Linda Ward is the person behind Retail Renewal. With a lifetime of business experience, Linda has worked with companies ranging from multinational stores to solo entrepreneur retailers.
While Linda has always had a lifelong interest in the environment and sustainability, recent global developments have given this a renewed urgency.
With simple changes every business can be more profitable and sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint. However, even simple changes require expert management to implement. An avid gardener, Linda knows that in order for things to blossom they need the right conditions, patience and ongoing attention. She applies this philosophy when working with business clients.
Business and retail expertise
With previous experience including responsibility for the operation and profitability of multi-million euro businesses, Linda has managed up to 400 employees and 25 managers. At Debenhams Linda was part of the project team who set up the first store in Ireland and was General Manager there for 5 years. As the first store in the group to operate outside the UK, she helped to shape the strategic management of the Irish business.
Her 17 years with Marks & Spencer in the UK, Europe and Ireland, meant she was responsible for many store developments and a new store. Her last appointment was overall responsibility for the two stores in Dublin city centre. Other retail experience includes General Manager with The Body Shop for the 17 stores on the island of Ireland; in Esso as Operations Specialist for the setup of the new “On the Run” brand and The Simon Community as Shops Development Manager, defining a new model and standard for charity shops.
Since 2008 she has served as Secretary and Co-ordinator of the Irish Charity Shops Association (ICSA). An umbrella organisation for charities which operate shops, the Irish Charity Shops Association has 40 charity members which operate over 450 shops nationwide.
Linda is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), having completed, with merit, the Certificate of Employment Law Relations and Practice. This complements her working knowledge and extensive management experience of employment processes.
She has delivered many training, coaching and mentoring sessions throughout her career. One such project was to devise and deliver a bespoke retail training programme for the Society of St Vincent de Paul shops in the North East Region. Linda was on the expert panel validating the Retail Skillnet QQI at their review in 2019.
Through her work with the Irish Charity Shops Association over the past 12 years Linda has witnessed at first hand the change in customer behaviour moving away from fast fashion to buying second hand as a first choice. Linda is a board member of the Community Resources Network Ireland, whose mission is that the word ‘waste’ doesn’t exist and where our entire community benefits from the social, environmental and economic value of all reusable resources.
Through this work she has learned much about the effect of Circular Economy on reducing climate change. She applies these principles to her own life and her garden has benefited considerably from three decades of composting!
Linda completed the Business Sustainability Management Course with the University of Cambridge in 2020.
Linda’s blog has established her as a thought-leader and her opinion has been sought by journalists from The Journal, Irish Times Business Section and Sunday Business Post. She has spoken about retail issues at conferences and welcomes the opportunity to share her insights on sustainability, business and retail issues.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals
Retail Renewal is helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030, which was adopted by all United Nations Members States in 2015. Find out more here.
Find out how your business can be more sustainable by focussing on the triple bottom line, people, profit and planet: contact us today.
Use this form, pick up the phone, or even send Retail Renewal a letter (remember them?!)
If you’d like a bespoke workshop or would like Linda to speak at an event contact her here.