The Top Women in Retail 2016: Erin Sellman, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Insights and Planning, Lowe's
What do you enjoy most about working in the retail industry?
In retail, we have an incredible opportunity to truly understand and get up close and personal with customers. On a daily basis, we consider things like what do they want from a shopping experience, what products are relevant, what’s important to them, and what would make them act or respond a certain way. The challenge, however, is how quickly everything changes. It challenges us to evolve with them — minute by minute — to listen and, most importantly, to think ahead of what our customers will want or expect of us next, whether in-store, on their electronic devices or in their homes. Retail has evolved into creating differentiated, special experiences for our customers, and I like knowing that the work I do at Lowe’s contributes to that.
If you weren’t working in the retail industry, what do you think you would be doing?
I would be making movies in Hollywood. I love to act, and storytelling is a big part of my job today. Actors get to use this craft to delight millions, and I think that’s pretty cool.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Informal and down to earth. My job as a leader is to serve my team. The folks on my team know that collaboration and innovation are so important to me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave you the advice?
A previous boss told me that my success would be greatly determined by that of my peers. He encouraged me to focus on making my peers successful, and that would result in all of us succeeding and thriving together. I’ve found this to be absolutely true and share this advice with my team as well.
Do you have any mentors in the retail industry?
Our CEO, Robert Niblock. His purpose-driven leadership is inspiring. Lowe’s has moved from a company with a purpose to a company driven by purpose, and it’s authentic. Robert is very customer-centric and takes our purpose seriously, encouraging us all to make business decisions that help our customers love where they live. He’s built a culture that makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love to travel and explore new cultures. It fascinates me how people live so differently in other countries. Whether I travel for work or vacation, I’m always drawn to the consumer behaviors and the meaning of “home” in diverse cultures. I also love to sing karaoke and have made it my goal to sing in every state in the U.S.