Kristen Erceg has taken a winding path in her 14 years with Old Navy, from her first gig as general manager of a store in Oregon to her current job as senior manager of commercial impact on the Store Operations team. She’s known for her high-energy approach and her infectious laugh (not to mention the homemade baked goods she loves to share with her team). Those are just a couple of the reasons that Kristen took home the 2018 “Like a Boss” Golden Flip Flop Award that recognizes employees who exemplify the Old Navy spirit.
“She lights up a room,” said Steve Stickel, EVP of Global Stores & Operations, when he presented Kristen’s award at Old Navy’s most recent quarterly town hall. “She lights up a team. And she knows how to light up an opportunity.” We sat down with Kristen to talk about her career journey and how she got where she is today.
So what does Old Navy’s senior manager of commercial impact do, anyway? My team is responsible for field employee engagement, loyalty programs like Super Cash, Old Navy Cards and gift cards, the brand’s national events, and pricing.
What does your career road map look like — where did you start, and how did you end up at HQ? A friend who knew me well suggested I apply at Old Navy. After meeting with the recruiter, I became the general manager of a two-story Old Navy in Salem, Ore. I loved being a GM! Getting to see the people on my team develop every day was so rewarding.
After a year, I was promoted to district manager in Las Vegas, and shortly thereafter moved to the Bay Area to work in HQ’s backyard. Then I took a role as an event specialist, where my main job was to help increase local traffic and improve the customer experience for events.
I missed working with a team, so I became a market leader in Sacramento. After about a year, my current role opened up, and it was a natural fit: I could leverage my skills as a leader as well as my passion for events. The ability to support an entire field organization is extremely motivating — every decision you make could impact someone’s job for the better. I also love that I get to work in a job that highlights my strengths.
Did you plan to end up where you are today? I never thought I’d end up working at HQ. In fact, I wasn’t even going to apply, because I thought I hadn’t been a market leader long enough — but Troy Dunmire, my VP at the time, suggested I apply. He reminded me that when you see an opportunity, you have to grab it, and that you’ll never be able to check off every box on the list before you move to your next role.
In all your relocations for work, which has been your favorite place to live? Where I am now in Vallejo, Calif. — I have a view of the ocean from my backyard!
What’s the best piece of work advice you’ve received? “Never give someone feedback to make yourself feel better.” I had an HR manager who was a great coach — and she taught me that when you want to give someone feedback, be sure it’s because you want to help that person grow.
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