In April, Caleres Inc. expanded its executive ranks with the appointments of Janet Carr as SVP of global business development and Nelli Kim as SVP and GM for the Via Spiga, Vince and Dian Von Furstenberg brands.
As the two settle into their roles, they spoke to Footwear News about new opportunities and the mentors who have inspired and motivated them throughout their careers.
Biggest opportunity in new my role: “I think a lot about how much consumer habits have changed in what seems like a short time. For me, the biggest opportunity is thinking about the woman, her lifestyle and her needs and then ferreting out that white space that’s missing from the market. Each brand has its own consumer and therefore white space equation to solve. Then the real magic is in how each brand interprets the solution in its own way.”
Best advice I’ve received: “Do what you love, and find a way to get paid for it.”
Female mentors: “Elizabeth von der Goltz hired me in my first fashion job as an assistant buyer at Henri Bendel, and we worked together again years later at Bergdorf Goodman. She is incredibly good with people, and I’ve been a witness to how doors and business opportunities magically open once a strong relationship has been built. [Another mentor] is Tracy Margolies, who was my SVP/GMM at Bergdorf.
“Tracy challenged me to think strategically, which prompted me to start having quarterly strategic brainstorm sessions with my team to embed the importance of strategy into the culture. Ginny Hershey-Lambert, my EVP/GMM throughout most of my time at Bergdorf, also strengthened my strategic thinking. The phrase I heard most from her was, ‘incremental opportunity,’ which prompted me to think of every business that way, and how I could seek out hidden opportunities.”
Biggest opportunity in my new role: “To be part of an incredibly talented team of people who are passionate about brands, innovation and defining how we will continue to win in a quickly changing landscape. Everyone is forward-looking and open to new ideas, which is the most important success factor in a business development role.”
Best advice I’ve received: “Lead with your strengths.”
Female mentors: “I have worked for some amazing women over the years. The most valuable mentors were those who cared enough to help me hone my executive presence and were confident enough to leverage my strengths.”