Nordstrom is constantly cited in “best companies to work for” lists, and the retailer is known for supporting its large number of female employees.
“Seventy-one percent of our employees are women, so it’s organic that all the things we do to help develop leaders apply to women,” said Anne Egan, Nordstrom VP and DMM for designer shoes.
Tacey Powers, VP and DMM of women’s shoes, said the company has always been supportive of her quest to balance the needs of her family with the demands of her job.
“Work life balance is a challenge no matter what industry you work in, but the demands of retail magnify the issue. I’ve always felt supported by a company that trusts me,” Powers said.
Here, the duo sounds off on leadership and mentoring.
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On why mentoring is so meaningful:
“Fostering relationships is a natural part of our culture and the part of my job I find most rewarding. I’m also incredibly grateful to the women that mentored me. Having the ability to inspire and support the next generation is meaningful,” Egan said.
On navigating work/life balance:
I’ve always felt supported by a company who trusts me. This has enabled me to make decisions that support both my family and my career,” Powers said. “That’s not always an easy call, but I feel empowered to set my personal and professional priorities and balance between them. This can mean leaving early to get to a child’s sports event or taking a long weekend. We’re in the business of making people feel good and that includes customers and employees. It’s interesting, “My kids love that I have a career and it’s opened up a really great dialog about their future and what interests they want to pursue.”
On the qualities of a good leader:
“The characteristics that make a good leader – being focused, competitive, creative, flexible, nimble, innovative – are the same for women as they are for men,” Egan said. “A good leader is a good leader regardless of gender (or race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc).”
On navigating a constantly changing industry:
“We believe a good leader is a good leader no matter who you are and the characteristics that would help navigate through change in the industry aren’t gender-specific,” Egan said.
On how we can set up more female leaders for success:
“It’s great to see organizations like Two Ten create a platform for mentoring young female professionals like WIFI (women in the footwear industry),” Powers said. “It’s a great time to be a woman in retail…there’s so much opportunity in an ever changing, dynamic, and creative field.”