“Radical change is sometimes needed as a springboard to try new things,” says Julie MillerSensini. “And only good can come from it.” It was this ambitious, forward-thinking mindsetthat first drove Julie to move overseas, first to Italy in 1999 followed by London a year later,where she lived and worked for a decade before returning to Melbourne in 2010.
Julie has held senior leadership roles in Australia, the UK and Italy during her 30-year retailcareer, and is currently the General Manager of Design and Living at Kmart based inMelbourne. Over the past eight years since joining Kmart, Julie has been an integral part ofthe team involved in the Kmart turnaround story.
Her input was instrumental in developing the strategic vision to connect and engage withcustomers through the delivery of more desirable product at lower prices. This resulted inconsistent double sales and profit growth of the Home division and helped the repositioningof the Kmart brand in the department store landscape.
During this time Julie was recognised for her contribution to the business, winning thecoveted Managing Directors award and more recently a High Performance Study award.Julie started her career in buying, building strong foundations with Country Road, Myer andDavid Jones. After establishing her career in Australia in these roles, her ambition and questfor career progression – and desire to learn Italian – prompted her to look at workinginternationally, which led her to Umbria in Italy, where she developed retail opportunitiesfor an Umbrian Consortium. It was here that she also not only learned a new language, butmet her husband.
Julie’s prior experience also includes senior roles with FTSE100 companies in the UKinvolving brand development. The decision to return home to Australia was driven by bothpersonal and professional influences. While looking at opportunities in Australia for work,Julie became pregnant with her son Max, and shortly after this news, was spotted by Kmartfor a leadership role in Australia, which held her position while she took a period ofmaternity leave.
“It was very exciting to live in London – it often feels like the centre of the world, with somany amazing museums and cultural experiences right on our doorstep. Melbourne, attimes, felt very quiet in comparison. [Readjusting] is a matter of putting yourself out thereagain and engaging with the things that Australia has to offer, such as around health andfitness, outdoor and beach pursuits – and really engaging with that and making sure youdon’t compare the two, as London and Melbourne are very different places to live.” Themove was more challenging for her husband, she says, being from Italy originally, whereasJulie was returning ‘home’.
Julie, her husband and son continue to travel internationally, to her husband’s native Italy,as well as for work in Europe and the U.S., which keeps her connected to her globalnetwork.