OUR TEAM CELEBRATES
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Reiss celebrates women today – and every day. To mark International Women’s Day, several women from Reiss, all around the world, share their inspirations, life lessons and personal challenges. We hope you enjoy getting to know our team a little more.

Ashley Holgate

Store Manager – Columbus Avenue, New York City

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

I am inspired by women such as Gabrielle Union, Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Kamala Harris and my mother Judy. Something all of these women share is their passion, drive, selflessness, confidence and their strength. They inspire me to be the best version of myself and to always chase my dreams.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

If I could offer my younger self advice, it would be to take things one day at a time – enjoy the moments as they come, and always celebrate the wins. Even the small ones!

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

The biggest challenge of my career right now is learning to enjoy my accomplishments. I’m always so ready for the next steps that I forget to enjoy the now. 

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

The most important message I want to share is to be confident in all that you do. Take chances, fall down and get right back up again. Believe that you can do all things, and trust the process along the way. It’s not always an easy road, so support one another. 

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” – Michelle Obama

Chelsea Simoes

CONTENT PLANNER

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

When I was working in London, I began visiting Allbright, the women’s-only members club in Mayfair on a weekly basis. I’ve been very inspired by the space, full of innovation and supportive sisterhood, that founders Debbie and Anna have created. Since lockdown, I’ve been tuning into Allbright talks and virtual events and learnt so much from other inspirational women, such as ethical designer Amy Powney, journalist Elaine Welteroth, and author Koa Beck.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would encourage my younger self to never shy away from opportunities! There are lessons to learn from everything you experience.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

I would say a lot of personal challenges I have experienced at work have stemmed from being out of my depth and not communicating that with other team members. In other words, quietly struggling to figure out a complicated project on my own. I’ve really made strides in the last couple of years to accept help and support.

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

Though it can sometimes feel you are running a success-race alone, you will get there faster as a team. Taking the time to assist someone when they ask for help will come back around – you could benefit from help, both within and outside of your department or immediate team. You’re all working towards the same goal and kindness costs nothing. 


Claire Elkes

Area Manager – Midlands, UK

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

I feel very fortunate as I am surrounded by a strong group of girlfriends and female family members who are all on their own journeys and are all doing their best. I admire women who are unique, live their own lives and hold strong to their beliefs. Women who are true to themselves and perhaps don’t always conform to societal norms or mainstream stereotypes. I am inspired because they stand up and make a difference, challenge the status quo and stay true to who they are.

My female historic heroes are Emeline Pankhurst, Virginia Wolf, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem – all incredible women whose legacies resonate and reverberate today.

Today’s media creates so many pressures on all women to think that they have to look, feel, think and behave a certain way. I have a young daughter and I want her to have the confidence to be herself and hopefully not succumb to social pressures.

My modern day heroines and the kind of role models that I hope my daughter will also admire are Emma Watson, Michelle Obama, Jacinda Ardern, Kamala Harris, Nadiya Hussain, Fearne Cotton, Davina McCall, Dawn O’Porter, Gemma Atkinson and Claudia Winkleman. Funny, kind, generous, unique and driven women who all live by their rules and stand out for all the right reasons.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Always be confident in who you are and don’t compare yourself to others. Trust yourself and your own instincts and be yourself. YOU DO YOU. YOU BE YOU. You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

After returning to work after having both of my children, I had an internal drive and was so determined. I wanted to be really great at being a mum and return to work to be the best Area Manager I could be too. I really didn’t want to fail or be half-hearted at either and I was so worried at failing at both. I probably put too much pressure on myself looking back. I have learnt a lot over the years about finding the right balance and experience has taught me a great deal about what and how to prioritise and how important the simple things in life are.

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

Be inspired by those around you. Take the best from what you experience and keep learning to improve. The only person you are in competition with is yourself and no one does YOU better than you.

Gina Balciunaite

Assistant Warehouse Manager

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

Oprah Winfrey! Simply through being compassionate, caring and charitable, Oprah has made an astronomically successful career for herself. She shot to fame as an interviewer when her ability to emotionally connect with her guests struck a chord with the American public, and since then has gone from strength to strength. In 2003, she became the first African American woman to be classed as a billionaire, yet in true Oprah style shares her wealth with those who need it most, having personally donated over $300 million to charitable causes. Oprah's wealth and fame are certainly no accident, as she believes that luck is simply "preparation meeting opportunity".

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

The world is bigger than you think it is and your worries aren't as important as you think they are. Just be you. Do not get so caught up in the difficulties of the moment since they are only temporary. Be less stubborn and listen more. Say more YES in your life.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

I would say to accept an offer to become Interim Manager at the warehouse (maternity cover). I didn’t cover this position for a long time but did learn a lot of valuable lessons.

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

Be open to opportunities! Be prepared to spot growth opportunities when they present themselves—because they are the key learning opportunities. You will know because they make you uncomfortable, and your initial impulse may be that you are not ready. But remember: growth and comfort never co-exist. No matter what you do, believe in yourself and do it with passion and drive.


Lenka Lattupally

Store Manager – London, Heathrow T5

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

In my local community, I’m inspired by Philippa (Wibberley) Edwards and internationally, Michelle Obama.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would say to my younger self, find your passion and go for it, don’t give up!

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

To bounce back after I lost my job straight after coming back from maternity. I felt like a failure. I wasn’t, of course, I just needed to dig deep to get my strength and courage back.

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

There is a quote from the woman I’ve most been inspired by, Michelle Obama: “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”

Lorena Popa

Concession Manager – Netherlands

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

Locally, I am inspired by my dearest aunt Elena; she was and still is the one I highly look up to and the one that keeps me grounded. 

Globally, I am inspired by Mihaela Noroc whose beautiful book, The Atlas of Beauty: Women of the World in 500 Portraits, showcases that one person’s beauty comes from the inside; a book teaching us about acceptance, tolerance, kindness and ultimately empowering women. 

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

My advice to my younger self would be – don’t stress too much, everything will turn out fine in the end. 

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

My biggest challenge in my career so far was when I started running a new store with one staff member and thought I could easily pull a good team together within a month. Looking back, I realised it was very demanding of myself (to say the least)! Finding the right staff for your store takes time and patience. 

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

The message I would like to share with other women is: Love yourself and be brave to push your limits. You’ll see you are capable to achieve everything you set your mind to.


Nikky Hirachan

Import/Export Supervisor

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

Women inspire me on a daily basis. Women who can make things happen, create a difference, change society, overcome challenges and are not afraid to take risks. Famous names which come to my mind are Rosa Parks and Beyoncé. Rosa Parks is a true inspiration to me because she stood up for what she believed in even though society didn’t agree. She was incredibly courageous and showed everyone to campaign for what you believe in! Her song with Destiny’s Child, ‘Independent Women’, is so powerful and is such a significant message to young women. Beyoncé is a great example of someone who uses her talent and success for the empowerment of women. My family, friends and work colleagues inspire me too. These are for different reasons but every single one of them has helped me become who I am today.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice I would give my younger self is to not be afraid of failures. When I was younger, I remember being incredibly shy facing difficult challenges. Honest truth was, I was afraid to fail and tackle problems. I have now learned that the best opportunities to learn and grow are from such challenges. It’s all about gaining insight in the process to develop as a person and not about failing or succeeding. 

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

The biggest challenge of my career so far is currently happening. Having recently been promoted to a supervisor position, my first challenge is to gain the trust and confidence of my team. I aim to be transparent with my experience and also at the same time letting my team know I’m growing my knowledge actively as their team leader and I’m open to their honest feedback.

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

On International Women’s Day, the most important message I want to share with other women to help them with their careers is NEVER underestimate yourself. Be open to new opportunities and be ready to adapt as your path changes. Every experience will teach you something new so identify and reflect how it can move you forward!

SARAH SHAMS

Store Manager – Vancouver

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

A woman that inspires me is Maryam Mirzakhani. She became the first woman to be awarded a Fields, sometimes called the “Nobel Prize” of mathematics. After graduating college at Sharif University in Tehran, she headed to graduate school at Harvard University. At Harvard, she was distinguished by her determination and relentless questioning, despite the language barrier. Unfortunately, she died of breast cancer at the age of 40. 

Her ability to distinguish what was important to her in life is something that inspires me the most. As she once advised her co-worker, “know what you want, and don’t get distracted.” 

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

I think self-reflection is the greatest way to increase positivity in life. If I could go back in time to advise myself, I would tell my younger self these things: 

Focus on your strengths and pay attention to what you’re good at – the more you use your strengths, the more people will recognise you for those strengths and might ask for your help with your unique skills. 

Let you and your gut be the guiding force in your life – allowing someone else to make decisions will only bring in disappointment. 

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

One of the challenges I had to face when I first immigrated to Canada was the lack of social and professional networks. I learned that the best way to overcome this challenge was to stay confident and ask for help. Getting connected to other women with similar interests helped me level up my career. 

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

Support and empower each other! Do not allow for negative thoughts to take control of your mind. Replace them with more encouraging thoughts and always think of your problem as an opportunity!


Grace Humphries

Business Partner (Commerce)

 

Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and globally?

Women who are passionate about what they believe in, their ability, and are uncompromising and unapologetic with that. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dame Kelly Holmes, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Helen Glover, Clare Balding, Claire Bertschinger, Katherine Johnson…

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Your opinion does matter, but that doesn’t mean you cannot change your mind – just make sure you can justify your learning and decision change. Remember to trust your instinct; if you think something isn’t correct or isn’t ready, it probably isn’t. Don’t be bullied by people telling you something must go-live when you don’t think it is ready yet or you think there is an underlying issue. Don’t be put down by men, and occasionally women, who think that because you are younger than them, you must be wrong.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

Reminding myself that I am not an imposter, I am competent and can do my job! Understanding that it is OK to be un-technical and to call out your own weaknesses. I am still learning about my own faults, weaknesses and strengths, but learning is the best part.

 

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to share with other women to help them with their careers?

Don’t be stereotyped. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up. If you have a question, the chances are someone else is also thinking the same thing, and if you don’t understand then say so.