Brave Commerce Podcast: Building Careers and Building Brands

Kodiak's CEO shares what it means to approach commerce bravely

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This episode of Brave Commerce features the impressive and inspiring Dr. Val Oswalt, CEO and board member at Kodiak. 

Dr. Oswalt’s career has spanned multiple job functions at both large and small companies. When deciding if a new opportunity is right for her, Dr. Oswalt asks herself if she can make a difference and can she learn something. Dr. Oswalt shares why these questions guide her choices and how she establishes herself as an effective leader.

As a leader, she focuses on four key agilities: people, change, results and mental agility. These key agilities have allowed her to win in any environment. Above all, being a good listener, whether as part of her recent “listening tour” or during Kodiak’s “Thursday Touchpoints,” allows her to “get out of the bear den” and build trust with everyone invested in the brand from employees, to customers, to suppliers, to retailers.

Finally, Dr. Oswalt shares what she learned while writing her doctorate dissertation about the lack of female leaders in Fortune 500 companies. She found that the main deterrents to women in the corporate world are that they lack a sense of self-belonging along with the gender stereotypes and biases that they face. In order to improve the representation of women in leadership positions, they need strong female role models and company support. 

There is no question that Dr. Oswalt truly embodies what it means to approach commerce bravely.

Key takeaways:

  • Staying small can be a strength if you have a team that lives the values of your brand.
  • When considering new opportunities look for challenges that make you a little bit nervous and offer you transferable skills.
  • Organizations need to focus on building leadership skills for middle managers in order to create a sense of psychological safety for their employees.