Total Retail’s Winter 2017 issue featured its seventh annual Top Women in Retail list. Among the questions asked of this year's honorees was, “Do you have any mentors in the retail industry?” Here are select answers to that question from some of this year’s award winners.
Stacey L. Renfro, Senior Vice President, E-Commerce, Pier 1 Imports: I’ve had so many mentors along the way. Many didn’t even know they were my mentors, since I learned from them from afar. However, there are a handful of mentors that have directly molded my leadership and career. Liz Sweeney, who recently retired as chief merchant for J.C. Penney, taught me so much about this business. She’s a brilliant retailer and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from her.
Alex Smith, who recently retired as CEO of Pier 1 Imports, has also been an amazing mentor to me. I learned so much about the importance of company culture and leading with patience. Pier 1 Imports is also a company that’s highly supportive of female leadership. This philosophy paved the way for me to work alongside three amazing women: Laura Coffey, executive vice president of planning and allocation; Cathy David, executive vice president of merchandising; and Sharon Leite, who is now the president of Sally Beauty. All three of these women have provided mentorship, feedback and the invaluable role of a sounding board.
Liz Rodbell, President, Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay: I’ve been lucky to have had several coaches and mentors over my career. Interestingly, my best mentors have been my parents, who were always in my corner and very insightful.
Jennifer Hyman, CEO and Co-Founder, Rent the Runway: Basically everyone I know has been a mentor at some point in time, and hopefully I can also be a mentor to them. I have so much respect for the great minds in this industry, and given that Rent the Runway was my first entree into the retail world, I have made it a point to meet as many retail execs as possible and learn about their businesses, challenges and goals. The industry is changing so quickly — we can only address these consumer shifts if we take feedback from each other and from our customers.
Natalie Marten-Fopeano, President, Chief Marketing Officer, TUMI Outerwear: I’ve had many, but the person who had the greatest impact on my career was Bebe Habib. She was a true merchant and unbelievable talent, and the kindest person I’ve ever met!
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