Joelle Grunberg is a seasoned C-suite leader in the fashion industry as well as being a Women in Retail Leadership Circle member. Five years ago, Joelle picked up her entire life in France and moved to New York to take on the role of president and CEO of Lacoste North America and Central America. Currently she is an independent board director for Ecco USA, a leading footwear brand. We asked Joelle some rapid-fire questions so you can get to know her better.
1. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
“Bad Blood” from John Carreyrou, the fascinating story of Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scam.
2. What excites you most about retail?
Understanding the consumer. It’s amazing how things change so fast, and keeping up is a passion for me.
3. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
People whom I will learn from. I love getting to know new people and opening myself to new ways of thinking.
4. What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Sometimes it’s not only about being smart or talented, its also a lot about soft skills.
5. Where do you do your best thinking?
Resting on a Caribbean beach!
6. What women inspire you right now and why?
Angela Ahrendts, Michelle Gass, Mary Dillon, Valerie Hermann. All these women have incredible track records and are pushing the boundaries for women in retail and fashion.
7. When you’re traveling for work, what’s a must-pack item?
All my devices!
8. What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Sometimes the results of the work we put in every day aren’t there and we have to give it another try. But I can be quite relentless.
9. What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
Making an impact. Deciding on a Monday, implementing the next day and seeing results just after. That’s why retail can be so fulfilling.
10. What’s the best advice that’s ever been given to you?
Stay true to yourself and never compromise on your values.
11. What’s your favorite time of day to be productive?
The early morning.
12. What’s your favorite app?
LinkedIn to stay in touch and get the feed of what’s going on in the industry.
13. How do you decompress?
14. What barriers have you had to overcome in your career?
Clearly being a woman in a man’s world hasn’t been easy, and I often have had the sensation [that] I needed to do twice the amount of work and prove myself so much more to get there. That said, I never give up and have always been willing to run the extra mile. It pays off so much in the end.
15. What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?
Leverage the women already there and make sure you network as much as possible to get mentoring, support and accelerate your track. Don’t wait for things to come to you.
16. If you weren’t working in the retail industry, what do you think you’d be doing?
Working in hospitality. I love that business as a person and there are so many similarities with retail.
17. How would you describe your leadership style?
Very team oriented and result driven, with a tendency to go from helicopter view to deep dive all the time which can be surprising for some.