Retail Realities: Navigating Through Madness

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2022 Women in Retail Leadership (WIRL) Summit.  This annual event brings together some of the smartest and most fun, highly talented ladies in the retail industry and allows us to network, engage, and learn from each other.

Retail Realities: Navigating Through Madness

Having never attended this particular event, I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it was up to me to make the most of the experience.  President & Co-Founder of Women in Retail Leadership Circle, Jennifer DiPasquale, and Co-Founder Melissa Campanelli have created an atmosphere of learning, casual networking, and inspiration.  On day one of the summit, I felt like I made friends for life.  It is amazing to be around other women leaders who share this retail world and all it comes with.

Over the three days, the agenda featured incredible women retail leaders who told their stories without sugarcoating their experiences.  These women were vulnerable, genuine, and funny.  They kept it real, which in my opinion is what makes this experience so unique.  There is no pretense.  Just women helping women.

Along with the incredible swag, wide variety of activities, beautiful accommodations, and wonderful meals, there were many significant takeaways.  Let me try and break down my top three and why they are important.

#1 Trust Your Gut

This one really hit home.  How many times have you questioned why you did something or why you did not?  Was it to please someone else or because there were outside influences that made you take a certain path that you second-guessed in the aftermath?  We have all been in similar circumstances. Usually, we reflect with, “I should have trusted my gut.”

Especially over the past two tumultuous years, many of us have deeply evaluated some elements of our lives and careers.  This introspection has prompted many people and companies to refocus and reprioritize.  You may be going through a similar exercise, either personally, professionally, or as a group exercise in your organization. It is important to realize that you indeed have the skills, knowledge, and maturity to make significant, impactful changes where warranted. Take a deep breath and trust your gut!

#2 Take Care of the Roots

It is easy to get caught up in all the newest shiny objects or latest social pressures.  Whether you’re talking about people, processes, or technology, the key to success is to always take care of the roots and maintain the security of the foundation on which you are building.   This tenet holds true for your personal and company values, a business function, as well as foundational technology.  Whatever the focus area, be sure to make it solid and stable enough to build on and firmly believe in.  If your roots are shallow, your ability to withstand the wind will be challenging.

#3 Be Insatiably Curious

Constant and consistent learning is the key to staying relevant, engaged, and credible.  I often catch myself getting caught up in the “I don’t have time to read that” mentality, but I’ve learned time and time again that making the time for continual learning is a necessity, not an option.  My advice is to always be prepared with small talk, current events, and a key topic you are passionate about, on top of staying up to date for your industry and profession.

Having insatiable curiosity can drive you to understand a different perspective or a new point of interest and motivate you to dig deeper.  Have you ever clicked a link in an article that took you to another link, then another?  Next thing you know you’ve been intrigued for an hour?  It is from insatiable curiosity that innovations and business transformation transpire.

As I think about our team at Parker Avery, insatiable curiosity is a skill and trait I want to continue to harness and foster.  Passion comes from learning and finding your differentiator.

So, there you have it, my top three takeaways from the 2022 Women in Retail Leadership Summit.  I can’t wait to attend next year’s event, but in the meantime, I plan to use what I’ve learned, cherish my new friendships, and focus on my top three.

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Amanda Astrologo, Partner

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Published On: May 10, 2022Categories: Amanda Astrologo, Events, Leadership, Retail