Karen is a partner in The Partnering Group, providing capability and consultancy solutions for manufacturers, retailers and service providers.
Partner Capabilities and Experience:
Karen has 17 years of FMCG industry experience in delivering category, shopper and customer management solutions globally. She has delivered projects on Category Leadership, Customer Marketing, Private Label Evolution, Retail Engagement, Retail Format Strategy, Sales Excellence and Trade Investment. She has trained over 2,500 individuals in 30+ countries. During her career she has developed and integrated new supplier management and range and merchandising systems across retail head office and store operations; and worked with global manufacturers to assess and improve their category and customer engagement capabilities.
Areas of expertise include:
- Business Development: lead generation, tendering, client and stakeholder management, project skills
- Category Leadership: category strategies, consumer and shopper research, insight generation, range reviews, space planning, point of purchase drivers, category levers, the big idea, selling stories
- Commercial Excellence: retail and channel strategy development, account planning, joint business planning, selling stories, managing cost price increases, consultative negotiation
- People Development: skills and capability mapping, tools and process design, workshop design and delivery, global capability programmes, train the trainer, coaching, embedding for sustainable change, organisational structures, lunch and learn.
- Shopper Marketing: considering total path to purchase, clicks and bricks, putting the shopper at the heart of category strategies and activation
Partner Industry Experience:
Karen’s most recent experience was at Bridgethorne, where she was a Senior Capability Controller, designing and delivering bespoke training, coaching and facilitated solutions. She ran joint business planning clinics with high street retailers, household goods manufacturers and global consumer healthcare manufacturers in UK and Russia, scoping projects on supply chain integration and shopper immersion. She developed training materials on joint business planning and category leadership.
Karen spent over 10 years at IGD, with overall responsibility for Business and People Development, Category Management and Shopper research. She published 30+ category management and shopper reports and delivered the largest Category Management conference in Europe for 10 years. She spearheaded the launch of its Training Academy in 2010, which included Boardroom Briefings, capability programmes, a personal development network for managers and a Postgraduate academic qualification. She developed Retail Engagement training programmes for manufacturers, delivering them across Europe, Australia, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand and the USA. She worked with retailers to assess their tools, processes and ways of working across buying teams, then designed new tools, reporting systems and training programmes in areas such as Macro / Micro space, Supplier Management, Assortment Planning and Pricing & Promotions.
She has facilitated Strategic Planning workshops for Executive Boards to understand the key strengths and weaknesses across a business and optimise organisational structures. Typical outcomes include the creation of stronger commercial trading strategies, developing clearly aligned goals between sales and customer marketing teams, and designing training programmes to ensure a team fit for the future.
Karen’s duty free retail career involved building alliances with suppliers such as British American Tobacco and Diageo, to uncover category opportunities at a store level. Her key accomplishment was introducing category management to the business, gaining buy-in to new processes and ways of working and implementing it across Head Office and stores. She advised key stakeholders on category performance, product layout and store design and introduced CAD floorplans and planograms for all stores. She was a key member of the retail project team for store openings such as Heathrow Terminal 3, working with design agencies, retail operations and construction teams
Karen has a BSc (Hons) Business Decision Analysis from Staffordshire University, UK