Why Neiman Marcus Group’s Karen Katz Believes We All Need to Listen More

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

Faced with myriad distractions in the workplace — from overflowing email inboxes to never-ceasing news and social media feeds — Karen Katz believes it’s important to take the time to listen more. That approach should serve the Neiman Marcus Group CEO well as she steers her ailing company through a particularly challenging period. Here, Katz reveals why listening is a lost art, and shares a few other lessons she’s learned along the way.

Karen Katz
CREDIT: Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

What was the biggest breakthrough moment in your career?
“I had just become EVP of stores [at Neiman Marcus] and I realized that many of the people who now reported to me were people to whom I had once reported. I enjoyed the challenge of leading and managing senior leaders.”

Do you think women do enough to support other women in the workplace?
“I have spent virtually my entire career at [this company]. And if you remember, Neiman Marcus was co-founded by a woman, Carrie Neiman. It’s one of the reasons why at the heart of our culture is the belief in supporting and developing a diverse team of associates based on their talent and personal goals, not their gender, sexual orientation or color.”

What is the biggest challenge you faced in the last year, and how did you overcome it?
“Retailing is at an inflection point. Customers have changed the way they are shopping, and we continue to confront this fundamental fact.”

Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
“To listen more. Listening is one of the most underappreciated and underutilized communication tools.”

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