Nearly 60% of the workforce in Australia are women, but only 17% of CEOs are female, data from the Australian Retailers Association show.
For the leader of one of Australia’s largest retailers, it means there’s a lot of work to be done in the realm of women empowerment.
“Female leaders in retail shouldn’t have to face the current reality – that it is unlikely they will take my seat one day,” said Erica Berchtold, CEO of Sydney-based retail company The Iconic.
The Iconic caters to the fashion and lifestyle market, and is a part of the Global Fashion Group which is the world’s leader in online fashion for emerging markets.
“We need to ensure there are pathways for those on the shop floor, in support office roles, in the fulfilment centre, in customer service, to progress and impact the future of the industry,” she added.
Berchtold has over two decades of career in retail, holding leadership positions at the Super Retail Group, Speciality Fashion Group, Rebel Sport, and Harvey Norman.
Throughout the years, she has also experienced being overlooked in key positions just because she is a woman before she was able to rise up to the ranks.
Now that she’s a top leader, Berchtold remains a passionate voice in the women empowerment space, with the goal of creating more opportunities for women to be leaders in their field.
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She actively participates in mentorship roles in the realm of women and sports, being a keynote speaker in various events that talk about women in business.
“Courage, humility, resilience and curiosity,” are values she hold dearly as a female business leader in the retail industry.
Her favourite quote is one from futurist Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.