Our Leaders

Our Leaders

Meet our Leaders

Meet Forever New’s business leaders; a passionate, diverse group with an eye for all things fashion.


Managing Director

Meet Carolyn Mackenzie

MY JOURNEY

After completing my studies, I began my career in fast-moving consumer goods as a special project manager for Spar Western Cape in South Africa. As I was always interested in fashion and clothing, I then applied to join the Truworths graduate program. My first position was merchandise planner for intimate apparel, and one year later I was offered the chance to launch two new brands for the business - Inwear and LTD - which are still successful today.

Four years later I moved to the UK where I joined British Home Store, then went on to work for Debenhams and New Look.

I loved my 11 years at New Look. During this time, I progressed from head of planning to group merchandise director, and was eventually promoted to run the womenswear department as buying, merchandise and design director.

My key achievements at New Look were winning the Lorraine Kelly Award for Britain’s Best Footwear, and the Drapers Fashion Retailer Business of the Year Award.

After New Look was sold to private equity I was offered the opportunity to join Forever New as global brand director, and decided to experience life in Australia.

HOW I'D DESCRIBE MY CAREER WITH FOREVER NEW

Exciting, creative and fast-paced.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH FOREVER NEW

The people, the product and the opportunities.

MY WARDROBE ESSENTIALS

A black blazer and trainers.

HOW I LIKE TO KICK START MY DAY

Sometimes a workout at the gym, then packing school lunches and getting the kids ready for school.

SOMETHING YOU WON'T FIND ON MY CV

I speak Afrikaans. But I wish I could speak more languages!

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General Manager, Marketing and Digital

Meet Diane Belan

MY JOURNEY

My career journey has been a series of connections, twists and turns, but ultimately a result of perseverance, and a drive to create and transform. I started my career in New York City, working as a marketing assistant during the day and attending business school at night. I graduated with an MBA and went on to pursue my passion in digital and marketing.

Through a random connection at a friend's wedding in France, I landed a job at L'Oréal managing one of the brand's first ecommerce websites. After a couple of years, a former boss referred me to a role at American Express. With their keen focus on the customer and employee development, it was there that I found my passion, and further developed my skills in strategy, innovation, business transformation, people leadership and influence management.

My love for luxury and all things French eventually led me to Louis Vuitton. I spent several years working in luxury retail prior to moving to Australia with my husband and two daughters in 2014. After taking some time off to settle into my new surroundings, I joined the Country Road Group overseeing marketing for the Country Road brand.

HOW I'D DESCRIBE MY CAREER WITH FOREVER NEW

Big and still growing. Every day there's a new challenge or opportunity, which leads to new ideas and a culture of continuous innovation.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH FOREVER NEW

The people. In my first week here I couldn't get over how friendly everyone was. All I could think was, ‘What's the catch here?', but it still rings true today.

MY WARDROBE ESSENTIALS

Anything black. You can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl. However, since joining Forever New, I confidently break out a bit of blush every now and again.

HOW I LIKE TO KICK START MY DAY

I would love to say that I get up every day at 5am and do yoga, but that would be a lie. My priority of the day is to feed Mr. Rubin, our cat. After getting myself ready, I get the girls ready for school, pack their lunch bags and try to remember all the extras they're supposed to bring to school that day. Once the frenzy is over I head to the office, where my day begins again with a nice cup of tea...and another...and another...!

SOMETHING YOU WON'T FIND ON MY CV

My family basically represents the United Nations. My mother is from Scotland, my father is from South Africa, my husband's family is from Croatia, we were born in Canada and our children are American, now speaking with Australian accents!

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General Manager, Retail Operations

Meet Louise Pearson

MY JOURNEY

I used to love 'playing shops' when I was little. At one stage, my dad owned a milk bar and I still remember playing with all the gadgets, especially the cash register. I had no idea that I would, in a way, be playing shops for the rest of my foreseeable future!

I left my hometown of Shepparton to enrol in a Bachelor of Science degree at university, but soon gravitated back to the world of retail like a moth to a flame.

I was employed by Myer as a Christmas casual, and for 22 years I enjoyed a great career with them in a variety of roles, across three states, working both in-store and in head office. I've only recently joined Forever New, but I'm already loving the passion and commitment that everyone has for the brand and for the customers.

HOW I'D DESCRIBE MY CAREER WITH FOREVER NEW

It's just the beginning, but I can see lots of opportunity to continue to build the Forever New brand and contribute to its global success.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH FOREVER NEW

The people here have all been incredibly welcoming, and so helpful in getting me up to speed as quickly as possible. My team have also been very receptive and open to me joining with my experience, and fresh eyes.

MY WARDROBE ESSENTIALS

A great blazer, high heels, a spritz of my favourite perfume and mascara get me through most days.

HOW I LIKE TO KICK START MY DAY

I'm generally on the road early, either heading into the office or travelling to stores. I travel to where I'm going, have my breakfast and look through my day's requirements. I'm lucky to have a very supportive husband who takes my daughter to school, but I make sure to get her lunchbox ready, have her breakfast on the table and give her a kiss on the forehead to say goodbye each morning.

SOMETHING YOU WON'T FIND ON MY CV

My little family of three loves to travel; and when possible we love to travel with our friends. We love enjoying new cultures and experiences. Our favourite so far was sailing in Croatia.

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General Manager, IT

Meet Angela Ryan

MY JOURNEY

An accountant by trade, I moved into technology following a secondment to an IT project. I loved the way working in technology meant I was at the core of enablement in a business, and could make a difference to the way team members worked every day.

A move to retail during an exciting time for the industry (the channel shift to online) means I've had the opportunity to build online businesses and transform customer experiences to leverage the amazing assets of multi-channel retailers.

HOW I'D DESCRIBE MY CAREER WITH FOREVER NEW

My career sees me contributing to Forever New's business strategy and leading the execution of projects and initiatives which help that strategy come to life. Every day I get the opportunity to innovate alongside some of the smartest people I've ever known.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH FOREVER NEW

Two things. One - the extraordinary team that I work with and lead; an incredible group of dedicated professionals that innovate every single day, and do so with smiles on their faces. These people are our true competitive advantage. Two - I love that I can work from Melbourne in a truly global role, where each day offers challenges and opportunities from all over the world.

MY WARDROBE ESSENTIALS

Statement earrings and red ipstick.

HOW I LIKE TO KICK START MY DAY

Walking my dogs along the waterfront and watching the sun rise.

SOMETHING YOU WON'T FIND ON MY CV

I'm obsessed with golf and rugby union; playing one and watching the other!

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Chief Financial Officer

Meet Helen Eames

MY JOURNEY

Accounting is my second career which I fell into after originally enrolling for a marketing degree and then discovering that I was more interested in pursuing the finance side of my business degree. When I moved to the UK after completing my Chartered Accountant qualifications, I ended up working for a very entrepreneurial retail company and have stayed in that space ever since. Most recently I spent almost 10 years at Witchery and Country Road Group. I love the pace at which retail operates, and being exposed to product every day you can see how you’re performing and what customers areg reactingg to.

HOW I'D DESCRIBE MY CAREER WITH FOREVER NEW

New! Beginning in August 2018, I look forward to what's ahead.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH FOREVER NEW

My team. They've made me feel so welcome, and I love their dedication and work ethic.

MY WARDROBE ESSENTIALS

I'd have to say dresses, and anything red.

HOW I LIKE TO KICK START MY DAY

Slowly... I'm not a morning person! I like to have a cup of tea and a cuddle with my dog Oscar.

SOMETHING YOU WON'T FIND ON MY CV

I love animals and going on safari. I've just come back from South Africa and am already planning my next trip.

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Chief Operating Officer

Meet Ged Steele

MY JOURNEY

My career started on the shop floor with Woolworths in South Africa, as a graduate recruit in their store management program. After a two-year break, during which I completed compulsory military conscription, I returned to the business as a trainee merchandiser/planner. Over the next four years I worked my way up through the ranks to merchandiser, senior merchandiser and eventually became a merchandise/planning manager.

I then joined the Foschini Group as a planning manager, and left after four very successful years to move to Australia with my young family to join a large department store in Sydney. My time there was brief as I felt much more suited to specialty and fashion retail, so I joined the Strandbags Group, where I spent 10 years and achieved promotion to board level as the merchandise planning director.

I spent the next four years with brands including Oroton, Ralph Lauren, Saba and Sportscraft before relocating to Melbourne as the group general manager of global planning with Forever New. During the past six years I've had additional responsibilities with international markets, franchise, concessions, supply chain and critical path, and most recently store development.

HOW I'D DESCRIBE MY CAREER WITH FOREVER NEW

Forever New is the most fast-paced and exciting retailer I've worked for. No two days are the same, due to the number of countries we trade in, and the challenges this presents. It's an ever-changing and constantly evolving role.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH FOREVER NEW

The entrepreneurial culture of the owners and leadership team, who ensure we strive for excellence in everything we do. Forever New is very well resourced with market-leading investment in technology and best practice systems and processes.

HOW I LIKE TO KICK START MY DAY

I'm not a morning person, so my day starts quietly with a good breakfast whilst absorbing the previous day's trading results, overnight challenges and opportunities from the countries in different time zones. I have a short commute to the office, so once I arrive I get straight into the detail with a good coffee and a packed diary.

SOMETHING YOU WON'T FIND ON MY CV

Family comes first. My wife, two adult daughters and I are a close family unit. We spend a lot of time together enjoying food, wine, sports and holidays. I have a huge interest and hobby in my collection and enjoyment of wines. I love all sports, but my favorites are cricket, rugby union, and thanks to the Melbourne life, AFL. I always support Australia first, and South Africa against everyone, except when playing against Australia!

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