Susan Glick


A series of conversations with Fashion Group members
What they do, how they do it and why it matters.
 
by Wendy D'Amico
 
Susan Glick
 
 
Somebody once said "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it...."which, in thinking about Susan Glick, is precisely the thought that springs  to mind. 
And how is it that Susan keeps herself busy? Well, there's her position as Vice President, Women's Apparel, Merchandise Mart Properties. Fashion Group Liaison to three districts, overseeing regions in ten cities in the United States, and regions in  six foreign countries.
Narrator of the annual FGI Rising Star Luncheon and Awards ceremony. Key organizer and workshop and discussion  leader for the annual Regional Directors Conference. And,  when the roles of stage manager and announcer  of the FGI Night of Stars red carpet dinner and awards ceremony became available, Susan, without a moment's hesitation,  stepped up; just as she always does... To find out how all this plays out in the course of one woman's life, we sat down with Susan Glick who said, quoting a very  prominent native son of her city - a  man of intellect,  legal acumen and  international accomplishment -    
"Let me tell you something. I'm from Chicago. I don't break."
 
 
So, tell us about the early years. Where were you raised?
 

Born and bred in Chicago and exposed to everything this amazing city had to offer - culture, theater, architecture, world class shopping. It certainly influenced who I am today.

 
What about your parents - what did they do?
 

Fashion must have been inherited - my father was a millinery manufacturer, my mother a homemaker.

 
Any siblings?
 
One brother - extremely smart - a trained pharmacist, chemist and principal in a company that develops and manufactures private label cosmetics.
How did you earn your first dollar?

At my first "part time job"  on Sunday mornings at Carson Pirie Scott, arguably  Chicago's leading department store and, from my perspective, the city's most popular shopping destination.  I was hired as a phone operator taking orders from customers who had found an item in the weekend advertising section. What an education!

 
What were your first thoughts about a career; what did you think you were cut out for?


I would say that my department store experience  at Carson Pirie - albeit part time -  opened my eyes to the exciting world  of retail and I decided to pursue it.  I  managed to talk my way into the store's  fashion office  as secretary to the fashion director, Ardelle Tuma, and  I knew, at that moment, that fashion was my passion.   Ardelle was rare among the fashion directors of the time. She traveled all over the world and  had an incredible eye -not just for fashion, but for anything and everything a man, woman  or child could ever want or need.  Her admiration and respect for FGI was contagious and, in fact, when she left Carson Pirie, she moved to New York and  became an officer of Fashion Group. As for me,  my passion for fashion and retail led me to positions with Bonwit Teller and Saks Fifth Avenue.
 
Your employer, the Merchandise Mart is owned by Vornado, a  real estate  organization .  When and why did you join the organization and, as vice president, apparel marketing,   do you think of your area of responsibility and/or expertise as real estate or apparel or both?
 

I have been part of this organization for over 30 years.   My responsibilities definitely lie within the apparel industry and trade show division.  There is an excellent team that deals exclusively with the real estate and leasing duties. I was recruited to join the team by Dorothy Fuller who had been with Marshall Field 's for some years before founding her eponymous business, Dorothy Fuller Productions. She also founded the Chicago Apparel Industry Board and was  credited with "putting the 'chic' in Chicago."  She was a mentor to me  and a well- respected FGI member for many, many years.  

 
 
What are the primary responsibilities of your position and what's fascinating about your job?
 

Producing and marketing the apparel trade shows - Women's and Bridal - is a multi-faceted responsibility that keeps our team moving at such a fast pace.  With six trade shows a year there is never a dull moment.  The bottom line is creating a platform for buyers and exhibitors that can answer everyone's needs. From concept to fruition, managing this process is extremely rewarding. It's a perfect mix - the creative aspect of fashion merged with the business of selling. We all take our direction from a very savvy and well-respected industry professional, Susan McCullough, senior VP, a long time FGI member and close associate

 
Do you have people reporting to you and, if so, what's your management style?


 

Yes, I have a very capable team that reports to me and is instrumental in the success of our trade shows. I would like to think that my management style is one of inspiration by example. 

 
How do you lead? How do you persuade people to embrace your ideas and directives - especially those who may be hard to convince?
 

I have found the best way to convince someone is to share my enthusiasm and spirit of creativity for a project. Bringing someone "on board" means explaining your vision in an inclusive way. In essence, "Help me make this happen".

 
Given that there's so much conversation about the current state of both fashion and retail, would you share a few thoughts about  how you see  those industries evolving ...
 

The only constant is change in this industry. We must recognize that the only way to move forward is to acknowledge, anticipate, explore and embrace what's next. Finding a seamless integration between bricks and mortar and online is key.

 
Can we talk about Fashion Group?  I think it's safe to say that, quite possibly, you may be the most active, dedicated, multi-tasking member ever. In fact, you give new meaning to the word volunteer.
 
Backstage at Night of Stars, you are essentially running the show; making everyone's where they should be and when; announcing every presenter and honoree, keeping the event on track and on time...
 
Announcer and narrator of the Rising Star Luncheon
 
Key organizer of the Regional Conference...
 
Which of those roles presents the greatest challenges; which is the most rewarding; the most fun, if that's the right word?
 Happy to share the fact that each of these responsibilities gives me so much satisfaction. I am grateful to play a small part in Night of Stars and Rising Stars.  It is definitely the icing on the cake for my involvement in FGI. 

 

If the Regional Conference is the most challenging then I can honestly say it is also the most rewarding. To share the vision of FGI with every region is a responsibility that I take very seriously and can only be accomplished with the help of my peer, Shawny Burns, the entire NY team and the dedicated Regional Conference Committee.. 

 
Which brings us back to the career question:  Did you ever consider a career in broadcasting or voice overs?

Definitely voice overs or recording podcasts

 
What would you say are the three qualities that got you where you are today?

Hard work, tenacity and having someone open the door of opportunity for me.

 
One thing you're exceptionally good at? Bad at?

I can visualize a project through an editorial eye.  I am definitely not someone with a great deal of patience in reserve..

 
What would be your most memorable "aha" moment?

When my mentor, Dorothy Fuller, offered me the job of Fashion Director assuring me I could do the job when I had doubts.

 
Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows

I am happiest sitting in a theater watching a great play.

 
On behalf of Fashion Group International,  we are grateful, indeed, for all that Susan Glick brings to the organization and to those fortunate enough to know and work with her.