Linda Dauriz works at the German fashion giant HUGO BOSS as the Director of Customer Experience and Corporate Development. Translation? She covers everything from digital marketing to analytics models to the global strategy, a juggling act that she was well-prepared for by her previous job, working as a partner at McKinsey & Company, where she offered consulting with a focus on apparel fashion and luxury goods companies. The native Italian argues that her decision to accept her current job was a no-brainer — “if you want to work in fashion in Germany, you can either go for the sports players, like adidas, or HUGO BOSS. In terms of where I could make the most impact, [by working for HUGO BOSS] I could affect many, many, many customers’ lives each day. And this is a source of excitement, energy and happiness for me.”
What’s the one thing you can tell us about HUGO BOSS that nobody knows?
Are you familiar with the most successful record in music history, Thriller by Michael Jackson? On the cover of the 1982 album, Michael Jackson wears an iconic white suit — made by BOSS.
Tell us about the best day you ever had in your career.
In terms of achievements, definitely the store opening of the first adidas NEO store in Germany. Standing on the shop floor and seeing real customers walking through the door, after having been part of the journey from the first business case to the Go Live was amazing.
My most vivid memory is actually focused on an evening — my very first fashion show in 2008. The power of creativity, the ultimate style expression of the brand, and the passion of the team bringing it to life was memorable — after just 10–12 minutes of watching runway, I had goosebumps for the rest of the evening.
What is your number one piece of advice for women who want to maximize their career potential?
It would be to envision where they want to be in five to ten years and actively seek out sponsors to help them along the way: sponsors as opposed to mentors. What’s the difference? A mentor is someone who gives good advice, but actually doesn’t do much with it. A sponsor is not just someone who gives advice, but is someone who works to create opportunities for you to demonstrate what you can do.
One example from my own life would be Thomas Tochtermann who is now an emeritus director at McKinsey, as well as the chairman of the supervisory board of Tom Tailor and the chairman of the supervisory board of Vapiano. He introduced me to new clients; he always encouraged me to think bigger and to be very clear about what it was I wanted to achieve; he introduced me to new clients, as well as new networks that were interesting for me, he actively supported me in the transition to HUGO BOSS. He gave me coaching.
You often realize along the way if someone is a sponsor or not, since they’re usually someone who believes in your potential and thinks you’re able to do more than you yourself believe you’re capable of. So when you see that someone is actively going out of their way to support your development, that’s one of the best clues. I encourage everyone to share their personal career and development goals with that person and deepen the relationship and understand how you can be helpful to that person, so it’s based on reciprocity.
When you were a child, what did you imagine you would be when you grew up?
As a very young girl, I wanted to be a pediatrician. But when I realized that this involved studying medicine, I decided that probably wouldn’t be the best career path for me, since I didn’t like blood! Paediatricians, or doctors more generally, are about making life better every day. In terms of improving lives, that’s what still drives me today, if you will. Improving lives in the broadest sense, not in the physical sense, but when you wear a BOSS dress or a BOSS suit you feel like you’re impeccably dressed for the day and whatever happens, you’re at your best.
Which three words describe you best and why?
Curious, entrepreneurial and passionate. Curious because I’m interested in what’s going on in the world around me, as well as what our customers are interested in, so I read a lot, I’m actively building and nurturing my network both within the industry and beyond. Entrepreneurial because it energises me to build something from scratch, creating something that lasts is a big motivation for me. Passionate because I’m really bad at doing things in a lukewarm sort of way, when I do things, I do them with a lot of passion, that’s my Italian side. It’s either 0 or 100 — there’s very little in between.
If you could be trapped in a lift with anyone, who would you choose?
Michelle Obama. She’s an impressive woman who manages to strike the right balance between work and family, professional life and family life. I’d ask her what gives her energy, what drives her, what her best piece of advice for working women would be. Standard questions! Together, we’d have the best possible mix of intellect and emotion and be equipped to find our way out of the lift.
And finally, what are you most looking forward to about Savant eCommerce Berlin?
I’m looking forward to meeting new faces who are excited about building networks. I’m also looking forward to everything connected to customer experience, CRM and deepening customer relationships.
This interview has been edited and abridged for clarity.
Dauriz will be delivering the keynote speech on customer experience at Savant eCommerce Berlin (1–2 March 2018) where she’ll be explaining how to use customer experience to drive business growth and build brand loyalty. Catch Dauriz — and a whole host of other sharp business minds from the likes of Coca-Cola, John Lewis and Google — there. Buy tickets here.