Accessories is an international retailing phenomenon. Here, the UK’s training
manager Gillian Ince, 42, explains her role in sharing learning with colleagues
long have you been in this job?
years. I joined Claire’s in 1997 as personnel and training adviser. In 1999, I
was promoted to training manager. In February 2002, I was appointed onto our
does your role involve?
provide effective training and development strategies for our retail branches
and central office, for both Claire’s and Girl Heaven [a seven-store business
specialising in makeovers and dress-up], covering about 3,500 employees. I also
maintain strong links with our European teams, and advise on the tools and
resources the UK has produced through our own growth from 55 stores to 440 in
five years. My role as part of the management team includes implementing
vision, business strategies and structures and managing the day-to-day running
of the business.
the best thing about your job?
a fun environment for people to work and aspire to. Living the ‘buzz’ factor we
call ‘Claire’s Culture’.
is current major project or strategic push?
am very busy with the new and increased delivery of development programmes for
our branch managers and assistant managers in the field; instilling a quality
control process into our distribution centre. I am also looking at
interdepartmental communication, a team-working programme and the growth of the
Girl Heaven brand.
did you want to do for a living when you were at school?
wanted to be a swimming instructor and achieved this at the age of 26.
was your first job?
had a weekend job at a theme park.
was your worst career decision?
don’t believe I have made one.
was the best career decision you ever made?
Claire’s Accessories. However, if I hadn’t moved into training while working
for the electricity industry, then who knows what my destiny would have been.
of your qualifications do you most value and why?
life skills – they are priceless. I would also say my NLP Practitioner
qualification, because it has enhanced and clarified my understanding of people.
the worst training course you have experienced?
external course to help with the transition to new IT systems.
is your preferred terminology?
do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future?
the same as they are now; to be a communicator at all levels of the business,
influencer, innovator of ideas, business manager and inspirational boss.
advice would you give to someone starting out in training and development?
practise and develop your understanding of people. Build rapport with every
individual you meet. Never look back in disappointment, keep learning and move
forward. The day you become complacent in your role, tell yourself you are in
the wrong job. Understand the HR function and build on that knowledge.
are your favourite buzz words?
specific’. Other words are: empathy, rapport, behaviours, coaching and
buzzwords do you most loathe?
Sounds like someone is making a cake!
you good at self-development?
would like to think so, whether its increasing my knowledge through reading,
watching videos, testing CBT material, talking with others in T&D and
management roles, or attending seminars, workshops and conferences.
self-development have you undertaken in the past 12 months?
number of activities including: setting up a networking group with other
training managers in retail. I heard Ken Blanchard speak on Gung Ho! and I
updated my knowledge in delivery of situational leadership. I recently
commenced an open learning course to gain a health and safety certificate and
went trough train the trainer course to deliver Gung Ho! across Claire’s
close and personal
you could have any job, what would it be?
love what I do, but the idea of a life coach inspires me
your management style in three words
supportive and trusting
is your motto?
life’s too short
would you liked to be remembered by your colleagues?
a true ‘custodian’ of the Claire’s culture. A fun and caring person to have
do you want to be in five years’ time?
a hot country during the winter months. Until then, I will continue to grow and
develop with Claire’s and take up all the challenges it throws at me
favourite management book
of Ken Blanchard’s books. Anthony Robbins is also a favourite of mine with
Unlimited Power and Hyrum Smith with What Matters Most
training gurus, management experts or business people do you most admire?
Blanchard, Steven Covey, Anthony Robbins and Ian McDermott