I started at XO Group Inc. in e-commerce, as a telecommuting employee living in New Hampshire. After five years with the company (and 18 years in retail), our CEO asked me to take over local sales, which was the company’s largest division, but was also the division that needed the most help. I was surprised because I had no background in sales, but after pondering leaving my comfort zone and the career I knew, I took a leap of faith and became the head of a division that was in turnaround mode.
When I first started, I just listened (I didn’t have much to say!). I realized quickly that some things didn’t make sense, people were locked in their ways and they needed a fresh perspective. With a neutral point of view, I was able to eradicate a lot of the old thinking and introduce a new point of view, always focusing on our customers and their needs. I also applied some of the tools and training from my retail background to this new role.
For the first year, I built a strong team to help me navigate this new territory; our primary focus was to deliver better products and improve the overall experience for our local vendors. I’ve now been in the job for two and a half years and feel like an expert. My business represents 50% of the company’s revenue and to this day my team still follows the mantra from day one – focus on more clients spending more and staying longer. We continue to use this in determining our future path and our roadmap.
Throughout my career, I have raised a family: I have four kids ages ranging from 14-years-old to nine months. I have a couple of ground rules that I live by: I never miss the first or last day of school; I never miss anyone’s birthday; I go on at least one class field trip with each child every school year.
I aim to be as successful as a mom, as I am as a businesswoman. I’m lucky to work at a company that values work-life balance and trusts I can coach my daughter’s soccer team and also prepare for our boardroom presentations later that night. My goal is not only to have people respect me for the job that I do, but also for the balance that I strike between my family and career.