This summer, we welcomed a new Chief Financial Officer, Paula A. Price, to the Macy’s, Inc. family. Price worked mostly in the retail and consumer products industries for 30 years before becoming a full-time senior lecturer in the accounting and management unit at Harvard Business School. In her role at Macy’s, Inc., Paula leads the finance, accounting, investor relations and risk management functions.
We sat down with Paula to learn more about her passions – both personally and professionally – as well as her plans for Macy’s, Inc.
Businesses absolutely must pivot with the ever-evolving world of digital and mobility. This is clearest in retail where the customer demands flexibility every day.
I saw Macy’s making this pivot by reshaping retail on all channels. I strongly believe that the retailer of the future will master digital and technology while maintaining an engaging physical presence. Macy’s has all of these key elements, along with the leadership, willingness, and execution skills, to find the right balance between brick-and-mortar and ecommerce.
Finance plays an important role in this journey, from ensuring that the strategies we pursue have the right balance between risk and profit, to creating funding space for innovation. Ultimately, what excites me most about this role is being a part of retail at this unprecedented juncture with people I enjoy working with every day.
I believe in collaboration and sharing of ideas. The power of crowd-sourcing should not be underestimated, as I’ve seen it improve the quality of thinking and output time and again. My experience has been that the more different perspectives you welcome when tackling a complicated task, the better the ultimate solution. This is also why diversity is so important – the linkage between innovation and diversity is well-established.
My leadership style also includes encouraging others to share their ideas and modeling this behavior, balancing this with being a great listener. Ultimately, I aim to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their best ideas.
As a classic introvert, the three most important lessons that I constantly remind myself of are:
1. Build great relationships.
2. Build great relationships.
3. Build great relationships.
You do not find your voice; you develop it (by using it!).
Children don’t always have a say in the decisions that shape their personal circumstance, and may find themselves at a loss when it comes to improving it. Mentors can offer a much-needed way forward, sometimes simply by lending an ear.
Throughout life, everyone needs a hand at some point, and I believe that true leaders are willing to offer this. True leaders help others succeed. And the secret is: you get just as much out of these kinds of relationships as you give – if not more.
Big Brothers Big Sisters operates under the assumption that every child has the potential to succeed and thrive in life. This belief is consistent with my own and so I was honored to chair the Massachusetts affiliate.
Once I was quietly heading for the exit at a work cocktail party after being there for all of five minutes. My mentor saw me and cared enough to give me some tough advice that changed my trajectory. I synthesized it here:
It's great to join a team that has a robust strategy and plan in place. I'm dual-tracking, both working with the team on delivering the back half of 2018 and looking ahead as we build our plans for the future. It's an exciting time to be in retail and a great time to be at Macy's, Inc.