Top Women Retailers on the Best Advice They’ve Ever Received

By: Joe Keenan

In the Winter 2016 issue of Total Retail (sister brand of Women in Retail Leadership Circle), the cover story featured the brand’s annual list of the leading female executives in the retail industry. To get know the 17 honorees better, Total Retail sent them each six profile questions. Here are select answers from some of this year’s honorees to the question, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave you the advice?”

Gina Collins, Chief Marketing Officer and Brand, Build-a-Bear Workshop
“While I’ve been fortunate to receive amazing advice throughout my career and have many examples, there are two I come back to on a regular basis because they remain relevant and applicable across numerous situations. My father, also an accountable leader, told me to never second-guess who I am or the instinct that comes from the experiences that make me the person I am. I’ve found that in instances — due to pace, pressure or a variety of other inputs — where I’ve gone against my instinct, the result is less than if I had gone with my initial instinct.
“An amazing friend and colleague from the entertainment industry once shared his thoughts with me regarding the impact of email on communication, and it’s stuck with me in almost every stroke of the “send” button. Email is simply a fast, tactical tool for answering quick, day-to-day business needs. It doesn’t deliver strategy and it doesn’t deliver intention; it’s not confidential and the perception of emotion in email can produce less-than-intended results. Leaders need to use their own voice and take the time to ensure that their teams are aware of the value of pure understanding.”

Emilie Arel Scott, CEO, Quidsi
“Your career is a marathon, not a sprint … be patient. Lori Kratchmer, who was my boss and a director of planning at Target, gave me this advice very early in my career when I was itching to do something new. Now, I give it to people, and myself, all the time.”

Erin Sellman, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Insights and Planning, Lowe’s
“A previous boss told me that my success would be greatly determined by that of my peers. He encouraged me to focus on making my peers successful. That would result in all of us succeeding and thriving together. I’ve found this to be absolutely true and share this advice with my team as well.”

Jill Stanton, Executive Vice President of Global Product, Old Navy
“Ask questions and draw out the right answer from your team. I received this advice from one of my first bosses and never forgot it.”

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