The Top Women in Retail 2016: Mary Beech, Chief Marketing Officer, Kate Spade & Co.
What do you enjoy most about working in the retail industry?
The immediacy of the connection with our customer. We’re telling the story of the kate spade new york brand every day, and our customer is part of our story, the very essence of the story. Our retail stores and digital presence provide not only amazing mediums in which to tell our story, but a feedback loop with our customer that’s both enlightening and inspiring.
If you weren’t working in the retail industry, what do you think you’d be doing?
I love working with great brands, so if it wasn't retail it would be working with a fantastic brand in another industry. I'd also love to run a bakery and bookstore in Kauai, but that's in the future!
How would you describe your leadership style?
Hire smart and ambitious people who challenge me and the status quo, empower them, and make it as easy as possible for them to do their best work.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave you the advice?
I've gotten lots of great advice from plenty of amazing people, but also plenty of advice that I feel lucky I knew to ignore. Advice that suggested I behave a certain way, or pursue a certain path that didn't feel authentic to who I am or I didn't think would fulfill me. This bad advice in essence gave me the advice to be true to who I am, and make sure I love what I do and how I’m doing it. This has allowed me to be both successful and happy.
Do you have any mentors in the retail industry?
Craig Leavitt, CEO, Kate Spade & Company; Andrew Mooney, CEO, Fender Guitars; Jim Fielding, global head of DreamWorks’ consumer products and retail, former CEO of Claire's, and president of Disney Stores
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Spending time in New York City with my husband and daughters; training for and running marathons and half marathons.