Women Worth Watching 2015

Elissa Margolis

Calm Leadership and a Thoughtful Approach Helped Make this Disney Stores SVP a Star


web Disney_MargolisAs senior vice president and general manager of the Disney Stores, Elissa Margolis oversees the day-to-day operations for more than 200 brick-and-mortar locations across North America and Disneystore.com. In FY14, her first year in the role, Elissa led the Stores team, and the business, to deliver all-time, record-breaking revenue and operating income.

Prior to assuming leadership of the Disney Stores organization, Elissa served as vice president of e-commerce and marketing for Disney Consumer Products, and grew the division by 20 percent in a single fiscal year.

“My biggest career leap came in moving from Marketing to General Manager of our ecommerce business,” said Elissa.” “I learned how to provide leadership, direction and guidance in areas where I wasn’t the subject matter expert and have confidence doing it.”

“Be open to different paths…”

Before joining The Walt Disney Company, Elissa spent nearly 20 years in the retail industry, providing data-driven, consumer retail marketing strategies for Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing, Tweeter Home Entertainment, Charming Shoppes, and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, from Temple University.

Elissa’s pragmatic, thoughtful, solution-oriented approach, while displaying calm leadership, makes her a woman worth watching. And the business results tell the story of how well her extended team of more than 5,000 cast members and Disney Store customers respond to her winning style.

Education: BBA, Marketing, Temple University

First Job: Advertising Coordinator, West Coast Video

What I’m Reading: “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader” by
Brent Schlender

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…

…confidence. The most important quality for any leader is Integrity.

The career advice I’d give my former self:

Be open to different paths that may take you to new opportunities.

Words I live by:

We are our choices.

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…

…nothing. I love what I do and know that had I done anything differently at any point, it would not have led me where I am today.

When I really need to focus on a project, I…

…clear my calendar to have uninterrupted blocks of time.

My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…

…moving from Marketing to General Manager of our ecommerce business. I learned how to provide leadership, direction and guidance in areas where I wasn’t the subject matter expert and have confidence doing It.

Being a woman in my profession has been…

…a non-issue. I only became aware of the significance of my gender when I reached the executive level and saw the inspirational impact that has on women in lower levels of the organization. I take that responsibility very seriously.

I’ve learned that failure is…

…inevitable. It means you’ve tried something new and provides insights for the future.

I maintain a healthy personal life by…

…never (ok, rarely) giving up my Tuesday gym night and ensuring I have scheduled time each week for friends and family.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…

…I was excited to get up and go to work every day.