ARA and CEW launch 2023 Women Leaders in Retail scholarship

Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association, has partnered with Chief Executive Women (CEW) for the second year running to offer a scholarship for an emerging woman leader in retail to study at the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.

Applications for the ARA Women Leaders in Retail CEW Scholarship are now open to ambitious female retail executives looking to accelerate their professional development.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the scholarship is an important part of addressing inequality in the sector.

“Although 75% of discretionary spend is made by women, only 17% of our sector is led by female CEOs – this is something the ARA is determined to change,” he said.

“Diversity Equality and Inclusion is an important focus for the ARA and women’s career progression is a vital pillar of that work.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for a woman who is working in the mid to senior level of the retail industry to take their leadership to the next level and set themselves up for future success.

“We are extremely delighted to partner with CEW to provide this scholarship.”

CEW Scholarships Chair Deidre Willmott welcomes the continuation of this partnership with ARA, creating an incredible opportunity for a woman leader in the industry.

“Retail is one of the largest employers of women in the country, yet women are under-represented in senior leadership roles across the industry. We want to change this. Together with ARA we have created this once-in-a-lifetime scholarship opportunity for a woman leader in the industry to accelerate their career, while advancing women’s leadership across the industry. I encourage all eligible women to grasp this opportunity and apply.”

The scholarship compliments the ARA’s position on gender equality. You can read our position statement here.

Wesfarmers OneDigital Finance GM Virginia Leaf was announced as last year’s winner at the inaugural ARA Gala No.1 at the Melbourne Town Hall.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Work in the retail sector and their organisation be an ARA member
  • Hold a mid to senior executive role (CEO, or no more than 3 levels down from CEO)
  • Have five or more years general management experience (i.e., business unit, line or functional management incorporating key responsibilities such as P&L management, strategic planning, and people leadership)
  • Receive endorsement from senior management or the Board of their organisation

Applications can be made here, and close 18 June.

Media Enquiries:  M 0434 381 670 E



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