Women in Retail Leadership Circle (WIRLC) recently released its first annual Top International Women in Retail report, an extension of its popular annual Top Women in Retail report. This latest report features in-depth interviews with 10 honorees from countries across the globe, including Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Australia, and Russia. WIRLC decided to focus on international honorees for this new report as it aligns with the brand’s commitment to grow its community of women retail leaders beyond the United States.

One of the questions we asked the honorees was what was the best advice they’ve ever received, and who gave it to them? Here’s a sampling of their responses:

“One of my favorite female leaders, Christiana Figueres, wrote in her book, “The Future We Choose,” about the notion of stubborn optimism. She says we should envision our desired future and then actively pull it closer, knowing the future that’s possible is the one we set out for ourselves. That concept has stayed with me.” — Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer, IKEA Retail (Ingka Group)

“My former CEO, Dave Lewis, led the turnaround of Tesco with the belief that ‘you can’t advertise your way out of a situation you behaved yourself into.’ It’s the most succinct advice around focusing on the fundamentals and not trying to paper over the cracks.” — Michelle McEttrick, Group Brand Director, Tesco

“An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body. The secret of leadership is that the mind of a leader never turns off. That’s what differentiates a great leader from an average leader. Schedule time for exercise, quiet time for your mind, eat healthy. This isn’t rocket science nor something that should be new to you. It’s whether you make that choice.” — Malina Ngai CEO, A.S. Watson Asia and Europe; Group Chief Operating Officer, A.S. Watson Group

“’Learn from the past, live in the present, and prepare for the future.’ My grandfather inscribed that on the inside of a history book he wrote about our family. As we manage through the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, it has been a piece of advice I’ve considered often, both personally and professionally. As a retail CEO during the last 16 months, I’ve faced many obstacles, which has required me to take decisive, short-term actions in parallel with long-term foundational building investment decisions. By learning from each obstacle, regardless of whether the outcome was a failure or win, it has been easier to make decisions and move forward despite the ongoing market volatility.” — Meghan Roach, President and CEO, Roots Corp.

For more great learnings from the 2021 Top International Women in Retail, please click here. In addition, stay tuned for Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s 11th annual Top Women in Retail report, which is being released in August.