Women in Retail Leadership Circle (WIRLC) and its sister publication, Total Retail, are proud to present its eighth annual list of the Top Women in Retail. This year’s list features a who’s who of top female executives in the retail industry. Below, a select group of honorees share their answers to the question, “What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?” You can download the entire Top Women in Retail 2018 list here

“The biggest challenge and opportunity in my career has been at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. This company and its namesake brand are a quintessential part of American pop culture, and if you look back over its 125-year history, A&F has always been an innovator and disruptor in the retail industry. Joining the team as Hollister brand president, and subsequently accepting the role of CEO, are not challenges I accepted lightly. There’s a huge sense of personal responsibility for protecting and building on the amazing heritage of this company and leading the team here.” — Fran Horowitz, Chief Executive Officer, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

“As a store manager, I had the challenge of leading one of our largest stores through a transformative remodel. Not only did the significant remodel displace our product, fixtures and disturb the environment for a period of time, it was also unsettling to our team, as they had to operate in a different way than usual. Keeping our team focused on delivering the best experience for customers during a time of great change and multiple variables was definitely a challenge, but it also gave us license to think about things differently and to adapt quickly. As a result, I learned an entirely different sense of appreciation for my team and our customers.” — Shea Jensen, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, Nordstrom

“Many years ago, I took what some might think of as a step back in my career by taking a less-defined role to work with a team I truly believed in. It was the best thing I could have done. It allowed me to broaden my experience, which long term allowed me to have a broader role. It taught me to always balance short- and long-term goals. What seems like a step back in the moment might end up proving to be better in the long run. If I hadn’t taken that leap of faith earlier in my career, I would have never built the relationships with my co-founders that ultimately led to us to launch M.Gemi.” — Cheryl Kaplan, President, M.Gemi

“Thinking I could do it all. Eventually, you realize that making choices about where and how you spend your time is a big part of what defines you as a person and professional. Assuming you’ll never have to make trade-offs is polite fiction.” — Liza Landsman, President, Jet.com