Brandy Cardozo, the general manager at our Best Buy store in Melbourne Beach, Florida, remembers the exact moment a fire was lit in her to become a strong female leader.
She was working for a different retailer at the time, when her boss came up to her and said, “I don’t know why you’re working so hard. Your kind never gets promoted.” He was talking about women.
She eventually did get promoted, but one day she looked around and realized how discouraged she was by being the only woman in the room of male leaders. And that’s what drove her to Best Buy.
Brandy is one of three women we talked to after being named to Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Best Employers for Women. For the second year in a row, we are one of two retailers in the top 10.
The ranking is based on an independent survey of more than 75,000 people. Respondents were asked to rate the company they work for and peer companies based on topics such as development, salary, benefits, diversity and the likelihood of recommending their employer.
For Brandy, Best Buy’s inclusion on these lists just proves what she already knows. She has worked here for 16 years now and says she can’t imagine being anywhere else because Best Buy truly values its women leaders.
“You can’t be your best self unless you’re appreciated for all that you are and celebrated for all that you are,” she said.
‘It’s OK to be human’
Marie Harding is the only female manager at Best Buy’s distribution center in suburban Baltimore. But unlike Brandy’s experience at her former employer, Marie said her male peers and leaders are her biggest cheerleaders.
“They never once made me feel like because I’m a woman I couldn’t do what they do,” she said. “These guys have helped me understand who I am as a leader in a lot of ways. They’ve embraced it. In fact, they want more women in leadership.”
“They never once made me feel like because I’m a woman I couldn’t do what they do.”Marie Harding
Marie said she believes women often feel they have to be tough to be leaders. But her supply chain mentor — Pamela Smyth, senior director of distribution operations — once told her showing emotions doesn’t make you any less of a leader.
“In moments of vulnerability, I play that in my head, and I’m reminded that it’s OK to be human,” Marie said.
‘The best parent and best employee’
As a working mom of two kids under the age of 4, Lucie Cregeur knows the importance of a workplace that values women’s experiences.
The senior marketing manager helped champion enhanced lactation suites at the Best Buy corporate campus and has taken advantage of Best Buy’s Workplace Accommodation program to better juggle work and home with a flexible schedule.
But she admits it can be intimidating for women to speak up.
“You have to have the courage as working women to ask for what you need, but Best Buy is willing to listen to parents and women,” she said.
She’s encouraged by leaders like Best Buy’s chief customer officer, Allison Peterson, who she said sets a good example for women at the company.
“They talk about going to read at their kid’s preschool class or leaving early to attend their kid’s event,” she said. “That gives license to women to do what they need to do to be the best parent and best employee.”
Photo (L to R): Brandy Cardozo, Marie Harding and Lucie Cregeur.
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