Diana Hunter has over 30 years experience in Retail as Non Executive, Board Advisor and CEO. As CEO of Conviviality Plc she set out the Company’s strategy to “be the drink sectors leading specialist wholesaler and distributor” and since the IPO grew the market capitalisation from £66.7 million to £460 million. Prior to that Diana held senior executive roles in two of the UK’s major retailers namely Sainsbury’s and John Lewis Partnership where she was at the forefront of new innovations, merchandising, new formats and the successful investment and growth of the store estate. Noteable under Diana’s tenure in addition to the growth of the store estate was the successful creation and delivery of the John Lewis Food Hall, the transformation of the John Lewis and Waitrose Food and Home store at Canary Wharf and the creation and successful growth of the award winning Little Waitrose Convenience business. Prior to Waitrose, Diana began her career at Sainsbury’s where she held numerous senior roles over 13 years, including leading investment programmes and heading the merchandising and format development of Sainsbury’s
1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given
Over the years I have had some great role models and mentors. One of the best pieces of advice in my early career was to say yes more than no. When I started out in my career I knew nothing so I just said yes to every opportunity offered…and every time I said yes it opened a new door and a new opportunity to learn…not all of the experiences were enjoyable but it helped me to progress by being positive and open to change.
2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given
I actually can’t pick on a piece of advice and say it was bad advice…lots of people have different experiences and perspectives, and you learn to choose what is going to work in your own circumstances, weighing up choices and respect the advice is usually given with best intentions. There have definitely been times where I have taken advice and it hasn’t worked out…the important thing is to understand why and learn from it.
3. What would you tell your younger self?
Approach life with balance, looking after your mental and physical health, take the opportunity to experience all that life has to offer, travel, learn and grow and importantly participate in life, contribute in whatever way your skills and talents allow always try to do the right thing and make a difference.
4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?
We are all facing into extraordinary change and through this period we will see a new cohort of leaders who have first hand experience of crisis management, facing uncertainty, reshaping plans at pace and reinventing and inventing new business models and ways of working.
5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I think we are all truly inspired and humbled by our nursing and medical professions, care workers as well as our scientists during this unprecedented time, they have all proved what we thought was impossible is possible.