As part of FN’s annual Women in Power edition, we asked 15 footwear execs who took on prominent new roles this year to talk about overcoming obstacles and their advice for the next generation.
Mary Campbell, a 20-year veteran of the QVC network, was promoted in March to lead a new business unit at Qurate Retail Group exploring new initiatives in streaming and live video retail.
As President of vCommerce Ventures, Campbell will accelerate the company’s live streaming digital shopping beyond the traditional multi-platform experiences of QVC and HSN, and benefit from interactive opportunities with partners such as Roku, Comcast X1, Xfinity Flex and others.
When it comes to driving this innovation, Campbell said the company’s extensive experience in live shopping will be an asset. “We are in a unique position of strength as more retailers and brands adopt live video and as we continue to expand the reach of our streaming service,” she said.
But change is imperative in today’s hyper-digital landscape, and the vCommerce Ventures group wants to be a “source of innovation and a catalyst for growth.”
“My team is focused on our unique strengths, the ability to stay agile, test new initiatives and learn from the data to grow and improve,” said Campbell.
Here, the leader shares some of the career wisdom she’s relying on to chart this new course for the company.
My leadership mantra:
“Leadership is about creating an environment that allows team members to do their best so they can do their best. We have a mantra that we regularly remind our team members of: “Come as you are”. We encourage everyone to be their authentic selves. This allows me, as a leader, to see the passion, aspiration and individual “superpower” of my team so that I can help them succeed, remove obstacles, create resources and support their individual creativity.”
The biggest career obstacle I’ve encountered and how I overcame it:
“Like so many businesses around the world, the pandemic has created an immediate need for a change in the way we operate. For video retail leaders and broadcasters like QVC and HSN, this has particularly impacted how we typically broadcast with presenters and guests in our studios. We have been tasked with the challenge of adhering to social distancing protocols (preserving the health and safety of our team members and guests first and foremost) while engaging our customers and providing them with the right products at the right time. Although it was such a challenge at the time to change the way we all work, it turned out to be a great learning experience for my team and I. Our clients keep reminding us that our programs are a welcome respite from the challenges of everyday life. We’ve had incredible feedback on our guests (and even hosts) being able to join our program from the comfort of their own homes via Skype, giving clients a more personal perspective on their lives during such unusual times. With customer engagement at the heart of our brands, this challenge was a reminder of the importance of connection – between team members, our customers and communities.”
Tips for young professionals:
“Careers have more twists and turns than you can ever imagine! Don’t be afraid to take risks and always look for opportunities that really challenge you. Be confident enough to step out of your comfort zone and you will never be disappointed. You will grow, learn more about yourself and your colleagues, and learn more about the business you are in. When you’re uncomfortable, you know you’re growing. It’s so important to engage with a variety of facets of business, so don’t isolate yourself to just one area. During my 20+ years with QVC/Qurate Retail Group, I have held roles in merchandising, planning and retail platforms and have undertaken multiple traverses to learn more about all facets of our business. If you want to stand out, show genuine interest in the overall business. Career development is a marathon, not a sprint, and I always encourage others to stay curious and take risks, even if it means deviating from your original career path.”
One thing I wish someone would have told me:
“Know your core values and stand by them — that is, what is important and what you value most. Make sure your role (and your company) aligns with these values and your work allows you to connect with these values. If not, consider discovering something new.”
The leader who influenced me the most:
“I’ve been very fortunate to work with really smart, creative and passionate people throughout my career. My network is the result of a culture of genuine engagement at all levels of our organization. We built a business on relationships and it starts within the walls of the Qurate Retail Group. My colleagues at QRG have helped me in countless ways over the years, providing me with support, encouragement, constructive feedback and lots of learning.”