Celebrating International Women’s Day at RI

This International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on the women of RI. From our hard-working internal communications team to our head of brand creative and finance managers, the brand you know and love exists because of our powerful and fashion-loving female workforce. To celebrate this special day (that’s every day at HQ) we spoke to Sacha, Kirsty, Deepali, Olivia and Susie about being a woman in the workplace.

Shop All Womenswear

“It’s okay to celebrate your wins.” 

- Sacha

Sacha, our internal comms and people experience partner.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day gives us this chance to zoom in on the little moments and celebrate the unsung heroes. We have women that do iconic things that we celebrate all the time, but there are also women behind the scenes that we don’t always acknowledge, so it gives us a chance to zoom in on them.

What’s something that you’re proud to have achieved – either in your work or personal life?

I make music and one of my biggest achievements is hearing my music being played on the radio. Little me would be proud, I think!

What’s the best thing about being an islander?

The community spirit. I literally have a family at home but when I come into work I have another community who are all working towards the same goal and always look after each other. It feels like home here. Being an Islander is everything.

"Always trust your gut."

- Vicky

Vicky, head of brand digital creative and styling

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Women supporting women but let’s face it, we should be doing that every day.

How would you describe the women of RI?   

Wonderful. We are a bunch of people who just have real respect for each other in all the fields that we all work in.

What’s one piece of career advice that’s really stuck with you?

Trust your gut.

Who inspires you?

I’d have to say my mum. She’s nearly 80 years old and still tries new things, from colour to different shapes. Don’t get me wrong, I have to occasionally go, “Oh no, not that mum” but she still keeps going and wants to be the very best of herself.

“Never be afraid to ask questions."

- Deepali

Deepali, our senior international product manager

What is your proudest achievement?

Probably a personal one: for the past few years I’ve gotten really into fitness and weight training. That’s been quite a challenge, but it’s been extremely rewarding, and I think even though I’m in my mid-thirties I’m the fittest and strongest I’ve been in my entire life.

Have you made any long-lasting friendships at River Island?

Yes - Alannah, our senior international trading manager in digital. When I first started on the International Team, she was an assistant merchandiser, and within the first two weeks of being in the role I was on a trip – completely in over my head and she really stuck by me and helped me so much. We ended up working together on the International Team for years, travelled around the world together and became really good friends along the way.

How do you express your personal style at work?

Generally, I’m quite smart. I always lean more towards tailoring and things like that, but I’m a big fan of accessories: I feel like I always express myself with add-ons like jewellery and a nice belt.

Do you have a role model and if so, why?

My sister. Even when I was 12 years old and wanting to wear her silver eyeshadow and jeans; I always wanted to be like her. Now that we’re both adults, I still think she’s amazing because she’s achieved so much and I try to be a bit more like her every day.

“I'm surrounded by incredible women.”

- Olivia

Olivia, our commercial finance manager for retail, buying and merchandising

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a day to really celebrate the successes, the strengths and tenacity of all women while reflecting on men and society’s overall role in gender equality.

What is something that you’re proud to have achieved in your life?

I'm a single working mum and I’m really proud to be able to pursue both my career and be raising a gorgeous six-year-old boy. He is growing up to really respect and champion women and on a day-to-day basis understands that I'm balancing my work, household chores, his care and occasionally some self-care as well. He’s really growing up to understand that love, strength, kindness and gentleness do not live independently of each other whether you’re male or female.

What’s one piece of career advice that’s really stuck with you?

Failing and mistakes are a gift. Negative feedback is a gift. Take it, question it, and learn from it. Undoubtedly in my career, it’s been my mistakes that have led to the quickest growth and improvement.

How do you express your personal style at work?

I really take the opportunity to dress up when I go to work. I believe in dressing for your future career, so my style tends to be chic, trendy and elegant. My go-to is an oversized shirt because they're incredibly versatile and then tailored trousers or a suit, dressed down with trainers.

“The power behind RI is the people.”

- Susie

Susie, our i.t portfolio manager & FACE founder

Tell us about FACE and why you wanted to set it up?

I set up the FACE (Families and Carers Engaged) community at River Island after I came back to work after my first maternity leave. It's a collection of like-minded people who want to talk about both the highs and lows of caring. In the future, we’re hoping to bring in external speakers, host coffee mornings and launch a buddy system for first time parents or carers - so people don’t feel like they’re thrown into the deep end of working parenthood without a life jacket! It’s something I’m really passionate about.

How would you describe the women of RI?   

I would describe them as a force. They have your back and I do believe that while they climb the ladder, they will pull you up and make space for you. The power behind RI is the people.

How do you express your personal style at work? 

I’d express myself as a business bohemian. I love colour but I’m not too bold with my style, so I fit into that business environment.

Do you have a role model? If so, who and why?

My mum. I grew up on a working farm in Scotland which my mum co-managed while raising three children. Her work ethic is something to be admired, she’s so hard working but at the same time has the biggest and kindest heart. She’s just a wonderful person.