Caroline quickly learnt to expect the unexpected when she joined St Barnabas 15 years ago.
Just five months after taking on the role of Retail Area Supervisor, she took a giant leap to become Retail Manager. Suddenly she was second in command, responsible for the success of at the time 18 shops spread across Lincolnshire. And we quickly learnt that Caroline isn’t one to shy away from a challenge as she stepped onto a steep learning curve.
Our shop volunteers are vital to our shops’ success and now it was down to Caroline to get the best out of them. Making the most of the volunteer team for the sake of our care was one of Caroline’s biggest challenges in those early days. But despite no experience working with volunteers, Caroline brought out the best in them – and eventually got to grips with all their names!
Caroline’s next big challenge saw her don several hard hats (we’re not sure that was in the job description either!). Embarking on an ambitious shops refit as part of the business strategy was a major undertaking, but Caroline quickly got involved in lease negotiations, liaising with shop fitting companies and working with builders whilst also doing her day job. In the last 15 years, 24 out of 25 of our shops have been refitted, relocated or opened, with the majority of activity happening in the first ten years. It was a bold move that resulted in our retail income breaking records!
Keeping an eye on our shops’ financial performance is a key part of Caroline’s role today as Head of Retail. But at the core of everything she does is the care we’re able to give as a result. She encourages the retail team to learn as much as they can about the Hospice and spend time with other teams to get a different perspective on what we do. Caroline quickly realised that our shops are often the first port of call for people who need to know how we can help them or want to keep their connection to St Barnabas. And when we need a (wo)man with a van to transport equipment to a patient’s home so they can spend the time they have left in familiar surroundings, Caroline and the retail team are only too happy to help.
Despite tremendous success already, Caroline has big plans for our shops. And with her track record, we have every faith she’ll make them happen.
In her own words… “I’m fortunate to be part of a team of individuals passionate about their job and the role they play in Hospice care. We’re all pulling in the same direction, and working with such a great team is a pleasure every day.”