Who Is?... Bernadette Lavery, Managing Director of Boots Ireland

By Donna Ahern
Who Is?... Bernadette Lavery, Managing Director of Boots Ireland

This month Donna Ahern talks to Bernadette Lavery, managing director of Boots Ireland about how the retailer aims to 'help people look and feel better than they ever thought possible'.



Tell me about Boots Ireland

Boots Ireland is a pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer. We opened our first store in Ireland in the Jervis Centre in 1996.


Since then we have grown to 87 stores, employing over 2,000 people across Ireland. Our purpose is to help people look and feel better than they ever thought possible.

Customers are the heart of our Boots Ireland business and we are committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, being the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare, and offering innovating products, all delivered with great value that our customers love.

How would you describe your role?

I lead the delivery of our retail and pharmacy strategy in Ireland, putting the wellbeing of colleagues, patients and customer at the centre of everything that we do.

As a pharmacist, I’m particularly passionate about the role of pharmacy within the community in Ireland and I am proud of the role that our pharmacists and colleagues play in helping to keep those in our communities well through the provision of high levels of care.


What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Believe it or not, my very first job was with Boots some 30 years ago as a pharmacy student at Boots Marble Arch London.

Being from a farming community in Northern Ireland, it was a culture shock to find myself working in London!

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

I have really enjoyed working with the vast array of people that I’ve been fortunate to encounter during my career at Boots.


When I think back to the start of my career as a pharmacist, it was all the opportunity to have a positive impact on my patients.

Today, in my role as a leader in the business, I have the opportunity to support those starting out in their careers at Boots.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I don’t know, but I hope to be sitting in my garden reflecting on the continued growth of our business in Ireland.

Over the past number of years, Boots has led the way when it comes to pharmacy innovation and I’d love to look back in five years’ time on their continued innovation in this space.


What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?

I think that the best piece of advice that I can give is to grasp the opportunities that come your way.

Often times, those opportunities may not be exactly what you have been planning for, but they are always an opportunity to learn something new and, perhaps, unexpected. It is important to see every opportunity as a chance for personal growth.

What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?

I have to say that I’ve worked in many roles since I started my career at Boots, but I have enjoyed each and every one of them. Probably taking my own advice in the last question, I’ve seen each new role as an opportunity to learn and to develop myself.

What do you think the government could do to help business in the current climate?

I think that, as we move closer to a Brexit reality, the government can support businesses in Ireland through the transition phase.

What three business people do you most admire, and why?

I’m not quite sure it if fits the criteria, but I greatly admire both Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton as key female role models.

Michelle in particular has remained true to herself and her personal values, championing and supporting the causes that she truly believes in.

Looking closer to home for further inspiration, I’m often inspired by Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, who after a long career which began at Boots, has continued to focus on delivering an excellent level of care and service for our patients and customers.

What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?

I’ve been really inspired by our recent ‘Feel Like You Again Campaign’ which brings to life the impact that our in-store Boots cancer advisors can have on women going through treatment for cancer. T

he film tells the story of a mum who is determined to show up on the side of the pitch for her son’s match, in defiance of her cancer diagnosis.

For me, the film demonstrates the impact that small things can have on helping women to feel confident and well in the face of chemotherapy.

What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up, and why?

I have been a lifelong fan of No 7. What started as a love for No 7’s blush pink lipstick has blossomed into a full on devotion to the skincare range, in particular the ground breaking range of clinically proven serums.

Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?

I would quite enjoy hosting Bruce Springsteen, Liam Neeson and Meryl Streep!

How much time do you spend on social media in an average week?

I like to use social media to keep up to date with the latest news, but I don’t spend a huge amount of time online.

Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?

Twitter for news!

Most likely to say?

Well… I’m from Northern Ireland, so it would have to be ‘wise up’

Least likely to say?

I’m least like to say ‘no thanks’ when offered a strong coffee!

© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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