Serving with a Purpose: Q&A with Alexa Larsson, Retail and PSS Operations Director, The North Face®, EMEA
This year, three of VF’s associates were featured on the company’s 2017 Annual Report, titled “Purpose Driven.” This is one of three profiles on each of these associates.
Alexa Larsson, Retail and Partnership Operations Director,The North Face®, EMEA, is purpose driven.
She has been with VF for 12 years.
During her tenure with the company, Alexa has been based in Italy, Sweden, Denmark and, now, Switzerland. An active member of a global volunteer organization that advocates for human rights, gender equality and the advancement of women, Alexa is purposeful about advocating for these important issues.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small village in the Italian Dolomites, an autonomous province called South Tyrol. My first language is German, and I grew up bilingual, speaking both Italian and German. After working and living many years in different European cities, I moved with my family to Stabio, Switzerland, where I currently work as The North Face brand’s Retail and Partnership Operations Director.
What are the highlights of your tenure with VF?
It was always my dream to combine my love of the outdoors with my passion for retail and customer insight. During my career at VF, I have been fortunate to experience a variety of roles both at The North Faceand Vans®, working across four different countries and on some exciting initiatives. I am proud to have been involved in growing The North Facebrand’s European retail expansion from one store to now almost 200 stores, and pioneering projects such as the rollout of its first “Voice of the Customer” program in EMEA. I also met my husband at VF. He now works with Lee®and Wrangler®, and together we moved to Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland with the company.
What motivates you to volunteer?
First and foremost, I want to give back to people who are less fortunate. I grew up in a family where volunteer work was an integral part of our life. Since having my own children—who are now 3 and 6—I felt strongly that I wanted to dedicate part of my time to giving back.
Tell us about some of your volunteer experiences.
My neighbor introduced me to a global volunteer movement advocating for human rights, gender equality and female advancement. As members, we work on grassroots projects that help women and girls achieve their individual and collective potential, realize their aspirations and have an equal voice in their communities worldwide. I am looking forward to soon becoming a mentor to young women through our organization.
What is the most rewarding aspect of this work?
The most rewarding part is helping transform the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling them to access opportunities. This is important to me on a personal level too. I want my own children to see that they can achieve their dreams, regardless of gender, education and background.
How do you bring your volunteer experiences back to VF?
Being a volunteer has really helped me to be a positive advocate at VF EMEA for projects such as child care support and flexible work arrangements. To allow associates to achieve a better work/life balance while simultaneously growing their career is something I believe we should all strive for.
What advice do you have for others looking to pursue the issues they care most about?
I would like to quote Bob Goff, author of the New York Times best-seller Love Does: “We won’t be distracted by comparison, if we are captivated with purpose.” In a world where time is so limited, my advice is not to get distracted, but instead, focus your life and energy on what is most significant.
Be curious, resilient and try to make a difference in what really matters to you.
How does VF support you to pursue your purpose?
VF was and is incredibly supportive in helping me pursue my career while making space for my personal needs and priorities. When I met my husband in Italy and needed to move, VF offered me a job in Scandinavia. When I had my children and needed more time for them, VF supported me with a part-time solution. VF has helped me to balance my work and private life so that ultimately, I also have the time and energy to give back.
Want to see more of our Purpose-Driven associates? Check out our 2017 Annual Report.