Meet Val Greer, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alliance Data, a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty and payment solutions, and one of our amazing partners. In this interview with the Inner Circle, Greer shares details about her role at Alliance Data, as well as her leadership style, the retail trends she’s closely tracking right now, how she supports and empowers women, and more!

Inner Circle: Let’s start by talking a bit about your company, Alliance Data. When did you start working there and what types of services does Alliance Data offer?
Val Greer: I started at Alliance Data in June 2020 as chief commercial officer, and am now executive vice president and chief commercial officer. For more than 30 years, Alliance Data has provided branded, private-label, co-brand and commercial credit card programs, with deep roots in the retail, marketing and loyalty space. Recently, we acquired Bread, a fintech with a leading edge digital platform that offers buy now, pay later services and installment loans. This acquisition expanded our product suite and payment solutions so that we can more fully capitalize on digital trends and offer products that appeal to all shoppers, from Generation Z and millennials to baby boomers. Our robust suite of products, paired with our unmatched data and analytics capabilities, allow retailers and merchants to provide simple, tech-forward payment solutions for their customers that improve conversion rates, average order value and loyalty.

IC: Can you discuss your new position as executive vice president and chief commercial officer? What are you tasked with in this role?
VG: I oversee the Commercial organization at Alliance Data, which is responsible for ensuring that we’re continually growing, evolving and profiting as a business. The Commercial organization is tasked with attracting and retaining brand partners and customers, investing in products and capabilities that resonate with consumers, developing portfolio and consumer marketing strategies, and creating and delivering frictionless customer experiences across channels that drive sales, engagement and loyalty.

Alliance Data is in the midst of a business transformation, and I’m proud to spearhead a number of initiatives that will ultimately translate to our broader goals and strategic vision.

IC: What do you love about the role?
VG: I’m incredibly lucky in my role that I oversee a variety of teams and can work cross-functionally across the business. From client partnerships to marketing and the digital strategy and experience team, I love the collaboration that my role allows. It also means a great deal to me — and something I don’t take for granted — that my actions and decisions directly impact the business and its transformation. We’ve accomplished a great deal in the past year, and I’m energized and focused on what’s to come.

IC: What are some retail trends you’re tracking right now?
VG: The pandemic accelerated e-commerce at a rapid pace and retailers must adapt to meet their customers where they are and extend their products across channels. Consumers expect convenience and choice across the customer shopping journey, and that includes payments. Retailers and merchants must offer a variety of payment products, and through the use of data provide relevant, personalized offers to meet the needs of their different customers. Otherwise, they risk losing valuable sales at checkout.

IC: How would you describe your leadership style?
VG: I hold myself accountable, and I expect the same from my team. We’re in the midst of a high-change, high-growth chapter of our business story, and I always believe that you should lead by example. I would say that I have a transformational leadership style, and look to inspire through effective communication and collaboration. I think part of being a good leader is being able to adapt to specific situations and the needs of the team.

IC: What do you look for when hiring team members?
VG: We have an incredible mix of talent at Alliance Data. As we’ve grown, we’ve added new leaders and a talented, innovative Bread team, but we also have seasoned associates who have seen Alliance Data through its changes and challenges. I think that’s important when building a team — to have a variety of skills, experience and perspectives.

When I’m hiring, there’s so much that a resume doesn’t tell you. I look for individuals who have proven themselves in their respective fields, but who are also curious, adaptable and fiercely passionate. Someone who collaborates, is effective in a team environment, and invests time and effort in developing their people. I look for the people who are self-aware and are constantly growing and evolving.

IC: How are you motivating your teams right now, especially with so much uncertainty in the world?
VG: I joined Alliance Data amid a pandemic and at a pivotal time for the company. To me, communication is imperative to success regardless of where we’re working. I make a point to keep lines of communication open with my team and build connections wherever I can, whether that be by having cameras on in a meeting or sharing good feedback. The celebration of wins is so important. I have a diverse team, and I always want to ensure that everyone understands their piece of the bigger picture, but is also recognized for good work. When you enjoy and feel validated by your work, it creates opportunities, and I want Alliance Data to be a place of opportunity for my team.

IC: I know you’re passionate about empowering women, and that you’re a supporter of Plan International and Ruling Our Experiences (ROX). Can you tell us about these initiatives and why they’re important to you?
VG: Plan International works to advance children’s rights and equality for girls globally, and ROX is the national nonprofit leader in programming, research and education focused on girls. Equality and resources for women and girls is something that I’m personally passionate about. I’m a first-generation college graduate, and I credit the strong, independent women in my life for providing the help, support, work ethic and passion for learning that has helped me in my career and allowed me the choice of a career. While I enjoy working, I think it’s important for women to support other women in their personal life choices.

IC: Can you talk about a mentor that has had a lasting impact on your professional life?
VG: I was lucky enough early on in my career to have had a manager who became a mentor and who showed me by example and taught me the meaning of leadership. That included being aware of different leadership styles and the importance of developing your leadership skills as much as technical skills.

IC: What are you most looking forward to, personally and professionally, as we round out 2021?
VG: Since I joined Alliance Data, we’ve worked incredibly hard to transform our business and broaden the narrative of who we are. There was a lot of work to do to recover from the effects of COVID-19, but we’re well on our way to profitable, long-term growth, and I’m very excited to capitalize on our strategic investments and initiatives in 2021.

Personally, I’m looking forward to connecting and reconnecting in person with family, friends and colleagues.