Each year, RIS, a CGT sister publication, honors the top women in retail tech, saluting the female technologists blazing new trails and redefining what industry heroes look like.
The women honored in this year's list are deploying game-changing technology, leading and creating exceptional teams, and reimagining retail in the face of change. Here, we've highlighted three whose firms are also consumer goods companies.
In an industry that’s all about product, PVH CIO Eileen Mahoney is using technology to transform the fashion merchandise lifecycle — whether that’s design, assortment or increasing speed to market.
As leader of the global technology and process group and a PVH corporate officer, Mahoney develops the strategic direction for the company’s technology and platform solutions, business process and transformation, as well as portfolio management. She’s been with the company since 2008 and took the CIO helm in 2014.
Mahoney is a member of JDA’s Customer Advisory Board, Salesforce’s CIO and Retail Advisory Councils, SAP Consumer Products and Fashion Councils, and the founder of PVH’s Women’s BRG (Upward).
“I have been working in the retail technology space for over 30 years. In those 30 years, women have evolved into more leadership roles within the technology space, but we still have work to do in this area,” says Mahoney. “We need to continue to provide encouragement and opportunities for women to excel in what is still a very male-dominated discipline.”
Mahoney dedicated three years toward developing a go-to-market strategy and roadmap leveraging 3D design for product creation, digital assortment planning and selling tools. Her work transformed the product creation process into one that’s completely digitized, thereby reducing samples and increasing speed to market.
The initial pilot saw PVH’s Heritage sportswear team digitally design a spring capsule collection in just four days — and sell styles to a wholesaler without producing a single project sample.
Mahoney is certainly no stranger to retail tech leadership. When PVH acquired the Tommy Hilfiger brand in 2010 — and its accompanying 200-plus North American stores — she directed the integration of the region’s retail division into the PVH retail technology platform.
The nine-month-long integration and transformation provided the new business partners with an enterprise planning and allocation solution, complete retail ERP system and new POS platform, as well as a data warehouse platform for real-time reporting and analytics.
For now, her top-of-mind goals include continuing her work on simplifying PVH’s enterprise architecture, finishing digitizing the application portfolio, and providing end-to-end solutions to its business partners.
“Once I complete that, I can happily retire,” she says.
SVP, E-Commerce and Chief Customer Officer, Lands’ End
Sarah Rasmusen is the first to admit that there isn’t a retailer out there who’s not searching for the perfect pricing and promo strategy.
But as senior VP of e-commerce and chief customer officer for Lands’ End, she’s also pleased with the results her company has achieved — as well she should be. With more than two decades of digital strategy experience, Rasmusen leads Lands’ End’s e-commerce business for U.S. direct, international and Lands’ End Business Outfitters. She also chiefs the data analytics team and customer care operations.
While she’s led many successful product launches, her proudest project — serving as chief customer officer — is a constant work in progress.
“It’s not lost on me that no matter what cool tech development comes along, I must not lose sight that I’m now in charge of protecting Lands’ End’s most precious asset — its customers,” Rasmusen says.
Rasmusen and her team have been working tirelessly to evolve the company to meet today’s new type of consumer. When she first arrived at Lands’ End in 2017, the company’s mobile experience was far from advanced.
“Our mobile experience at the time was basically a catalog stuffed into a desktop website, stuffed down to a phone,” she says. “The last several years have meant a large investment in our mobile experience, being extremely mindful of the CX for our core customer. Continuing to refine and improve the mobile experience will continue to be a beacon for our product management, CX and IT teams.”
At times, getting her teams where they should be has required a level of assertiveness that other women in tech are likely familiar with. “Women have played leadership roles in retail for a long time, so female leaders are rarely ‘new news’ in our industry,” she says. “Breaking through on the tech side has been a little more challenging.
“There have been many, many times — and this still happens — where I have to stare down a tech partner and insist, ‘Yes, you’re talking to the right person and, no, I’m not going to ask our CIO to join this conversation for you make your point.’”
VP of Infrastructure and Chief Information Security Officer, Carter’s
Kemper Seay’s passion for delivering transformational projects was fostered early on by her career in consulting at Sapient during the dot-com boom. This passion would eventually lead her to the project she’s most proud of: bringing Carter’s and Oshkosh B’Gosh online with e-commerce for the first time.
“It is very rare that you get the privilege of bringing two 150-year-old, iconic American brands online for the first time,” Seay exclaims.
Following consulting, Seay went to work at The Home Depot where she ran a re-platform of the Homedepot.com website and order management system. She spent several years there, running the PMO (project management office) and a portion of the e-commerce business until, in 2009, she was hired by Carter’s to build their online presence.
For more than eight years Seay led cross functional teams, business, and technology to launch and ultimately run the rapid growth of Carters.com and Oshkosh.com.
“We picked best-in-class technology with Salesforce Commerce Cloud and IBM Sterling OMS to power a business that has skyrocketed since 2010,” she notes. “My favorite part of the journey has been that in addition to bringing the brands online came the ability to build world-class teams and their careers along the way.”
Seay rejoined Carter’s IT department three years ago to manage a large portion of the shared services team and has recently added the role of CISO to her resume. She notes that IT disciplines have vastly expanded over her career to include new areas of expertise, such as cyber security, library sciences, artificial intelligence, and data analytics.
As the disciplines have evolved, so too has the talent pool filling the roles.
“With this expansion in disciplines, and the need for more and more talent in our organizations, we are seeing more and more women in IT and, as an extension, in IT leadership positions,” says Seay. “This was evident when I was talking to my daughter this week about our security team, and I mentioned that we currently have an all-female leadership team.”