Top Women in Retail 2018: Jocelyn Wong, Chief Marketing Officer, Lowe’s
To see the full list of this year's Top Women in Retail honorees, click here.
What do you enjoy most about working in the retail industry?
I love how exciting retail is right now. Technology is changing the expectations that customers have of retailers in ways no one could have imagined just a few years ago, and I love seeing how companies are evolving to meet that challenge. But what I really enjoy is working for a purpose-driven company like Lowe’s during this time of rapid change. Having a purpose keeps us grounded in the midst of all this swirl, and focused on serving customers in meaningful ways to help them love where they live. Technology also allows us to know customers better than we ever have before. One of the most important parts of my job today is to lead a team that can leverage a multitude of data points and consumer insights to help Lowe's remain relevant with customers and engage with them anytime and anywhere they choose. As a retail marketer, that’s a new skill set I’m constantly challenging myself to develop, but one I love to work on because of the impact it can have on our company’s bottom line.
What’s the biggest challenge you've faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?
My tenure as CMO at Family Dollar taught me a great deal about leading through adversity. Shortly after I arrived, Family Dollar was acquired by its competitor, Dollar Tree, which created significant challenges within the business and among its employees. As you can imagine, a change of this magnitude impacts employees personally, and many started to question their job security. It was during this period of great change and uncertainty that I realized my role as a leader in the company, and had to focus on what I could control without having all the answers. I had to separate my own fears to inspire my team and be the leader they needed.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My favorite leadership quote is from Henry Kissinger: "The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been." I believe I’m a passionate leader who isn’t afraid of challenging the status quo. I have high expectations for myself and those around me, but care deeply about team culture and engagement. I think it’s critical to set a clear vision and executable goals that get us there. I value transparency, accountability, vulnerability and having fun. I’m actually quite informal and admire meaningful conversations and understanding how my team thinks more than the quality of their PowerPoint presentations. I love being challenged and seeing the passion and conviction on their faces! This is how I fuel creativity and empowerment.
What's the best advice you ever received, and who gave you the advice?
I’ve been fortunate to have many great mentors over the years that have given me invaluable advice along the way, but I think the advice that resonates with me the most comes from my father. As immigrants who came to the U.S. for a better life, both of my parents always dreamed big for me. Even as a young girl, I remember my dad saying, “When a door opens, walk through it.” The sacrifices my parents made were ultimately for my benefit, and they offered me wonderful opportunities. My dad always encouraged me to take bold steps, whether in my career or personal life, and as a result I’ve never felt like fear was an option for me. Now I can honestly say that I’ve had the good fortune of walking through several amazing doors.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
With three kids under the age of 10, our lives are incredibly busy! I only recently began working out on a regular basis after realizing how incredibly important it is for me to take care of myself. I really enjoy this break in the day when I can re-energize and focus. I also love traveling and spending time with my family. Planning trips and unique experiences motivate me. It’s important to me to expose my children to different cultures so they can see what makes us special and unique, but also discover the things that bind all of us together.