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New Role For The Giftware Association’s Sarah Ward

The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) which includes the Giftware Association (GA), has announced the initial changes to its staffing structure as it takes its first steps to better serve its five federated trade associations: the Giftware Association, the National Association of Jewellers, the British Travelgoods and Accessories Association, Jewellery Distributors Association and the Surface Engineering Association.

As part of the changes, Sarah Ward formerly chief executive of the GA has been appointed managing director of the BATF and will lead the federation’s restructure process.

“I am delighted to be taking on this role,” emphasised Sarah. “As an experienced business leader in the allied trades, I understand the importance of bringing people together and building strong foundations for the future. A key aspect of the role is to utilise the full range of skill within the Federation through collaboration and a ‘stronger together’ mindset for our members benefit.”

She continued: “Like many businesses at the moment, we’re having to make decisions about where resource is best placed, but what may be different to many is that this restructure has been a long time in coming to deliver significant business enhancements.

“We’re determined to best serve the needs of the memberships of all the federated trade associations by working with the appropriate national committees to provide valued benefits and services that can make a genuine difference to business right across the trade.”

Above: Gert Schyberg is the recently appointed chair of the GA.
Above: Gert Schyberg is the recently appointed chair of the GA.

Speaking about the restructure, Gert Schyberg, the Giftware Association chair said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the GA to better serve its members with specialist resource from the central overarching federation. With the unprecedented Covid situation ongoing, we have to continue supporting the GA membership to be fit for the future. The overarching strategy will enable the association to grow at the same time as supporting the home and gift industry. It’s very much business as usual, and the national committee, along with the Federation board, are determined to support members through the challenges that Covid has presented the trade with.”

Sarah joined the GA as chief executive in October 2015 and has driven a complete rebrand, delivering it as the figurehead and voice of the giftware industry. A key part of her role within the GA is maintaining relationships with the government’s Genesis Group, DIT, British Chambers of Commerce and Save the High Street, as well as with multiple trade shows.

She started her career with Next retail, becoming the youngest ever store manager, with secondments for training staff and opening new stores. Progressing to area manager within the Arcadia group, Sarah then moved to a national manager role with Coast, developing critical relationships with John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams. After a brief spell as head of retail with Boxfresh, Sarah moved to and ran high end gift packaging company Penny Kennedy. At the helm, Sarah won five Henries awards for best gift packaging collection and greeting product of the year, accrued aggressive commercial growth and developed key accounts with major retail businesses.

As part of the restructure, the Federation will bring several personnel into the central team who are currently based within associations, including membership, education and marketing, to join international and events which are already based centrally.

Overall, the federation supports 3500 members, comprising over 50,000 employees, with an estimated £25 billion at retail.


Top: The GA’s Sarah Ward has taken on a new role as managing director of the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF).

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