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Anne Mezzenga - Top 100 Retail Influencer

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Co-CEO Omni Talk | Top 100 Retail Influencer | Podcast Host | Former Director Target Store of the Future Marketing & Partnerships

Ruhi Ladwa #GirlPowerUnleashed in Conversation with Anne Mezzenga

Ruhi Ladwa: Hi and welcome to the Girl Power Unleashed podcast. Today, I am joined by Anne Mezzenga. Thanks for being on the Girl Power Unleashed podcast.

Anne Mezzenga: Thank you so much. It's really great to be here. I'm just thrilled. I can't wait to have a great conversation.

Ruhi Ladwa: To start off, tell us about yourself and your journey so far.

Anne Mezzenga: Well, I grew up in Minneapolis. I always wanted to get into the news industry. So I got my degree in broadcast journalism and spent some time right after college looking for a job. It's a little bit hard to start off. I moved to New York right away and ended up doing some work for NBC in New York. I got an internship that led to working in news eventually and then moved into advertising. Worked for Target and a few advertising agencies. And most recently, I have started a podcast that I do with my business partner, Chris Walton. We talk about the future of retail and where the retail industry is headed.

Ruhi Ladwa: That's very interesting. What are some of the most interesting things you are working on and how will that create an impact on women in retail technology?

Anne Mezzenga: Well, I think one of my favorite things that I get to do is my own podcasts where I interview women who are in high-up positions within retail organizations. So most of the time it’s CEOs of companies.

I got to interview the CEO of Athleta, who I've admired for a long time. But the purpose for me of doing that podcast is for the people who are young and early in their careers to see that women are in these positions, inspire them and share an understanding of how they've made their way. A lot of them are mothers, sisters and friends. It’s good to hear their struggles and successes they've had throughout their journey.

I would say that's probably my favorite thing that I get to do right now. The women I've met are so smart and have accomplished so much. So it's really fun to be able to bring that to light.

Ruhi Ladwa: What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome? Any specific learnings from them?

Anne Mezzenga: Well, I think the hardest work is really just making enough of a name for yourself so that you can get to the point where you do get these opportunities. So it's a lot of hard work, and there's a lot of failure and a lot of ‘NOs’. The key is to believe in yourself and believe in the cause that you're working on, and that eventually will continue to motivate you to keep pushing forward. Never be stopped by setbacks that you encounter.

Ruhi Ladwa: What is your secret to success? Are there a few key qualities that helped you attain success?

Anne Mezzenga: I guess for me it's always been trying to just figure out how you can find the greatest good in the situation. Trying to see every situation that you're in, whether you're working on a project and you've got a deadline, or you're working with a new team. Just really trying to get to know the people who are involved as who they are as people, not just in their roles at work. To empathize with them and what they have going on so that you really form a winning team.

I learned from both my parents who were always like, good role models and going the extra mile and truly investing time and caring about people, remembering small things that they tell you, forming a relationship with people. I think that is what has helped me be as successful as I am today and I'm still learning how to do that.

Ruhi Ladwa : Lastly, what would you tell girls who want to become the next generation of leaders?

Anne Mezzenga: This is a hard question to find one really good answer because there's so many things. I would say, empower each other to be your own advocates and that really helps each other get ahead. There's not a lot of women who are at the top. Even with the podcasts that I do, only 13% of leadership in retail is women.

I have heard this from some of the women that I've interviewed that when you start to get to a certain point in your career because there are fewer women that are represented, there can be this competition between women. This is unfortunate because the way that we're going to be better represented is going to be by truly supporting each other.

For example, it might not be you, but trying to figure out how you can really support the women who are in those leadership positions. I think ultimately it'll come back around to you, so I would say just be yourself. Be true to who you are and invest in your relationships.

Ruhi Ladwa: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to be on this podcast. I really appreciate it and I'm sure our listeners learned something very valuable.

Anne Mezzenga: Thank you so much. It was really great to chat with you! Good luck.

Ruhi Ladwa: Thank you, bye!

Anne Mezzenga: Bye!

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