Empowering Growth and Retaining Talent: A Conversation with Kate Schmidt of Best Buy

From starting on a team of two to overseeing a team of 30, Kate Schmidt, Senior Director of Media Strategy at Best Buy, has witnessed the evolution of her team firsthand. Best Buy as an organization has some impressive retention, especially amongst their female leadership. The CEO, Corie Barry, boasts an impressive 25-year tenure, and CMO, Jennie Weber, has been with the company for 15 years.

Laura Cosgrove, Rokt’s VP of Strategic Retail Partnerships, shared the stage with Kate at this week’s Women in Retail Leadership Summit to discuss this impressive leadership and the secret to retaining great talent. Check out five of the key takeaways from Kate:

1. Pave your own way

Kate emphasized Best Buy’s culture of encouraging employees to bring their full selves to work, which includes taking initiative and seizing opportunities for growth. She highlighted the importance of working with smart, dedicated colleagues who energize and support each other through challenges.

2. Know employees as individuals

Despite overseeing a team of 30, Kate maintains a personal connection with her team members. She relies on her direct reports to keep her informed about each individual’s passions, career aspirations, and development plans. This approach allows her to advocate for her team members and help them seize new opportunities.

3. Be a work-life balance example

Kate prioritizes work-life balance, setting an example by showing that it’s okay to leave work early to attend a family event or take time off to recharge. Kate believes that leading by example is crucial for creating a healthy work environment.

4. Support career changes

Best Buy recognizes that not every career path is linear. Kate explained that sometimes, retaining talent means helping employees pivot to different roles within the organization. Best Buy focuses on understanding employees’ interests and helping them find roles that align with their goals, even if it means a lateral move.

5. Create a culture of inclusion

As the co-chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (ID&E) group at Best Buy, Kate is committed to creating a culture of belonging and inclusion. She is excited to integrate this work within the marketing team to increase engagement and retention.

The Women in Retail Leadership Summit 2024 was an amazing experience. From our insightful conversation with Kate to the valuable community-building  with other inspiring women from the retail industry, we’re excited to see the future impact of these changemakers!