In episode 292 of Total Retail Talks, Editor-in-Chief Joe Keenan interviews Kecia Steelman, chief store operations officer at Ulta Beauty, the largest U.S. beauty retailer for cosmetics, fragrance, skin care products, hair care products and salon services. Steelman discusses her recently announced transition to the chief operating officer position at Ulta Beauty and the company's $25 million investment to advance diversity, inclusion and equity within its organization, as well as across the beauty industry as a whole. She shares how Ulta Beauty customers will be able to identify advancements in this area, both in stores and online; the addition of Tracee Ellis Ross as the company’s diversity and inclusion advisor; and its MUSE campaign, a commitment to Magnify, Uplift, Support and Empower Black voices in beauty.
In addition, Steelman discusses how Ulta Beauty store associates and employees have influenced the company's D&I initiatives, its focus on inclusive hiring and leadership across the organization, and why the beauty brand is investing in more D&I training for all employees. She shares why she believes retailers have a responsibility to combat racial bias and prejudice, why companies expressing social values to consumers will be more successful, and how Ulta Beauty is ensuring its DEI initiatives become part of the company's DNA going forward.
Kecia Steelman is chief store operations officer at Ulta Beauty. Kecia joined Ulta Beauty in August 2014 as senior vice president of operations before assuming the role of chief store operations officer in September 2015. Kecia is responsible for all aspects of store and salon operations, and leads a growing team of more than 40,000 associates passionate about delivering wow experiences to guests in more than 1,250 stores across the country. Prior to joining Ulta Beauty, Kecia held leadership positions across the retail sector, including roles at Family Dollar, The Home Depot, Expo Design Center, and Target.
In addition to her work at Ulta Beauty, Kecia currently serves on the board of directors for The Bay Clubs in San Francisco. She's actively involved in the Chicago area nonprofit community and serves on the board of Metropolitan Family Services of Chicago and is on the Executive Board of Trustees, Vice Chairperson for The Adler Planetarium in Chicago. She received her Bachelor’s degree in business management from Kennedy Western University.