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How to show up to move up in your retail career

By Lottie Watts
Published Nov 12, 2020

This week on NRF Foundation All Access, we featured a panel discussion with retail professionals who have a few years of experience – and a ton of lessons learned.  

Here are a few takeaways from the discussion:

Stitch Fix Associate Production Manager Jason Crofton on being flexible:

Don’t get so stuck in this idea of what you think your path is going to be, or what you think the right role is for you. There are times when you’re going to end up in a position or in a role that isn’t the right fit, and you thought it was going to be the role for you.

Reflect on what isn’t right about your current role – the things you enjoy about it and the things you don’t. Being able to be flexible and being able to try something different is something that served me well as I moved forward in my career.

Qurate Retail Group Director of Social Media Strategy Naomi Jacobs on the words to drop from your vocabulary:

If you go in your inbox, and you type the word “sorry,” you will be shocked at how many times you put “sorry” or “I apologize” into an email. Unless you truly need to apologize for something – which you probably should be doing face-to-face or on a call – don’t say you’re sorry. Own your voice. Own your opinion.

The other one is “just” – “I just want to reach out to see if you can have coffee with me.” Putting that single word in there – “just” – takes away from the impact of what you’re asking.  

Amazon Process Engineer Nduta-Rosemary Mwaura on embracing what makes you unique:

They hired you specifically for a reason, so focus on tapping into that reason versus trying to copy the next person.

I wasn’t the most technical leader at first, but I focused on connecting and getting to know the people around me. That ended up increasing my technical skills. Now I was that person who could be a great people leader but could also technically be very sound in the things that I do, resulting in having the best performing team, and having teams where that’s the culture we were fostering.

L’Oreal Paris Assistant Vice President - Customer Team Lead Emily Espinosa on advice she wishes she had:

Do not be afraid to take risks. No decision is permanent. I never thought I would have moved to Minneapolis, to Arkansas, to New York, to Chicago. I switched companies and jobs when I was five months pregnant – probably not something you would normally think about doing when you’re going through a big life change.

Each one of those risks propelled me to where I am today. There’s so much pressure people put on a decision. What if I don’t like it? What if it’s not the right fit? Sometimes you feel like these decisions are going to change or make or ruin your life forever, and that’s not the case. The moves and the company switches are the moments where I’ve learned the most and they’ve challenged me the most, but I’ve also grown the most.  

If you’ve missed any NRF Foundation All Access sessions this fall, you can find all the videos on our on-demand page – including our panel discussion with recent graduates who are getting their careers started at some of retail’s top companies.

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