BA Mathematics, St. Olaf College
Senior Manager - Strategic Sourcing, Target Corporation
I started my career with Target Corporation fresh out of St. Olaf College with a mathematics and economics undergraduate degree. My degree, within a liberal arts environment, laid the ground work for a successful career. It taught me how to analyze situations, solve complex problems, encourage different points of view and leverage my talents. I entered the merchandising training program and spent the 1st 13 years of my career in the merchandising pyramid (buying, inventory management, forecasting/planning financials). I recently (2 years ago) moved into the Finance pyramid to lead a team of internal consultants specializing in Strategic Sourcing. Our vision is to optimize the procurement of goods and services to balance total cost of ownership and quality/service levels over time. Basically, my team consults with our internal non-retail buyers to help them make better financial decisions in their negotiations and vendor interactions. Below are some career development questions that are used internally by our Human Resources department. I felt they would shed some light Target's culture and on the role that math and a liberal arts degree have played in my career development.
Why did you initially decide to work at Target Corporation?
I actually interviewed with Anderson Consulting and Target on the same day. To be honest, the culture at Target seemed to better fit my personality. In hindsight, it was just a lucky decision.
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
The variety! I love the different people, industries and cultures I get to experience within Target. No day is ever the same. It truly is a liberal arts career.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Remembering what a great feeling it is to be in a fast paced, empowered culture. I also love solving complex problems with real world solutions. I am blessed to be able to do that everyday.
What outside activity (social, volunteer, organization) has had the most impact in your life/career?
Adoption has had the biggest personal, family and volunteer impact on me; I am active in the Target Adoption Network and with our agency (CHSFS - MN). My kids have really shown me the diverse ways to become a family and have reinforced for me (on a daily basis) that we really are a global community.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
My kids, my husband, biking, outdoors, camping, trying to convince others to adopt.
What is your view of the role of Finance at Target Corporation?
Critical, objective, analytical support, with an opportunity to drive change through influencing decisions.
What's the one most important thing you've learned at work? Why?
Be flexible, never speak in absolutes, and learn to say â€œI was wrongâ€. Things change so fast around here, you'll be successful if you can ebb and flow with those changes and add value quickly when the ship seems to have turned.
Career Development Advice:
What skills or competencies do you view as critical for success at Target Corporation?
Openness to learning, being flexible, having a â€œliteâ€ view of yourself. Understand the goal and being able to visualize all the different paths that could lead to that goal is also critical. Mathematics and the critical thinking that is developed in solving these types of problems is a perfect base for success at Target.
What do you see as growth areas within finance in the next year? Five years? Ten years?
I think Finance is going to become an even stronger consultant and partner in the corporate decision making process. We are going to need strong analytical â€œtypesâ€ who are also able to build trust and maximize relationships all while giving hard consulting advice. Not an easy challenge, but critical to Target's ongoing success!