SPAR Star: Maria Albuquerque, SPAR India

March 12, 2018 IN THE CATEGORY: Feature articles

Continuing with our features that shine a spotlight on young and aspiring talent within the global SPAR organisation, in this article we hear from SPAR India Store Manager, Maria Albuquerque. We spoke to Maria about her background in retail and gained insight into her approach to her career and her story of success.

Tell us about your background in retail

I began my career in retail working as a cashier at Spinneys LLC, one of Dubai’s leading supermarket chains. Prior to this, I worked as a lab technician in a hospital in India but when I moved to Dubai, I chose to explore the world of retail as a career opportunity. I worked my way up the ladder, growing into a supervisory role, later becoming an Assistant Manager and finally a Store Manager.

I moved back to India in 2008 and have been with SPAR for the last three years. It has been great to continue developing in the fast-moving consumer goods sector.

What is your current position?

I am currently Store Manager of a SPAR Hypermarket in Mangalore, a coastal city in India. I was hired into this role in 2013 based on my experience.

What does your job entail?

As Store Manager, I have oversight of store standards, inventory control and people management. My objective is to ultimately drive sales.

On an average day, the first thing I do is a floor walk to check that everything is in order before the doors open for trading. I then bring all staff together for a daily briefing. We review the day’s targets and the achievements to date for the month. We also discuss on-going promotions and campaigns. At around mid-day, I meet with my Department Managers to review the previous day’s activities.

What are the key challenges of your role?

In India, being a woman running a store brings its own challenges. It’s quite unique to find women in such managerial positions and I’m very grateful that I work for a company like SPAR, which values equal rights.

Most of the challenges I face are solved by managing people in a patient, sensitive and understanding way.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

When I am able to deliver high levels of performance on time. This gives me a great sense of pride and achievement, especially in crunch situations.

 How many people do you manage?

Overall, I manage 136 people, who either report to me directly or indirectly. I actually find it a huge advantage being a woman in this role. I feel I can listen to my colleagues with a good degree of patience. This helps me connect emotionally with the team. The key, I find, is to be candid but caring.

What is your proudest achievement?

I have developed individuals who were almost written off by others in my previous company. Some of these young people have been trained by me and today are successful store managers in different companies. Seeing them make something of themselves has made me both very happy and proud.