Virginia Leaf named ARA Women Leaders in Retail CEW Scholarship winner

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Chief Executive Women (CEW) have announced Virginia Leaf (General Manager, Finance at Wesfarmers OneDigital) winner of a scholarship to study at the Harvard Business School. 


The ARA Women Leaders in Retail CEW Scholarship was open to aspiring female leaders in retail to accelerate their professional development. Ms Leaf was named the winner at the inaugural ARA Gala No.1 at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday 31 August.  


Ms Leaf, who accepted the award virtually due to the birth of her second child, said she’s looking forward to making the most of the amazing opportunity. 


“A huge thank you to the ARA and CEW for putting this scholarship in place. It’s such an honour to have been selected and I’m absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to go and participate in a course like this which I know will really step change my career development, broaden my mindset and equally provide an amazing introduction to a network of female leaders globally,” Ms Leaf said.  


“I absolutely love working in retail – I love what I do, and I wake up enthused every morning about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. So, I’m determined to make the most of this amazing opportunity and leverage the learnings in my role as a leader at OneDigital as well as the broader contribution I can make as a female leader in the retail industry,” she said. 


CEO Paul Zahra said the ARA is committed to advancing the careers of women in retail. 


“Diversity Equality and Inclusion is a key pillar for the ARA and with more than 700,000 women working in retail, women’s career progression is a powerful focus of that work. We were delighted to partner with CEW to provide this scholarship and I know Virginia will take full advantage of the opportunity to study at the Harvard Business School and take her leadership skills to the next level,” Mr Zahra said.  


Virginia’s acceptance speech at the ARA Gala can be viewed here 


About us: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the oldest, largest and most diverse national retail body, representing a $400 billion sector that employs 1.3 million Australians and is the largest private sector employer in the country. As Australia’s peak retail body, representing more than 120,000 retail shop fronts and online stores, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies our independent, national and international retail community. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive member benefits and more, visit

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