Despite the fact that COVID-19 has been the catalyst for the closures of thousands of retail stores across the nation, Herman Miller has bucked the trend and opened two concept stores — one in Los Angeles, one in New York City — this fall. This was a key topic that Debbie Propst, president, retail, Herman Miller, spoke about during a conversation with Jennifer DiPasquale, president and co-founder of Women in Retail Leadership Circle, during the November installment of the Women in Retail and Total Retail Virtual Exchange.

Herman Miller had planned to open these stores before the pandemic hit to capitalize on people who already worked from home or split their time between home and an office and wanted to use ergonomic seating to improve their health and wellness.

“I came in excited about the positioning of our ergonomic seating against a health and wellness strategy, and of course the pandemic has escalated that level of excitement,” Propst said. “So we actually sped up how quickly we deployed this concept so that we could take advantage of this very unique moment in time.”

During the wide-ranging discussion, Propst also spoke about her leadership style and how she’s able to get a new team on board with her ideas; how she personally stays motivated and motivates her team; her goals, both personally and professionally, for 2021; and her favorite ergonomic Herman Miller chair.

To watch the full interview with Debbie Propst from the November Women in Retail and Total Retail Virtual Exchange, as well as interviews with Ellen Kresky, global creative director for Ben & Jerry’s; Aaron Sanandres, co-founder and CEO of UNTUCKit; and Heidi Zak, co-founder and CEO of ThirdLove, click here.