This text was initially printed on Ladies in Retail Management Circle, sister model of Complete Retail.
We’re thrilled to characteristic a Q&A with Eileen Mahoney, the chief vp and chief data officer of PVH, the dad or mum firm of main trend manufacturers similar to Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, and others, within the Interior Circle this week. Mahoney discusses how she helped PVH pivot through the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail tech tendencies she’s watching carefully, how she feels about being a girl in a male-dominated subject, and the way she’s working to get extra girls into retail expertise management.
Interior Circle: Please inform us about your profession, and your present function at PVH. What departments do you oversee there?
Eileen Mahoney: I’ve been on the IT aspect of retail for over 30 years now. At present, I’m the chief vp and chief data officer of PVH, liable for creating the strategic course of PVH’s expertise and programs options, enterprise course of, in addition to challenge and portfolio administration. I oversee the corporate’s North America, South America and Asia IT areas, in addition to PVH’s international community and infrastructure. Whereas at PVH, I’ve developed key partnerships with our strategic expertise companions and am a member of JDA’s Buyer Advisory Board, in addition to SAP’s Shopper Merchandise and Trend Councils. I joined PVH in September 2008 as group vp of retail data and expertise, specializing in increasing PVH’s retail IT programs platform. I used to be promoted to senior vp in Could 2012. Previous to becoming a member of PVH, I used to be chief data officer at Edison Studying, a global training service supplier. I started my profession in retail at Macy’s, spending 10 years in numerous IT positions throughout the corporate.
IC: Please inform us some methods you set into place when the COVID-19 pandemic hit final yr. Are you able to describe the way you reimagined your enterprise mannequin?
EM: When brick-and-mortar retail shops shut down, we first evaluated our personnel and began to construct cross-functional groups based mostly on sure skillsets, disregarding who experiences into whom. We targeted on the uncooked skillsets individuals had and thought, “OK, the place else can this individual contribute? What departments will profit most from this individual’s expertise?” For instance, we took somebody in provide chain and moved them to assist with e-commerce to offer a contemporary perspective and new skillset. We discovered that this unlocked individuals’s creativity and that individuals actually wished to assist and contribute throughout this tough time. This made us understand we shouldn’t give attention to strict reporting constructions and as a substitute have to give attention to how we are able to greatest leverage our individuals and sources, regardless of how they’d historically be used.
Secondly, we appeared on the completely different tasks we had been engaged on to find out that are serving to PVH transfer the needle to ship good outcomes, and which aren’t. We continued to construct out tasks that had been serving to us progress, adjusting them to the present setting, and tabled those who wouldn’t assist us get by means of this difficult time.
Lastly, we recognized our North Star — the place we wished to get to — and began to construct a highway map on how you can get there. We broke it down into the incremental steps we wanted to take to get there. This additionally helped us establish our priorities — nothing like an excellent disaster to assist reprioritize and reset your focus. Our enterprise companions performed a key function in serving to establish tendencies and greatest practices to assist readjust our method to realize our objectives, and in the long run, we got here out with a wholesome method on how you can construct our technique for the long run.
Moreover, PVH could be very targeted on company social accountability, so all through the method we had been very diligent in ensuring our COVID-19 plans aligned with and didn’t compromise our company social accountability. We requested questions like, “Will this plan assist scale back our carbon footprint? The place are we seeing extra supplies or waste? How can we greatest make the most of this set of individuals?”
IC: Additionally, I perceive that you simply had been capable of enhance your foundational digital infrastructure to assist excessive site visitors quantity, growing e-commerce by means of PVH’s straight operated digital companies by 87 %. How had been you ready to do this?
EM: Cyber Monday and Black Friday had been main impetuses for us to start out enhancing our e-commerce plans. In retail, you have to be ready for these holidays to efficiently deal with the site visitors and transactions that happen in these 24-hour home windows. The tough factor about on-line is that you simply by no means know when somebody needs to buy — it might be late evening, early morning, each time. So, we needed to construct the suitable kind of web site that might deal with completely different volumes of transactions and keep excessive velocity. Because of this, Black Friday 2019 was our busiest and most profitable as a result of we had spent the time constructing out the most effective web site potential, from a backend perspective. From there, we continued to make incremental tech enhancements. These enhancements majorly enabled e-commerce as a result of it turned extra seamless, sooner and throughout a extra enhanced expertise.
IC: Are you able to speak about a number of retail tech tendencies you’re watching carefully proper now that you simply imagine could have a huge impact in 2021?
EM: Shopper expertise is vital. Not having the ability to go into shops has disadvantaged individuals of that augmented expertise, the place you get to see issues in actual life and take a look at issues on. Augmented actuality experiences would assist resolve this, permitting clients to just about attempt on garments. Digital try-on and fittings have been completed earlier than, however not at a broader scale. Hopefully, because the expertise develops, customers will begin to develop an appreciation for it and it begins to catch on. This is identical even for in-store experiences. If individuals need contactless, they will just about attempt on as properly. If this does catch on, we’ll begin seeing extra artistic buyer experiences pop up. Will probably be about how augmented actuality can create the most effective buyer expertise potential.
IC: How would you describe your management type? Has it modified a lot, if in any respect, through the pandemic?
EM: Anyone who works for me is aware of I’m powerful, however particularly reasonable. I’ve very excessive expectations and work properly with my groups to assist them develop their expertise, private management and careers. In the course of the pandemic, it’s been essential to melt a bit extra. This can be a tough time and everyone seems to be feeling the impacts. I’ve been targeted on checking in additional with individuals, having espresso chats and cocktail conversations to make sure that we’re all staying linked, regardless of being aside. We use Cisco Webex, and that has actually helped facilitate staying linked. We began using extra of the Webex instruments to do companywide lessons on matters and actions persons are curious about, similar to yoga, French, whiskey — enjoyable actions that have interaction our workers in order that they nonetheless really feel like co-workers.
IC: I’d love to speak about the truth that you’re a feminine CIO. Why did you resolve to pursue a profession in expertise, and what are a few of your secrets and techniques to success?
EM: I’ve wished to enter expertise since highschool, and by no means thought it was that uncommon, till one among our steerage counselors advised me that profession wasn’t for girls and that I ought to contemplate turning into a trainer. That alone made me decided greater than ever to work in tech. In my school years, I noticed I used to be one of some girls in my tech lessons. Within the final 10 years to 12 years, I’ve began seeing extra girls, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a largely male-dominated sector, so I’m at all times excited to see a girl within the room.
Due to DE&I, we’ve began to satisfy different girls in tech and are speaking about how we arrived right here and the way we are able to make sure the highway is properly paved for different girls sooner or later. Once you’re one among few girls in a male-dominated room, it might probably generally be simple to compromise and attempt to be one of many guys with the intention to get a seat on the desk. I feel it’s crucial that you simply keep on with your weapons, regardless of perhaps being outnumbered. It’s essential to truly present up and be skilled, placing gender apart when it comes to your determination making. However it’s additionally essential to be sure to’re representing girls and displaying girls in management that you simply’re an asset.
IC: Are you able to speak about the way you’re serving to get extra girls into retail expertise positions? Are you doing something to extend the variety of girls in tech within the management pipeline?
EM: The truth that there are much less girls in tech immediately than there have been 10 years in the past is eye opening. After I began, I assumed extra girls would enter the business at a sooner tempo. I lately did a talking collection with Tempo College and began reaching out to younger girls of their first and second years to provide them early steerage — not on writing code or how you can be the subsequent Zuckerberg — however on making them conscious of the alternatives and how you can correctly put together for them. I emphasised to not be afraid to be the one one curious about a sure area. It’s additionally crucial for girls to know and see how they will steadiness and combine household life. Displaying them how and the place to prioritize will permit them to not compromise or sacrifice the issues which can be most essential to them, and can present them that they will have each a household and a sturdy profession.
I wish to spend extra time displaying girls that tech isn’t nearly STEM and coding. Immediately, there’s nothing that it doesn’t contact. There are such a lot of methods for girls to become involved, we simply have to provide girls the chance to have the expertise. I’m hoping extra girls will see this as a fantastic profession alternative for themselves.
IC: What are you most trying ahead to, personally and professionally, in 2021?
EM: I’m most trying ahead to creating the brand new regular. The environment has dramatically modified over the previous yr, and as soon as we’re again at work, again in shops, again in society, it’s going to vary once more — it’s not going to simply return to the way it was. Will probably be thrilling to see what the client procuring expertise will seem like in retail and the way we begin constructing that out on our finish. You don’t at all times have the chance in your profession to invent or develop a brand new working mannequin. It’s additionally thrilling to know that I can be a part of a staff that may develop what the brand new method of working can be in company workplaces, in partnerships with retail groups and the way we work with customers.
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