Ann-Marie Campbell

EVP of US Stores & Int’l Operations, Home Depot

Society places an abundance of responsibility on women, and we have higher expectations of ourselves.
This is where creating a network of support makes all the difference. I truly believe that part of being a lifelong learner is connecting with people who can help you, teach you and push you to be successful.

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?

There are many ways to be a “Power Woman” and it doesn’t always look the same. Women as a gender are powerful in so many ways, especially when we support each other. A woman could be a homemaker, raising the next president of the United States, or the first female business leader to give a new perspective in her industry – and both are equally powerful. The real power is in numbers. Finding others who share our values and goals; those that boost our strength and confidence in our decisions.

What benefits and advantages does a company with positive gender equality have over a male-dominated workplace?

I’m proud to work for a company that’s committed to diversity at every level, because I don’t think you can ever maximize the potential of an organization if it’s not truly diverse in people, action and thought.

There have been many times where I was the only woman in the room, and my perspective of a situation or decision was vastly different from my male peers’. In these moments, I knew it was my job to speak up – and often my perspective was validated when reviewed further or in larger focus groups. As women in the workplace, it’s more important than ever that we step up and act bold. It’s important for us to feel empowered because we are.

Is there one particular issue in your life you are passionate about? Something that overrides all your objectivity?

Development — developing yourself, other individuals and teams. My inner mantra is, it’s only when you develop others that you personally succeed. When you focus on others, you grow. I’ve learned that as a leader, you can’t succeed unless you’re developing leaders under you. That lesson has opened many doors for me. At this point in my career, I’m grateful to be in a position to pay it forward.

What do you think is the number one action we, as a society, can take toward empowering women and gender equality (e.g. affirmative action)? What can we do to continue to support and enhance the growth and presence of women in high profile positions?

Mentorship — being open to sharing our learnings and helping others deal with situations that might be challenging for them.

Society places an abundance of responsibility on women, and we have higher expectations of ourselves. This is where creating a network of support makes all the difference. I truly believe that part of being a lifelong learner is connecting with people who can help you, teach you and push you to be successful.

For me, those mentors were Lynn Martineau, a former Home Depot leader, as well as Frank Blake and Craig Menear, our former CEOs. Lynn saw something in me I didn’t see in myself, and he encouraged me to take a promotion I believed was out of my reach. From there, I seized opportunities I was given. I’ve held roles like store manager, district manager and regional vice president. I’ve also worked in other parts of our business, like Merchandising and eCommerce. It was in those roles that Frank Blake, our former CEO, had an enormous impact on me. Above all, he taught me the value of patience and preparation. Lastly, I wouldn’t be in the role I am today without the trust and guidance of Craig Menear, who served as our most recent CEO until March 2022. Under Craig, my role expanded to include international operations – a massive undertaking, but with Craig’s servant leadership and vision I knew it was possible.

Just as Lynn, Frank and Craig invested in me to grow professionally at The Home Depot, I’m driven to invest in others.

Can you tell us a short story in which you encountered a block due to your gender?

The home improvement industry has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. Over the 37 years I’ve spent at The Home Depot, there have been many times when I was the only woman with a seat at the table, so my perspective was different. Like many women, I’ve faced gender stereotypes along my career path. And I’ve discovered three effective steps to overcome them:

Understand the industry you’re in and the misconceptions that exist so you don’t trip into those pitfalls.
Always rise above.
Place your time and energy into positioning yourself as the most qualified person for the job.

Knowledge is the greatest equalizer, so that’s where I place my time and energy. It’s what I can control. I’ve learned to focus on what I know, not what I don’t. As women, we often think we must know everything before stepping into a role and that’s how I’ve felt at times during my career. It’s not true.

Fortunately, I’ve seen an evolution in the number of women leaders in the home improvement industry. Like in many other industries, there’s been significant shift where women are participating at higher levels.

Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?

It was 1996 and the company was transitioning. If women held senior positions, they never had kids. I’d just come back from maternity leave with my second son, to a promotion to district manager with 13 stores under my charge in a really tough district.

I was completely overwhelmed as I juggled being a mother to two kids under 4 and managing my new responsibilities at work. I didn’t feel like I was doing a great job at either. I thought about resigning.

But my manager and mentor, Lynn Martineau, had confidence in me. He told me that he knew I was shouldering a heavy burden — both as a parent and as one of the first Black female district managers. He said I could both, that others wanted to see me succeed, and that he was there to help … I just had to ask for the support I needed.

My husband told me that “if someone like that believes in you, I think you need to go for it.” He agreed to stay home with the kids, forever changing my career trajectory.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

I would be a teacher. Like I said before, knowledge is the greatest equalizer. I think it’s important to develop a high level of curiosity and passion for learning, especially at an early age. If you can learn to ask probing questions and grow an appetite for knowledge, you can build a curiosity index that will help you in school, in life, and in your career. I’m constantly on a learning journey.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My 10th grade math teacher taught me the three core skills I would need to succeed: Show up, keep up, and speak up.

In her class, she would say “if you’re here every day and you keep up with your assignments, but you still don’t understand – you need to speak up.”

That is the same in business. You need to be present; you need to keep up with your associates and business trends. And if you have a seat at the table, you need to be bold and make your voice heard.

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

I love Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers: The Story of Success” because it talks about how important opportunities are and how to maximize value. For instance, he writes, “Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” That resonates with me. A lot of people work hard but may not get the opportunity to maximize value.

I also love autobiographies. I love to understand other people’s journeys and how different things in life impacted them and what they learned. I like to know what makes people who they are.

What do you most value in your friends?

I value trust, honesty and integrity.

Which trait are you most uncomfortable with in yourself? In others?

I’m comfortable with who I am but, like anyone else, I have things I have to manage. I can push myself and others too hard because I tend to strive for perfection. I need to remind myself that perfection is rarely possible. Step back and be patient.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Loyalty is a virtue that can be misrepresented. You can’t have blind loyalty because sometimes facts or circumstances change. It’s important that you hold onto your values, but you need to also be open to changing your point of view.

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