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Retail and CPG Industry Consultant Shares the Impact of a “Network” and Perspectives for Women in the Industry

In celebrating Women’s History Month, Madison Wolfe, senior consultant at Clarkston, shares her perspective on achievements of women across the world and insights specifically for the retail industry. She also discusses the value of cultivating your network. Read her full career story below to learn about her experience as a retail and CPG industry consultant.

Women’s History Month 2024

1. What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

WHM to me is a time to celebrate and recognize all the achievements of women across the world. Even though I fully believe we should be sharing in each other’s successes day in and day out, it is great to also have a dedicated space to ensure these messages are being shared.  

2. Tell us about your involvement with Clarkston’s Women’s Empowerment Network? And, how can women support other women in their organizations? 

I started helping out with WEN+ shortly after joining Clarkston as a way to meet more stewards and feel connected. WEN+ has allowed me to build a supportive network around myself and to help other new hires feel welcomed and supported. Even at my previous employers, I was involved with our different women leadership organizations.  

3. What advice would you give to your younger self or young women entering a similar profession? 

Do not underestimate the value of your network. Building out strong, meaningful connections not only makes your workplace more inviting and enjoyable, but it can also help you progress your career. The network I have built around myself from prior jobs, university alumni groups, and professional associations has allowed me to find amazing opportunities and stay connected and up-to-date on things happening across all industries. These connections are something I truly value, and I so enjoy catching up with people in my network to learn more about their lives and careers.  

4. What industry sector do you work in mostly? Are there women trailblazers in your industry that you admire? Do different business sectors have varying gender diversity/women in leadership and if so, why? 

My background is primarily in Retail, but I have also worked in the Consumer Products industry. Retail is an amazing sector full of women trailblazers, in my opinion. During my career in industry, I was always surrounded with a lot of women who were strong leaders helping to drive the business in new and exciting ways. However, there is still room for better representation in the c-suite to highlight the amazing women driving the business. In the era of the Barbie, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift crushing records, I feel like it is disappointing to see that only 13 out of 86 Fortune 1000 retailers have women leading them. We, as women, are the biggest consumers, yet we lack that voice at the highest level. I do feel like this will change as we continue to see trailblazers forge their way higher into leadership roles!  

Madison’s Career Story

How long have you been with Clarkston?  

I’ve been with Clarkston for about a year and a half​.

What is your role at Clarkston?  

I am a senior consultant with primary focus in the retail and consumer products industries. Currently, I am working with a CPG company on implementing a new business planning process.

Tell us about a new skill you’ve developed recently. 

I am actively working on developing project management skills. As the lead for CP S&M professional development, I have had the chance to learn how to build out and co-lead one of the leading CP training programs. I have also been actively working on project management skills in my current role and will soon be starting the PM training program here at Clarkston! 

If you had to choose, which of Clarkston’s core values do you feel resonates with you the most? 

I think I would have to pick “Brilliant Client Service.” As I mentioned in my advice to my younger self or young professionals, networking and building genuine connections is something that should never be taken for granted. I love building trust with our clients to insure they feel like we have a genuine interest in serving them and finding innovative solutions to their needs. This also carries over to my internal work here at Clarkston. I love meeting new stewards and helping them find ways to tap into all that Clarkston has to offer! 

Which internal initiatives, communities, or projects are you involved in at Clarkston?  

I am currently leading our Consumer Products Sales & Marketing Professional Development efforts as well as our WEN+ Membership & Recruiting pillar. I also assist our Thought Leadership lead in the Retail community. 

What advice would you give to someone starting at Clarkston?  

Even though we are remote, make the effort to build connections! We might only see each other a couple of times a year, but having those relationships makes our get togethers even sweeter.​  

Can you share some advice that someone at Clarkston has given you during your time here?

I was told to get involved and to keep an open mindset to learning. That has proven to be great advice and has allowed me to tap into a ton of our communities and networks.

Tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had while working with a client.  

On my recent project, I helped to build out a number of tools and resources for the teams to utilize to make their new planning processes a little simpler. One of the leads I worked with sent me an official recognition through the client’s recognition process. It might sound cheesy, but the fact that they took the time to submit the form and ensure myself, and the Clarkston team, were officially recognized really meant something to me!  

Learn how you can develop your career at Clarkston here.