Mary Campbell serves as chief merchandising and interactive officer for Qurate Retail Group. This year, she was honored with WICT’s Woman of the Year – Programmer award. Below is a Q+A.
How have you transitioned into your role as Chief Merchandising and Interactive Officer for Qurate Retail Group so far? What is your proudest achievement in your new role thus far?
Product is at the heart of what we do. My career began in merchandising, and I’ve never lost sight of the importance of always starting with great product. It’s all about finding unique items that make a difference for our customers, and then bringing those items to life through the power of storytelling across all our platforms. By bringing our merchandising and interactive teams more closely together, across QVC and HSN, we can move faster and experiment with more agility, which allows us to continue to evolve and deliver new meaningful experiences to our customers.
Over the course of your career, what have you learned, and what advice would you give your younger self?
I put a lot of energy into staying connected and supporting younger female leaders, those who are just embarking on their journeys. I remind them that a career isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so it’s really important to take risks. It’s great to have a plan, but don’t get too far ahead of yourself. You have to be able to flex and take advantage of opportunities as they come. You have to look at lateral moves as opportunities for development and learning. Stay curious and keep moving forward. You’ll go farther and faster in the long run.
What is a recent example of a step forward for women in the media industry, and what work still needs to be done?
I’m pleased that more women are making their voices heard as directors and producers of nationally distributed content. And it’s encouraging to see how favorably audiences have responded to these new voices. Diversity in leadership makes us stronger and enables us to deliver better experiences to our team members and the customers we serve. I am excited to see more women pursuing senior leadership roles and hope in the coming years to see more balance across all levels of leadership.
What do you think is the importance of WICT and Diversity Week’s role in the industry?
WICT has become this powerful community of women – 10,000 strong – supporting each other and advancing our industry. As a leader, I think it is important connect with and support the next generation of women leaders in our workplace and through industry organizations. It’s more than being a role model, I strive to be a resource to women who are looking to grow in their careers. It’s so important for women to be able to connect with their peers through WICT and tap the resources here. For example, the WICT Touchstones of Leadership really resonate with me, with ideas like ‘know yourself,’ ‘listen,’ ‘be fearless.’ WICT is also an important force for change in the media industry, which we need.
What is an example of something you’re currently working on, and what’s next for you?
With the millennials entering their 40s this year, our audience continues to change in ways that play to our strengths. Video consumption has never been higher, and consumers increasingly want engaging shopping experiences, featuring selected products that are relevant to their lives. For Qurate Retail Group, live broadcast is our most powerful format, and we keep experimenting to make it better. Over the past two years, for example, we launched an all-beauty network (Beauty iQ), we expanded live hours on QVC2 with new shows, and we continue to launch exciting new celebrities and brands on HSN and on QVC. At QVC US, viewership has increased year-over-year for five consecutive quarters.