My first job was working at Iceland. The way I organise things and shop today is thanks to things I learnt working for the company. A piece of advice – always take products from the back of the shelves!
Then I moved on to Topshop, an incredible brand…. I say to people that Topshop brought me up and what I mean by that is it really set the foundations for me in terms of my work ethic and understanding business. I’ll never forget my first day; I thought my feet were going to drop off from all the walking and standing. Those of you who have been there know what I’m talking about!
During my six year career working for the company, I worked as a Sales Associate through to various management roles managing and developing teams of 100+ people.
I remember the days of going up and down the escalators on a Saturday with like 30 pairs of jeans over my shoulder to replenish what had sold out. It brings a smile to my face, I absolutely loved it. I met some of my best friends there.
My career really took off when I started to work for Urban Outfitters. An entrepreneurial, creative and innovative brand with people I can best describe as truly inspiring. And no, I haven’t been paid to say that!
I started on the shop-floor as an assistant store manager, but I knew I didn’t want to be a store manager… I soon realised I wanted to make a difference by being in a position that was very much people focused. My heart was with the people aspect of the business. Training and development, recruitment, coaching and mentoring.
I was told it was never going to happen (me moving into a head office role) unless I became a store manager. I love a challenge, I took that as an opportunity, a gap and grabbed it with both hands.
Before I started my career in HR. There was no HR in Urban Outfitters. I came from a slick operationally run business (Topshop), to one that wasn’t. Within the first few months I remember thinking, what have I done. This is crazy… I was offered a position to go back to Topshop but that would of meant going back into my comfort zone and what I knew like the back of my hand, and giving up and I don’t give up easily!
So I stuck with it and started to connect with key players, influencers based in the states and one person in particular who is a friend even today. Little by little, I started to implement things in the UK and eventually Europe that made a positive impact on the companies biggest asset, it’s people.
It got noticed. I was offered the opportunity to work one day a week in head office and that’s what lead to my biggest promotion. Creating and managing a HR function from scratch for approx 250 employees to 1,400 employees across 6 different countries. But nothing lasts forever, there is always a new chapter to enter into…
In spring 2012 I had around 72 hours before I was due to attend a meeting about my future with the business. I knew it was time for me to move on and had a feeling of what was to come. But I wasn’t scared because my faith was so strong. I believe faith unlocks doors and I believe in Jesus Christ. I knew that God had me, and so I had nothing to fear.
The day of the meeting arrived and I was informed my job was at risk of redundancy. I sat in the meeting with the biggest smile on my face and was asked “why are you smiling?” I replied “Because this is the best thing that could of happened to me. You see, from the age of 16 I knew I wanted to run my own business one day. But I had no clue when or what it would be….
When your employed, you get paid for picking up a pen, going to the toilet or making a cup of tea for you and your other colleagues. My entire life changed that year. For the first time in 16 years I didn’t have a job to go to.
I went from employed to unemployed to self-employed. Something I had never been exposed to. From being financially secure, to financially insecure… The financial buffer would only last for so long.
The funny thing is, I planned to leave my job at the end of that same year. There was God again, working on my behalf! But yet, things as we know don’t always go according to plan. Planning to do something and actually doing it are two different things. The beautiful thing is, there is always a reason why… A reason to be grateful for. If that change didn’t happen, I may have remained an employee in the same job or elsewhere. I may not have had the financial buffer to see me through the first 12 months of setting up my business and being self-employed.
Always look for the positives and opportunities. If it wasn’t for that change I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today. The change was powerful because the vision and dream I had at the age of 16 came to life.
Although it took 16 years, everything is about timing. Nothing happens before it’s time no matter how much you may try to force it. so embrace the here, now and journey ahead.
So here I am today, The Clarity Architect. In love with what I do, standing in my power, living in my true potential and creating a better future for myself and those around me.
All it takes is for you to believe, and take action because that life you desire is waiting for you.
The journey continues..
Kind words from just some of the people I had the pleasure of working with at Urban Outfitters.
“Without a doubt, Danielle’s strength is in her long term strategy planning and consistency of maintaining the brand vision. Her role brought a much needed and extremely well valued function at Urban Outfitters. She created, developed and maintained the HR function across the entire European portfolio whilst successfully working with and around the intricacies that came with a multinational business. I can only cast Danielle in a positive light and recommend her from a personal and professional position.” Robert Davies, Senior District Manager, Urban Outfitters
“Having worked with Danielle for 8 years her definite talent is People. Danielle has been a role model to me and all those she has driven to progress throughout the business during her time at Urban Outfitters. Her commitment to every person at every level in stores across the company has been inspirational to all she meets. Her input in the way our company has evolved and grown our People has been instrumental in finding and building a talented workforce for the future. “ Karen Wren, Flagship Assistant Store Manager
“Danielle is a driven, critical thinker with an eye for detail. What is most remarkable about Danielle is her passion for fostering and supporting talent. Danielle makes strong and long-lasting connections with people, many of whom attribute their success to the support and training provided to them by her throughout their careers.” Jocelyn (McAvoy) Stratter, Director of Training & Store Operations at Urban Outfitters, Philadelphia USA
“It was a pleasure working with Danielle. She was proactive in seeking and implementing innovative ways of engaging store teams to improve commitment and productivity. Danielle was always very supportive to me professionally, she has a great sense of humour and a genuine passion to help people realise their potential.” Graeme Sharp, European Head of Loss Prevention at URBN
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