The talented Abby Chicken

Long before Abby Chicken attended a talk by Roman Krznaric on How To Find Fulfilling Work, she began to suspect that a ‘high achiever’ career path wasn’t for her. Abby is someone Krznaric would describe as a ‘wide achiever’, because she decided that being good at just one thing isn’t fun enough.

Abby read English at Oxford University, travelled for a year with a camera around her neck and did a couple of internships in film and the charity sector before coming across the Waitrose graduate scheme.

“Fundraising and making conservation films was great, but the Waitrose opportunity was compelling: I love their brand, its ethos and I’ve always been passionate about food.”

Abby has been with Waitrose for 8 years now, managing retail stores. She was singlehandedly responsible for organising picnic hampers for over 1,000 guests at the Buckingham Palace celebration of the 60th anniversary of the coronation in summer 2013.

In parallel, she works as a photographer, shooting at weddings and corporate events.

“I thought about working as a photographer full-time, but I love the variety of my work and the ability to choose projects I take on rather than having to say ‘yes’ to everything.”

Once a week you’ll find Abby at the British Library, mentoring Shannon, an 18-year-old from Enfield, studying for A levels and hoping to get into Reading University. Abby is volunteering for The Access Project, helping state school students improve their grades and get into top universities. “Last week we were reading Carol Ann Duffy’s Medusa and chatting about feminism.”

Back in 2012 Abby organised an LGBT network at John Lewis called Pride in the Partnership or PiPs, as it is affectionately known among its members. The idea is to provide mentoring, support and networking opportunities for John Lewis staff nationwide. PiPs has grown to 400 members today. It is no surprise that Abby was elected as a professional representative member of the Community Advisory Board of Pride in London.

If you love food, literature and photography, thrive in both creative and corporate environments, it is apparently possible to learn how to juggle and, ultimately, have it all.



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