How are our employees taking action to make LS&Co. a more diverse and inclusive workplace? Our DE&I Champions series sets out to answer exactly that. This month’s featured champion is Brandon Fortman, store manager at our San Francisco Market Street Store. Brandon shares what his role as a store leader means to him, and tips and insights on ways to provide equitable and meaningful experiences for talent.
Q: Share something we wouldn’t know about you just by looking at you.
Most people don’t know that I’m a computer nerd and an avid gamer. I learned how to build computers when I was a teenager and finally built my own gaming PC from scratch some years later. I thoroughly enjoy being able to escape into a new game world as a character on the journey of a lifetime. My favorite game series is Assassin’s Creed. I’ve played and beat all 12 games in the series.
Q: Why is DE&I important to you as a leader?
Growing up, I felt like an outcast. Since then, my priority has been to make sure everyone I work with feels they have value and purpose by focusing on how they feel in the workplace first and foremost. One reason I became a store manager was to give the “forgotten” a voice and make a difference in someone’s life.
I am proud to have held high-profile retail and corporate positions in my career and to be part of the growing representation of People of Color (POC) in retail leadership.
Q: What is your call to action to your fellow LS&Co. employees and leaders?
Be the change you want to see! Unconscious bias can be innovation’s greatest enemy. By taking an open-minded approach in all decisions, we can better utilize the teams we lead. Don’t be afraid to take a chance when you’re looking to promote your next leader. This could be someone with less tenure but has a proven track record of influence.
As a people leader, it is important to create opportunities that will help your team succeed and grow as individuals. To me, a perfect resume or years of experience does not outweigh a candidate with a great work ethic, passion and drive. Those are things you simply cannot teach.