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Drapers 30 under 30 alumni breakfast with Beth Butterwick

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Last Friday I joined the Drapers 30 Under 30 alumni breakfast, held at the Drapers London office near Silicon Roundabout. This was the first time Drapers organised an alumni breakfast to offer an opportunity to network with like-minded people in the industry and be part of a Q&A session with chief executive of Karen Millen, Beth Butterwick.

During the event, I met multiple peers within the retail industry. Everyone I spoke to shared their story with a great level of excitement as each attendee had their own challenges regarding the strategic approach their business is taking. After 45 minutes of networking and a black coffee, we joined the table and were introduced to Beth. Beth highlighted her experiences in the industry and what she had learnt along the way. It was much appreciated that Beth allowed us to contribute to the topics she touched upon. This created a vibrant atmosphere which allowed some attendees to share their best practices which where all very personal and insightful as topics like funding, work-life balance and strategic challenges were discussed. Near the end of the event we had a ’round the table’ where everyone shared an insight that they deemed as valuable during their career, which was a great way to end such a meaningful morning.

Weekplan: how to keep engaged with your staff?

A key takeaway for me was the application called ‘weekplan’. When you manage a company or a group of people it can be difficult to keep everyone engaged and motivated towards your objectives. To measure employee performance, large corporations often have internal surveys in place. This informal and passive process doesn’t provide an active and accurate view on deliverables, nor the emotional status of your team or group of resource. We discussed how the tool ‘weekplan’ provides hands-on data on a weekly basis, which can be actioned immediately. This form of analysis is in use by companies like Google and Sky scanner and is definitely something I will explore further.

To hear each 30 under 30 candidate speak up and share their story was really inspiring. Drapers has specific selection criteria to become a 30 under 30, as the personal development of each individual has to have been outstanding. There was a representative from Primark who spoke about the scale of their operation, there were multiple consultants, including myself, who were able to share industry trends and there were also various entrepreneurs who operate within retail. It is very meaningful to be part of such a diverse group of people who all deal with the high level of complexity the retail industry entails on a daily basis.

Drapers is building a strong group of alumni within the retail sector, of which I feel fortunate to be part of. This event allowed me to strengthen the connections I had made back in 2016 when I became a 30 under 30, and even turn some of them into relationships.

*all illustrations done by Frits from

Read about my MBA experience on the Oxford Blog