What does it mean to be a visionary leader? According to Mary van Praag, president of the Intimates Group at Chico’s FAS, which includes the Soma and TellTale brands, it starts with believing in yourself and your team, and helping people along the way.

“A visionary leader’s role is to inspire people towards a vision that they weren’t necessarily sure they could get to on their own,” said van Praag during an interview with Cristina Ceresoli, vice president of marketing at Soma and Women in Retail Leadership Circle Advisory Board member, at the Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s On the Road event in New York City last month. The idea, van Praag said, is to make sure your employees — regardless of how long they’ve been at the company — understand “that we are aligned on this vision and creating the pathways to get there. That can be very motivating.”

van Praag also noted that her leadership voice comes from an innate sense of figuring out how to do things differently. As a result, she often asks her team the following three questions:

  • What’s possible?
  • How are we going to measure success?
  • What’s in our way?

“If you go through that mind-set with yourself first, and then your team, I guarantee that you’re going to end up in really great place,” van Praag said.

To hear more from Cristina Ceresoli’s interview with Mary van Praag, WIRLC members can click here to watch the full interview from the 2019 On the Road: New York City event.

If you’re not a WIRLC member, click here to apply. WIRLC members receive many benefits, including access to premium content, networking opportunities with executive-level women, a discount to our annual Leadership Summit, and more. Join us today!