What do you enjoy most about working in the retail industry?
My dad was a small business owner, Arel’s Flowers & Gifts, for 35 years — it just closed this year. The store was another member of our family and a big part of our small community in Minnesota. It was so much more than a place people went to transact. That’s what I love about retail. It isn’t just about a P&L; it’s about people, places and behaviors. The trends in the worlds of politics, fashion, technology, economics and geography all show up in retail in the way people shop. It’s always changing; there’s always a new day and something new to learn. I find it fascinating.
If you weren’t working in the retail industry, what do you think you’d be doing?
There are so many things I would love to try. Top two on my list: one, a professor. I love the curiosity and learning buzzing in academic environments. And two, run a vineyard in Napa Valley. I think Napa Valley is about the best place in the world. After spending years living in San Francisco and getting married there two years ago, I would love to be a part of the culture that is that region. (And spend my days drinking wine with great people!)
How would you describe your leadership style?
In 10 words: approachable, open, driven, collaborative, decisive, empowering, honest, grounded, fun and curious.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave you the advice?
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.
Do you have any mentors in the retail industry?
Yes. I’ve been lucky to work for and alongside many amazing people throughout my career, who I really think of as my board of directors. From my first job at Target through my tenure at Gap and now at Amazon, these people have guided me, pushed me, paused me and taken big risks on me. I work hard at maintaining and nurturing these relationships and wouldn’t be where I am without them.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Hanging out with my 10-month old daughter, time with friends and family spread out all over the country, new restaurants (preferably with 5:30 reservations), good books and piles of magazines (yes, I still read actual books and magazines), binge watching television (currently “Making of a Murderer” and re-watching “30 Rock”).