Q&A With Courtney Graybill, VP of Customer Experience and Product Management, David's Bridal
This article originally appeared on Total Retail's sister brand's site, Women in Retail Leadership Circle. This week’s Q&A is with Courtney Graybill, vice president of customer experience and product management at David’s Bridal.
Melissa Campanelli: Tell me about your role at David’s Bridal. What do you do every day, and who do you oversee?
Courtney Graybill: I’m the vice president of customer experience and product management at David’s Bridal, responsible for delivering customer and business value by leveraging technology at the enterprise level. I partner with the executive team to prioritize, develop and execute on strategic initiatives. I lead a team of product managers who work to identify new opportunities, and use customer insights to develop solutions that improve the end-to-end experience for our customers. Projects that we’re currently undertaking are related to improving the online checkout experience and providing stylists in our stores with digital tools that give them access to customer and product/inventory data. On a daily basis I’m working with business stakeholders to gain alignment on our strategic road map and making decisions that enable us to deliver innovative digital products as quickly as possible while building flexible technology assets that enable us to move faster in the future.
MC: Describe your leadership style.
CG: My leadership style is collaborative. I like to be involved in the process, providing guidance for my team to enable the delivery of high-quality products as soon as possible. I have an open door policy and find that providing feedback along the way allows the team to bounce ideas off of me. I also like to push my team to pull themselves out of the day-to-day so that they’re thinking not only about immediate impact but also longer-term capabilities. Our product management team must strike a fine balance between speed, quality and scalability by constantly prioritizing.
MC: To whom do you turn for inspiration in your career?
CG: I look at strong female leaders like Meg Whitman and Sheryl Sandberg as well as individuals with a long-term vision that challenges the status quo, like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.
MC: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Why was it so important?
CG: That making a decision that doesn’t always work is better than making no decision at all. You often learn more from your mistakes and prove your ability to lead by recovering from those failures. Not making a decision leaves a team in limbo and a state of uncertainty. Creating a culture of constantly learning and testing allows for innovative ideas to rise.
MC: Can you share a productivity tip you swear by?
CG: I use a productivity planner to organize my day-to-day. At the start of each week I write down a list of my primary and secondary goals, and each day I write down approximately five key goals to accomplish. I find that while not every day I accomplish my objectives, by the end of each week I’ve made progress against almost all of the goals I set out for the week. Writing things down allows me to get them out of my head and keeps me accountable.
MC: What retail trends are you tracking in 2018?
CG: I’m looking at ways to personalize the customer experience, connecting on-property to off-property behaviors, AI/machine learning, and keeping an eye on things like virtual and augmented reality. While AR and VR still seem to be in early stages of widespread adoption, I can see a role for them in our business and want to be ready for when adoption reaches critical mass.
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