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Did you hear the latest? Mindy Grossman—ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the most Powerful Women in the World—is leaving Nike to go to the Home Shopping Network. For some of her fans, like me, who have been tracking Grossman’s stellar career, it was a surprise decision to jump from global vice president at Nike to join forces with HSN.

But Grossman, who recently addressed 160 leaders at a women’s Aspire-Respond-Engage (A.R.E.) salon, is the first to point out that her career choices have not been predictable or linear.

“When we are caught up in the nature of our work and are asked to take on another job or position, rarely do we step back and ask ourselves: what do I really want to do? What is it at this point in my career and life that is important to me?”
Mindy Grossman

So for Grossman, her decision to work at HSN was logical because it was aligned with her values and interests. “I knew I wanted to touch the lives of many and work for a direct to consumer business. I also knew that I wanted to be in a business that was entrepreneurial with scale and one that could take advantage of the emerging technology,” she said. “When I was researching HSN, it fit all the things that I was excited about doing, and I knew this could be an opportunity to create a network that combines content and commerce through entertainment.”

For her, envisioning the next platform and creating it has always been very exciting. “Imagining what the possibilities are versus what is right in front of me has been the second biggest factor in defining my career,” Grossman added.

In every company that she has joined, she has pioneered some of the most innovative ways of branding and building a business. As President of Chaps, Ralph Lauren, she grew the company’s revenue from $26 to $250 million. And when she started at Polo Jeans, she built a team from scratch and saw the company’s revenues rocket from zero to $450 million.

Nowadays, Ms. Grossman is used to big numbers. As CEO of HSN, Inc., she oversees a retail portfolio that generates more than $3.2 billion in revenues. She has taken her nonlinear approach to life and applied it to the organization as well. Since joining the company in 2006, she spearheaded efforts to evolve the linear network into a multiplatform business with digital expansion into mobile and online applications. Her vision has served her well—today HSN.com is on the list of the Top 10 Most Trafficked e-Commerce Sites.

Another key lesson that she has learned while working with top brands is that the company’s culture has a profound effect on its employees. “People don’t follow a leader but a vision—a vision of what the future looks like and how their work helps them along that path,” Mindy said.

So, as CEO, Grossman’s priority has been to create a culture of generosity that stimulates growth and success throughout the company. Listening to her recent talk at the women’s forum, it became increasingly apparent to us that a person’s core values and philosophies can affect work decisions. These work experiences, in turn, shape our personal philosophies.

In her concluding remarks at the Women A.R.E. salon, Grossman also shared one of her personal mottos. “I never bet against anyone. If people do something that has a true purpose and they do it with boldness, I root for them.”

That struck me as a remarkably simple but generous credo. If all of us could move just a little closer to adopting a similar philosophy—in business as well as our social lives—think what a warmer world we would all have together.

I had the opportunity to ask Mindy a few questions about her leadership style. You can view her responses in this video.


Angella Nazarian is a bestselling author and noted speaker. Both of her books Life as a Visitor and the newly released Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World have become bestsellers for the publisher and have garnered glowing reviews from Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, Martha Stewart, and Diane von Furstenberg. To learn more about Angella, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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May 17, 2013