Macy’s has always been at the forefront of innovation in merchandising. In this article series, we’re taking a look at five leaders who are helping to drive us forward on our Path to Growth.
We’re constantly getting faster and more flexible as we create a culture of empowerment and collaboration. A culture that led us to take a bold step – the creation of Macy’s Merchandising – which we announced in the fall of 2017. Led by Chief Merchandising Officer Jeff Kantor, this shift combined the talent and resources of our current merchandising, planning and private brands groups into one organization with a fresh approach to merchandising.
We now have five General Business Managers (GBM):
GBM Ready-to-Wear: Molly Langenstein
GBM Center Core: Stephen Moore
GBM Beauty: Nata Dvir
GBM Men’s and Kids: Mark Stocker
GBM Home: Patti Ongman
We caught up with each of these leaders for an update on the progress that’s been made so far, and to get a glimpse into their day-to-day. These are their Macy’s stories.
We sat down with Mark Stocker, GBM, Men’s and Kids, for a look at what it’s like to lead across not one, but two different categories.
Mark has been with the company for 13 years, but to him, it feels a lot shorter than that. “Every opportunity that I’ve had within the organization has been so uniquely different from the last, making it feel like it’s almost a new company,” he said.
Mark’s Macy’s Journey
strategic financial planning » My Macy’s » DPM » GPM » macys.com » GBM
There was a time when I thought I’d remain within strategic financial planning my entire career. It was what I wanted to do – until we created the My Macy’s localization initiative. At that time, the company took a risk by asking me to lead the initiative for the Home business.
It taught me the power of leadership and made me the leader that I am today. It opened my eyes to how you’re able to leverage large teams through communication and strategic visioning, and drive what’s right for the customer and what’s right for the business. I went from strategic financial planning where I talked to very few people, to communicating with more than 90 people regularly. These interactions broke me out of my comfort zone and had a profoundly positive impact on me.
Since then, I’ve strived to put myself in situations where I feel professionally uncomfortable. That’s helped me grow into the GBM role, and taught me the value of empowerment, putting decision making at the appropriate level within my organization and what a supportive leadership style can do. I think the results we’re seeing within Men’s and Kids right now is a good reflection of that leadership mentality.
When it comes to men’s fashion, we know that millennial men in particular, love Macy’s. Over the past three years of brand tracking, male consumers, and especially men ages 18-35, have shown higher levels of brand love and brand commitment than other consumer groups. They gave Macy’s high ratings in: “having the latest styles and fashions,” “best selection of brands and designers” and “carries the brands I want.”
I’ve had five to six different roles throughout my career at Macy’s, and that consistent exposure to new things keeps me engaged.
Every move I’ve made within the organization since the My Macy’s job has been life-changing for me professionally because it’s exposed me to things I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Each change was a result of people taking a risk on me in terms of what I can bring to the table – I didn’t always have all the experience they wanted, but management trusted me to bring a fresh perspective to the role.
Change in an organization as big as ours is hard. As a leader, it’s about finding the right balance.
I commit to a lot of communication early on when it comes to 1. defining priorities, 2. aligning those priorities with the North Star Strategy and 3. understanding how that translates to each of my teams based on what they’re working on.
At the end of the day, we’re here to serve the customer. How we develop strategies that ultimately satisfy the customer – that’s our number one priority.
Throwbacks are connecting in a major way. In the realm of sportswear, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Levis are all really resonating with our customer– and private brands are in that mix, too.
Durand Guion is our connection to Macy’s Fashion Office. He travels the world to develop trend forecasting and works to ensure that what we’re buying from the market and what we’re developing in private brands syncs up with the forecasts he’s putting together. I’m fortunate enough to be able to travel with Durand a few times a year. We visited Spain in late June and attended a Men’s fashion show in Berlin.
Through our partnership with Macy’s Fashion Office, we’re trying to secure a customer who’s out there discovering newness in fashion – and we’re ready to offer that in a big way.
Since launching, we’ve gained some great momentum. We went from 1,000 followers to 13,000 followers in the first week, and we’re continuing to engage more and more with that consumer.
I’m excited about the amount of change in retail, both from a competitive point of view, as well as internally. Between the leaders we’ve brought on and their fresh perspectives and our tenured colleagues’ insights, we will help push the organization forward. We have an unbelievable amount of untapped innovation within the organization and we are shifting our culture in a way that taps into that innovation in a very natural way.