Women in Operations 2016 | Laura Barrett

Laura-BarrettLaura Barrett
Soft Surroundings
Senior Vice President-Operations

Education: BS, Political Science, St. Lawrence University

My job: Responsible for all operations at Soft Surroundings, an omnichannel women’s apparel, bedding, home accessories and beauty brand.

Which best describes your career path?  I started my career in a different field and, over time, decided logistics/operations was a better fit for me.

Which of the following resources have helped you in learning to become a logistics/operations professional? Mentors (both outside & on the job); On the Job/Experiential

My first job in retail operations was: Director of Inventory Management, Soft Surroundings/HDC, where I managed inventory for both Soft Surroundings and Home Decorators Collection, a home catalog.

I’ve been in this field for: 17 years

I’ve been in this role for: 2 years

Roughly, what percent of your company’s operations team are women? 60%

What is the most interesting part of your job and why? Every day is different. I love figuring out how to manage a new process or problem and find a solution.  I love working with the teams to challenge them to focus on the big picture and never lose sight of the customer.

I love the vendor relationship part of the merchandising role.  I really enjoy working with people. Grant Williams, the owner of Knights Limited, Home Decorators and Soft Surroundings, felt I would be great in inventory planning and procurement.  I found out I was pretty good at my new inventory role because I understood the merchandising side of the business.  The company started adding more and more operational responsibility to my job responsibilities.  I am challenged every day in my current job. Figuring out how to improve processes and solve problems motivates me.

I really love my job and the people I work with to make Soft Surroundings run as seamlessly as it does.  Most importantly, I love taking care of the customer and have her be “delighted” by her purchase.

What is the most challenging part of your job and why? The multitasking between all the departments and having the time to mentor and develop my teams to their fullest potential.

When looking to hire logistics/operations managers, what techniques produce the best results? Networking and promoting from within your current team.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in logistics/operations? The teams I have built; The partners I have brought to the organization; The system improvements I have made through the years in my role.

If asked by another woman interested in the field of logistics/operations, what would you list as the pros and cons? Pros-very fast paced and always challenging  Cons-I don’t really have a con.  I love operations!

Are you currently mentoring other women interested in logistics? No

See which Women in Operations were profiled in the September 2016 issue of Multichannel Merchant:


Pooja Agarwal


Laura Barrett


Kristin Bauer


Angela Goldstein


Catherine Harrison


Lynn Jeffrey


Christine Miller


Kimberly Silva


Nancy Spector


Angie Stocklin

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