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I had the privilege of interviewing Martine Reardon, who was most recently the CMO of Macy’s and spent more than three decades at the company. In this interview, we talk about how she got into the retail industry, what it was like being a female leader, how she managed her time, career setbacks as well as the story of how Macy’s grew into the being the largest department store in the United States. Martine was very honest about the sacrifices that she had to make in order to get the top marketing job at Macy’s.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:

  • Started her career off as an intern at Abraham & Straus (now part of Macy’s) in the events and PR department.
  • One of her most important mentors, Doris Shaw (an executive at Abraham & Straus) created a role for Martine after college. That role kickstarted her career in retail. Had it not been for Doris, Martine might have ended up working on Wall Street to help pay off the large debt accumulated from college.
  • She knew that the pursuit of becoming the CMO of Macy’s was going to be difficult and made the personal choice to not have children. While there are certainly examples of women who were able to pursue both a successful career while raising children, she felt that it was necessary to focus on her professional career and that it would be too challenging to do both.
  • One of the tougher moments in her career was being passed for the CMO job twice at Macy’s. The first time they hired an outsider and the second time they promoted someone more senior internally into the role. Similar to my last interview with Vineet Mehra, Martine was given the advice to bloom where you’re planted. She had to wait her time, gain experience in different areas but the patience paid off and she eventually was selected for the top job.
  • She was always an early riser. Tuesdays and Thursdays were her gym days at 5:30am and she would not set meetings before 8am (yes, she said before 8am). On other days, she would get into the office around 6:30am to have quiet time so that she could catch-up on work and to get ready. Sundays were usually an important day for her to get prepared for the rest of the week.
  • One advice she would give to her 25 year old self would be to sit back and listen more. Don’t be so quick to make decisions and to jump into something without looking at all of the available options.

Hope you enjoy listening.

Ray

Ray Cao is the CEO of Exact Media. Exact is transforming the world of direct mail by enabling advertisers like P&G and PepsiCo to distribute product samples and coupons through a vast network of e-commerce and omnichannel retailers.

Daniel: [00:00:00] Today on Connections.

Martine: [00:00:02] I knew I had a goal that I wanted to be a Chief Marketing Officer, but I knew that that meant a lot of really hard work, Long hours and I didn’t think it was possible for me to have children as well as have that career. That was me that I know there are so many women who do it all today but I didn’t feel like I could. Mainly because of I’m an A type personality so I have two switches, they are on and they are off. So I was so focused on the career side of it I didn’t make frugal [SP] choices. But those were my choices.

Daniel: [00:00:53] My name is Daniel Roddick and I’m your host at the Connections, brought to you by Exact Media. We created this podcast because we realized that a lot of people we spent time with in our day to day work brand managers, marketers those who are trying to rise quickly in their careers, could benefit from hearing the stories of the leaders they look up to in their industry. In every episode we cover the stories that you’ve never heard of. Where did they grow up? How do they get their first job? Or their successes and failures in their career, and how do they recover from them. My hope is that you will take away some interesting tidbits and tactics that will help you accelerate your careers. I don’t want spend too much time talking about us because you have context on how we’re involved in the industry at Exact Media, we work specifically with marketers to help them sample their products through the parcels[SP] of online retailers. For example, if you bought running shoes online we might give you a sample of a healthy granola bar in that parcel [SP]. If that interest you at all visit us at www.exactmedia.io.

[00:01:57] Now on to our guest. Today’s guest is Martine Reardon the former CMO of Macy’s. I really enjoyed this interview as it goes into the story of how Macy’s became the leader in retail they are today. Martine’s career started in event planning and took her through a long series of mergers and acquisitions, which eventually turned to her becoming the CMO of the company. The interview also touches on some great personal viewpoints on how she made decisions between her personal life and career. Overall I’m really, really excited to be able to share with you this unique story. So without further ado here is the Exact Media’s CEO Ray Cao interviewing Martine Reardon.

Ray: [00:02:44] Martine thank you so much for doing this. I know you’ve had an incredible success story at Macy’s I’m just curious now post Macy’s, what are you spending your time doing?

Martine: [00:02:58] Lots of sleeping, rest and relaxation. It’s been a great 32 years of being part of the Macy’s organization, and it really became so clear to me that I needed some rest. And so the plan for me was to rest, travel a bit, reengage with family, friends. do all the things that you would have on your bucket list. So that’s really what I’ve been spending my time doing.

Ray: [00:03:34] Awesome. I’m gonna dial it back a few years just curious what was your childhood like? Where did you grow up, what were your parents like, what do you remember of your childhood?

Martine: [00:03:46] I remember a good deal of my childhood believe it or not, even though I’m so old and my memory is starting to fade a bit. But I was very fortunate to grow up being New York, right in Park Slope in Brooklyn. Actually was born in Ireland and really was about six years old when I moved to the states. And so most of my childhood was in Park Slope in Brooklyn. And it was a fantastic childhood. My parents always wanted to make sure, I’m one of five children so always wanted to make sure that we had the best education. And also living in a city, they wanted to make sure that we were secure and protected. And so we lived on a wonderful street in Park Slope where many of the young girls and boys that I went to grammar school and eventually high school with, I actually still have acquaintances with and still keep in touch with. And just did a fabulous reunion of what we call the old eighth street group and it was fantastic reminiscing about what childhood was like.

[00:05:00] You know I have a sister and three brothers and my sister was my best friend, still is today. She was two years old, but then we all were part of the same group of friends. And my friends had sisters that were my sister’s friend. And then they had older brothers that were my older brother’s friends. So we were all one big connected family. My dad was an accountant at a construction firm, my mom worked after… I think I was probably around 12 when she went back to work, and she had a very successful job at Chaseman Hand Bank [SP]. And I had a brother who was six years younger than me. So I spent a lot of time actually helping raise him when my mom went back to work.

[00:05:52] So to some degree is like my child and still is today actually. So, we had a great, great childhood. So having three boys and two girls we didn’t have any of what you call a sibling rivalry. We all were so incredibly supportive of each other. We’re all extremely different and so all of the differences really just meshed really well with each other, and we all looked out for each other was a great, great, great childhood. Unfortunately, my dad died when I was young I was about… almost 25 when he died, so lived more of my life without my dad than with him in it. But he was a great Irishman very, very strong, very stern. He loved his girls. So he was not the disciplinarian on the girls. he was definitely disciplinary and on the boys.

[00:06:55] My mom was just the disciplinary on the girls and she ran a tough household. But I give her so much credit because I think because of how she raised us and particularly me, is why I turned out the way I did. So wonderful, wonderful life. She and I became extremely close when my dad passed because everybody else was out of the house except for my younger brother. And I actually stayed with her. Because she was essentially alone and she was nine years younger than my dad, so was she was only 59 when he died. So you know she still had a lot life left in her, so she and I had a little apartment downstairs from her home, and we spent every weekend together every Sunday. And she was my best friend. she passed about almost 18 months ago. So it’s been a true void for me not having her. And one of the reasons why when I was thinking about what I wanna do with my life as much as I loved my career at Macy’s, it was just time for me to think about doing something different for her death had a major impact on my life. And it caused me to sort of sit back and think about what was going to be next for me.

[00:08:28] So that’s basically my childhood in a nutshell. I mean we had great summers, again I grew up in the city so to speak and so my parents felt very… they felt it was really important to make sure that we spent summers in the country or at a beach that we weren’t always in the city. So I spent many years up in the mountains at a summer place. And then many, many years at the beach in a town called Avalon New Jersey, because I had such a wonderful childhood there, I later bought a home there, bought my own beach house there. And I would invite my family down on the weekends because we all just share this wonderful experience of being in Avalon for the summer. So that was a big important part of my childhood, now extending into my adult years.

Ray: [00:09:27] You talked about impact and family and parents. how much of an impact did they have on where you ended up going to school and eventually the career that you decide to pursue?

Martine: [00:09:39] It’s interesting, if my dad were still alive he would tell you that I had my own points of view about everything and occasionally he and I would butt heads. There was a time I went out and bought my own car without him and without anybody else with me. I was 19 years old. I didn’t feel like I needed him. the loan was going in my own name, he wasn’t paying for it. And when I made my decisions about where I was going to school, and what job I was going to take, it wasn’t something that I shared necessarily with him. I told him after the fact but it wasn’t like I wanted some guidance. So call that the rebel in me I guess a little bit.

[00:10:28] But I was pretty sure what I wanted. I was fortunate enough that when I was in college that I had the opportunity to go and work at an internship at ANS. Which was a division of federated which is Macy’s now with all of the old names. And as I was in college, my goal was that I wanted to be a psychology and communications major. I was always very interested with people and their personalities and the psychology of what made people be certain ways. And I always thought that could apply really well to a communications world. Whether I wanted to get into film, on television, I was an actress, but you know as a behind the scenes sort of career there. And I remember having a conversation with my dad and him saying to me “What do you really think you’re gonna do with a psychology and communications degree?” So he was very, very… I would say strong in his conviction to me that a business major was probably gonna serve me better than that. And so I switched my major and I majored in business and particularly in business management and marketing

[00:11:54] And I was fortunate enough to get this internship at ANS. I still had every intention of going to Wall Street because in the 80’s, Wall Street was where you made a lot of money and my goal was to make money. I had school, I put myself through school. So you know my parents did a great job of putting us through private school in grade school and high school, but then when it came to college I really had to sort of step up. So I put myself through college and had lots of debt when I came out of school. So I needed to hit the ground running making money, and I thought that Wall Street was the place for me to do that. I was in this internship at ANS and I was very fortunate to meet a woman who today is still my mentor, she is 95 years old. [inaudible 00:12:50] I’m actually going to see her this Saturday because I haven’t seen her in a couple of months.

[00:12:56] But Doris became my mentor and as she was the senior vice president of what they call the Advertising Department at the time. She was a great woman in the advertising field. She had been at FEX [SP] prior to being at ANS, and then prior to that was Bloomingdale. And this was a woman particularly in times when women were not in business, and they were not in high level positions that Doris just succeeded. So I really started to look up to her as somebody that okay, if she can do it in business then maybe I can as well. Particularly in the advertising field which I was beginning to really love. Because my internship started in the PR and events world.

[00:13:45] So I did that for a couple of semesters when I was on school breaks and in my last year. And as I was graduating I was thinking about, “Okay, now I have to go get my job on Wall Street.” and she said to me “Oh, sweetheart you’re not going to Wall Street your brain is… as good as you and as smart as you are but your brain is definitely more creative and more into fashion. You just need to stay in retail.” And I said, “Well, gee. I never really thought of retail as a career.” Wall Street was where I was going. And she said “You just have to stay here,” And I said, “But there really isn’t a position for me here.” she said, “Oh, yes there is.” And she created one in the events and PR world and that’s really how I got my first. So I graduated from college in May of 84. And 10 days later I started my fulltime job at ANS in the events and PR world. And had a great run there and I loved doing special events.

[00:14:50] Now I didn’t know what they were prior to me having that internship, so it really was so interesting to see how internships can really do a lot for young students, to help them think about what are those career choices they want. So I’ve worked in the events and PR world for… I stayed there for eight or so years. and Doris was the senior vice president for the first several years, and then she retired. And two other men came into the role and I had a good rapport with them, but I wanted to try something new. So I did leave for all of the 11 months. I went into the magazine industry for a little while. Because you always think you know about what don’t I know about what’s out there as another field to be in. Because I came right out of college into this position, and there’s an old saying that the grass is always greener, and in this case it wasn’t necessarily true. Because in fact as much as the magazine industry was exciting, I really had been bitten by that retail bug and I just missed the excitement of every day being so different. And being in fashion, and beauty, and home all under one roof, and the holidays particularly the holidays and retail stores, they’re just so magical and in so much fun.

[00:16:20] So I missed all of that and you know Doris and the chairman at ANS at the time asked me to come back, because they were going to open their first New York City door. So ANS had always been and in Brooklyn, and Queens, and Long Island but had never been in Manhattan. And where the old Gimbels building was many, many years ago, they were creating a… mall developer was developing mall there and it’s still there today. But ANS was invited to the anchor of that mall. And both Doris and [inaudible 0017:00] said “Oh, my gosh, we need Martine to come back and open this store from a PR and an event point of view.” And so they called me and said, “You have to come back.” And I said, “I have a job. I can’t just leave this job.” And if I was to come back I really wanted to learn more about the advertising and marketing side of retail, as opposed to just always being in special events in PR.

[00:17:33] And to their credit I came back. had a very, very successful opening, actually got the opening of that door on a 30-minute television show. So I was very proud of that and continued then to be exposed to other areas within the marketing department, and honestly the rest is history. Two years later we merged with Celine [SP] up in Boston and so I got to learn the New England area a little bit. And then we acquired…Federated acquired Macy’s at the time, and I was privileged to be asked to join that new team, and go over and run the media side of the advertising business at Macy’s. And then I just continued to take on more and more responsibilities. And I took responsibility for the parade, and for special events, and for the Flower Show and for fireworks. And then took production and took all of the other aspects of the media world, and just kept growing my way up. And became the executive vice president of a division at Macy’s. Which was called Macy’s Des [SP] and it was the largest division within the Macy’s organization.

[00:19:00] And then you know Terry Lundgren who was the chairman at the time was so smart, and he decided that he had a great franchise in Macy’s. it existed on the East Coast and it existed on the West Coast because both Macy’s had big operations on the East Coast and West Coast, but we really didn’t have very many retail stores in the middle of the country. There were a couple of Macy’s in Kansas city and several in Texas. But really in the middle of the country was void of the name Macy’s. And so he was smart enough to work with his entire team and he bought the May company. And the May company was predominantly in the middle of the country. So now Macys Inc had a footprint across the country.

[00:19:52] However, we still had different names so even though Macy’s owned the May company now, the name Celine [SP] and the name Rob May, and all of their existing names. they all still had those name plates on. So he realized that in order to be the big organization that Macy is today that’s national nameplate, we needed to change all those names. And a pretty scary thing to do because I’m sure you know well that when you grow up in certain areas of the country, you become very loyal to a Brand.

Ray: [00:20:34] That’s right.

Martine: [00:20:35] Just like what my mom… my mom always took me to ANS as a young girl and so when the name ANS went away to become Macy’s, even though I was part of it, it was still a little bit emotional. So a great deal of thought and I was again privileged to be part of that team that thought about how were we going to change all of the names. And what were we going to do to really tell the consumer that it’s everything you knew and loved about the brand that you love, or the name that you loved, but now here is an even better because now we’re in layering on other pieces that big Macy’s Inc could incorporate. And the funny thing was running the parade, and as you know the parade has been on the NBC broadcast for… gosh, probably more than 40 years now. But [inaudible 00:21:29] when I was running the Macy’s East Division, I could never advertise nationally on that program. Because my name was Macy but there were seven of me across the country.

[00:21:45] So as much as we changed the name to Macy’s, we still had very distinct groups of fires [SP] and marketing teams, and store managers, and CEOs. So still quite a challenge. So in 2009 again Terry and the executive team made a big decision to now go to one Macy’s. But prior to that I had been tapped on the shoulder, didn’t realize this that the end of 2007, I was asked to go and help run what was called Corporate Marketing then. Now even though there were seven operating divisions and we all had our own marketing departments, there wasn’t really a corporate marketing, because we all did our own marketing for each of the divisions. But what Terry was trying to do was create a corporate marketing department. Because I think he knew back then eventually he was going to become one company, and you can’t have seven different marketing calendars. And seven different communication messages going out to the consumer because it would just be confusing.

[00:23:03] So I didn’t realize that then and when I got tapped on the shoulder to go over and form this corporate marketing department, and get the seven of me across the country to you know work in unison with each other. I didn’t realize what was happening. So I foolishly said, “Oh, no thank you. I like my job but thanks for that great offer, maybe some other time.” And you know they continued to knock on my door and finally said “Well you know what? we’re not really asking you, we need you to do this.” So I realized that there was some other plan there, and as much as I loved the individual marketing job that I was doing, going over to corporate marketing was a very needed job for the company, and a little hard. Because imagine trying to get seven people who have an extremely strong personalities like mine, who are very smart to all see your way of doing things. When I sat in New York, and somebody sat in San Francisco, and somebody sat in Florida, and somebody else like why was I any smarter than they were to help figure out how to run one common marketing calendar.

[00:24:29] But to my team out there, they were just incredible groups of people to work with, they made my job easy. And because we were able to unite all of the divisions, it’s actually what helped get me the top job when we went to one company back in 2009. So that’s that quick story.

Ray: [00:24:55] Wow I wanna go back to Doris for a little bit. You know I’ve said this to many that I think we’ve made a lot of progress on gender inequality issues, but I still think we have a long way to go. Maybe it was the support of Doris that gave you certain opportunities or backings that you couldn’t have gotten at the time. But did you experience inequality as you went through the different periods of your career?

Martine: [00:25:24] I would say that if I did, I didn’t realize it. Which would say to me that I probably didn’t. you know were there always fewer women in top level jobs, when I was growing up in the business? Yes. Are there many, many more today than there were when I started out 30 years ago? Absolutely. But I never felt personally that I couldn’t achieve something because I was a woman, and there was a you know male counterpart that got the job over me. As a matter of fact when we were going through the whole merging of both the ANS and Macy’s franchises way back when in maybe five, I guess it was. there were two of us that had a similar roles. I had the role at ANS and there was a gentleman who had the role at Macy’s. And that could have been where I might have not gotten the job, because there was you know a male there and therefore the inequality would have shown up. But to the credit of the Macy’s organization, they felt that the job was just so big that it was big enough for two of us. And they put it between the two. Which was really quite remarkable because when you think about that that was back in 1995.

[00:27:02] So it really shows you how the Macy’s organization and the incredible folks who make up the senior leadership team there, really do think about how the inequality and not allow that to take place. I imagine and we know it still exists, it still exists in the world in many, many businesses. But again for me, I was very fortunate not to see any of it.

Ray: [00:27:32] During that entire incredible ride that you had with Macy’s… I mean it’s a story that I imagine in this day and age is a lot more rare to have someone continue at a company. And to have the adventures that you’ve had, but did you ever think about going elsewhere ,that thought of maybe I should go back to that thought of going to Wall Street, or doing something else or were you pretty much fixated on that you were going on?

Martine: [00:27:59] Oh, I was totally fixated on the path. I you know explained to you I have a very fortunate to have 12 nieces and nephews and it’s more nieces than it is nephews. And so they grew up watching me in my career and you know got to see me at work, whether it was during parades, or whether it was just coming to the office when you bring your niece to work or whatever it was. And so I always explained to them that I never felt like I was at work, because I loved what I did so much. So never in the course of my career there did I ever think about… and even today, I would never sit here and say to you, “Oh, my gosh. I wish I had stayed on psychology, or I wish I’d gone in communications.” I you know again so fortunate that I found a career that was so right for me, and that I still find very near and dear to my heart and if I had it to do over again, I’d do it the exact same way.

Ray: [00:29:13] As you described your story to leading to the Chief Marketing Officer at Macy’s. it does sound to me like you’ve had an incredible career in that you’ve never really messed up or screwed up anything. But were there any moments when things didn’t work out for you, or where you messed up or you thought…?

Martine: [00:29:34] There were so many moments where it didn’t work out, and where I didn’t get the job when I wanted it. And I will tell you it goes back to the timing of when I was going to corporate marketing. And I was you know obviously a very important person there, but I was not running the entire thing. And actually we went on the outside to hire somebody to play that role, and that was truly a very big disappointment for me. Because I felt like at that point I should have gotten it. And then two years later a position opened up again, actually it wasn’t quite two years later was probably a year later. And again I did not get the job, a more senior person in Macy’s got it. so that was very, very tough for me. But because I had such faith in the senior leadership of the company they continued to say to me “Martine, you are fantastic but you need to bloom where you’re planted.” And basically saying, “It’s not time for you yet. you have a little bit more to learn.”

[00:30:56] And so I really trusted which was great that I trusted, because it turned out really well for me. So that was the only time where I wouldn’t say that I screwed up, but that was I thought long and hard about, “Oh, my gosh is this the right place for me? Will I eventually get what I’ve dreamed of?” and I did. As for screw ups oh, my gosh yeah, major screw up. In the last couple of years particularly the media landscape changed so rapidly over the last five or six years. The digital world came on like I have never seen…like a lightning bolt. I’ve never seen anything come through as quickly as that did. For years it was all about prints and television and radio. There was no such thing as digital. And I would say that I wished I had been a little bit faster, although once I realized I didn’t I jumped on it very, very quickly. And moved us very, very fast into the space. But I wish that I had just foreseen that a little bit more.

[00:32:17] So those are the times when I think you know when you’re so busy, and you’re just really just trying to get so much done, that you really do need to take the time every now and sit back and say, “Okay, clear your head. Let’s really understand what’s happening out there, get out there a little bit more, find out what’s new, what’s different.” So I wish I had done a little bit more of that.

Ray: [00:32:47] Interesting. I’m gonna switch a bit more to the personal side, as your career developed and your responsibilities got bigger and bigger. How did that impact your personal life? Whether it was other obligations, and did your career at any point hinder you from wanting to pursue certain things on the personal side of your life?

Martine: [00:33:14] That’s a really good question, and I would say this is probably where I think inequality comes in a little. And this is me personally. I knew I had a goal that I wanted to be a chief marketing officer, but I knew that, that meant a lot of really hard work, long hours. And I didn’t think it was possible for me to have children as well as have that career. And that was me that I know there are so many women who do it all today, but I didn’t feel like I could. Mainly because I’m of an A type personality, so I have two switches. they’re on and they’re off. So I was so focused on the career side of it, I did make certain choices. But those were my choices, not every woman would have to make that same choice. It’s all very personal one.

[00:34:22] So again now very fortunate that I have so many siblings, and so many nieces and nephews, as a matter of fact one who lives with me today, so it’s like having my own children. And I had the best of both worlds. I was able to build my career, I traveled in ordinance amount of time. So I would have been away and I didn’t feel that for me was the right way. So I chose not to have children. I think that’s how my personal life was a little bit affected, but it’s all great. It worth the decisions I made and you know I don’t regret any of it.

Ray: [00:35:08] I guess that was gonna be my next question. Now that you have you gone through the ride and if you were to talk to your 25, 30 year-old self, would you give yourself different advice or would you have approached things differently?

Martine: [00:35:22] I don’t think so. The only advice I’d give myself now is, sit back and listen a little bit more. I think I have always been one of the most curious people in the world. So I’m not saying I say, “Go ask more questions and find out more.” I’d say, “Listen a little bit more and don’t be so quick to make a decision or jump into something without sort of sitting back and looking at all of the options around.”

Ray: [00:36:00] You’ve come across and managed and looked after a ton of people in your career. what would you say are some of the common traits or qualities that you’ve seen in the top performers of people who’ve really excelled in their careers?

Martine: [00:36:16] I would say it’s tenacity, I’d say it is being great listeners. I would say it is being calm you know in the retail world because you can see things happening minute by minute. It’s not jumping to conclusions before you actually can see all of the you know the tenets around it. Again the curiosity, I would say that people who are really curious and who are really interested in asking more questions and learning more about it, are the ones that I surrounded myself with. And who were the most successful throughout my career.

Ray: [00:37:15] Just a tactically…and I hope it’s not the same crazy lifestyle that you would carry it over to today, because I’m hoping you’re relaxing and actually spending more time getting rest. But back when you were running Macy’s. so what tactics did you used to manage your week or your schedule? Did you take certain approaches of planning things out on Sundays, or what sort of tactics did you use to stay on top of things?

Martine: [00:37:44] That’s such a great question. I did have very limited time because my mom, the last three or four years was also very sick. So I spent every Sunday with her. I spent most Saturdays in the office or at an event. So time was extremely precious for me. So during a Sunday evening is really where I did look at the entire week and said, “Okay, let me think about everything I have to do this week. And how I’m going to make sure I get it all done.” On some occasions I look a month out because I had a travel schedule, that was really very time consuming and took me out of New York quite a lot. So I may have to look at my months ahead of time and just say, “Okay, here’s what I need to do for this, this, this and this.” I did every single night when I would come home, I would go back through my schedule for the next day.

[00:38:48] I was very fortunate to have an assistant that is like the end all and be all who would prepare me for the week. On a Friday she’d say “Here’s what you have coming next week.” She’d leaves out some of those files over the weekend because I did enjoy my time on Saturday, just some alone time to actually think. So she would get me prepared to say, “Here are the things that you need to be looking out for this week.” So it did take some planning.

Ray: [00:39:21] Did you ever have rules to shut off completely or were you always on?

Martine: [00:39:26] I think I was pretty much always on. it goes back to I have two switches, on is still off. And so I was generally always on.

Ray: [00:39:38] I think both of us… in your career you travel a lot, I travel a lot as well today, but what sort of packs or travel routines did you try to stick and follow given the amount of travel you had to do?

Martine: [00:39:54] I learn how to pack really efficiently, that was the first one. And you’re gonna think this is very funny, but women have a lot of shoes in their wardrobe. so I’d have to plan out because you couldn’t put that many. So I’d have to find the most versatile ones that would go with several outfits. The sleep thing was always a big challenge because whether it was time zones or just one you’re not in your own home, your sleep is not great. So I would try to make sure as I was gearing up to a trip, that I would make sure that weekend or two days before that I didn’t have a lot of activities outside. So dinners, obviously there are lots of social obligations that I had when I was the chief marketing officer. So I would try to reduce that a little bit before trips or when I would come home from trips. Those steps work out a lot when you’re on these trips.

[00:41:00] So again I would try to take the time in the evening prior to going or coming back and double up on some of that. Again, it does require some planning but I’d say I actually perfected it. The packing was probably the best, I’ve perfected that.

Ray: [00:41:27] When you were back at home and you had sort of slightly more normal routine, were there rituals that you stuck with? Go the gym, mediate, whatever it was?

Martine: [00:41:40] Yeah, I would try to do that. So Tuesday and Thursday mornings were my gym morning, and I would not allow a meeting before 8 a.m. on a Tuesday or Thursday. Because I wanted to stick to my workout schedule. So there were definitely certain rituals. I made time for my team, my senior leaders because if I was gone a lot I felt like okay they need to see me. So whether I’d pull them all together and we do just a simple lunch in the conference room, or maybe I’d take them out for a quick bite to eat after work one night, just so that I could reconnect with them more on a personal level, than always… I’d see them in meetings all the time but to lose the connection with the people that are really making it all work for you, never felt right for me. So my rituals were always to make sure that I had time to spend with them on a more personal level, and not just always sitting across a chair from them in the conference room.

Ray: [00:42:53] I think you said that you wouldn’t allow meetings before 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. How early did you get up?

Martine: [00:43:05] My routine was I was up at 5:00 every morning. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I’d go to the gym at 5:30. and then on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would just get to the office a little bit earlier. What I wanna make sure because I don’t wanna scare the young people who are saying, “Oh, my gosh. if you’re not in the office by 6:30 in the morning, you’re not gonna make it.” because that’s not true. That was for me, that was my alone time when I could really read great articles or where I could go through a presentation that I was about to make to the board, and just feel comfortable with it. So that time was really for me and doing things that I needed to do. Because those times from 8 o’clock on you tend to sit in meetings all day long. And when are you going to get a chance to do what you just agreed to in a meeting from yesterday?

[00:44:08] So that’s why the time in the morning for me was really important, so I’m a morning person. So I really liked being in the office very early in the morning, and there were also evenings that I loved… at 6:30 when everybody was out the door, I might take another hour, another hour and a half if I didn’t have a commitment that night, to just kind of do the download of what happened during the day. And get myself a little bit organized for the next.

Ray: [00:44:40] How late did you normally finish?

Martine: [00:44:43] Sorry?

Ray: [00:44:45] How late did you normally finish? We’re you just used to sleeping little less than those people or did you get to bed pretty early as well?

Martine: [00:44:55] Again, if I didn’t have a social commitment and I could be home by 8:00 or 8:30 I was generally in bed by 9:30 or 10 o’clock. And even if I was not sleeping, I was reading something. it was quiet time. And yeah, and that’s still pretty much a practice I live today, you just get used to that. Because I’m still an early riser. I love the morning time so I still like to be up.

Ray: [00:45:27] You touched about reading, were there any books or things that you read that really left a mark on you? Maybe a book that you recently read or one you read a while ago but made a big imprint on you?

Martine: [00:45:41] Yeah, I when I started out in the retail career… and I was probably in the business maybe five or 10 years before. I really started to read some of the books on retail. But one in particular an author that I love is Paco Underhill. I mean always had a great…he’s been around since I was in the retail world, and he’s got a fairly new book out Why We Buy. So he helps you understand the consumer. As a marketer if I don’t know the consumer then I’m not going to be able to help communicate what our brand is trying to… anything that I could read about the consumer was really important to me. So Paco Underhill was a great one. I’d also say Malcolm Gladwell has some fantastic books. And again one that I’ve given her early in my career called “The Tipping Point” which was terrific. But he also has a couple of other great book called Outliers and Blink and really interesting about people, and whether you are managing them or they are managing you. And how you interact and psychology part of each person that you’re working with.

[00:46:58] So I always thought those were interesting. And I think the TED talks are just amazing. I don’t get to watch as many of them as I would like, but they’ve also really helped shape me and how I really disciplined my life, and how I thought about how to manage people both below and above me. So those were some of the things… there’s also another book out there “From Good to Great” which I thought was terrific.

Ray: [00:47:35] Awesome. a couple questions left. What’s something that people don’t know much about you that they would be surprised to learn about if you shared it with them? Is there something quirky about you or something that people say, “Wow, I never would have thought that Martine had that trait or that interest?”

Martine: [00:47:56] That I could sit and eat an entire box chocolates by myself in one night, and that actually ever get sick from it. Those are the things that I don’t touch any of those. I have such as a sweet tooth that… and I try because again, I have one of those personalities that’s on or off. So if you put that in front of me, I will continue to just eat the entire thing.

Ray: [00:48:28] Was there a preferred brand?

Martine: [00:48:31] If I told you what I loved I would be so embarrassed. I don’t think I could tell you that.

Ray: [00:48:37] Okay, okay, for another time I’ll get it out of you.

Martine: [00:48:41] Yes, but I think that’s what people would say that because most people think I am so incredibly disciplined, and I am. But there are times where I could be thrown completely off and sweets and chocolate is definitely one of those things.

Ray: [00:49:00] Awesome. my last question actually circles back to one of things you mentioned at the start of the conversation which is around the bucket list. Now that you’ve hopefully got a bit more time to really do the things you want to do, catch upon sleep and such, what’s still left on that bucket list?

Martine: [00:49:21] A lot of travel still because I have not done the amount of personal travel that I would really like to do. I was fortunate right after I left Macy’s at the end of May I went to Australia. And I actually went because I was speaking at a conference. And I didn’t get to spend as much time there and that’s the last continent that I have not been to. So what’s on the bucket list is to go back in March and spend about three weeks, and get an opportunity to go to New Zealand as well.

[00:49:55] And I don’t know. sort of cooking lessons, things that I would not have normally been able to do. I love to cook. I just have never had the time and because I’m not somebody who does it frequently, I can’t get into a kitchen the way a lot of people can and whip up a meal in an hour. I need like four hours to hone the spaghetti . But I love to cook and I love to try new things. So I’m actually doing that right now and taking some cooking lessons so that’s kind of fun for me.

[00:50:34] And spending time with family is really what it is. One of my best friends passed away, actually it’ll be a year in November. and she was only 54 years old, has two beautiful daughters. so spending some time with them. One of them is my goddaughter as I said I have many nieces and nephews. So all of that I still want to spend time doing. I’m not thinking about the next career chapter, because I really just wanted to take the time to see if there is another career chapter for me, there may not be. I have been asked to do some advisory work, which I’m doing a little bit up. just helping out here and there. Where it’s only an hour of my time or two hours of my time, because I don’t wanna get back to that six and seven day work week again. And where you know I am just gasping for air or to try to do something that you know normal people do. So trying not to get back into that and I don’t know if I can’t tell you what my dream job is because I think I already had my dream job, but if there were another dream job to come up, I don’t know what it is yet. I think I’ll know it when I see it.

[00:51:56] I’ve always loved the entertainment business. I think it was a great part, I was fortunate again to have that as part of my responsibility at Macy’s, and not a lot of people have that in retail. Where they are also an entertainment brand and Macy’s truly was that. So having the parade and the fireworks and all those great personal appearances, whether they were sports celebrities or whether they were from the likes of Beyonce, to when Elizabeth Taylor was alive. having all these major personalities as part of our brand. I loved that piece of it. Creating content, I love that piece of it. So that could be, the content creation could be an interesting avenue for me. If it comes up and if it doesn’t I at least have a little bit of it throughout my career, and really enjoyed that part of it.

Ray: [00:50:52] Awesome, awesome. Martine thank you so much for spending the time. it was a wonderful conversation.

Martine: [00:52:59] Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you very much for inviting me to do this.

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