THE GROUNDED LEADER
Truly understanding your team at all levels, as well as connecting to the customer and their experiences, is critical…it is how you build more than just a company, but how you build a brand.
Suzanne Kiggin is head of Operations and Customer Care at American Signature Inc., parent company to Value City Furniture & American Signature Furniture, two of the country’s premier furniture retailers. Together the company operates 119 stores, 4 distribution centers, 3 manufacturing facilities and have over 2,000 team members in 18 states.
Suzanne serves as a dynamic leader, creating and implementing initiatives for continuous improvement of retail operations, store planning, and customer experience. “In the last 24 months, my greatest undertaking was managing the operation and care of over 2,000 employees in multiple states, through a global pandemic. One of my proudest accomplishments during this time, was that every decision made, was made with our team members and our customers in mind. I not only had to rethink how we operated our stores, but I had to rethink what being an effective leader looked like in a virtual environment. As a result, I became more connected to my team in a much more meaningful way, understanding them on a more personal level,” says Suzanne.
In her previous role as Vice President of Brand Operations at Victoria’s Secret, Suzanne was certified as a Senn Delaney culture shaping facilitator. She dedicated herself to building strong company culture at all levels.
Suzanne always aspired to be in a role where she would be able to impact the whole of an organization. One key experience that helped her transition into the corporate world came from working in stores. Very early on, she was able to learn firsthand about leadership, driving sales, getting results and developing talent. More importantly, she learned what it felt like to be on the receiving end of communications, programs and initiatives that were filtered to stores top-down. “I took the time to work through several different roles in the field, only moving to the home office when I felt confident and prepared to represent and advocate for the stores and employees who were working the front lines. As I advanced in my career, I never forgot what that experience in the store felt like and how hard it is to work in the store, and I continue to use that memory to ground myself in my role. I have learned that truly understanding your team at all levels, as well as connecting to the customer and their experiences, is critical…it is how you build more than just a company, but how you build a brand,” she explains.
VP of Operations and Customer Care, American Signature Inc.
The Grounded Leader
Nominated by Zipline