Jackie Cuddy - Women of Inspiration 2019

Eastgate Shopping Centre

"I believe a City Centre is only as good as its parts and a vibrant City Centre needs a shopping centre ....but it is the independents that give it its point of difference"

Jackie is a retail management professional operating at the highest level. She moved north from the Birmingham Pavilions in 2004 to manage the Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness. It is the primary retail destination serving the Highlands and Islands with one of the largest catchment areas in Europe. Jackie shows huge commitment to the community and region; she takes retail roadshows to Stornoway and the Western Isles.

She is Vice-Chair of Inverness Business Improvement District and recognises that a thriving city centre also needs strong independent retail presence. She is a past-President and loyal supporter of Highland Business Women and champion of multiple charities including the Archie Foundation Highland and Lunches for Maggie’s; her charitable work has raised more than £200,000. Jackie is not only a cancer survivor she is a warm-hearted elegant lady whose quiet dignity and achievements inspire others to want to work with her.

Please describe what the company does

Eastgate Centre is the prime Shopping Centre of the Highlands in the heart of Inverness with a catchment the size of Belgium.  Boasting over 60 stores and two car parks with 1350 covered spaces. The centre welcomes around 8 million visitors a year.

Please describe what your current role within the company is

I am responsible for looking after the Asset and ensuring that the owners get the best return on their investment, the tenants get a vibrant profitable trading environment and the customers get a welcoming enjoyable experience.  I run four substantial budgets which cover all the aspects of the centre and the car parks. I am responsible for ensuring that all commercialisation opportunities are exploited with regard to the malls and car parks and in addition I work with retailers to provide a strong marketing and events strategy to enhance sales and footfall.  

Part of my role is to liaise and work in partnership with Highland Council, Chamber of Commerce and Inverness Business Improvement District of which I am Vice Chair. Community engagement and CSR initiatives are also very important to my role.

Please tell us about what inspires you, and what this award means to you

I see my role in the bigger picture of Inverness City Centre and enjoy being involved in this wider vision for the City.  I believe a City Centre is only as good as its parts and a vibrant City Centre needs a shopping centre like Eastgate to give it credibility but it is the independents that give it its point of difference.  It inspires me to be a part of that bigger vision for Inverness and throughout my time here I have worked hard for Eastgate to be part of it and contributing to it dispelling the image I inherited of Eastgate just taking from it.  

Being in a position where through my business contacts I can help local charities raise much needed funds is very fulfilling and it really inspires me to be able to do this through my connections and then go on to run successful initiatives.  It is a pleasure to be able for instance to utilise an empty unit and be in a position to fit it out as a Santas Grotto for the local Highland Hospice. The local community get to use it and the Hospice get the income benefits which this year alone were £17,500 plus we get activity in a void space a win win situation.  I guess I get inspired by being able to bring all of this together.

This Award makes me feel quite humble as there are so many people out there doing great jobs with wonderful CSR commitment but at the same time it makes me feel very proud to have been nominated and recognised for what I do. Essentially I do all of this as a matter of course so I felt it was a huge compliment when Marie said she wanted to nominate me for an Award.  I feel very honoured to be one of the winners of The ASB Women of Inspiration Awards in 2019. I am a glass half full positive individual who believes in partnership working so am delighted if my approach inspires others.