Leigha Gray Dunbar is director, category management at The Vitamin Shoppe. She has been in the retail industry for almost 20 years, and is about to celebrate her one-year anniversary as a Women in Retail Leadership Circle member! We asked Leigha some rapid-fire questions so you can get to know her better!
- What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Honestly, I haven’t read a book recently. However, my husband and I bought a book for my step-son titled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey, and this has really created great dialogue between us and him as he develops into a young adult.
- What’s a tip you have for productively leading a team while working remotely?Creating “separation time” from work. Working from home can be difficult, especially in a business like ours at The Vitamin Shoppe that addresses the current need state of our customers. Therefore, having that mental break to relax and recharge is very important.
- What’s a mistake you made early on in your career?
Not truly understanding the “why.” Meaning, when I first started in the retail industry in 2001, I asked questions to only solve my problem, but what I missed was the “why” behind the answer. Digging just a little more always gives you a better picture.
- What’s the toughest part of being in charge?
Though I may be the lead, we work as a collective team. I empower my team to drive their business, and I encourage, massage and support their ideas to help bring their vision to life. I wouldn’t say this is “tough” as we work together for the same end result.
- What’s the best way you motivate team members?
To support and empower them, have patience, and be transparent.
- What woman inspires you right now and why?
My mother. The last year has been really tough with my father’s passing, but she has truly shown how strong of a woman she is by continuously staying positive, supportive, and moving forward every day. She’s a strong black woman, and she’s the backbone for our family.
- Some experts feel that the COVID-19 pandemic may spark innovation across many industries. What’s something you’re looking forward to for the future of retail?
How brick-and-mortar companies, specifically ready-to-wear clothing companies, shift their in-store experience from having a lot of inventory to a showroom feel. Although we see online businesses growing, there are customers that need to interact with the product, and categories that drive that.
- What’s one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate?
- What’s something that you learned about yourself in 2020?
My ability to be resilient during this time of change.
- After the pandemic, where is somewhere you’d love to travel to?
I love to travel, so I will just pick up from where I left off. Next stop, Thailand!
- What is one habit you adopted while WFH that you’d like to keep with you as you return to the office?
Mid-day yoga break.
- How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?
I’m like a diamond – I’m authentic, unique, not perfect, but have a lot of charisma.
- What’s your favorite app?
I love my Peloton app! It’s all about health and wellness for me.
- What do you do to recharge?
I work out almost every morning. That sets the tone for my day.
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
I’m proud of a lot of things, and I always want more, so we shall see!
- What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Have a voice and a point of view.
- Who has left the most impact on your life?
My father. As I manage through life, I ask myself how my dad would handle it.
- How would you describe your leadership style?
Supportive, yet tough, but fair!