My favorite part of the journey has been that in addition to bringing the brands online came the ability to build world-class teams and their careers along the way.
RIS: How has women’s role in the industry evolved over your career?
Seay: Women’s role in technology has changed quite a bit over the course of my career. Early in my career it was not uncommon to be the only woman in an IT meeting. In today’s offices, it is clear that IT career disciplines have vastly expanded over the past 20 years, including new areas of expertise such as cyber security, library sciences, artificial intelligence, and data analytics.
With this expansion in disciplines, and the need for more and more talent in our organizations, we are seeing more and more women in IT and as an extension, in IT leadership positions. So, I suppose the industry has evolved quite a bit. This was evident when I was talking to my daughter this week about our security team when I mentioned that we currently have an all-female leadership team!
RIS: What are your long-term goals for your career? What would you like to accomplish before you retire?
Seay: Long term I would like the opportunity to be a chief information officer, but my current focus is as the CISO at Carter’s. My biggest objective is to keep learning, keep growing, and keep developing my teams. My father taught me early on that life is as much about the journey as it is the destination. I intend to make the most of my journey.
RIS: With the retail industry in a state of uncertainty thanks to COVID 19 what technology is having the greatest impact now as retailers adjust to the new normal? And where should retailers be investing once a level of normalcy returns?
Seay: COVID-19 has thrown us all for a very unexpected loop in retail. We have had to temporarily close our stores, pull back on our wholesale deliveries, and ensure our ecommerce business is up and running to meet our customer’s needs. Our e-commerce platform, OMS and distribution systems look a lot like holiday peak as they carry the load for our entire retail division during this difficult time.
Carter’s has been investing in omnichannel capabilities to deliver product from multiple DCs and stores, which will be a key to meeting our customers’ expectations once we start to return to normalcy.
Our corporate IT operations have had to shift to a 100% work from home workforce. During this uncertain time we quickly turned on Microsoft Teams and accelerated our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). These technologies have been critical for establishing connectivity and communication. They have also transformed the way we work. I look forward to greater flexibility and agility once we establish our new normal.