The Top Women in Retail 2016: Adrienne Lofton, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing, Under Armour
What do you enjoy most about working in the retail industry?
Working in the retail industry is one of the most satisfying experiences I could have ever hoped for. The thing that gets me most excited and inspired is having the ability to remain very close to the consumers (in this case, athletes) we serve through data analytics and insights. This allows us to understand the kinds of products and solutions they’re looking for and deliver against that desire. It’s always our goal to build product and tell stories that ultimately maximize the athlete’s ability to succeed in competition and in life. This is our obsession, and when we deliver against that very specific consumer proposition, we consider it a job well done and something worth celebrating.
If you weren’t working in the retail industry, what do you think you’d be doing?
I would be doing one of two things: on the agency side or the owner of a gym concept. On the agency front, my goal would be to open my own branding agency with a focus on projects that serve our underserved communities such as women, youth, multicultural, etc. On the gym side, I would own a concept studio that focuses on bringing the newest and most cutting-edge fitness and lifestyle practices to markets around the world. I’ve always been fascinated by the power of branding, and the personal empowerment and confidence that comes with living a healthy and holistic life.
How do you describe your leadership style?
I believe in the power of team, and to be a great leader starts with cultivating a great team. My team is a direct reflection of me, so I try to attack the business every day with a strong sense of honesty and an ethical high ground. Those are the two most important traits that I want my team to take from me as they move forward to lead their own teams, and what keeps me going when times are tough. I also believe that working in a fast-paced organization can be so hectic, and sometimes bleed into our personal lives, so it’s critical we do four things to the best of our ability: have fun, think positive, lead with confidence and, most of all, inspire those around us to continue delivering the best possible versions of themselves to the brand.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave you the advice?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s a reality that I’ve learned on the job and in my personal life over the past 15-plus years, and it wasn’t until I embraced this notion that I truly started to see the successes I desired and had worked so hard to achieve. The reality is that we will all be tested with various challenges while on the job, and it’s how you respond in those moments of crisis or pressure that ultimately define your career.
Do you have mentors in the retail industry?
I have several mentors in the industry who not only gave me my career start, but who continue to be my sounding boards for advice and unbiased counsel. My mentors aren’t just former co-workers and industry leaders, but also include family members and close personal friends who have seen a great deal of success in the retail industry and outside of it. One of the coolest things I’ve learned is that sometimes the best advice comes from those who approach a challenge without the preconceived notions possessed by industry vets. The group I call my “personal board of directors” is an awesome mix of talented individuals who share the same goal of having successful and — more importantly — happy lives.
What do you enjoy doing away from work?
Because “free time” is limited, I try to spend as much time as humanly possible with my family and friends. My two sisters and parents are spread across the U.S., along with the coolest crew of nieces and nephews I could have ever been blessed to have enter my life, so I try and spend as much time with them as I can. I also love trying new workout concepts with friends and traveling abroad to continue soaking in new cultures. Becoming a true citizen of the world is my ultimate goal, and in this role I’ve been blessed to see so many countries. But I’ve truly just begun to scratch the surface of this particular passion.