Mary Portas

Global retail authority and advocate for The Kindness Economy

Mary Portas is widely acknowledged as a leading authority on the retail sector. As Creative Director of Harvey Nichols, she transformed the company into a luxury global brand and by age 30 was a member of the company’s board. She has advised government and led an independent Government review into the regeneration of high streets, as well as producing a host of retail and business-themed TV programmes. Currently, Mary leads her creative agency and consultancy, Portas, consulting on every sector of the retail industry. Her latest project Work Like A Woman is a manifesto for change and the book and podcast of the same title are being used by businesses across the UK to create positive change within their organisations. Currently, she is recording a series for BBC Radio 4, Mary Portas: On style, looking at the changing world of fashion and design and its effect on how we live and shop. 

A determined, passionate advocate of the social role of retail, Mary is at the forefront of making the nation better consumers and the country’s shops better businesses.  In recent years, her work life and personal life have become increasingly intertwined, focusing on the things she cares most about: making our world a fairer place. She has three children and is investing in giving them a better world to live in. One of Mary’s proudest achievements to date is her ‘Mary’s Living and Giving’ charity shops in partnership with Save the Children. There are 26 shops across the UK now and these have raised over £22 million for charity.

Mary believes we are entering a new era of retail, where people, as shoppers, as workers, as friends, in every part of our lives, want meaningful connections and shared values. Mary Portas calls this new era, ‘The Kindness Economy’. An economy built on the stuff that we care about, where kindness is the new economic and social capital.

Favourite TED Talk:

David Brooks
The lies our culture tells us about what matters — and a better way to live

Meet the TEDxLondonWomen 2019 speakers