Hudson’s Bay Co.
In the job since: July 2006
Senior vice-president, information technology, Hudson’s Bay Co. (Hbc)
“There are two areas I’m focusing on. One is transforming the IS organization as it is, restructuring and organizing it into centres of excellence. That is a very big task and takes about two years to do. The second piece is some large programs, such as Precision Retailing, our store systems and our e-retail program. It’s probably a bigger work plan than we’ve taken on in a few years.
“We went private recently. We were acquired and we have a new owner. It has allowed me to make changes much more easily because the company is itself undergoing a lot of changes. I think we’re certainly not as short-minded as we’ve been in the past (and had to be because we were a public company). We get to think longer-term and more strategically. We want to be quick, we want to improve our speed-to-market, but some things take longer to do. Precision Retailing, for example, has about 11 different modules that we’re looking at. In the past, we struggled in trying to get that approved because the benefits were more long-term in coming. The new executive group looked at the project and realized it was what we have to do.”
Vice-president, corporate operations and e-business, Roots Canada Ltd.
“It was a great experience. You worked directly for the two owners there. There wasn’t a lot of structure. They wanted to grow, and getting the whole Olympics business certainly helped that. Part of my belief was, the technology there was very weak. Basically in the short timeframe I was there, we replaced everything: the store systems equipment, all the back office, and we put in new mechandizing, wholesale systems, financing systems, and then on top of that we layered the e-retail platform.”
“I actually only graduated high school. I did very well in high school, up to Grade 13, and then I took a lot of courses after that, but never did get my university degree. Everybody says I got my cum laude in life. I earned it through working.”
Hbc’s 2006 nominee for The Judy Project, an executive development program for women run by the U of T’s Rotman School of Business. “We talked about building complex networks, and how men seem to spend more time building those networks. We don’t spend the time going to evening functions or networking. Men build career plans and go after that next role, whereas most women earn that next role. They’re working really hard, their efforts are recognized and then someone comes to them or they see an opportunity, but they haven’t actually built the plan.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people about something they saw that I could be good at, and I kind of questioned it: Did I really have the background for it? And, in the end, within two or three months, I wondered why I questioned it. I guess what I’ve learned is, there’s certain skills you need in a leadership role and if you’ve got those skills, it really doesn’t matter what function you’re leading, you’ll be successful – especially if you’ve got interest in it and want to learn.”
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