Ask Target’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Cathy Smith for advice and she’ll probably tell you to never be afraid—especially to ask questions or have an opinion. Her own fearless streak comes out a lot, whether she’s leading teams across seven different industries or jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet. (Seriously! More about that in a minute.) When it comes to leading teams, Cathy knows the ropes. She’s served as CFO at Express Scripts, Walmart International and GameStop, to name a few. Her first day on the job, she sat down to tell us more about herself.
Welcome to the team! What made you decide to take on this role at Target?
First, I love retail. And Target is in the process of a bold and ambitious transformation; this is such an exciting time to be a part of it. While I was considering the role, my family took a road trip to 65 Target stores in 10 states. That cinched it for me. I love the great products, clean stores, and all the friendly team members we met. I’ve been a Target guest for a long time and have so much respect for the company, so I knew it’d be a great fit.
How will you use your background and previous experience to lead your new teams?
I hope to draw upon my past experiences—in aerospace/defense, tool manufacturing, homebuilding, health care, and retail—and bring new perspectives to the leadership team. My role is to make the team wildly successful, and in doing so, they make Target successful. If our guests are happy, everybody wins. So I’ll make sure we’re all focused on the goal, remove barriers where I can, and then let teams use their expertise to do great work.
Do you have a personal motto or mantra?
I have three that I rely on, depending on the situation. As Yoda says, “Do or do not; there is no try.” In other words, I always want to know that I’ve done everything I can. Then, there’s “Learning to quit becomes a habit—don’t do it.” Tenacity is a wonderful quality. And finally, “Believe in the best version of yourself.” A reminder to be the great person you know you are.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I’m a member of the United States Parachute Association, and I’ve competed in several national skydiving events. Over the years, I’ve held the world record for largest freefall formation multiple times. In fact, I’ve jumped out of more airplanes than I’ve landed in!
Are you and your family looking forward to the move to Minnesota?
We’re very excited about Minneapolis—it’s a family-friendly city with lots of sports, arts and outdoor activities. My kids are looking forward to experiencing some winter sports for the first time. It may take me a little while to get used to the longer winters, but I'm up for the challenge.
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