Executive Leadership Series – Becky Behringer, Head of Store Selling and Operations
VS&Co Executive Leadership Series
The Victoria’s Secret & Co. Executive Leadership Series is a behind-the-scenes conversation with our leaders on the topics they are most passionate about. Stay tuned as we continue our commitment to welcome, celebrate and honor our associates, our customers and the communities where we engage. We are excited to have you on this journey with us.
Prep the Halls
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and also the busiest! Across VS&Co, our teams are working hard to make sure the holidays are a special and memorable time for our customers. Whether you're Black Friday shopping or gifting for yourself or others throughout the holiday season, many of the most memorable moments we create take place within our stores! This includes the glitz, glam and shine of our Holiday collections, the festive décor and ambiance, and of course, our incredible store associates who help make holiday shopping as seamless and stress free as possible.
Hear from Becky Behringer, Head of Store Selling and Operations for VS&Co, as she discusses how the Stores team “preps the halls” for the busy season.
“Much like the rest of the organization, Stores work year-round to be ready for Holiday… It’s our job to create a shopping experience that is easy, enjoyable and makes customers want to return again and again.”
1. Tell us about yourself and your role at VS&Co.
I am the Head of Store Selling and Operations for both Victoria’s Secret and PINK, meaning I lead the stores team both in the field and the Store Operations team at our home office. I love what I do because I get to create intimate connections between customers and our brands through our immensely talented store associate teams and the amazing store operations team that supports them. The customers and our associates are the heart of everything I do at VS&Co.
Outside of work, I am the proud mom of four amazing kids who I am raising to become strong and confident individuals, equipped to handle anything life throws their way!
2. You’ve had a long career at Victoria’s Secret, working your way up from Store Manager to leading the Stores organization! Tell us a little bit about this – how has your experience impacted your current position as EVP of Stores?
My journey with the company started 20 years ago when I was the Store Manager at our Victoria’s Secret Beverly Center location in L.A. Throughout this time, I ran two other stores in the L.A. area and was later given the opportunity to become a District Manager in Southern California and then, a few years later, Las Vegas. This was in the middle of the 2008 recession and one of the most challenging times in my career, but also one of the most educational. I learned a lot about focusing on the fundamentals, understanding customer behavior and building brand loyalty. After Las Vegas, I moved to the Bay Area and led the Northwest Stores as the Regional Manager for five years before moving to Columbus to head Store Operations, which soon turned into leading the field organization as well!
My experience in stores is the foundation of my understanding of how stores operate and how critical it is to stay connected and committed to our customers. What my career has also taught me is that the world is a dynamic place – things change rapidly and running a store today is not what it was like 20 years ago. My job is truly to stay connected to these changes and understand how our store experience can adapt to stay ahead of these changes, not behind them.
3. Victoria’s Secret is currently undergoing a brand transformation to be a leading advocate for women. How has this transformation impacted the stores experience for both our associates and customers?
Our transformation is really resonating with our store associates. Our stores team is responsible for welcoming and celebrating all customers equally and ensuring they connect with our brands in a way that empowers and uplifts them. Now that our company mission has changed, these connections have become even easier in our stores!
4. Can you tell us a little bit more about the Store of the Future?
Our Store of the Future concept is VS&Co’s fresh new take on our store design to reflect our transformation. Its purpose really is to create a space that celebrates both our customers and associates. In some ways, I wish we could go back in time and change the name, because “Store of the Future” implies that this is some far-off concept, but it’s actually quite the opposite – it’s happening now!
We’ve opened several Stores of the Future already and what I am most proud of is the collaborative nature that went into designing them. An open and inviting concept is grounded in both efficiency and emotion. We’ve created a new and intuitive layout, softer color palette for a more approachable environment, more inclusive displays and imagery and have even redesigned seemingly “little” details, like our drawers to house our expanded size assortment. Our new fitting room technology is also really neat because it automatically detects what products are brought in and makes it easy for customers to swap for new sizes and explore more of our product offerings. The new layout truly makes the shopping experience more seamless than ever. What I love the most about the new design is that with each new store we make enhancements after watching and learning from both the customer and the associate.
5. Holiday is one of the biggest times of year for our business and store associates. Tell us, how are you preparing?
Ah, Holiday! Much like the rest of the organization, Stores work year-round to be ready for Holiday. One of the most critical ways we prepare is ensuring we are fully staffed for the increase in customers that Holiday always brings. We also work to limit any in-store distractions to make sure our associates can focus fully on the customer. It’s our job to create a shopping experience that is easy, enjoyable and makes customers want to return again and again.
One thing I always think about is that the stores, as well as our e-commerce sites, are the last stop between all the incredible work our teams across the business have dreamed up, designed, tested and ultimately created. It is the store’s job to get it to the customer and if we make this process too complex or don’t find a solution for unnecessary distractions, we jeopardize this final stop in the journey.
6. Holiday can be a busy time, and our store associates are so important to creating a great shopping experience. How do you and the team maintain a strong associate culture during this time?
We do a lot of fun and engaging activities for associates throughout Holiday, but it’s important to remember that building a strong store associate culture doesn’t happen overnight or in just one season. A strong associate culture is built through a year-round effort to ensure all associates feel seen, heard and respected. Our last ten-day countdown leading up to Christmas is typically filled with moments of surprise and delight, and always gratitude for our stores teams that play such a vital role in our business.
7. What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on at VS&Co?
There are two big projects that have shaped me into the leader I am today, both from when I was a district manager (DM) – the DM Effectiveness pilot and the Merchandise Flow pilot. Both experiences helped me become a better problem solver and gave me visibility to our home office, which set the stage for me taking on this role today.
8. What is your favorite part about working at VS&Co?
The people, for sure! Whether it’s the customers I get to connect with, the associates in our stores, the operations team I have the honor to lead or the partners I get to work with across the organization, the relationships and partnerships that I have developed over the years made me who I am today.
Certainly, these relationships make work fun, but they also make it incredibly rewarding. I have also had the support of so many mentors that have given me the drive to always want to pay it forward.
9. Any advice or life lessons you would like to share?
Leadership isn’t easy. It’s rewarding when you get it right, but it’s not easy. What I have learned over the past 20 years is that as a leader, you never spend too much time coaching yourself. Being self-aware and honest is critical to growth. When I first became a District Manager, my boss once reminded me that when my team goes home to their friends and families and talks about their day, their answers are often directly related to me. To this day, that message resonates with me because it’s made me realize how important it is that my values always guide me. As a leader, I have a responsibility to make sure that those I lead feel supported, valued and invested in – even in the most challenging situations. Do I always get it right? No, but I do know that if I lead with my values first and focus on bringing out the best in others, I can make an impact I can be proud of. And of course, when I get it wrong, being accountable is critical to the happy, healthy culture we at VS&Co are all working to build.