“Every one of us has it in themselves to be a leader”, said former CEO of Bloomingdale’s, Michael Gould, inspiring the graduate students of LIM College. In his most recent visit to LIM, he participated as the keynote speaker in the CEO Speaker Series where he gave a presentation about leadership, integrity, discovering opportunity and following your curiosity.
Michael Gould is known for encouraging today’s young professionals to become leaders. Having decades of retail experience under his belt, , he has learned that leadership doesn’t come easy unless you work for a company that will provide opportunities to allow growth and empowerment which eventually lead to leadership roles. During the 2008 economic crisis, Bloomingdale’s, like many other companies at the time, had to make strategicbudget cuts, but Michael Gould prevented any decrease in spending for employee leadership training. “You need to give people the opportunity to grow, that’s what it’s about. You can’t stop learning. Life is about education.” Mr. Gould is a strong believer that having trust and allowing others to trust you contributes to the leaders that are born or created in an organization like Bloomingdale’s. Mr. Gould clearly mentions that becoming a leader starts with integrity and is followed by intellectual curiosity.
“The most precious and tangible quality of leadership is trust” – Michael Gould, Former CEO Of Bloomingdales
Living in the generation where every aspect of our lives are being supported or enhanced by new technology, Michael Gould passionately spoke about how brick-and-mortar channels can avoid disintegrating.
He mentioned that if “four-wall businesses” are creative they have a far better opportunity than they ever before. “We’ve been going to the market since the time of the Greeks. We want to be connected. I don’t see brick and mortar going away. You can’t make a connection online. You can go to the store and make a connection.”
Post-Bloomingdale's, Michael Gould is occupying his time ensuring that leaders are being encouraged daily. During his speech he frequently referred to American writer John Gardner and his essay on personal renewal, which he himself refers to daily for his own personal renewal. “I want to be relevant. I want to continue to learn....The day anyone on the job stops learning, that’s the day you take the pictures off your desk and go somewhere else to work.”