Women Leaders

Patti H. Ongman, Macy’s, Inc.

Patti H. Ongman

Macy’s Mission

Editors’ Note

Patti Ongman has held her current post since January 2015. She served as an Executive Vice President for Omnichannel Strategies at Macy’s, Inc. from June 2014 to February 2015. Ongman served for more than three years as an Executive Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for handbags, accessories, and intimate apparel and two years as an Executive Vice President and General Planning Manager for cosmetics and shoes at Macy’s, Inc. Ongman joined Macy’s in 1979 as a Sales Manager at Davison’s in Atlanta and has served in a wide variety of roles across multiple families of business, including as a General Merchandise Manager for ready-to-wear at Macy’s West and Macy’s Northwest, Regional Vice President at Macy’s Home Store, and Store Manager at Macy’s West. She holds a degree from the University of Alabama.

Company Brief

Headquartered in New York and Cincinnati, Macy’s, Inc. (macysinc.com) is one of America’s premier omni-channel retailers, operating about 880 stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdale’s, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, and Bluemercury, as well as the macys.com, bloomingdales.com, and bluemercury.com websites.

What has made Macy’s such a consistent industry leader?

It’s the standards and accountability leadership expects from their team, and the talent that they attract.

Macy’s is an incredibly fair company. We treat people well internally and externally. That is part of the culture of the company and it makes a big difference. Our teams and our partners want us to do well.

How do you maintain culture at your size and scale?

It’s about hiring the type of people we want to represent us. We’re not all that tolerant of people that aren’t respectful to those around them and to our industry.

Our culture is far better today than it was when we were a lot of different operating divisions.

Many of the leaders in this company are people who have worked together for years. We’ve trained and developed our teams and brought them up through the ranks. We have also had a healthy influx of external talent to keep new ideas flowing. It’s easy to monitor a culture if we really spend time with people and listen to them.

Will you talk about the key areas of focus for you in your role?

I have spent over 25 percent of my career in stores but the vast majority of my time has been spent in merchandising. This combination of experiences has given me a unique understanding of our customer. In my role, understanding the needs of our customer is the primary focus.

It’s about curiosity, using data, and being able to work with my peers to drive our business. We’re not all interchangeable, but we have been exposed to so much so we could fill a number of different positions. I feel lucky to have had very diverse experiences in my career.