as a sounding board for a CEO and Board one minute and delivering a workshop to operational teams the next.
When I joined Marks and Spencer’s, Retail wasn’t a fashionable career choice for a Cambridge History graduate. The variety, pace and teamwork of the industry has suited me well. I love balancing thinking strategically and operating pragmatically. Retail is as much of an art as a science and I blend a forensic analytical approach with a great instinct for customer behaviour and I enjoy applying these skills in all types of organisations and sectors.