Mindy Grossman, the CEO of HSN Inc., is an ardent supporter of female talent in the fashion industry and beyond. Here, she talks about what she’s learned, the importance of going after what you believe in and why women have to support other women.
Best Advice For Rising Stars: “I often have the opportunity to mentor young professionals and I encourage them to ask for what they want and have the courage to take strategic risks. Whatever your job is make sure you are striving to do your best in that role and focus on making others and the company more successful. If you do that, you, in turn will be more successful. Build a strong network of relationships, cultivate them and give of yourself if you expect others to do so in return. Find what you are passionate about, make sure it’s purposeful and strive to have lasting impact. Of utmost importance, do not underestimate the transformational power of believing in yourself and finally, you are only as good as your reputation, never compromise your beliefs and always be human.”
Cultivating More Female Talent: “Women must support each other. We must speak out and encourage diversity at all levels. I believe that if you have the privilege to be in a position where your voice and your actions can be heard and can have impact, that you have a responsibility to be visible, seek opportunities to share your experiences in an open and honest way, speak about the critical need for diversity and mentor and cultivate the next generation of diverse talent.”
What She’s Learned: “I’m not sure that this is surprising per se, but what I do know and wholeheartedly believe that in the long run – culture trumps strategy. Of course you must have a strategy for your business, but what creates sustainable and lasting success is a powerful, deep, definable and engaged culture. So, to that point, align yourself with a company and with leadership that share your values and where you believe you can have the greatest opportunity to maximize your talents. As a leader, be sure that at the forefront of your strategic planning is the creation of a foundation of strong fundamentals and leadership behaviors that serve as guideposts for your business and culture. Then, you must relentlessly repeat them, live them and surround yourself with others that are enthusiastically aligned with that vision.”
Overcoming Challenges: “I don’t think that there are challenges specific to women in retailing. I have always gone after what I want and made strategic moves at different times in my career if I did not feel the company or the leadership was going to foster a culture of diversity and respect. I encourage others to do the same – seek an environment that supports you in your success, and most importantly, believe in yourself, be willing to take strategic risks, surround yourself with not just a network but with authentic relationships and always act with integrity and confidence.”
Closing Thoughts: “One of the things that I find most beneficial in today’s evolving retail landscape is a voracious sense of intellectual curiosity. When I left Nike to join HSN, Inc. (IAC Retail at the time) people thought I was a bit crazy! However, I was curious, felt that how people were interacting with brands and products were changing and that technology was going to disrupt every aspect of industry and consumer behavior. I wanted to run a business that could take advantage of this shift. You need to be open to new ways of thinking. Influence can come from anywhere – I encourage people to get interested and curious about all aspects of culture — from modern art to architecture and everywhere in between. Our world is not linear. To remain competitive and on the edge of innovation, we must proactively seek ways to absorb new ideas, while also surrounding ourselves with people that exhibit that same sense of wonder.”