The VP of global brand strategy at Kate Spade New York talks leadership, loving art, and the value of being the same person at work and in life.
- By October 10, 2016
- Booth Women
“Your ego is crippling. If you are willing to say, ‘I don’t have the answer,’ the possibilities are endless.”
Focus on making your vision inspiring—but also clear and digestible. In driving global brand awareness, I need to set a strategy that is clear and executable, across the world. My job is not to do; my job is to unlock potential, and to lead, and to point the compass in the direction we need to go.
Making a mistake should not be something you fear. That fear just leads to organizational dishonesty and paralysis. I am very open in owning my mistakes. Having a sense of humor goes a long way.
The greatest ideas arise with the unconventional thinker. I have such an appreciation for people who are pursuing excellence in their own way, even if it is completely different from the path of my life.
An element of quirk is invaluable professionally—a unique take. If you haven’t spent time developing your own point of view, it is very difficult to stand out from the pack.
A leader should make people feel comfortable. That doesn’t mean sedate or lackadaisical; it means they should feel comfortable being vulnerable, making mistakes, failing. When a team feels they can be open and honest with each other, that’s when the real work begins. When my own team is challenging me, they are at their most engaged and passionate. I could ask for nothing better.
The art I love brings to bear a human experience, and makes you pause in it. Artists I studied, such as Paul Cézanne and Pierre Bonnard, redefined for me what it meant to depict something visually. Or Nari Ward, who can take something extremely complex—issues of race and violence, for instance—and transform it into something that is utterly transfixing.
I’m committed to unplugging and connecting to experiences that can’t be reduced to a mobile screen. As much as I love my phone and all things digital—and as a marketer, I find the power of digital and data to be really awesome—the real world is so much more stimulating, and the next big idea is going to be found in observing it.
In my marketing role I am committed to getting emotionally resonant stories out to the right customer at the right time—that perfect marriage of art and science. As a leader, you are also a storyteller, to your team and to the broader organization. The key is to tell the story in a way that everybody in the organization can absorb it, believe it, and live it, and think about how their work contributes to that goal.