As CEO of Gilt.com, a discount luxury shopping site, Michelle Peluso, keynote speaker at NYWICI's annual meeting May 20, understands how women like to shop — they want good quality for less — and she also practices smart management. Michelle spent three and a half years on Gilt.com's board of directors before taking over as CEO. She also was at Citigroup as the global consumer chief marketing and Internet officer, responsible for the digital experience of Citi's 100 million consumers, and at the popular website Travelocity, where she served as CEO for six years after being the site's COO and SVP of product strategy and distribution.
Here, in her own words, an insight how she manages career and life choices.
In your boss's head "Think about the world as if you have your boss's job."
No office, no problem "Not having an office began as a way to get to know each team when I started at Gilt. I would sit with a team for a few weeks and do their jobs alongside them, attend their meetings and then rotate to another every few weeks. I loved it so much, I still don't have a permanent seat. It's my way of staying approachable and smart about how each team is doing."
Post-9/11 challenge "Rebuilding Site59, a last-minute travel site, after 9/11 was formative. We temporarily lost our offices, which were two blocks from Ground Zero, and our employees saw things no one should ever have to see. Just as challenging, our business model came into question as no one was buying last-minute travel on September 12th. That phase reinforced for me that your team matters most of all."
A breezy Montauk summer "My grandparents built a motel in Montauk, Hartman's Briney Breezes, where I life-guarded and worked check-in one summer during college. It's still owned by our family."
On bended knee "My best New York story is getting engaged after ice-skating on the Gapstow Bridge in Central Park one frigid New Year's Eve in 2006. "Now with children, Auden Grace, 5, and Cole Hudson, 4, my husband, Marc, and I try new adventures with them, like learning to snowboard."
Number of countries visited? "60. Special places are Senegal, where I lived for a summer during grad school, and Italy, ancestral home of my grandfather, where I studied art history and Italian."
"Grace" is your friend "If you live a bold life, you'll make mistakes. Grace is about meeting those moments, having the courage to pick yourself up, the humility to learn and the desire to persevere."