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The best job you never wanted

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Maybe it’s surprising that the CEO of ­Victoria’s Secret, a $6.7 billion global brand, grew up as a farm girl in Oklahoma. Maybe, but it shouldn’t be. The important thing about CEO Sharen Jester Turney is that she has the zest to try new things.

Working for a series of department stores early in her career, Turney eventually joined Neiman-Marcus, where she advanced to store manager. She landed a spot as senior vice president of shoes, handbags, accessories and cosmetics, known as “the job.”

But one day, her boss asked Turney to switch to the catalog division. Teary-eyed, she asked if she was being demoted. He said the division had promise.

Turney ended up launching the website for Neiman-Marcus.

At the time, she debated “the guys from the stores,” telling them, “One day, the e-commerce business will be your largest store.” Today, she says, Neiman’s online business generates the equivalent of about 20 stores.

Turney calls that catalog gig “the best job I never knew I wanted.”

— Adapted from “Victoria’s Secret CEO Sharen Turney: From Cattle to Camisoles,” Knowledge@Wharton.

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