Celebrating International Women’s Day with Nordstrom Trunk Club’s Leaders
We’re so proud to celebrate the women who make our business what it is -- from our visionary leadership team, expert stylists and employees, to our incredible customers who trust us to make life's everyday moments special.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting four women on our leadership team. We asked about their careers, what inspires them, and what advice they would give to younger girls.
What woman's career inspires you and why?
Fanya Chandler, President: My mom worked in the NICU as a nurse for over 40 years, and I’m still inspired by her dedication and work ethic. She worked tirelessly with long days and lots of overtime to provide for our family. I admire how she did what she had to do to get the job done. My mom showed me what happens when you love what you do, the value of hard work, and a strong work ethic.
Maggie Mee, Head of Merchandising: We’re lucky that today there are so many inspiring women to look up to. I really admire Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s approach to her career as a working mother. I have a 15-month-old son and another baby on the way. She is honest about the challenges of working moms. I respect her candid nature and how she gives her whole self to her work and her family. My favorite quote of hers is “What would you do if you weren’t afraid.” It’s easy to continue in your comfort zone, but the magic really happens when you step out of it.
So many young women hit barriers in their careers and don't know what to do. Can you tell us about a challenging moment in your career? What did you do to overcome?
Meagan Colbenson, Vice President of Engineering: In a former role, I often felt frustrated that I was leading, working hard, and achieving great outcomes but still wasn’t “in the room where it happened”. It felt like I had to be part of the gentleman’s club to be involved in decision-making and have my ideas heard and recognized as my own. Looking back, I let it bother me and take up more mental energy than it should have.
When I hunkered down and focused on what I could control like building relationships across the organization, the quality of the solutions my teams and I were building, and speaking up when I was given opportunities, I was more sought after for my input and my teams received more recognition.
Fanya Chandler: I don’t believe that there are barriers. I think we encounter hurdles to help us grow in our careers. My dad always used to tell me that nothing good comes easy. Many have an expectation that things are supposed to go perfectly and when things don’t go to plan, it’s a total loss. Growth comes when we get over our hurdles, and our character emerges with how we approach the hurdle. These are the moments when we grow and get better.
Maggie Mee: After spending almost 10 years in Seattle, my husband and I made the difficult decision to move back home nearer to family in Chicago. I was dedicated to continuing with Nordstrom and wanted to support Nordstrom Trunk Club's merchandising team, but there wasn’t a role open. While I waited for an opportunity at Nordstrom Trunk Club, I worked on the floor at Nordstrom for three months. It was different from my prior roles, but it was a great learning experience. Plus, I felt even more connected to the customer. After a few months, a role was created at Nordstrom Trunk Club and I transitioned to working there. I’m grateful that my patience, perseverance, and commitment to what made the most sense for my family, brought me to this role today.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Fanya Chandler: Like so many young women, I struggled with confidence early in my career. I would tell my younger self, “You got this!” I’d remind myself that nothing good comes easy, and each challenge is a part of the journey. Appreciate each moment, and don’t feel such pressure to move so fast.
To build my confidence, I would remind myself that true confidence means you don’t have to have all the answers. It’s about being a lifelong learner. Embrace the moments where you might make a mistake, learn from it, and move on.
Megan Bernstein, Vice President of Marketing: Follow your dream and know you can achieve your goals! I’ve always had a passion for retail and shopping, but that’s not where I started my career. I’ve taken each role as an opportunity to learn and gather tools to succeed in my next role. Going from consumer packaged goods to business school to technology, my path to retail was anything but linear. I stayed focused on what I loved and what I wanted to learn. I’d encourage myself to take those leaps of faith and stay confident that my passions will lead me to where I want to go.
Meagan Colbenson: Don’t limit yourself to what you’re most comfortable doing. I’m generally risk-averse and prefer to stay in my comfort zone. I’ve grown most when I stepped (or was pushed) outside of that safe, familiar bubble. My younger self could have been bolder and taken more risks along the way that could have accelerated growth and learning. I believe joining Nordstrom Trunk Club was one of the best things to happen to my career. The environment encourages risk-taking and stepping outside of your lane to solve problems together.
The slogan for International Women's Day 2020 is "I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights." What does this mean to you and your career? How do you think Nordstrom Trunk Club has helped realize women's equality?
Fanya Chandler: I believe women need to share their voice and opinion and believe that they matter. We need to continue to make room for women to share their voices.
I’m proud that we are committed to women in leadership here. Our leadership team is balanced with women who excel in their fields and who embody leadership for their teams. I think about Meagan Colbenson who supports our engineering team and Rosella Blatt who supports our data science function. These women have risen up to roles that are not typically held by women and are extraordinary leaders.
Meagan Colbenson: This means a lot to me. As I have taken on more leadership, I realized that it isn’t enough to just be “good at my job”. I have been fortunate in my winding career journey to have had great mentors (both male and female) along the way. I feel a duty to pay it forward to women on my team, at my company and in my community.
In the past few years we’ve made great progress in improving gender equity at Nordstrom Trunk Club. We’ve made hiring women in tech roles a priority, and our talent acquisition team has done an incredible job supporting these efforts. We also remain focused on creating a work environment that supports diversity. We host unconscious bias training and have a working group focused on creating a culture of belonging and inclusion. We’re also committed to the next generation of talent and partner with organizations that provide opportunities for young women to shadow engineers and learn about the variety of career opportunities in technology.
What do you love most about working here?
Maggie Mee: I fell in love with retail because of the customer experience and styling. The confidence that a woman feels after leaving the fitting room is so inspiring. The fact that we get to make customers feel confident and happy every day is my favorite part about working at here. Plus, this organization is filled with creative, passionate, and motivated people that question status quo and focus on how to continuously improve the lives of our customers, through something that’s always fun, fashion!
Megan Bernstein: I love how great the business model is for customers. I’m confident we can continue to change how people get styled and drive more people to try our service. Plus, I’m blown away by my colleagues and the people who work here. Everyone passionately cares about the business, the brand, and taking care of our customer.
Meagan Colbenson: The people! We spend a lot of time and effort thinking about what makes our teams great and focus on protecting and improving that. The sense of collaboration and shared purpose here is incredible. There are so many smart minds to learn from regardless of job title.
When you need to feel strong and confident at work, what's your go-to style move?
Fanya Chandler: Heels! A great pair of heels does it all. They give you a powerful presence while also allowing you to feel feminine and elegant.
Maggie Mee: I love to focus on one statement item to complete my look, like a third piece (like a blazer), a pair or shoes, or a stand out dress. When I feel my best, I do my best.
Megan Bernstein: A great leather jacket! When I’m wearing a leather jacket, I feel powerful. I think it makes a different statement from other jacket types.