Current Role: Store Manager
Joined Tesco: 2004
I joined Tesco in 2004 at the age of 17, working at our store in Stow-on-the-Wold whilst still studying. When I finished my A-Levels I became a line manager, and over the next 5 years completed many different roles in different stores. In 2014, I was promoted to senior team in Hodeghill, and was extremely fortunate to gain a position on the Tesco foundation degree programme. I topped up the foundation degree in 2016, and graduated with a first class BA Hons in Retail Management. In 2018 I was given my first shop as Store Manager of Marlborough Superstore.
Across those 14 years of my career, I wasn’t 100% myself. I only came out last year, when I’d become a store manager. When I felt it was safe, I had made it with my career so far.
Before coming out, I would battle with weighing up perceived pros and cons for at home and at work. I realise retrospectively that I’ve always been safe in Tesco and elated that I can actually bring my authentic self to work. Everyone around me has been amazing, especially my Store Director, Natascha Jesuvant; People Partner, Jo Bayliffe; and my peers. I thought there would be lots of questions, judgements and shock. I thought wrong and this massive thing for me was a tiny thing for everyone else. They were happy I was happy, and it’s given me so much confidence and a desire to be able to support others be themselves at work.
I love my job and have loved working for Tesco for the past 16 years, but I have much more job satisfaction now I’m actually me. It’s an aspiration that every colleague can be themselves and celebrate who they are. I made this aspiration my reality a year ago and wish I had had the courage to do it sooner.
I often get to the ‘norm’ of what’s your wife’s name? Are you married? What does your girlfriend do? Do you have children? And each time I can now proudly say; My partners name is James, we don’t have children yet, but that’s something for the future. I don’t feel concerned about correcting anyone anymore, I understand that the question or statement isn’t meant to cause offence, but allows me to show a different perspective to our societal norms. It’s a question or statement we can celebrate.
Tesco have supported me with fully open arms, my decisions and actions define me, not who I love. I am proud to say who I am, and I am so much happier to actually own it. Your point of difference should be owned and celebrated, encourage diversity of those around you and together you have the basis to make a brilliant, successful and happy team.
"Tesco have supported me with fully open arms, my decisions and actions define me, not who I love. I am proud to say who I am, and I am so much happier to actually own it."
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