This fall, we announced the appointment of Shawn Outler to EVP, Chief Diversity Officer. Shawn was previously EVP, Licensed Businesses, Food Services, and Multicultural Initiatives. She has held various roles at Macy’s, leading pricing strategy, Macy’s wedding business and fashion forecasting – all with a strong strategic mindset.
Above all, Shawn has advocated for a Macy’s culture that reflects and celebrates the diversity of the customers and communities we serve.
In her new role, Shawn will work to ensure that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is threaded through all of our efforts as a company, and will serve alongside Jeff Gennette, Macy’s, Inc. Chairman and CEO, as Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Business Council – a group of leaders from all areas of Macy’s charged with ensuring that D&I work is fully integrated into the business.
We sat down with Shawn as she discussed how D&I influences the entire company culture – from our colleagues, to customers and the community. We learned more about what drives her as she begins to build a best-in-class D&I culture and her plans to engage every colleague at Macy’s, Inc.
I’m excited to bring my unique perspective to the role. With a background in merchandising, stores, licensed businesses and food services, I understand how D&I impacts the business from every angle – from our colleagues to our customers.
I am excited to leverage my experience to shape our culture, engage our colleagues and foster sustainable growth of the business, enterprise-wide.
The key components of a diverse workplace are employing, embracing and empowering each colleague to reach their full potential.
As Chief Diversity Officer, I will focus on embedding D&I into all aspects of our business, with an emphasis on the five key areas below:
D&I is critical to creating sustainable growth and will play an integral role in our Path to Growth strategy by bridging strategy and culture.
The role of the Diversity & Inclusion Business Council is to ensure that D&I is integrated in all aspects of the business.
In 2001, I became the first black divisional merchandise manager at Lord & Taylor.
In 2006, I was recruited by Macy’s and in 2011, in my role as GVP, multicultural business development, I created The Workshop at Macy’s – the first retail vendor development program of its kind geared towards minority and women-owned businesses.
And finally, a new chapter – becoming Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, at Macy’s, Inc.
Apart from The Workshop at Macy’s, my role as EVP, Licensed Businesses was extremely rewarding. In this role I was charged with identifying areas of opportunity to differentiate us in the marketplace. This resulted in our partnership with Finish Line and the expansion of BCBG.
Every year, the program has evolved, adding elements like the showcase, pop-up shop, new partners including Facebook and, this year, an e-commerce sitelet. I’d like to see the sitelet grow and become an integral part of our overall growth strategy.
My experience as a buyer taught to me be strategic, set goals and find innovative ways to drive business.
My parents, who are my guidepost and truly the happiest people I know. They moved to New York City from the south when they were very young and have always demonstrated hard work, integrity and an entrepreneurial spirit. My parents built their own businesses grounded in values, beliefs and putting the family first.
Apply the four M’s to your career strategy:
Apply to The Workshop at Macy's today! If you are ready to advance your business to the next phase of growth, then we invite you to learn from, and possibly partner, with us. Based in New York City, our free and exclusive vendor retail development program partners with minority and women-owned businesses to combine their savvy, ideas and artistry with the advice, experience and leadership only Macy’s can provide. Learn more and apply now through Jan. 27, 2019.