International Women’s Day – BAT

Celebrating the influential women across convenience

Sarah Nelson, field sales area manager for Scotland at BAT UK&I.

This post was written in collaboration with British American Tobacco UK&I.

Sarah Nelson, field sales area manager for Scotland at BAT UK&I

How is diversity & inclusion a key foundation at your own organisation?

From my time working for British American Tobacco (BAT), I can see that diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of our leadership teams’ objectives.

Diversity and inclusion are key values imbedded into the culture and ethos of the company, evidence of this is the ‘Women in BAT’ initiative, which has been running since 2017.

By creating this platform, there has been a greater focus on the issues that women face in the workplace and how they have overcome challenges. The initiative is led by the female leaders within the business and is run across all our global markets.

BAT has further shown its support to the subject by being headline partners for external initiatives such as ‘Women in Convenience’. This programme is a shared learning platform for female leaders within the independent convenience retail channel.

Do you feel a positive culture being in place helps you cement business relationships?

A positive culture is key in any organisation at all levels to improve business relationships. Understanding each other, celebrating success and being able to talk openly and honestly without judgement will lead to strong relationships. 

Tell us about your own success story, positive experiences etc?

Becoming a mother at a young age had the potential to delay my career aspirations with balancing my work and home life.

However, due to a positive mindset and a good support system, combined with working for a company such as BAT who understands the importance of the balance, has helped me further my career and maximise my potential.

What experiences have your female clients had (positive or negative) within retail, if this is something you can share with us?

During an interview for a previous company, I was asked if I was ‘planning to get pregnant anytime soon’. I believed if I had answered ‘yes’, the chances of me getting the role would have been significantly reduced.

I felt the question was asked to establish if I was right for the role instead of any genuine interest in my personal life. The same question would not have been asked of a man and was an issue I had to face, simply because of my gender.

What opportunities are there for career evolution within your company?

I’m still developing in my current role as I’m new to BAT. In my brief time at the company, I have been involved in exciting visions and innovations within the firm that I am extremely passionate about. This gives me the motivation to strive to progress whilst at BAT.


Click here to read more about the inspiring and influential women working across the convenience retail sector.