Tricia Smith is the executive vice president and general merchandising manager for women’s apparel at Nordstrom, where she is one of the founding members of the women’s leadership resource group. She began her career at the retailer as a salesgirl when she was still a teenager.
The best career advice I’ve ever received is to find your “truth tellers.” There will always be plenty of people to agree with you—but those that can challenge your perceptions and show you ways of new thinking are invaluable.
In my work I empower women by providing the right opportunities for ambitious leaders to grow and be successful. I am committed to connecting women in a community where they can share their stories and support each other.
The books that have had the biggest impact on me are generally books by successful women who have taken on big challenges, like Condoleezza Rice and Sheryl Sandberg. It was a particular highlight for me to hear Condoleezza Rice speak while attending the Stanford Executive Education program after having read her book No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington. Her real-life stories about the challenges she faced while in the White House were both humbling and inspiring.
Working in fashion has taught me that you have to commit yourself to being open, nimble, and curious.
The woman who changed my life is my mother. She was an entrepreneur who started as a receptionist and built an incredibly successful insurance brokerage business. Whether she was taking up running and participating in a half marathon at the age 65 or holding her own as one of the first women in a heavily male dominated industry in the 1970s and ’80s, she does not see barriers, only opportunities.
My management style is to empower my teams to have courage and take risks. I believe
hiring the right people and supporting their growth should be one of the most rewarding accomplishments in your career.
The thing I’ve achieved that I am most proud of is having raised two incredible children with my husband of 19 years.
You know when you can stay in a job long-term when you remain passionate about bringing innovative ideas forward, and can put yourself in a position to continue to learn, grow, and remain challenged.
The one thing I would like to say to every woman in the world is stay true to yourself and have the confidence to push yourself to try things you are uncomfortable with. Support other women on their own journeys, share your stories, and be honest about the challenges you face. It only helps to unite and empower a community of strong female leaders.