International Women’s Day 2014

Christine Heffernan Corporate Affairs Director

Christine Heffernan
Corporate Affairs Director

International Women’s Day began in the early 1900’s. It has seen many milestones and victories for women over the last hundred years. It is now an international symbol of the success of women in today’s world.

Across our business we champion the role of women in business and work together on personal and professional development. To celebrate International Women’s Day, here we look at a snapshot of colleagues from various sectors of our business;


Name: Geraldine Casey          Job Title: Store Operations Director

From: Born in Cahersiveen – a tourist town in the South West of Ireland, on the Ring of Kerry

How did you get to where you are with Tesco? “By believing in myself and happy to be myself – importantly having a fantastic family network that enables me to do it.”

What school did you go to? I attended an all-girls convent in secondary. I spent 4 years after that in Cork University.”

What are your hobbies? Swimming and shopping, probably shopping more than swimming!”

Who is an inspirational woman to you? Martha Lane Fox, Entrepreneur, who founded”

What advice would you give to other women in business? Learn as much as you can about your job. Take on jobs or responsibilities that you are not crazy about so that you can learn. Raise your hand when opportunities arise. Make it known you are interested. Be yourself.”



Name: Catherine Swift           Job Title: Store Manager, Castlebar

From: Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo

How did you get to where you are with Tesco? Asking for and being given opportunities.

Great mentors who saw the best in me.”

What school did you go to? St. Louis, Community School.”

What are your hobbies?  Cooking, reading, snowboarding and socialising.”

Who is an inspirational woman to you?Sheryl Sandberg.”

What advice would you give to other women in business? Be yourself and always strive to do your best what you don’t understand ask.”



Name: Lorraine Shiels                        Job Title: Internal Communications Manager

From: Born and raised in Cavan, and living in Dublin for the past 13 years

How did you get to where you are with Tesco?Through hard work, personal integrity, determination, and the support of my family! I started on the Tesco Ireland Head Office Graduate programme in 2006 which was a fantastic experience, and one I’d recommend to anyone who may not know what area of business they want to work in as you get placements across many different areas of the business such as Marketing, Finance and Commercial. From there I gained great experience in Corporate Affairs through the press office, consumer PR and event management, and most recently in Internal Communications. As a fast moving business, you need to be flexible, innovative and a team player to work at Tesco, and there’s great opportunities for anyone who really wants to drive their career.”

What are your hobbies? “Photography is a passion, along with hiking, cooking, running and spending time with family and friends. Rugby – watching, not playing!! Work life balance is really important to get right, and I think you need to plan your time off carefully to make sure that you make the most of it.”

Who is an inspirational woman to you? “Angelina Jolie – her hard-working, yet family orientated ethic, her fantastic work on humanitarian issues, her bravery in bringing breast cancer and its effects into the public sphere – she really is inspirational.”

What advice would you give to other women in business? Don’t be afraid to be confident in your ability and focus on your strengths – a woman can do anything that a man can do, and probably be better at it too!!”



Name: Andrea Davis   Job Title: Format Personnel Manager Ireland & Northern Ireland

From: Kilberry, Kildare

How did you get to where you are with Tesco?  “I always keep my thinking as broad as possible and never stop learning and being curious.”

What school did you go to? “Bruce College (Leaving Cert), NCI (Degree – Distant Learning) and Sheffield Hallam University (Masters – Distant Learning).”

What are your hobbies? “Travelling Asia and learning about health and overall wellbeing.”

Who is an inspirational woman to you? “Louise Hay – Author & Professional Speaker.”

What advice would you give to other women in business? “My Principle in primary school always said ‘Do what you do do WELL’. I remember this every day and I put a lot of care and passion along with commitment and diligence into everything I do.”



Name: Anne Donnelly                         Job Title: Lead Cost Manager

From: Tyrone

How did you get to where you are with Tesco? “A good college life, followed by years of observing and learning! I completed a BSc Hons in Quantity Surveying (QS)(UUJ Belfast 1997 to 2001), followed by a Postgrad in Project Management (UUJ Belfast 2002). I then worked as a QS in Sydney 2003 and a QS for a private Quantity Surveying Practice in Dublin for 5 years. Joined Tesco in 2008 as a Cost Manager and took a Lead role in Cost Management in 2010.”

What are your hobbies? “Running, gardening, shopping and going on holidays!”

Who is an inspirational woman to you? I admire Victoria Beckham for her ability to outgrow her ‘pop star’ status into a successful business woman in her own right and become a world leading designer, while remaining a committed wife and mother. (Plus I love her clothes!)”

What advice would you give to other women in business? I believe displaying and having confidence in your working life is very important, make sure you have the knowledge and understanding to back it up.”



Name: Catriona Boyle            Job Title: Digital Marketing Manager

From: Tipperary

How did you get to where you are with Tesco? I started working for Tesco Diets as a marketing executive, over the years I moved to Head of Marketing for Tesco Diets (and Tesco Health and Wellbeing). As a digital business I primarily focused on digital channels and I have recently moved to the Tesco Ireland team to bring those skills to the wider business. Working with a smaller team gives you the opportunity to gain a breadth of experience across many channels and I am grateful for that experience but excited to be working on new projects and with new people and teams now too.”

What college did you go to? “D.I.T.”

What are your hobbies? “Cooking, travelling, cinema, reading, TV and socialising with family and friends.”

Who is an inspirational woman to you? “My grandmother – I don’t think they make them like her anymore! She raised 9 children in a 2 bedroom house while working as a baker and was calm, strong and incredibly resilient. Her elderly brother came for Xmas dinner one year and had a stroke which meant he needed to be cared for, so my grandparents gave up their bedroom for him and she looked after him too for a further 15 years. She was full of wisdom and was still a rock to all her children in later years. I am constantly in awe of her work ethic, resilience, and ability to be happy with what matters in life.”

What advice would you give to other women in business? “Know your strengths and use them, be aware of your weaknesses and work on them. Make time for planning ahead and staying on top of your area of expertise.”


A word of thanks to our colleagues for taking part and here is to a great International Women’s Day 2014.


Christine Heffernan

Corporate Affairs Director


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Creating Opportunities for Young People

Geoff Byrne, Personnel and Business Change Director

Geoff Byrne, Personnel and Business Change Director

At Tesco, one of our core values is to Use our Scale for Good, and a key focus of this is to create Opportunities for Young People.

That’s why this year we’ve worked with the Department of Social Protection and Skillnets to create the Tesco Positive2Work programme, a six week training and work experience programme to help young people get into the work force.

The programme is made up of a combination of classroom based training and on-the-job work shadowing in a Tesco store or in the Distribution Centre.  Training is provided by tutors from Coláiste Dhulaigh, and supported by Tesco Academy training from our in store Personnel Managers.  From this, the students get real-life practical work experience, along with accredited FETAC training.

Today, we had 36 students receive their Certificates at a Ceremony in Dublin City Centre.  Congratulating the Graduates, the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said: Your hard work and dedication during the six week programme has ensured that you are receiving awards in Retail Skills and in Warehousing Skills today. Your commitment, motivation and enthusiasm have not gone unnoticed by those you engaged with in the Tesco Stores, the Distribution Centre and in the classroom.  The fact that 11 of you now have jobs in Tesco Ireland is proof of that.” 

I’m delighted that these students tell us that they now feel confident and more job ready since they’ve completed the Programme.  I’m delighted to welcome these 11 new colleagues to the Tesco Team at our new store in Leonard’s Corner, Dublin city centre and the Distribution Centre.

Next year we hope to build on the success of the programme and roll it out to 5 more locations across Ireland, creating training opportunities for at least 100 more young people.  It’s all part of Using our Scale for Good and giving back to the communities that we work in, and that’s something positive that we can all celebrate in.  


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