Claudia Mazo

Senior Vice President, Managing Director, International Lands' End

“An immediate step we can all take is to build up other women, to mentor and support one another, building a village of advocacy and encouragement.”

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

A ‘Power Woman’ walks through life with confidence, poise, and a strong sense of self. She stands up for her beliefs and is willing to put in the work to do things the right way, empowers and opens the path for other women.

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)?

The wage gap continues to be one of the most persistent sticking points in gender equality. In fact, Pew Research recently found that women are still paid 82 cents on the dollar compared to men – that’s only two cents higher than in 2002. Having an equal opportunity for financial security – especially in today’s economy – is paramount. An immediate step we can all take is to build up other women, to mentor and support one another, building a village of advocacy and encouragement.

Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interviews contributes to the pay gap between women and men? NY State outlawed this practice, should it be nationwide?

I think it’s imperative to remove all bias from the interview process. Divulging a current or previous salary is almost never advantageous, and it certainly can maintain a cyclical pattern of women being underpaid from employer to employer, exacerbating the wage gap. I couldn’t be prouder to represent a brand that places diversity and equality at the forefront and ensures talent is valued.

What was the defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today?

The moment when I realized I had power as a woman leader was in high school; I remember the moment I realized I had a way to organize and mobilize my friends around things that mattered to us. Being curious and understanding you need a team around you to achieve things for the community has been what has helped me be where I am today.

What is your mantra? What phrase or parable best describes your approach right now?

“Women are the real architects of society.” (Cher)

Women are often placed in binaries. Strong and emotionless or weak and sensitive. How do you subvert these limitations and connect to all sides of womanhood?

The beauty and strength of being a woman is that we are not any one thing. It’s easier for women to be put into boxes, and thus harder to reconcile that we can be all things – all at once. As a leader in the retail business world with over twenty years of experience, I have certainly felt the pressure to fit in a certain box at different moments of my career. Subverting these limitations today is not only important to me, but also critical to empowering and authentically connecting with our shopper. In everything I do with my team I encourage them to bring their true self to the table; that is how I expect our customers to show up as well. The more comfortable we are with not fitting in one box, the better we will understand our customer across the world.

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

Jennifer Lopez! I love the platform she has created as a multifaceted artist; you can’t fit her in one box. Elevating and unifying others through her talent and culture.

What advice would you give to any aspiring Power Women?

Lift and lean on other women. And this is something I wish I learned earlier on in life. Ambition is something to celebrate, it’s up to you to lift the other women in your life – whether that’s personally or professionally. Know that it’s also okay to ask for help, too, and look for those female mentors or role models who can guide you and offer you a hand when it’s needed. You’re only as strong as your network.

What steps do you take to obtain a healthy work/life balance?

Big picture, I try to wake up each morning with the intention of being present throughout the day. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but I’ve found tactics that have helped me to set boundaries and be my best professional and personal self like…

I prioritize the things that bring me joy: my family and friends. I can’t show up for others if I’m not there for those that I love first. Keeping in mind that I am not saving people’s lives with my work, helps me keep perspective and set boundaries for myself.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I don’t know that I fully identify with one figure, but I certainly deeply admire Margaret Thatcher. Her tenacity and conviction throughout her career were beyond imagination.

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

“Champions keep playing until they get it right.”

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

There are too many to list, but recently I read Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything from Alexandra Carter and really enjoyed it.

What do you most value in your friends?

Different views than my own… I enjoy friends that help me view the world from a different perspective.

Which trait do you most deplore in yourself? In others?

Deplore is a strong word. Of course, I have things that I work on, just like anyone else – but I’ve reached a point in my life where I am at peace with who I am – a quality that I think makes a “Power Woman.”

In others, I’m inspired by kindness, empathy and consideration. I think there’s weight in the company that we keep, and I surround myself with people that elevate my vibration and make me the best version of myself.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Probably Hope. For me, it is all in the doing, not the wishing.

“Know that it’s also okay to ask for help, too, and look for those female mentors or role models who can guide you and offer you a hand when it’s needed. You’re only as strong as your network.”

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