An Inside Look at Two of Nordstrom’s Game-Changing Female Executives

olivia kim, nordstrom, Kristin Frossmo
Kristin Frossmo (left), EVP and GMM, Nordstrom's shoe division, and Olivia Kim, VP of creative projects.
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Each day in June, FN is highlighting female forces in the industry as part of our Women in Power series.

There are many female leaders at Nordstrom who have helped make the company what it is today.

Here, we spotlight two who are making a difference.

Kristin FrossmoEVP and GMM, Nordstrom’s shoe division

Kristin Frossmo, nordstrom, Kristin Frossmo, EVP and GMM, Nordstrom’s shoe division. Courtesy of Nordstrom

What was the biggest breakthrough moment in your career?

One of the highlights of my career has certainly been the opportunity to take this position as GMM of the shoe division at Nordstrom, following in the footsteps of so many great Nordstrom leaders I admire — Scott Meden, Jack Minuk and Bob Nunn.

Anything you would have done differently?

I wouldn’t change anything about my career path. Each experience has contributed to rounding me out as a merchant and as a leader, and I’ve had the opportunity to work in many different areas of our business and to connect with so many great people, both internally and in the industry.

Do you think women do enough to support other women in the workplace? 

Working in a company with so many women — 70 percent of Nordstrom employees are women — I have always found a high level of support, and have done my best to stay connected to employees I’ve supported in previous roles as they advance in their careers.  I find it to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job to watch their successes.  I definitely believe this is a critical role of leaders — both men and women — to actively engage in supporting others who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and providing continued guidance along the way.

What is the biggest challenge you faced last year, and how did you overcome it? 

I think we are all facing the challenge of how quickly the retail business is evolving and changing today.  It’s not possible to continue to do all of the things we’ve been doing, but at a greatly accelerated pace, so we have to edit our priorities.  I would not say I have checked this off by any means, but my focus is to simplify and narrow our agenda so we can execute with greater speed.

Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self? 

Reach out.  Ask questions.  Challenge.  Seek advice.  Never be afraid to ask for more responsibility.  It took me a while to find my voice and gain confidence to do these things in the early stages of my career, so I enjoy sharing this advice with others.

Olivia Kim, VP of creative projects

olivia kim, nordstrom Olivia Kim, VP of creative projects, Nordstrom. Courtesy of Nordstrom

What was the biggest breakthrough moment in your career?

“I don’t think I could identify a single moment that was breakthrough. Careers are a constantly evolving, additive accumulation of experiences, opportunities, and luck. I’ve always been open to the idea that one path leads to a door, which leads to another path and another door.”

Anything you would have done differently? 

“Be brave earlier. Leave your comfort zone earlier. Move across the country earlier. Try anything new or scary or unexpected earlier.”

Do you think women do enough to support other women in the workplace? 

“I can’t speak to what other women do in their workplace, but for me, supporting, developing and mentoring women is a priority. And beyond that, we need to give women more and more opportunities to grow and be promoted, have clear paths to accelerating careers, and then come around full circle to offer those opportunities to other women in return. I feel like there is this incorrect connotation that women don’t support women. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t support another woman and wouldn’t want to see her sister succeed.”

What is the biggest challenge you faced in the last year, and how did you overcome it? 

“To a fault, I’m a self-proclaimed overachiever and control freak. Learning to say no when I have too much going on, and learning to delegate, are constant challenges for me. I’m not great at it, but I’m working on it. I’m motivated by the amazing people I get to work with and seeing them tackle, take charge and take control in ways that I can learn from them.”

Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self? 

“Know your value and find the confidence to walk away from any situation, job or relationship where that value or worth is being questioned or not honored. You are the prize.”