Let’s start out with what a Chief Merchandising Officer is and does for a company:
“Chief merchandising officers oversee their company’s buying activities and develop strategies to make the most informed purchasing plans. These head executives on crunchbase.com make purchasing decisions for a company, including determining product availability, demand, market trends and pricing. (per information provided at Study.com)
General Education and Requirements:
“Chief merchandising officers generally hold at least a bachelor’s degree. A focus on business classes, such as marketing, accounting and finance, should give a candidate the knowledge to gain an entry-level position in merchandising and purchasing. Additional college coursework in retail management, merchandising and consumer behavior research might also provide helpful insight into the industry.” (per information provided by Study.com)
The top salaries are usually around $224,000 a year with the median salaries being around $103,000 a year. (per information provided at Study.com)
Now that we know what a Chief Merchandising Officer is and does let’s take a look at how many women currently hold this position.
According to LinkedIn’s Top 22 Chief Merchandising Officer list, 5 out of 22 are women. That roughly averages out to be around 23% that are women.
With those kinds of numbers does it mean that your chances are very unlikely that if you are a business woman and you wanted to hold this position that you couldn’t? Not necessarily. In a field that is fairly dominated by men we think there are still many opportunities for women in this career.
Let’s take a look at a few of the women below who are currently holding or who have held this title and let’s see if they can be our lighthouses to show us the path to get to this position.
Lisa Laube: Currently the EVP and CMO at Floor and Decor
She graduated the University of Georgia with a BBA in Marketing. She then went to work for Macy’s as a buyer for about 8 ½ years. Where she was able to learn the ins and outs of the retail buying business. Then she moved on to the V.P. of Merchandising for Linens and Things for about 6 ½ years where she was able to get her first tastes of Merchandising. After her time at Linens and Things she moved over the Bath and Body Works as their V.P. of Merchandising where she was able to continue to grow and sharpen her skills at the executive level. After Bath and Body Works, Lisa went to Party City where she would hold the titles of Chief Merchandising Officer and President for close to 8 years. Currently today Lisa holds the title of EVP and CMO at Floor and Decor.
Susan McGalla: Currently the Director of Strategic Planning and Growth for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and also the Founder of P3 Executive Consulting.
She graduated from Mount Union College with a BA in Business and Marketing. She was the President and Chief Merchandising Officer for American Eagle Outfitters for 15 years. Where she learned to hone her business and merchandising skills. She took American Eagle from $340 million to over $3 billion during her tenure with the company. Also, she help American Eagle expand during her tenure to include over 1,000 stores, 28,000 employees, and over 4 major brands. After leaving American Eagle, Susan went on to be one of retail industries leading consultants, a CEO and Founder of P3 Executive Consulting, and most recently she is now working with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Shefali Khanna: Currently Co-Founder and Chief Merchandising Officer for Dailylook.com
She graduated from the Apeejay Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi, India with a degree in Fashion Design, and also from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in Fashion Merchandising Management. She started out as an Associate Merchandiser at the Federated-MMG in New York, where she analyzed women’s plus size private label. This label had an annual sales of $200,000,000 across all of the federated stores. After Federated-MMG she went on to Macy’s as a buyer for the Impulse department where they were responsible for roughly $75,000,000 in annual sales. After leaving Macy’s she was a Director of Merchandising for Gap, Old Navy, and Lucky Brand Jeans where she was over the girls and women’s retail business for each of these companies. After leaving Lucky Brand Jeans Shefali went on to be the V.P. of Women’s Merchandising for Pacific Sunwear. While she was at Pacific she led the women’s merchandising team, and was responsible for all the core, outlet, and e-commerce channels and drove the business to $400,000,000 in sales revenue in only 1 year. Upon leaving Pacific Sunwear Shefali Co-Founded and became the Chief Merchandising Officer for the DailyLook.com where she is still working today.
As you can see from the women that we have chosen to be our lighthouses in this article their paths are varied and different in many ways, but each had the goal to be a Chief Merchandising Officer, and they all achieved their goal.
If this is your dream, if this is what you really want to do in life, then we hope that the 3 women we have showcased here for you in this article will give you the insight, direction, and motivation you need to help you achieve your goals.