Speakers Profile - Emma Hill

Travels From:
New Zealand

Fee Range: C

For a number of years Emma lived in Canada setting up a chain of Michael Hill jewellery stores. Now settled in NZ she concentrates on her role as a Board member of the rapidly expanding Michael Hill Jewellers chain.

For Emma, the journey to Canada wasn't easy. She was raised in Whangarei and moved to Australia with the family when the Michael Hill business expanded. She worked hard and graduated from university with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. After a year-long OE, she joined the family firm later graduating at the top of her MBA class - she found meeting students from other walks of life and backgrounds opened her mind and expanded her thinking.

She joined a marketing company in Sydney as she couldn't see an immediate role for herself within the family business and this exposed her to different industries before returning to the jewelry business - something she loves.

Because of her surname she's had to work harder than many others. When she returned from her stint in Sydney she applied for two jobs at Michael Hill Jewellers, but was turned down. She considered setting up her own business but the lure of Michael Hill Jewellers was too strong and when the opportunity arose to set up the chain in Canada, she had her bags packed eager to prove herself.

Emma is the third generation of her family to go into the jewellery business. Michael worked for his uncle before venturing out under his own name. She enjoys the business of selling too because of the positive experience jewellery buying brings - celebrating many momentous events. As a young girl she began cleaning counters and emptying bins in her parents' Whangarei shop and by 13 she was working in the store on Saturday mornings learning the fundamentals of selling.

Emma believes the key to retail success is choosing the right people and she spends a huge amount of time selecting, interviewing and training her staff. Michael Hill Jewellers maintains a culture of success and inspires their store managers to act like business owners.

Emma is aware of the increased responsibilities with the step up to being appointed to the Board and although she has her eye firmly on the chairman's seat, her immediate goal is helping to deliver the 1000 stores Michael has his heart set on.

Based: Queenstown