Wawie Fontanos

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Who would you say is the ‘biggest legend’ in popular culture right now?

I would say the biggest legend in pop culture right now is Kanye West. Not only is he one of the most successful music artist and producer, but he is also fast becoming one of the leading entrepreneurs. He has ventures in Fashion and clothing, but more recently he has expanded his field into humanitarian causes such as education, welfare, and Churches. These are values I align with. Even more so, Kanye has plans to run for US presidency, and in a podcast he mentioned his best skill was to make good decisions from speaking with the right people. This relates to me, as management is all about getting objectives done through other people, and the best managers succeed when they utilise their best people in their decision making.

What would you like your personal legacy to be? What have you achieved that’s unique or how have fulfilled your passion?

By the end of my career, I’d like my personal legacy to have impacted the lives of both colleagues and customers. I want to leave a dent in the minds and be remembered for the meaningful conversations, the amazing service, and my empathy for all. As a manger, I want my team to have enjoyed their time working with me, and for M&S, I want every customer to have a lasting memory of their shopping experience.

Is there a legend in your field who you would like to emulate? Or surpass? Or maybe you’re just determined to be totally original?

I’d like to be totally original. There are definitely key characteristics and traits I would share with the current legends, but with such an unpredictably exciting future ahead, I want to be a trailblazer on this Earth in everything I do. Time will tell.

What does ‘innovation’ mean to you? Why is it important and where would you most like to see it applied?

To me, innovation means creating a new idea to better an existing one. Innovation is extremely important as it is the driving force for change and progression. Without it, we stagnate. Innovation will be applied across all the different fields, but I would most like to see it applied in water and food; life’s necessity. In the most advanced and richest civilisation known to date, we should not be in a world where children still going hungry, or have families without clean water. With populations rising, demand increasing, and supplies challenged, innovation in this field will define our successes in the future.

What do you think the M&S of the future looks like? And how do you feel empowered to shape it?

I think the M&S of the future will look like an industry leader; a pioneer amongst all. With such a long successful history behind us, the future looks so exciting in how we head the competition. I definitely see M&S leading in being digital first, as well as expanding the name internationally as the world becomes more globalised. As an apprentice, I feel empowered to shape it as I believe in the company’s vision and success, and I want to be here for the longevity of it.

How do you think tech, digital and data will help shape the future of M&S?

Tech, digital and data will help shape the future of M&S massively! There’s no escaping technology, it is essential in this world, and the future even more so. M&S has two options: either evolve, or fall. Thankfully, and rightly so, M&S has opted to not only evolve, but to lead the retail market technologically with their digital first goals. The business is working hard to ensure that we show the way amongst our competitors and the future of M&S look hi-tech!

How do you view the way M&S does business? Is there anything you appreciate about its ethics, stance on sustainability or role in society?

I am proud to work for M&S. They are strong on their CSR such as with their Plan A initiatives and support on human rights. Though, what I love most about the business is our reputation for great customer service. It makes me feel good working for a business that people feel good shopping in. It means I can be my best self, and I appreciate that customer’s recognise us as a retailer who cares. I am proud to work for M&S.