Kathleen Loxton sits down with the IKEA Queensland Market Manager, Renea Robson, to discuss her soaring success
Kathleen: Can you tell our readers a little bit about your amazing career path?
Renea: I joined IKEA a little over ten years ago as the commercial restaurant manager, coming from a career in hospitality. It wasn’t long before I realised I was amongst something amazing; a company that I could be truly proud to be a part of, with culture and values I was aligned to, in addition to an abundance of opportunity.
I wanted to seize the opportunity for progression and be a part of the growth and development of the business, and I set out to do so. I worked through a variety of roles and moved into senior management, exposing myself to the entirety of the business and expanding my knowledge.
I aimed to secure my consideration for future roles, through exhibiting that I had added value to both the business and the people. At each stage I set out to identify opportunities, set clear goals, inspire and empower others and deliver. This progression has led me to my current role as the IKEA Queensland Market Manager, it’s a career journey I am privileged to have experienced and continues to motivate me every day.
K: What approach have you found that helps a team bond and work together?
R: Clear goals. It sounds so simple and I believe it is. It’s then really important to recognise results and celebrate success.
K: Having women in leadership positions is so important (and IKEA is a strong advocate for equality in the workplace), what do you think are the most important attributes for a team leader to have?
R: Curiosity to learn and seek opportunities, courage to have a go, determination to see it through, and a strong desire to grow people and the business.K: Having a great work ethic and being dedicated to self-improvement is clearly crucial. Where does your drive come from?
R: My work ethic is without question from my parents, and you must be the example of what you expect from others. I feel that my dedication to self-improvement is a result of my curiosity. I ask a lot of questions and love to learn, self-improvement is then the outcome, and again, if you want to inspire others to grow and improve, then be that inspiration.
What comes my way may be rewarding or challenging, but I always view it through the eyes of opportunity, asking myself, what can be better tomorrow?
K: Is there an average day in business for you?
R: No such thing and it’s why I love what I do, no two days are ever the same. A lot happens every day in an IKEA store and my time can be spent anywhere from the warehouse, to the shop floor or the boardroom. What comes my way may be rewarding or challenging, but I always view it through the eyes of opportunity, asking myself, what can be better tomorrow?
K: Outside of the office, we hear you have a passion for flying! When did that start?
R: It’s all Dad’s fault! My father is a pilot and I still remember the day so clearly when I first went flying with him in Darwin. He had done the pre-take-off checks, we lined up and then we were full throttle down the runway — the moment the plane lifted off I knew I wanted to do that one day. Not to mention the view and the ability to fly anywhere! A mile of road will take you a mile, a mile of runway will take you anywhere (someone else once said). I learnt to fly and I absolutely love it, now Dad and I are planning to fly around Australia later this year.
K: What’s one of the most memorable moments of your career success to date?
R: I have had many great moments with IKEA, but the most memorable was the Logan store being recognised as one of the top five stores out of more than 400 worldwide! It was recognition on the global stage for everyone in the store, for what they do every day. The award considers not only business performance but also includes commitment to co-worker experience and development, as well as our contribution to the community and sustainability approach. It was made all the more special and amazing as Invgar [Kamprad], the founder of IKEA, was there that evening presenting and sharing why the acknowledgment was so important to him, and connecting it back to his vision for IKEA, “To create a better everyday life for the many people”.
K: This International Women’s Day, what message would you like to pass on?
R: Take good care of you, if you want to give your best, you must be your best. Make time for yourself to do whatever takes your mind away and refreshes your soul. To perform at your optimum, you must equip yourself with a healthy body and mind. This will give you the clarity and drive to see the opportunities, set the goals, deliver the results, inspire others and set you apart. Surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you, always aim to have a positive impact and, most importantly, be authentically you.