01/31/2015 11:09 am ET Updated Apr 02, 2015

Women in Business Q&A: Stacy Doren, Vice President of Marketing, Levi's

Stacy Doren joined the company in 1999 and currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing for Levi's® Brand, Americas. Over the years she has gained a breadth of experiences working in all aspects of Marketing from Direct-to-Consumer to Wholesale to Brand, both Globally and Regionally. She is now responsible for steering North and South American marketing efforts on global campaigns and local initiatives.

Stacy began her career at Quaker Oats with time in both Demand/Supply Planning and Trade Marketing groups, working on numerous brands including Gatorade, Cap'n Crunch, Quaker Oatmeal, and Rice-A-Roni. Before switching industries and joining the Levi's® Brand, Stacy credits her time at Quaker Oats with teaching her about the power of brands, and the value of delivering against your plan.

After her time at Quaker Oats, Stacy joined the Levi's® as a Digital Marketing Manager, responsible for driving innovative online campaigns and website presence. Over the course of her 15-year career at Levi's® she's worked on all four Levi Strauss & Co. brands, including four years on the Dockers Brand where she was last VP of Global Marketing.

Stacy has helped develop and execute several global campaigns, including the celebration of the company's 150th Anniversary, Dockers WEAR THE PANTS, and most recently the launch of our new Live in Levi's® campaign. She has also played a key role in the Levi's Stadium partnership with the San Francisco 49ers.

Passions include raising her two kids, travel, live music, and cooking feasts for friends and family. Stacy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Iowa.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I feel lucky to have had a great family growing up - that worked (really) hard but also played hard. The whole community did. I always had multiple jobs in high school and college. I learned early on not to take anything for granted. To have initiative and drive, but also to be patient. I would say slow and steady but that sounds a bit too conservative... I definitely don't chase things recklessly. But when I see an opportunity I haven't been afraid to go for it. These are a few things that define me as a leader.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Levi's?
I actually have an interesting background - I wasn't in Brand Marketing at my previous employer, Quaker Oats. I actually worked in Demand/Supply Planning, with a short stint in Trade Marketing! That was 15 years ago and a totally different industry and job focus but I definitely learned a lot. Probably most notable was the importance of delivering your plan. They were an extremely results oriented company.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Levi's?
Well the highlight has most definitely been the last 14 months, since rejoining the Levi's brand (I was on the Dockers brand for 4 years, and Signature/Denizen before that). In that time we've launched a new campaign, opened a stadium (Levi's Stadium, home of the SF 49er's), and introduced new fits, including the 541™ Athletic Fit for guys, and Super Soft, Super Stretch fabrics for women. It's been a thrilling ride and I'm very proud of what we've accomplished. As for challenges - believe it or not, when I joined the Levi's Brand in 1999, as a Digital Marketing Manager, I don't think anyone really took Online Marketing seriously. We did some really innovative programs for the time, like an online treasure hunt to celebrate the company's 150th Anniversary (we virtually buried a pair of diamond and ruby studded jeans!), a digital quilt you could virtually sign in support of World Aids Day, and we even let consumers chose which of 2 ads we would run in the Super Bowl (we called it "SuperVote") which was unprecedented at the time. After that, things started to change. But at first it was challenging to be taken seriously!

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in marketing?
Don't wait to be asked. If you have a good idea, even if it's not in your area, share it with a leader. Volunteer for assignments. And don't assume that someone else is watching out for your career - take ownership of it. Make your goals known. I realize these are relevant tips for any career, not just Marketing. So to specifically answer the question, I think every Marketer should do a stint in Channel Marketing (Wholesale Marketing if your company plays in that channel). If you can make it there you can make it anywhere! It's tough but it makes you most aware of the real business challenges, and accountable for the business - which ultimately makes you a better Marketer.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
The importance of building a strong team. It's true that you're only as good as your team. And everyone needs to be and be held accountable for his or her job. It's been a difficult lesson for me. But I'd also say that it's important to do the things that scare you a little - a new position, a stretch assignment, a move to a new city. Don't stay stagnant!! It's one of the reasons I believe I've been so happy with my career - I've always felt like I'm learning, because I've taken on numerous different positions covering a multitude of functions within Marketing.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Well, if you ask my husband he'd say I haven't mastered this one yet. I'm still working on it... it's hard! I think it's important to set boundaries. I want to shut off for a few hours each night to focus on my family. And then log back in later at night, if needed. I've learned to work smarter through the years, which helps, but I have a ways to go. And thankfully I have a lot of energy so I can juggle quite a bit!

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
We so often don't believe in ourselves. And that I believe is the biggest roadblock to success.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I've never had an official "mentor"... but I've definitely had people, mostly women, who have helped me get to where I am in my career. Mostly, because of my point above - I found people who believed in my potential more than I did. I guess like many of us, I just need a push every now and then. I also tend to attach myself to leaders that inspire me. I watch, and adjust my style based on what I've learned. I'm so grateful for these people!

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
There are lots. Oprah Winfrey, because she didn't let her impoverished childhood get in her way of becoming one of the most influential women in the world. Hilary Clinton for her political prowess. And of course several usual suspects in business too - thankfully there are more female leaders in business today than ever before. I wont list them for fear of missing one!

What do you want Levi's to accomplish in the next year?
I'd love to see Levi's continue to look for new and creative ways to expand on our community involvement. It's something that we as a company take pride in. We have multiple initiatives, like Field of Jeans, a clothing drive with the San Francisco 49ers that benefitted Goodwill locations around the Bay Area, that are just as much a part of who we are as a company as the products that we make.