Retail

Coworking with Zarina Lam Stanford

She's CMO at Bazaarvoice
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Zarina Lam Stanford

· less than 3 min read

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Zarina Lam Stanford is a tech industry vet with experience at IBM and SAP, and now, as CMO at software company Bazaarvoice, she helps retailers like Sephora, Walmart, and DSW leverage user-generated content.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in retail? Every day, I get to practice my trade as a business leader, an observer—particularly on retail trends—a brand ambassador, a storyteller and, most of all, being an everyday shopper!

One thing we can’t guess about your job from your LinkedIn profile? Being an investigator. It’s the part of my job that is most enticing and fun as well: seeing patterns, testing hypotheses, predicting trends, understanding shoppers’ behaviors, and finding and sourcing evidence.

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on? Reframing our brand’s narrative, with an underscored emphasis on “reframing.”

Which emerging retail trend are you most excited about this year, and why? The leading retail trend that excites me as an industry practitioner and a consumer is that retail is everywhere, 24/7, while taking omnichannel to the ultimate.

What’s your go-to coffee order? Chai latte, half the sugar, with oat milk (a bit high maintenance, yes I know).

Worst piece of advice you’ve received? At the risk of sounding like a renegade, for me it has to be “follow the rules.” In my opinion, there are two types of rules; those that are made simply to homogenize are not necessarily the ones I will follow to a T. However, the rules that are made to be guardrails which are there for the purpose of guiding, I will “follow” as guidelines.

What was your favorite retail product when you were 15, and what’s your favorite retail product now? As a teenager growing up in Hong Kong, I was obsessed with jeans, specifically Levi’s jeans as they transcended freedom—the American dream—when I was 15. A few years later, I myself became a transplant in the US! As of late, one of my favorite retail products are trucker jackets, specifically my Levi’s ex-boyfriend trucker jacket. I guess I am what they call a boomeranger!

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