Retail leaders on the ‘fine print of risks’ and other lessons learned

By Lottie Watts

Alumni of “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future” share how the constant change of retail has provided them with endless opportunities in our latest conversations on “The List,” made possible by American Express.

Four new episodes of “The List” are available now for you to watch on demand. From their first retail jobs, advice they would give to their younger selves and what they look for in an employee, leaders from a wide variety of companies share insights that will help you as you launch your career.

What advice would these retail leaders give to their younger selves? How did they deal with their biggest career setback? And why are mentors so important? Discover how the constant change of retail provides these leaders with endless opportunities on this episode of "The List," made possible by American Express.

Don’t overcomplicate – but do pay attention to detail

Cameron Cruse – who co-founded R. Riveter with Lisa Bradley to address the challenges that military spouses have when searching for meaningful employment – says that as they started their business, they struggled with overcomplicating things.

“Whenever we’ve had the ability to step back and look at an issue and simplify it and remember what’s important to us, that always makes decision-making easier,” Cruse says.

Appreciate the role of mentors

Now chairwoman of the company, Melissa Reiff has held a number of leadership roles with The Container Store, and says mentors were very present in her life, and at critical moments.  

“They gave me that unconditional support and confidence, and they believed in me – for whatever reason,” Reiff says. “They saw talents in me that perhaps I didn’t even realize.”

Understand the “fine print of risks”

Marisa Thalberg, who joined Lowe’s in 2020 as an executive vice president, says that the biggest setback was early in her career was when she was lured to a company. She wasn’t completely sure it was the right move, and then less than two years later, that company filed for bankruptcy – and she says it took some resilience to figure out what she was going to do to bounce back.  

“The fine print of risks is that they are risky, and you have to understand that it might mean it doesn’t pay off the way you want,” Thalberg says. “Learning how to roll with that and rebound from that is one of the most important career lessons, but also one of the most important life lessons.”

Explore the full collection of “The List” videos now to hear more from these leaders and Fitzroy Toys Founder and CEO Stefanie Botelho, Nordstrom Executive Vice President Shea Jensen, Mented Cosmetics Co-founder and COO Amanda Johnson, 1-800-FLOWERS President and CEO Chris McCann, The FRESHGLOW Co. Founder and CEO Kavita Shukla and Give Back Box Founder and CEO Monika Wiela.

Alumni of “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future” share how the challenges and changes that have been brought to retail through the pandemic response are changing retail’s future. See how these retailers deal with adversity and what the future looks like on this episode of "The List," made possible by American Express.
Hear about the first retail job alumni of "The of People Shaping Retail's Future" ever had and what they learned from it, along with the funniest thing that’s ever happened to them on the job on this episode of "The List," made possible by American Express.
Retail leaders explore the one thing that everyone gets wrong about retail – and they’ll share with you what they look for in an employee. Get some great advice about why you should consider a retail career on this episode of "The List," made possible by American Express.

“The List” is made possible by American Express and is part of our free, virtual NRF Foundation All Access programming that supports students as they prepare to launch careers in retail. See the full library of on-demand content here.

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