Every day in June, FN is showcasing female leaders across the industry for our Women in Power series.
Andrea O’Donnell, who has been president of fashion lifestyle at Deckers Brands since 2016, is always doing a juggling act — balancing work and motherhood. As the mother of two daughters, she is particularly mindful of the role of women in the workplace, now and tomorrow.
Here, she weighs in on a number of topics related to career development, from the strategy behind asking for a raise to the importance of team work
On the most significant barrier to female leadership in fashion and footwear:
“Confidence and belief that having a successful career doesn’t mean you’re selfish or a bad mother. It’s [an issue] we’re all grappling with today, which is how to have a successful career, be kind every day and be a happy and healthy human being. As a mother of two girls and leader of many amazing women, I think it’s enough to be a positive role model.”
On her experience working under or leading men:
O’Donnell admitted she’s encountered degrees of resistance from her male colleagues. “I’ve experience the same from women,” she added. “I’ve found there’s no point trying to work around the problem and that straightforward conversations regarding the situation help a great deal. I remind myself and the people that work on my team that if you hate your boss that inevitably means they hate you, too, and that is never ever a good thing for either party.”
On a powerful career moment:
“The most powerful experiences are when my team and I have accomplished great things together and had fun along the way.”
Advice for women negotiating a promotion or salary increase:
“I would always start the conversation early, at least six months before you want an increase or a promotion. After all, you’re working in a business and any request for more money should be attached to the achievement of financial and or development goals. Also, try and avoid emotion in presenting your case; you will get a much better response from your boss if you’re objective.”
On the best career decision she’s made:
“The best was to believe in myself and make my happiness my responsibility. I work in an industry where a lot of things can and will go wrong, and I’ve had my fair share of mistakes. However, and I know it probably sounds cheesy, but I try and learn from my mistakes.”
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