Here at Old Navy, we know that sharing unique perspectives can be empowering, for both the giver and the receiver. Career growth means something different for each of us, and luckily, we have a talented team, with incredible experiences, willing to get a little personal.
For Women’s History Month, we caught up with our base and asked leaders across the company one simple yet telling question: Reflecting on your career journey, what is the most important piece of career advice you’d offer to other women? The answers come from women who sit on different teams and hold varying roles, and whether just starting out or further along in their careers, their words remind us that we all belong here, and that speaking with candor truly makes all the difference.
No answer is the same – and that’s what we love most. Read on for some wisdom...you might want to take notes!
Meg Monds, Sr. Zone Field Finance Manager
“I’ve worked with so many amazing women throughout my career and I’ve found that so many women set very high expectations for themselves and did not want to be judged for making mistakes, which made them appear closed off, hesitant to share and show no emotion, all in order to succeed as a woman. The most important advice I would give is to show people who you really are and know that vulnerability makes you a stronger, more approachable leader. Don’t be afraid to speak up and be kind to yourself. I think many women second guess ourselves to the extent where we do not share our thoughts. Find ways to build your confidence, whether it’s through practice or preparation. And give yourself grace, as we do for so many people in our own lives.”
Michelle Reiter, Head of IM Strategy & Operations
“Two things - First, don't ever be afraid to lead with emotion. Leading with care and compassion is critical to driving engagement and building followership. Even emotions like frustration have a time and a place in your leadership journey. Second, having uncertainty and wavering levels of confidence is completely normal and will never go away. Take note of your accomplishments and learnings and reflect on those to remind yourself to trust your instincts. Growing in your career doesn't mean you stop getting uncomfortable - it means you get more comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Monica Davila, SVP HR
“As I progress in my career, I’ve realized that as leaders we leave a legacy with the organizations, teams, and human beings that we have the privilege to lead. My advice is that we never forget where we came from...being humble, authentic and empathetic allows us to build connections with people, regardless of where they are in their own journeys. We model the behaviors we want to see in our companies, the behaviors that build our culture.”
Edith Hernandez, Store Product Operations Lead
“The most important advice I'd like to offer is to never eliminate yourself from any opportunities. Don't tell yourself you can't do something, say 'yes' to new things, especially when they feel out of your comfort zone. A 'yes' can really make all the difference!”
Crystal Escamilla, Sr. Director, Digital Content Operations
“Envision yourself winning. Have a big presentation? Leading a meeting? Or maybe you’re trying to influence a big decision to your boss or group of people…anyone will tell you that preparation is key, but you can take it to the next level by visualizing yourself being successful in a particular setting. Picture yourself speaking with confidence, practice a poised reaction when asked difficult questions, imagine your recipients responding with enthusiasm. Play it all out in your mind and envision the outcome you want - it does wonders for your confidence!”
Cynthia Lee, Old Navy Associate Manager, Strategy
“Do not be afraid to voice your opinion!”
Ali Wong, Sr. Director Men's Design
“Activate your voice, engage in your authentic self, and be open to feedback. Committing to this journey will help you grow and nourish others around you.”
Lauren Gaddy, Old Navy Regional Director, Carolinas
“Too tough for only one! I have two... 1.Stay focused on who you are and not what you think others expect you to be! 2. Be audacious and share your aspirations!”
Abigail Thompson, Art Director
“Believe in yourself and be your own best advocate; seek out the opportunities that you desire and partner with other women who support and challenge you.”
Donna Dadoy, Regional HR Manager
“Whenever you have self-doubt, remember you are in your position for a reason. You belong at the table and know that what you bring to it adds value.”
Tara Margate, Director, Inventory Management
1. Don’t let self-doubt guide you – know and trust your knowledge and abilities.
2. Take advantage of opportunities to build your self-knowledge, skills, and network, including finding a mentor.
3. Build a genuine connection with your team and the people you work with - work is not always easy so it helps being with people you care about that also care about you.
Danielle Velasquez, Sr. Graphic Designer
“First and foremost, show up authentically! I believe we as women have so much power in our abilities to adapt and navigate life. Our shared experience of being female is a superpower! But that can also cause us to be rightfully protective. I believe showing our vulnerability appropriately can lead to so much growth in our work relationships. Don't be afraid to not know and ask questions. Don't be afraid to say no if your workload is not attainable. Or ask for more, if you want more challenges to grow.”
Faith Reeves, Assistant Designer
“The most valuable piece of advice that I can give is to be fearless. It’s easier said than done, but it’s all about taking risks and not being afraid to fail or make a mistake. I’ve learned over my time at the company that I shouldn’t strive for perfection but for growth. Growth can sometimes be uncomfortable, and those experiences push you to become your most fearless self. Never being afraid of the outcome but knowing you did your best. Also knowing you can always go back and try it again if you do fail. For me the most fearless version has been the best version of myself during my journey!”
Alicia Koenig, Sr. Merchandiser
Don't be afraid to try something new (taking on a new business or an entirely different job function) Trust your gut and be present when new opportunities arise! Doing the uncomfortable things will be your greatest teacher and create clarity for your own individual career path.
Also, remind yourself to never compare because we truly all have our own unique paths!
Christina Miyamoto, Director Inventory Management
One team one dream. Inspire, motivate, and lead by example. It's important not to drive the conversation but strategically give input. Make sure to bring people along the journey!
Don’t miss out on the latest Gap Inc. news! Sign-up to get email alerts about news on Gap Inc. and our brands.