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Step Out of Comfort Zone: NEW Panel

LOS ANGELES — Women may need to take chances and occasionally step out of their comfort zones to get ahead in business, a panel of women executives said here Monday during a panel discussion at the 2013 Leadership Summit of the Network of Executive Women.


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Ginnie Roeglin, senior vice president, e-commerce and publishing, for Costco Wholesale Corp., Issaquah, Wash., said she was given the assignment to integrate systems when Price Co. merged with Costco in 1993. Although she had been working in Price Co.'s IT department, "I was not a tech person, and things didn't always go well in my new job — we had more than our share of glitches.

"But doing that job gave me great visibility among Costco executives, and they saw I could work hard and have a lot of success. So it turned out to be a good thing that I got out of my comfort zone, even if I wasn't quite ready."

Teresa Turley, vice president, human resources, operations for Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., said she took a risk in taking over HR operations for the Memphis division last week.

"I wish I'd taken the risk of getting into operations 20 years earlier because it's good to broaden your scope," she said.

She also took a chance "by expressing myself on the kind of compensation I wanted, rather than simply accepting whatever they were paying, as I had in the past. It took a lot of guts, but I negotiated with the company and got a 50% raise because I asked."

Donna Sanker, vice president, marketing, for BP's AM/PM Markets, said she was asked years ago to lead a division of BP's gasoline business, "and though I had no experience in that part of the business, I learned I didn't need to be an expert because I had an experienced team around me, so I asked a lot of questions, which is a great way to learn and also a great way to enable your team to feel valued.

"Asking questions is not a sign of weakness — it's a sign of strength," she added.

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