The Focused Leader
At Costco you really start at the bottom, work your way through every position, learning along the way and growing up within the environment.
Claudine has spent her entire career at the company. She began her career with the Seattle-area company in an hourly position at a warehouse store in 1992.
When Claudine, now 51, graduated from Western Washington University, where she majored in finance marketing, she applied to Costco because her two older sisters were working in the company's accounting department. Her initial dream was dashed when, hoping to land at headquarters, she was told that everyone at Costco starts in the warehouse, which is what the company calls it capacious stores. Claudine swallowed her pride and went to Kirkland, where she greeted members and checked receipts. "My friends thought I was crazy," she says.
After a year at the warehouse she became an inventory-control specialist doling out candy to warehouses in the northwest region. Her company voyage continued: assistant buyer for candy, buyer for the company's mail-order operation (which morphed into Costco.com), computer buyer for all the warehouses, general merchandise manager to open a regional office Southern California. Claudine then returned to Seattle as VP of the home division for furniture, small appliances, and housewares. She then went on to become VP of consumer electronics, jewelry and office. She most recently was senior vice president of non-foods merchandising. Just when we were in the final leg of producing this magazine, her appointment to the new role was announced: Executive Vice President, Merchandising.
It has been a long journey, but the journey is the reason she believes Costco won't succumb to the lure of the next trendy idea. "At Costco you really start at the bottom, work your way through every position, learning along the way," as she puts it, "growing up within the environment."
(Inputs from Inside Costco: The Magic in the Warehouse. (Fortune 2016))
Executive VP, Merchandising - Non-Foods & Ecommerce, Costco
The Focused Leader