Nicole Mason is the founder of One Mason Lane, a marketing consulting firm, and the former director of product marketing and innovation at Macy’s. At Macy’s, she was responsible for the development and implementation of an integrated marketing strategy rooted in acquisition and retention specifically for Macy’s Labs innovation efforts. Nicole is also a Women in Retail Leadership Circle member! We asked her a series of questions so you can get to know her better.
- What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
“Minority Leader” by Stacey Abrams. Abrams is the epitome of excellence, focus and, simply put, getting the job done. This book is an excellent resource for professionals who want to successfully mitigate obstacles and improve their leadership abilities. She argues that knowing your own passion is the key to success, regardless of scale or target.
- What’s a tip you have for productively leading a team while working from home?
Communication with your team is essential during this time. It’s important to understand what challenges your teams are experiencing during this time so that you can offer flexible options, adjustments or special accommodations to meet their needs in order for them to be productive and engaged. This of course comes with the caveat that responsibilities must be handled and deliverables are met.
- What’s a mistake you made early on in your career?
At the beginning of my career, I led a digital innovation project where I was the subject matter expert. I allowed a very vocal senior leader to downplay my execution concerns, which ended up happening. From that moment forward, I never allowed myself to get intimidated when defending my logic or rationale. Even if my voice shakes, I say what needs to be said. After all, I’m the subject matter expert.
- What’s the toughest part of being in charge?
Not being able to satisfy everyone. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. However, it’s important that they understand the rationale and how my decision aligns with the overall vision and goals for the company.
- What’s the best way you motivate team members?
It’s my experience that my teams have been most motivated when they feel that I listen to them, empower them, and support them. This is coupled with understanding their strengths and opportunities for growth, and providing them with the tools, resources and opportunities to grow and thrive in their roles.
- What woman inspires you right now and why?
I’m very inspired by Stacey Abrams. She embodies excellence, she does the work, and she stays focused.
- What are you looking forward to the most for retail in 2021?
I’m looking forward to seeing how retailers find innovative solutions to reimagine the in-store product discovery process. Digital experiences will continue to evolve, however, customers need innovative and experiential ways to discover and engage with products.
- What’s one thing you look for when interviewing a potential job candidate?
I’m an innovator and visionary. I particularly want to understand how they think through problem solving. It’s important that they’re strategic , however, and not limited by perceived constraints or historical limitations.
- What’s something that you learned about yourself in the past year?
Routines are important, and being selfish with how I manage my time is critical for self-care.
- What’s your favorite podcast?
The Redefining Wealth Podcast with Patrice Washington.
- What values are most important to you as a leader?
Integrity, influence, and vision.
- What’s the most important thing people should know about you?
As a visionary, it’s important to be decisive and unafraid to navigate through uncertainty. I confidently thrive in this area.
- What’s one habit you adopted while working from home that you’d like to keep with you as you return to the office?
Not apologizing when life happens or collides with work.
- How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?
I’m a visionary who is decisive and unafraid to travel uncharted lands to bring innovative strategies to life.
- What’s your favorite app?
Voxer. It’s a voice and text messaging app that I use daily to correspond with clients, family and friends.
- What do you do to recharge?
Sleep and binge-watch shows on Netflix.
- What’s your biggest accomplishment?
I successfully led a corporate initiative for a Fortune 200 company where I exceeded all of my target plans. Macy’s mobile app was the lowest-performing channel with the highest growth opportunity. Customers knew Macy’s had an app, however, they were unclear of the value and benefits of it. I successfully led the development and implementation of Macy’s mobile app growth marketing strategy rooted in increasing awareness, acquisition and retention. These efforts resulted in a 4.8 App Store rating, download acquisition exceeded plan by 43 percent, and monthly active users exceeded plan by 25 percent.
- What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Be bold. Do not shrink. Become a “rock star” at influencing and collaborating, and always deliver.
- What gets you up in the morning?
I’m clear that I stand on the shoulders of women in business who paved the way for me to be the marketing executive I am today successfully serving Fortune 500 companies. It’s my responsibility to show up each day representing those who look like me and pave new roads for those coming behind me.
- How would you describe your leadership style?
I’m an educator and developer. I’m passionate about investing in my team to grow them professionally to be marketing rock stars. I also thrive at influencing, collaborating and navigating uncharted land.