Earlier this year, Women in Retail Leadership Circle released its 10th annual Top Women in Retail issue. This annual resource features a who’s who in the industry, spotlighting women who have helped their companies grow and thrive in a challenged retail environment (and continue to do so today in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis, which is having a profound impact on all forms of commerce). We profiled these women so you can learn from their wisdom and put their advice into practice within your own career. One of the questions we asked this year’s Top Women in Retail honorees was what’s the best advice they have ever received, and who gave them the advice. Perhaps never before has leadership, in all forms, been more important. Here’s a sampling of 2020 Top Women in Retail honorees’ responses:

  • Allison Samek, CEO, Fred Segal: When I was deciding to take the Fred Segal role, my husband told me to really think about what is the downside to trying something new — usually there isn’t one. Taking a risk almost always pays off.
  • Carla Vernón, President of Natural and Organic Operating Unit, General Mills: A minister once told me that forgiveness isn’t something you give to others; it’s something you must commit to for yourself.
  • Vivian Weng, Senior Vice President, Digital and E-Commerce, Anastasia Beverly Hills: My father always told me, “Your first job in life is to find your passion. Once you find what you love to do, it will become easy to build a career.” Those words of advice have guided me throughout my professional journey. I credit him for why I love going to work every day.
  • Elizabeth Allison, Chief Transformation Officer, Neiman Marcus Group: The best advice I ever received was from Ken Hicks, former president of J.C. Penney, who I worked for when I was senior vice president of Sephora. Ken is a leader of incredible integrity. He “walks the walk and talks the talk.” He said, “If you don’t want your mother to read what you said (or emailed) on the front page of the Dallas Morning News, don’t say it.” That really is a good litmus test when faced with difficult conversations or decisions.
  • Wanda Ma, Senior Vice President, Technology, Sephora: A favorite saying of a manager that I worked for was, “another day of victory.” That really stuck with me. Every day brings some form of accomplishment, so I learned to focus on what went well and not what didn’t go well. I always look forward to another day ahead — especially when I had a bad day!

To learn about the best advice all of the 2020 Top Women in Retail honorees have received, download Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s 2020 Top Women in Retail issue. If you’re a WIRLC member, you automatically have access to the resource here.