Since graduating from LIM College in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising, Elisabeth Gil has held a variety of roles in fashion and beauty, including at Gilt.com, Peter Thomas Roth and the Estée Lauder Cos., where she achieved the positions of program manager, global brand supply chain and global inventory and deployment planner.
At the beginning of this year, Gil took her supply chain management skills to Bark as director of inventory management. Launched in 2012 with BarkBox, a monthly themed subscription of dog toys and treats, Bark describes itself as “devoted to making dogs happy with the best products, services and content.”
Here, Gil shares her career path, the importance of mentorship, and what helped inform her career choices.
WWD: How would you describe your career path?
Elisabeth Gil: I would say my career path was unorthodox. For a long time, not only did I not know what I wanted to do from a career perspective, but I also didn’t know what I loved or what I was skilled at. It took me a long time and, luckily, a lot of exposure to different areas to figure out my passion for operations and executional excellence, which brought me to where I am now.
WWD: What were some of the challenges you faced?
E.G.: The biggest challenge in any field is getting your foot in the door or pivoting to a new department or role. Breaking out in an already competitive industry and then crawling my way from wholesale sales to program management to planning to operations was no easy feat, and it required a lot of résumé-building for me to be taken seriously.
WWD: Is there a professional achievement you are particularly proud of?
E.G.: My biggest achievements have been in changing the landscape of supply chain within the Estée Lauder Cos. I was lucky to have very influential and supportive managers who encouraged and fostered an entrepreneurial mindset. This allowed me to branch out from my main responsibilities as a supply chain manager and lead company-wide initiatives within the supply chain operations landscape.
WWD: How did your education help inform your career decisions?
E.G.: The education I received — and the seven internships I completed — at LIM College laid the groundwork for everything I have accomplished. Not only did I develop technical skills to make me qualified for specific roles, but I acquired life skills of interviewing, negotiation and professionalism that I still carry with me every day.
WWD: Have you had mentors in the industry? How have they helped you?
E.G.: To me, a mentor is someone who provides a balance of support while pushing you just hard enough to help you reach your maximum potential. My supervisor at the Estée Lauder Cos. was also my greatest mentor. Not only did he want me to do well in the role I was in, but he also gave me opportunities to succeed beyond that role. This supervisor sought out the individual talents of each of his team members and helped us capitalize on those talents and gain exposure to other brands/divisions and executive leaders within the company. I owe the majority of my ongoing success to him.
WWD: What advice would you give someone considering a career in supply chain management?
E.G.: Never stop learning. As is true in most career paths, the supply chain is always evolving. Always take any and all opportunities to gain a new certification in the field and volunteer for company-wide initiatives and projects. Résumé-building is the foundation for success in this field.
WWD: If you could go back in time and give career advice to your younger self, what would that advice be?
E.G.: Slow down and let it all sink in!