How do you provide focus to a 100-year-old company? Diane Sullivan set out to answer that question in 2011 when she was named CEO of Caleres, a global footwear company with a diverse portfolio of brands.
Having been named President in 2004 and COO in 2006, Sullivan was already a seasoned executive within the footwear industry. With this experience, she successfully led Caleres (formerly Brown Shoe) through a name – and identity – change that was symbolic of the company’s shift under her leadership.
We were honored to have Diane Sullivan share her leadership experience with the Defining Moments class.
As a kid, Diane grew up “earning it every day,” a mentality that still serves her well. As CEO, this manifests itself in a leader who does not shy away from hard work and who also has a willingness to ask questions and to listen.
Diane’s curiosity has been vital to Caleres’ sustained success in the fast-paced shoe industry. With the explosive growth of e-commerce, especially mobile purchasing, a dynamic leader who understands how to deliver the product in light of shifting consumer behavior is of paramount importance.
In order to achieve success in this industry, Diane also recognizes the importance of collaboration with all stakeholders. Firmly believing that, it is perhaps not surprising that such a collaborative approach has coincided with Caleres reporting very strong performance across several metrics during her tenure as CEO.
The biggest takeaways I have learned from Diane is valuing teamwork, having curiosity, and growing through adversity can help you be successful.
Guest Blogger: Danny Henry, MBA’17