Doubling Down: Stanley Black & Decker’s Investment In Ecommerce and Inclusivity

Up Next In Commerce

By Mission

Doubling Down: Stanley Black & Decker’s Investment In Ecommerce and Inclusivity

Thursday, 13 May

Most people would think that a company in the Fortune 500 wouldn’t have much work to do to stay on top and compete against scrappy start-ups. But in the world of ecommerce, companies large, small, and in between are all on somewhat level playing fields, and oftentimes, the bigger, legacy companies are running behind the younger brands. 

For Stanley Black & Decker, this was the case when it came to the company’s ecommerce business, which is why SBD announced a goal to double its online sales in order to re-establish itself as a leader in all areas. 

Katherine Bahamonde Monasebian  is the President and GM North America Commerce for Stanley Black & Decker, and she has been leading that charge since joining the company in early 2020. Katherine entered the world of  retail, having cut her teeth at places such as Lululemon, Barney’s, and Juicy Couture, but she’s always loved a challenge, and going from the hardest-hit industry in the pandemic (apparel) to the top-performing vertical (DIY and home improvement goods), was one of the biggest career shifts she had ever made. 

On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Katherine explains why she made the decision to role up her sleeves and join Stanley Black & Decker, and how she has grabbed the company’s lofty ecommerce goals by the horns and got to work. Katherine discusses what it takes for a large company to experiment with new platforms, and how she measures ROI and attribution to assess risk, and she looks into the crystal ball to predict how ecommerce will continue to change, especially in terms of B2B innovations. Plus, we have a really meaningful conversation about how women are being brought into the fold at Stanley Black & Decker and elsewhere, and she explains why it’s so important for a company to practice what it preaches when it comes to its values. Enjoy this episode!

Main Takeaways:

Higher Stakes: Larger companies have a lot to lose if they make a misstep, and as such, they have to be a bit more cautious with the risks they take. But they still have to break out of their shells and explore all of the options, trends, and channels that are dominating the ecommerce space. To toe that line, looking at the data and the ROI of any experiment is the best way forward.Knocking on the Door: Since early 2020, the ecommerce industry has seen massive growth and acceleration, but the jury is still out on how much of the shift online will stick. Most experts believe that at the very least, digital platforms will be the “front door” for customers to discover and learn about brands and products.Trickle Down: Everything has to start at the top — from company values to operations to business goals and expectations, the leaders of the organization have to set the tone. If they do, and they practice what they preach when it comes to things like gender parity, diversity and inclusion, KPIs, work expectations, etc., talented people will be more inclined to join your organization, and they are more likely to stay for a long time as well.

For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.

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Transcript:

Stephanie:

Hey there, and welcome back to Up Next In Commerce. This is your host, Stephanie Postles, CEO at Mission.org. Today on the show, we have Katherine Bahamonde Monasebian, the President and GM of North America Commerce at Stanley Black & Decker. Katherine, welcome to the show.

Katherine:

Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Stephanie:

I'm so excited to have you on. I was looking through your background, like I always do, and you've worked at some really great places. You've worked at Barneys, Juicy Couture, lululemon, ALEX AND ANI. I was going through the list and I was like, "Well, she is a VIP in this industry." I want to hear how you kind of got into those companies and what your journey in ecommerce looked like before getting to Stanley Black & Decker.

Katherine:

Yeah, sure. I'm always interested when I hear interview candidates and I always knew I wanted to have this career. For me, it was I really didn't sort of earlier on have much exposure really to the broader world or my place in it or even grasp what was possible really career-wise. After college, I actually started off in investment banking. It seemed like a good thing to do, and then that experience actually ended up giving me a great business foundation, but later in my career, I transitioned to ecommerce and worked in a wide range of mostly retail companies, both early stage and mature at sort of different times in their life cycle.

Katherine:

What I ended up loving about ecommerce is just that it really touches everything, yet really you have to think about the end-to-end experience, you have to be close to technology, you're driven by numbers. You have to execute and it's fast-paced and not the same job twice. I wouldn't give it up for the world. I found my calling, for sure.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I love that. How did you choose the companies that you worked for?

Katherine:

Yeah, so I've always been drawn to kind of change roles, so during inflection points in the company's sort of journey. Whether it was an early-stage startup or whether it was a company trying to transform, I was always drawn to brands with the customer at the center looking to grow across sort of new business models and such. It wasn't necessarily a particular affinity to a particular category. I did spend a lot of time in apparel, but it was more about the specific opportunity in terms of scope and ability to impact.

Stephanie:

Got it. Did you ever get to a company and you reflect back and you're like, "That was one of the most challenging times of like working and trying to either start ecommerce or do something new? Do any of these companies come to mind where you're like, "That was super challenging and hard and the best experience ever?"

Katherine:

Well, honestly, I would say they all were, whether it was sort of more in a build capacity or more of a turnaround. I think that the last 10 years, a lot has been written about the retail apocalypse, which was like 10 years in the making, but I was sort of living through just these really dramatic shifts in consumer behavior and values. Then, expectations just really rising and companies trying to meet these expectations, which was just really rough structurally. I think all of them were challenging in their own right.

Stephanie:

Yeah. That's awesome. All right, so Stanley Black & Decker, they are a Fortune 500. I think they're like number 250, 252, something around there, so big company, a lot of employees. They, of course, make industrial tools. You joined during the pandemic, right? Like in 2020, you joined. I want to hear a bit about what convinced you to join a company that also is, to me when I hear about them, like mostly male-dominated. Coming from apparel and a different kind of background, what was that driving force to join Stanley Black & Decker?

Katherine:

Yeah, so what drew me to the company was really just these incredible brands, so for those who don't know, like DeWalt, Craftsman, Black & Decker, Stanley, Lenox. I'm sure I'm missing some, but just this company that's just this powerhouse, number one in the industry. Been around for almost 200 years, which means you have to innovate to be around that long, global, 60 countries.

Katherine:

All of that, sort of the benefits of a very well-run, profitable kind of performance-driven organization, but also at the same time, and I didn't appreciate it as much outside-in at the beginning, but really looking to transform and at this scale. A lot of the skills that I picked up through retail, the hitting from consumers from every angle, sort of managing, again, the technology and the data and the marketing and sort of the consumerization that took place in retailers being able to apply that skill set to manufacturers who are now at the tip of the spear I thought was just really exciting for me.

Katherine:

One other thing that I think we're very proud of is just the company's focus on purpose and just diversity and sustainability and all of the things that you can put a list on the wall that are really embedded in the DNA and the culture of the company made it just really attractive. You mentioned the male-dominated and you're right, manufacturing and tools specifically are like being a pilot or being in technology. They're just not... The typical female representation isn't as high as other industries, but coming as a woman in a senior level from a different industry and I'd really not had any challenges. The tone is really set at the top and the company's consistently ranked as one of the best employers for women.

Stephanie:

Wow. That's awesome. Did you kind of have a handy background before you entered there? I heard all of the names that you were saying and I'm like, "I feel like I might know what that tool is," but I'm just imagining my Dad right now with a tool belt. I'm like, "I can't really figure out which one that is. Did you have a background in that? Or was it completely new coming from like the apparel scene before this?

Katherine:

No, it was actually completely new and to add to that, I live in the middle of Manhattan, so I don't really have a yard. The elves kind of... When something's broken, you call and the elves kind of fix it-

Stephanie:

Yeah [crosstalk]-

Katherine:

... so it was a steep learning curve, for sure, in terms of product, but having one two or three in every category that we're in, so that helps. Just being number one helps, but it was from a product perspective quite a leap from apparel.

Stephanie:

Yep. Yeah, I think my three-year-old knows more names of tools that I do and he'll correct me. Anything with trucks, he's like, "That one is not an excavator, Mom." I'm like, "Okay. All right, that's like some kind of ratchet. All right, thanks, Raisin." What did your first 90 days look like at the company? Did you go in with a plan? Were you like, "I've done this before", and then it went as planned? How did you think about when you first joined?

Katherine:

Well, I mean, the skill sets, as I mentioned, are highly, highly transferable, but my role was new to the organization and I definitely took the time my first few months to really define my scope and really understand our operations, dive into our business. Our goal, which we said publicly, is to more than double our online sales in just a couple of years, so it took a lot of sort of diving deep into our commercial accounts, marketplaces, just looking at our social and customer touchpoints, new business models, B2B transactions and such. It was a little bit of a sort of listen and learn at the beginning, and also just the way to go to market is very different from a retailer where you manage everything.

Katherine:

In my prior roles, I had technology, I had marketing, merchandise, I had the entire piece of the business, going from that to highly global and matrixed organization. Just a very different way of operating. The same sort of end experience, the customer at the core, and the same objectives, but a very different way of execution.

Stephanie:

Yeah, and I was looking through one of you guys' investor presentations where it's talking about the model for like, "We're focusing on B2B, B2C, and like C2C, and we're thinking about all of those as being where we want to head over this next year." How do you put on those different hats? How do you meet all of those customers where they want to buy it?

Katherine:

Yeah. You know, prioritization is a big one in terms of, how do we look at sort of all of the different potential value drivers? How do we prioritize against the high [inaudible] ones? We are definitely looking at basically doubling down with our retail partners and then also exploring kind of new business models, but there's a lot of like foundational work, which isn't the most glamorous or strategic. We're doing a lot of just capability building to enable the scale that we want to get to.

Katherine:

This is like our studio and our content, our analytics and reporting, demand planning, customer service. We just are putting in an entirely new martech stack, so there's a lot of... It's beyond just the stated intention. We're actively investing against that foundation that will then enable all of those different business models that you rattled off, B2B, B2C over the course of the next few years.

Stephanie:

Yep. What fell... Around all of the new things that you're implementing, it seems like all of that would be new, kind of like your role was new in this company. They didn't really have a big focus on this beforehand. Which parts do you think are going to be... I'm sure they're all very important, but which ones are you most excited about and you're like betting big on right now? You're like, "This is going to change the way the whole company operates," or, "This is going to see the biggest ROI when it comes to online sales and whatever it may be."

Katherine:

Well, we have, again, as I mentioned, a very broad scope that ranges from looking at things like content and dropship to some, again, social selling and distribution and, again, doubling down with our key partnerships in North America, which are exceptionally strong. The one that I'm very passionate about is content and I know that, again, it's sort of like just to play, but for us it's very important in that customers and the end consumer now looking to manufacturers just to really understand the product.

Katherine:

So much of the role of sort of digital influence with now post-COVID, it's estimated to be even higher the number of transactions that begin on digital channels, regardless of where the actual transactions is made. We have a very big investment in content. This includes sort of what samples we shoot off in the milestone process to how we deliver that content to all of our different distribution channels to more enhanced and experiential content. It's a very big undertaking for the last I would say five months, and we're expecting to start to see results in Q3 of this year.

Stephanie:

Oh, cool. We've had a lot of brands on here talk about content. We've got brands who are making their own branded content, like working on Netflix series. We've got brands that are building their entire content platforms, kind of like a Netflix, but they're using AI and ML and it's being trained and all of that. It feels like it's just kind of like Netflix. Other people just focusing on TikTok or Instagram. What do you think is going to be most impactful? You said you were going to start seeing results. What kind of content are you guys really leaning into? Who is it going after? Who is it targeting right now?

Katherine:

Our customer base spans professionals, the pros, to tradespeople to DIY makers, so we have diversity in terms of who that end user is, but as I mentioned, they're all looking for inspiration, education, product information, pre- and post-customer care. We are starting with the basics or sort of what our ecommerce core/ecommerce content is. We have a lot of A/B testing happening right now to really understand the true return. With our scale, it's less intuitive than you're being at a more early-stage company where you kind of have line of sight to the full business. We really have to look across all of our different distribution channels globally to really understand what the right investment is from sort of a sales lift perspective.

Katherine:

We are looking at enhanced content, which is more along the lines of what you were saying, sort of borrowing from some of the learnings we have in global markets, which are more advanced than we are progressive in terms of mobile and social and such. We're really looking to kind of disrupt ourselves and to take a fresh look at how we represent our brands online and how we go to market.

Stephanie:

Yeah. It seems like there could be such a big area for impact around partnering with all of the DIY kind of people, the Chip and Joanna Gaines, like all of the influencers. I mean, there's this one woman on TikTok that I watch where she'll redo someone's entire bedroom, and I watch her and I'm like, "What exactly were you using to get that? Just tell me exactly what it is and I'll just get that and I'll know it'll work." It seems like there is a lot of opportunities popping up now that are outside just the traditional TV ads, which still apparently work, at least from what I've heard on here. There's a lot of little micro opportunities that could probably have a lot of lift and reach people that maybe you wouldn't have otherwise.

Katherine:

Absolutely.

Stephanie:

Are you open to channels like TikTok and things like that? Or are you still kind of staying more traditional like Facebook or even like Super Bowl commercials, which apparently also have big lift?

Katherine:

The status quo, everything is up for debate. I think one thing that being in a large global, as you said, Fortune 250 company, the stakes are high. There's a lot to lose with sort of our appetite for risk, so it's a constant conversation that we're having. I'm sure other CPGs have the same. I'm just thinking about tolerance for risk like, if you think about it, manufacturing, I have a hundred percent of the information and I have kind of longer lead times and I am very efficient. That's like the opposite of what you're suggesting, which is, "Let's test something out. Let's see if it works, and if it doesn't, then we move to something else."

Katherine:

Let's work in... The return isn't necessarily there from an ROI perspective up front because we're basically understanding that maybe it's a data play. Maybe it's okay if it fails. All of these things are very, very intuitive for companies that are early stage or that have a different sort of origin and history or are new. I think when you're asking like, are we open to these channels? We're open definitely to the conversation and we are speaking internally and really getting a sense of what our appetite is for risk and how we mitigate against a risk and how we think about investments and how we think about speed as our business model shifts.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah. That's a whole different model and you've got so many eyes kind of watching it like, "How did that pay off? How did it pay off? Let me hear the ROI versus this marketing campaign?" Very different than like a new B2C company that can just move quick and break things and say, "Sorry, later," and no one will probably even-

Katherine:

Exactly.

Stephanie:

... notice. Well, the one thing that seems really tricky, too, with a company of Black & Decker's size is attribution around these campaigns. What are some good best practices when trying to measure the ROI of marketing efforts or ecommerce efforts or any of that?

Katherine:

Attribution is very top of mind. We have a big effort around data and insights, which then goes into AI and predictive analytics, so a very robust effort around data. We've recently, as I mentioned, invested around our martech backbone. This is a CDP, a PIM and DAM, looking at our ESP in our chat and social listening and all of those marketing automation that will help us get smarter about what the impact of our different efforts is. I think we're early in our journey and it is tricky.

Katherine:

Unlike retailers that you sort of have a lot of the data firsthand, there is a lot of our sales come through our retail partners, so building those relationships with the end user and really leveraging the POS data that we do get is just a little bit of a different exercise than it is in kind of more direct businesses. Attribution is something that we're very keen on understanding, and the goal is to be extremely data-driven and really, again, understand the value, even if it's not a pure revenue so we can prioritize our efforts.

Stephanie:

COVID obviously made a lot of people want to come home and work on things. Home improvement was spiking. Anything DIY was spiking. What kind of quick changes did you have to make? I'm assuming maybe you came in and you're like, "All right, here's kind of... I'm going to observe. I'm going to see the org. I'm going to talk to the people and then we're going to do this." Then, maybe have to be like, "And pivot again. Everything's up and to the right. Everyone wants to be home right now and fixing their house." What kind of quick changes were you able to possibly make around them? Maybe increase demand?

Katherine:

Yeah. I mean, you've seen the charts of like the biggest winners and losers in COVID. I think-

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Katherine:

... apparel was at the bottom and I think DIY was at the top, so definitely a huge boom and one that I don't think anyone could have really anticipated. We've disclosed publicly like ecom presented 18% of our business last year and went up five points just in that year-

Stephanie:

Wow, yeah [crosstalk]-

Katherine:

... so [crosstalk]-

Stephanie:

... I think I saw 8% back in 2019 was like the share, so that's awesome. Congrats.

Katherine:

Yeah. Yes, so to your point, it's about meeting that demand, so there's a lot of creative things when you have... With performance market, there's a lot of things you have to do to pivot, so to adjust to the commercial realities, but I think like more important than just meeting the demand, I think what COVID did for us was just like handed us permission to double down, so [crosstalk] an incredibly big base.

Katherine:

We now have set out to double our business within the next few years and we don't just want to take share. We want to grow the category, and because we are number one globally by a three-times factor in terms of tools and storage, we're in this phenomenal position to really seize the opportunity. We're well positioned. I think it's been shown by companies that act swiftly after a crisis like end up reaping the rewards, so we're not retrenching. We are definitely doubling down. It's one of the biggest commitments and priorities of the company.

Stephanie:

Yeah, and what about forecasting? I could imagine a lot of people get really excited about DIY. I even think about some of the things that I got and then I kind of was like, "Okay, this seems a little hard." Pinterest fails just running through my mind of like, "I probably shouldn't try this myself." How do you think about forecasting at a time when you have seen all of this really crazy increased demand? Everyone wants to do it now. Are you kind of like going to keep that trend going? Or do you have a point where you're kind of pulling back a bit of like, "Okay, things might normalize a bit?" Or, "We need to think of other ways to increase the lifetime value, reengage these people, bring them in in a different way? How are you thinking about the next year or two?

Katherine:

You know, I get asked that a lot. What is the future? How much of this is sort of permanent? What's going to stick and what's going to not? When do you kind of shift strategies to exactly along the lines that you're saying to more of inner retention, engagement, and loyalty and such? I wish I had a crystal ball because I do think I'm personally not going to be lining up for Black Friday deals ever again and I'll probably stay in yoga pants, but I personally believe that some of the changes that have been like in ecom, not just our category, but more broadly are really signaling an entirely new phase of growth. I really don't things will ever be the same even after mass vaccination.

Katherine:

I think we've very bullish internally, that while there may be some shifts like in terms of what we call ecommerce that's kind of hybrid selling. We've seen the curbside pickup and the focus in all of the payment. All of the innovation that's happened at the home centers, we've seen what it's prompted, but I really don't think that we're going to see... I think we're going to see some permanent shifts in terms of digital being that new front door for our category. We continue to remain very bullish.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah. I can see the retailers having to also think about especially around home improvement shifting their mindset. The other day, I was talking with someone who said that essentially contractors were doing buy online pickup on the curb similar to that and that I think it was like a Home Depot or something, all of their employees were trying to get stuff for these contractors where they were on the floor for two hours trying to gather this pretty large contractor's order. It was like, "Well, why would I ever go in or even send one of my employees in there to do that when I can just have the retailers working for me?"

Stephanie:

We've had some strong opinions both ways around like that's still going to say versus we had on [inaudible] which is like a big HVAC B2B-type company. She was essentially saying that she didn't see big home improvement stores needing to have as much inventory and warehouse anymore and kind of being more like guide shop placing orders online, like, "Why do you need to go in there and find the exact screws or plumbing pieces that you need? It should all just be ready when you get there." How do you view the world of retail when it comes to that?

Katherine:

When it comes to like B2B, which is that's what that is, like the pro and contractors and such, I think that it's like 70% of the workforce is going to be Millennial and Gen Z and these people that are making the purchasing decisions, they're not going to do it old ways. They want the experiences that they have in their personal life when they get things quick and convenient and have price transparency and can do it 24... All of the things that sort of B2C has sort of led the way.

Katherine:

I think the next frontier is B2B in that way, and so I think that maybe it's not that specifically, but I do think that retailers will have to continue to reinvent and meet these very difficult expectations. I think that what we've not kind of put in a box, like curbside versus... That is kind of going to get very, very, very blurry, and even the attribution of what we call ecommerce is getting very blurry, which makes determining investment return very, very difficult when you think about things like content, you know?

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Katherine:

It's not really the return on the ecom transaction, so I actually think that there will be continued kind of shifts in expectations and that a lot of this behavior will take on a form that we can't even envision now. I think the next five years are going to bring unprecedented change.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I always continue to think about the role of curation with these especially huge stores, like the Loweses, the Home Depots of I want to go in there and have an experience and I want to get something there that I can't get online. I can get online and order whatever tools my TikTok video told me to get, but what I can't get is if I go in there and there is like certain reviews or little maybe like scan this code and you can see a certain video that you wouldn't have seen otherwise, or just thinking of ways to keep me engaged and walk away with some kind of experience or having some kind of curation in retail that I couldn't get online.

Stephanie:

I think, why even go to the Pottery Barns or the West Elms? Even sometimes T.J. Maxxes because certain ones have certain kinds of curation. I think that could be big thing going forward, but feels really hard to crack that. I even think about the Amazon Bookstores when they had the little reviews from the individual employees that had picked the review off of Amazon's website. That to me was very engaging seeing which ones they picked, but then thinking about how to scale that and stay on top of it feels hard.

Katherine:

Yeah. You need something different, which is why I think there's going to be a lot more innovation, or there's going to be services. What is the new mall? You know?

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Katherine:

Is it a place you go with your family to feel like [inaudible] fun from the day? You see like precedents in China and other areas of what shopping really is, but I think what makes it hard, back to your comment about attribution, is now the consideration and the purchase are not linked, so it makes it even harder because you've got all of your inspiration and everything online, and then you're going in store not to sort of consider and browse and be hustled. You're going in with more intentionality potentially, so it's created these very strange journeys that are just, again, really hard to organize around structurally.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Oh, that's an interesting way to put it that your inspiration of when you find something is maybe not linked to when you're in the [crosstalk] store. I think about that all of the time, even with recipes and things. It's like I go in there and I'm like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to make this one Thai thing," and I get in there and I'm like, "What am I here for again? Where do I find my tab where my recipe was?"

Stephanie:

It's how do you keep that person engaged all of the way through to really push them past the finish line and not be like me where I'm like, "Oh, tomatoes. I need tomatoes. That's not part of my recipe, but I just am all the way over in a different aisle and I didn't come here for that. Yesterday, I walked out and I didn't have any of the stuff. I'm like, "This needs to be better, but I don't know how to improve on this."

Katherine:

Absolutely.

Stephanie:

It could be anything, though. The one thing I want to kind of circle back to, too, that I didn't touch on enough, but I was just thinking about the female engagement of the workforce, something that is so important, especially around certain fields that maybe are male-dominated. How do you think about bringing in great talent? How do you recruit great people? How do you encourage people to step up? Oftentimes, females... I think I've read a stat when I was back at Google where they said that females won't apply to a job unless they're like 90% qualified [crosstalk] where men will apply when they're like 60% qualified or something, so [crosstalk]-

Katherine:

Yeah, I know. I've driven past retail. I know retail-

Stephanie:

Yeah-

Katherine:

... the [crosstalk].

Stephanie:

... yeah, yeah, exactly. Like, "I think I've heard of that store before. Apply." How do you think about encouraging badass females to apply and work for you all and be the top place to work? I think you said that you guys are one of the top places to work for women. How do you even go about creating that culture?

Katherine:

Yeah. You know, this is one that really hits me hard just on the personal level just because I think everyone knows at this point the impact of the pandemic on women and that they could take a long time to get out of this and over like 2 million women just left their jobs.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Katherine:

I think that it's very important half of the talent pool are women. We need those voices in that seat at the table and I really do think women might change the dynamic of Corporate America and was essentially designed pre-technology. When you think about when corporate even offices and sort of structures, patterns of interaction were designed. It was just a completely different point in time, so I think kind of blowing that up and kind of thinking with a fresh sheet of paper is one thing. We're taking a hard look at sort of the future of work and the office and that helps with attracting women who sometimes can't reload their family in order to take a GM role of a country or such.

Katherine:

I think that for attracting incredible talent, we have had a big effort and I think that the remote work has helped. We've now had access to just incredible talent. I think my team is in 15 states and one Canadian province, so time zones is a little difficult and there are some challenges with building culture and bringing in more junior people and getting them acclimated. There are some challenges, but I think that's a big piece of it. I think the tone just has to be set at the top. I don't know that you can like dictate a culture and you kind of have to live it. The fact that our leadership team has made it very, very clear unapologetically that we stand for nothing other than gender parity, than social justice. We had empathy principles.

Katherine:

I told my husband I thought it as the most... I told him, "You've got to be kidding. This is incredible work-life principles that the most senior leaders had made like very public pledges to really respect the folks who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic in many senses and so we don't lose that talent." I figure there are a lot of different sort of angles that we're pursuing as a company from flexibility to return to work after two years off to a lot of more formal programs, but I'm not sure that you can... I think a lot of it is just sort of cultural and the tone being set and the overcommunication about how the values that, I guess, we espouse as a company.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I love that. I think also, like you said earlier, empathy is such a big thing because you can have messages from the top about what's okay and flexibility and all of that, but a lot of times, it actually depends on your coworkers. If I were to say, "Hey," just like right now, "All three kids of mine are sick right now, all three of my kids are sick. I can't come in. What do you feel from them? How do you encourage empathy among all of your employees who want to lift you up and support you instead of being like, "Oh, Steph's kids are sick again, this is like the third time in a month?" Which it may be, you never know, and figuring out how to develop that among your entire team seems like a much more-

Katherine:

Yeah, and I think-

Stephanie:

... grassroots effort.

Katherine:

... what helps is the male ally, so we have something that we really want is to lead loudly. I historically, I have no problems balancing my personal life. "I just have a commitment. I can't make it. I have a conflict, but now I don't." I make an effort to say, "I have to take my daughter to the doctor," and that's okay. It's also like setting the example that your life is balanced with a lot of other commitments and we want you to be a whole person and that our job as leaders is to stop asking women to change, is to let us change make best tap into the diversity of thought and sort of life commitments.

Katherine:

I think that unless we figure this out, I fundamentally think you can't legislate to get out of the wage gap. You can't have policy... You really need to make real, meaningful changes within the place that we spend all of our time that gives us meaning to our lives. They've shown how important work is to identity and such and really create the space for true belonging.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah. I think also the best companies will be the ones who think long term around that. That's why I always look back at my time at Google and respect the teams that I worked for so much because I remember I was in at the Finance Group for Maps and I was switching over to like a PM type of role for Augmented Reality and Streetview. I was eight months pregnant when they were recruiting me and I was like, "Do you see this? I will only have a matter of, I mean, weeks, two weeks maybe to work with you guys. I'm really interested."

Stephanie:

They were trying to pull me over to their team, but I'm like, "But I'm only going to be here two weeks," and then we have a very good maternity policy and you get up maybe a couple of weeks off beforehand, is this okay?" They're like, "Yeah, of course it is. We want you long term. You being gone, the company will still run, things will be fine, but we're excited when you get back here and we want you to come back when you're ready and your spot will be here." I just remember being like-

Katherine:

Incredible.

Stephanie:

... "Whoa, like that's the kind of [inaudible] long-term thinking." It's not around like, "Oh, it's going to be hard for a couple of months." They give none of that. It's like, "Of course, everything will be fine, but we'll be here when you're ready to come back," which I respected [crosstalk]-

Katherine:

I do think those are the companies that will win.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Katherine:

Employees will feel like they're a part of something. They'll be more engaged. I don't just think like it's fair and it's the right thing to do. It is a hundred percent of business advantage.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah. I agree. Love that. All right. Well, let's move it over to the lightning round. The lightning round's brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, our amazing sponsors. This is where I'm going to ask you a question and you have a minute or less to answer. Are you ready, Katherine?

Katherine:

Oh, the pressure. Yes.

Stephanie:

[inaudible]. All right. What's one thing you don't understand today that you wish you did?

Katherine:

Blockchain.

Stephanie:

Good one. I mean, yeah, so many opportunities there, I think anyways, but-

Katherine:

Yeah, and again, I understand it at like at a high level, but what are the practical applications in the short term? Same thing with 5G. I also throw that in there.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah. I don't understand 5G. I got a Blockchain [crosstalk] yeah [crosstalk]-

Katherine:

You're not like a [inaudible].

Stephanie:

No. I'll let you know. I'll be like, "Here's a TLVR," and make it short. If you had a podcast, what would it be about and who would your first guest be?

Katherine:

My goodness. It would be about just the topics of the day and I think my first guest would be Dolly Parton. The reason is is that here she was, she had like nothing, and then she became an icon. What propels someone to really... What kind of drive does it take to really leave her very, very humble origins and then sort of build an empire and really have this worldview that she has? I think just really picking the brains of people who have done incredible things.

Stephanie:

That sounds amazing. What's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you? It can be life or work.

Katherine:

Life or work? I would say it would probably be something with... I would say my daughter. I have two daughters and I would say for... I think it was my birthday or Mother's Day, they made Mom Appreciation Day, so the whole day was devoted to me and I got my favorite breakfast. I got to do things that were really what she wanted to do, but that were under the guise of what I wanted to do. She's only four, but it was just very special that she kind of thought of this holiday that would be kind of in my honor.

Stephanie:

Oh, that's cute because they were getting ice cream. "Then, we're going to have candy, and then we're going to get pancakes [crosstalk] with the syrup [crosstalk]-

Katherine:

Exactly what I'm [crosstalk]-

Stephanie:

... "it's your day, Mom." That's so cute. What resources do you check in with each day or week to kind of stay on top of all of the ecommerce trends? What brands do you maybe watch to also kind of stay on top of it?

Katherine:

Yeah, so it's funny. I always ask people that because there's just so much content out there and I think the curation is the most difficult. I read The New York Times and I listen to podcasts. I like Pivot with Galloway and Kara Swisher. I live The Jason Scott Show. I mostly look to earlier stage brands and companies sort of for inspiration and innovation. I'm not sure what I think about the era of big retail and such, but I think that a lot of what the more progressive pure plays are doing can lend itself to the companies that are at a bigger scale. That's who I look to for more inspiration.

Stephanie:

Yep. Not bad. The last one, what one thing will have the biggest impact on ecommerce in the next year?

Katherine:

Okay, so what I think will have the biggest impact in the next year or so is on ecom is just the continued blurring of the lines with score and web. We've seen the proliferation of all of these delivery models. We've seen the impact of social commerce. I just think there's going to be a lot more. I think in the far future, there'll be more off-the-screen IoT. Voice will become more prevalent, all of those kind of... AI, AR, VR, all of that, but I think in the immediate term, we're just going to continue to see sort of these models blurring and the distinction between what is ecommerce and what is sort of brick and mortar continue to become more or less relevant.

Stephanie:

Yep. Yeah, so basically things start to kind of get bundled together a bit more. Right now, it feels like there's bunch of like tentacles everywhere and you have to keep track of everything, which is why we named the show Commerce and not Up Next In Ecommerce.

Katherine:

That's why my title is Commerce.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yep. Oh, I love it. That's-

Katherine:

Yeah [crosstalk] very progressive, though we're thinking that [crosstalk]-

Stephanie:

Very forward-thinking. We had our crystal ball. We're ahead of the game. Well, Katherine, this interview has been so fun. It's been great hearing about what you guys are up to at Stanley Black & Decker and all of the cool work that you're doing. Where can people find out more about you and the family Black & Decker and maybe even apply for you team? If I wasn't here, I would. It sounds epic.

Katherine:

Oh my goodness. Yeah, everyone should want to be a part of it. We're doing some amazing things together. You can reach me on LinkedIn and you can learn more about the company, stanleyblackanddecker.com, but thank you again for the opportunity. This is a really fun conversation.

Stephanie:

Yeah, thanks. It definitely was. I'll have to have you back for round two in the future. It'd be fun.

Katherine:

Absolutely. Will do.

Stephanie:

Thanks, Katherine.

Katherine:

Thanks.

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