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After spending over 10 years working in lots of different roles for a large online retailer, I made the move to Co-op in search of a better work life balance. I have a friend that works for Co-op and had heard that it’s a great company to work for. I joined as a Warehouse Operations Manager in 2018, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered a Depot Operations Manager position at Co-ops new Biggleswade depot, once it opens early next year.

My vision for the site

As Biggleswade is a new site, the thing I’m most looking forward to is building a great new culture that we can all be proud of.

Co-op has a strong set of values, and my vision for the depot is one of co-operation and respect. It’s all about building an inclusive environment, co-operating as one team, and helping support our community. Bringing a sense of community is going to be a big pull to get people interested to work in the area. Another plus of being a new site is that there is a real opportunity for colleagues to grow their careers.

Colleague networks

Inclusion has always been important to me. I’ve faced many challenges in my career, working in a very male dominated industry. I want to make sure we are all championing women in logistics. I’d like to act as a mentor and encourage more women to build a career in logistics.

Co-op supports my passion for inclusion, and I’m proud to be an active member in two internal diversity and inclusion colleague networks – Aspire and Respect.

Aspire is a colleague community that supports women with their career development and it believes all women in Co-op have a right to equality. The network is fully inclusive and welcomes everyone.

The Respect network helps create a workplace where LGBTQ+ colleagues can be themselves, always. I spent my youth living in small towns in Scotland and Wales. It felt very closed off to be a lesbian, and I kept my sexuality a secret until University, where I chose to study in London, knowing they welcomed diversity.

The LGBTQ+ group I joined at University helped me be myself and the sense of hope and belonging that I feel in the gay community is like no other. Everyone’s coming out story is unique and I was blessed that mine was filled with love and support. Which is why I’m passionate about making sure we create a diverse and inclusive culture at Biggleswade, to make sure all LGBTQ+ and non-binary people in our community feel empowered to by themselves.

I’m really looking forward to the site opening, meeting my new colleagues and building a great culture together.

Debbie O’Reilly,

Depot Operations Manager, Biggleswade depot

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