Passion for retail and building supportive cultures drives the 2023 ARA Women Leaders in Retail Scholar

This year’s recipient of the ARA Women Leaders in Retail Scholarship Coles Group General Manager, Non-Food Business Unit Debra Galle, prioritises values and behaviours to build supportive, transparent and team-based cultures.

Debra is passionate about fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retail, a segment that has faced rapidly changing and difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Coles, Debra leads a large cross-functional team to drive customer and commercial success across all Non-Food segments. With deep FMCG industry experience across both manufacturing and retail, she is known for developing customer-centric growth strategies that deliver impressive commercial outcomes.

Debra applied for the scholarship because getting the chance to attend the Women’s Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School would enhance the skills required to succeed at the executive level of business and grapple with the challenges currently facing FCMG.

“I think the program’s emphasis on adapting to current market conditions and building strategic advantage can help me navigating the rapidly changing retail landscape,” she says.

“While growing the ability to innovate and capture new opportunities at the organisational level.

“My role at Coles has substantial responsibility within the organisation and I felt undertaking study at a world class university would be a wonderful addition to my development.”

The ARA Women Leaders in Retail Scholarship aims to support ambitious women leaders I retail looking to accelerate their professional development. In addition to providing valuable insights and tools help her succeed in a challenging leadership position, Debra hopes to share what she learns to inspire and empower other women to pursue leadership roles in retail.

“It feels incredible to get such tangible support from Chief Executive Women and the Australian Retail Association,” she says.

“I am deeply grateful for their belief in my potential as a leader.”

Find out more about our Scholarships program here