Women in retail: Stay curious, be prepared to change, be confident
I’ve never been one to tout my “woman-ness” when talking about success in business. I tend to measure my success – and want to be measured by others – based on my accomplishments as a person, not specifically as a woman. That being said, I do want to pause and reflect on the experience of being a woman in business and retail technology. As an entrepreneur, a tech pioneer and a leader, I hope my experiences will help other women in retail and the tech space.
Fans of Glengarry Glenross will think that ABC in business stands for “Always Be Closing,” (coffee is for closers, folks). But in my career, the “C” has more accurately represented “curious.” As long as I can remember, I’ve been curious about the way things are done and why we do what we do as people. It got to the point where I drove my parents crazy. As I grew up and took my first job in retail, I started to question why things are done a certain way in business. I always wondered – is there a better way to do this? The more immersed I was in retail, the more I wanted to know about the backend. How do people and factories in the supply chain sell to retailers? How do they interact with them? Women in retail need to ask these questions and remain curious.
Retail and tech move fast. You always have to look five years ahead and be prepared to change. One way to force that change is to constantly gain new perspectives – I’ve built great relationships with the people I work with, and that’s important, but I also make sure I bring new blood into the organization regularly. I also make sure to read as much as I can. Books and articles are a great way to tap into new thinking and experience worlds different from your own, and they can really entice you to change your mindset. Finally, talk to people who are different from you. It’s human nature to stay connected with people who share our same worldview. But it is amazing what we learn when we push ourselves to see other perspectives.
A lot of women struggle to bring confidence to the table every day even when they know what they’re doing. I know a lot of confident, strong women, but they don’t often use the strength they have. We need more women in retail on boards and in the C-suite. The retail sector has a lot of women, but tech still has very few. Women in business need to step forward and mentor other women in tech and encourage them to explore the different tracks that are open to them. In this way, we can help each other build confidence. The good news is, I’m seeing more young women in retail and tech, and they have the confidence to put their ideas out there. I really hope this trend continues.
Bamboo Rose is a woman-owned business that’s enabling the next generation of retail technology professionals. Read about our mission and history.