Join us! On 16 September 2019, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit will bring together female leadership from all industries to share views and discuss global challenges and opportunities. Director of Live Media Content and Co-chair of Fortune MPW International Maithreyi Seetharaman asks Chief Executive Officer, Crate and Barrel Holdings Neela Montgomery her thoughts on business and why taking the time to collaborate and exchange with female peers is important.
MS: What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing a business like yours in 2020?
NM: Customer expectations in retail are increasing exponentially fast–from marketing expectations to service and delivery, all must be seamless and personalized. As a company who is passionate about creative expression and bringing the best in design and function into our customer’s homes, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate the pace of innovation and global curation in a way that is highly digital, personalized and quickly accessible to our customers.
MS: What are the innovations you believe will be the game changers for your industry in the next decade?
NM: We are already seeing technologies like AI and robotics influence our business and supply chain but this is just the beginning. We also expect consumers to want more visualizations technologies such as Augmented Reality which forces us to innovate. However outside of technology, I believe that the rise of the conscious consumer will fundamentally shift how we do business forcing all leaders to engage in a broader social purpose.
MS: How has “Leading Together” translated and influenced your personal and professional life so far and what is the biggest challenge to leading together in a new decade?
NM: I have been lucky enough to live, work and study in over six different countries over my career. In each of those experiences, I have been fortunate to build relationships and global networks with other women. This is a time to have a more meaningful dialogue about what it means to be a female leader. As social and political dialogue becomes more polarized, leading together has never been more important or powerful.
For more inspiring conversions, please join Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit. We hope to see you in Toronto!