The Instinctive Leader
In my 27 years at the company and 12 years as CEO, I’ve found that the very best solutions arise from a willingness to blend art with science, ideas with data, and instinct with analysis.
A driving force in the growth of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Laura Alber has served as the company's president and chief executive officer, as well as a member of its Board of Directors since 2010.
During her tenure, Alber has held various leadership roles, executing effective growth strategies, driving ecommerce, strengthening brand recognition, and bolstering profits for the company's portfolio of multi-channel brands. Alber has spearheaded WSI's innovation and expansion into new markets, including the introduction of Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, West Elm, Mark & Graham and Rejuvenation, and most recently, new growth opportunities such as Business-to-Business and Marketplace.
Alber believes that WSI's three key differentiators of in-house design, digital-first channel strategy and values, combined with its relentless focus on the customer, are core to fulfilling the company's vision to own the home.
"Our customers love their homes, and we have a singular focus on helping make them a reflection of who they are," says Alber. This commitment is evident across all WSI brands and Alber believes each brand's unique design aesthetic and price-point differentiation enable the company to address a broad spectrum of customers' personal styles, needs and life stages.
“In my 27 years at the company and 12 years as CEO, I’ve found that the very best solutions arise from a willingness to blend art with science, ideas with data, and instinct with analysis, “ says Laura. “In the years since, Williams-Sonoma has taken its use of data to an entirely new level—one that I know is unique in the retail sector. Today analytics infuses—and enhances—all areas of our business, in decisions both big and small. Our overarching goal is always to enhance the customer experience. Relevance is our guiding principle.”
“We’re a creative group that uses data to make smarter decisions, to strengthen our relationships with customers and suppliers, and to grow our business,” she said in an article published in Harvard Business Review.
Through her leadership, Alber also fosters a strong values-based culture, which she believes is fundamental to sustained growth and outperformance.
Alber currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Pennsylvania, and as an advisor to Plexo Capital, an institutional investor formed inside GV (formally Google Ventures) that invests into seed stage VCs (led by women and underrepresented minorities) and technology startups.
She received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Laura J Alber
CEO & President, Williams-Sonoma
The Instinctive Leader