Meet The Women Of Nordstrom, Banding together to contribute to the magic of the workplace

In celebration of our newly launched collaboration with PopIn@Nordstrom, we’re thrilled to invite a fresh crop of passionate, powerhouse mamas and mamas-to-be into our community. While the concept itself may not be novel, women are banding together in ever-more creative and compelling ways to contribute to the magic of the workplace.

Therefore, we recently spent a day at The Riveter in Seattle with the ever-inspiring female-centric Nordstrom Creative Projects Team—some pregnant and some not—getting their take on what is meaningful change. Plus, we chatted with the brilliant Olivia Kim, who heads up the team as VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom, talking about womanhood, pregnancy style, life after baby, and the realities of being a working mom, here. 

Olivia Kim:VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom

Mom to Cleo,  originally from NYC with Opening Ceremony  before venturing to Seattle

On leading a female-focused team?

We’re not an all-female team, about 80% or so…there’s a few guys ;). I’m never looking for any specific type of person, only that they are a good culture or personality fit, regardless of background or resume. Ultimately I care about vibe.

What do you do?

I’m VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom, which is such a corporate title! In short, I try to bring coolness and relevancy to our retail and online experience — which can mean anything. We work on projects with brands like HATCH or theme-based projects that run the gamut. Having a boss and a company that truly embraces that is extremely liberating.

Best Advice…?

My director just left on MAT leave, my buyer just got back from MAT leave, my assistant is two days away from having a baby and my other buyer is three months away from having a baby, so I am surrounded by pregnant and post-pregancy mamas. When asked, my advice to all these women is, 1) don’t listen to the advice that people give you. Do it your own way, because everybody has an opinion. And, 2) Don’t put so much pressure on yourself post-pregnancy. You’re not who you were prior to having this baby or poor to be pregnant. Give yourself some slack and let yourself live in these moments of vulnerability, insecurity, and fear. Your not who you were.

Meghan Smith: Creative Projects Assistant Buyer for Pop-In@Nordstrom

Before calling Seattle home, Meghan grew up in Kent Island, Maryland

Style & vice?

Feminine and comfortable with an edge. I like wearing clothes that are no fuss. Lots of easy dresses, sneakers, & sweaters. Basically, I don’t like to spend a lot of time picking out my outfit for the day. I live for reality television- it’s true! I just can’t help myself. Oh, and watermelon & grape LaffyTaffy. 

Being part of strong female-led team…?  

Empowering. All the women I work with inspire me daily. We also love to collaborate and work with other female led business and brands which creates this really cool network of women. 

No matter how busy you…?

This might sound cliché but taking a moment to sit back and admire my surroundings and my life. Soak it all in. I feel very lucky where I am right now, so I really try to take time to appreciate everything- even if it is just for a few minutes.

Best advice?

Never stop trying and always be true to yourself.

Lindsey Sherwood: Executive Assistant

Pregnant with her first and a Cali girl from Sacramento 

Style & vice?

Comfortable, simple, and very laid back, with flip flops! Plus, I live for the Gooey Butter Bars from Dahlia Bakery, (but I recommend that you call ahead because they are always running out!) They’re a pregnant woman’s DREAM!  Other than that, Taco Bell or ice cream. Okay, anything food related!

Being part of strong female-led team…?  

It’s refreshing to be part of a community where we lift each other up and support each other! Being able to support someone like Olivia is so inspiring. She’s shattered boundaries and has created a world where I feel like I can strive to be not just the assistant, but maybe the boss one day.

Barriers for working mamas?

Yes, 100%. I’m not a “working mom”quite yet but I see the struggle first-hand women face while trying to balance everything. From juggling motherhood, to conquering workall within a day — there are not nearly enough hours.

Natalie Siderius: Associate Creative Director of Creative Projects

Born and raised in Snohomish, WA before landing in Seattle 

Style & Vice?

Generally utilitarian, understated, with a focus on silhouettes over color. And don’t be surprised if you find me with a Diet Coke in hand!

Contributing to a positive workplace for women on the daily…?

The ethos of toxic competition is over. I love collaborating and learning from women who bring unique perspectives to their work. Plus, I like that women’s roles in family units and professional positions are becoming less narrowly defined. I’m proud to work with a wide variety of women, many of whom are the breadwinners in their families. There is more nuance and individuality in defining what it means to “have it all”. I think there are still opportunities to support women in the workplace – for example, I’d personally love to see true gender equality achieved in parental leave policies. Providing benefits for our partners, regardless of gender or role, ultimately supports us and our families.

Find time to every day for?

My skincare regimen. It’s a nonnegotiable.

Best advice?

Position yourself where you’re always challenged and always learning. You can reinvent yourself at any time.

Melissa Figel: Senior Marketing Manager of Creative Projects, New Concepts & Designer

Raised in Woodinville, WA (a suburb outside of Seattle) before heading to the big city 

Being part of strong female-led team…?

It’s funny, sometimes I forget that working with a team of women isn’t the norm in every industry. I’ve been fortunate in my career, both at Nordstrom and at the ad agency I was at previously (Copacino+Fujikado), to be surrounded by strong women as my bosses, mentors, peers, friends and team – made even stronger by the men that respect and support them. I get to watch women be successful in their roles while mastering skills that are traditionally viewed as masculine traits (like seeing women be assertive, decisive, analytical, strong negotiators, etc.), all with the balance of great emotional intelligence, creativity & humility.

Barriers for working mamas?

While I am not a mom myself, I work incredibly closely with many parents and have the utmost respect for working moms (and dads). I have seen the challenges they face firsthand – from scheduling meetings around a pumping schedule and day care pick-up times, to working from home with sick kids and getting back online to work after bedtime…. The list goes on.

This said, culturally I think there are incremental shifts happening in the workplace to help alleviate some of these barriers, like an increased focus on extended parental leaves. While this shift makes a big difference, I think we need drastic cultural & policy changes to make a real transition – like universal preschool, standardized (and paid) parental leave regardless of company size, etc.  (I’m guessing I’m preaching to the choir here!)

Best advice you’ve received…?

When I’m stressed out about something, my mom will jokingly ask me if that worry is “going to be on the final”, which is a good reminder to not waste too much time, energy and brain space on the little things that won’t make a big impact in the end. I think this can be applied to both life & work – and a good mantra to help reset my focus and remind me to re-prioritize the big things that will move a project, goal or focus forward.

Melia Goodwin, Director of Creative Projects

Mama to one, plus born & raised in Seattle, WA

Being part of strong female-led team…?

This team is everything to me. I’m feel so fortunate to work with so many strong women who support me achieving success at work and as a mother. Most meetings start with some sort of mom talk where we share stories and advice and then we quickly move into the work stuff. I love this about our team. Even though we are incredible busy with all our projects, we still find time to enjoy what’s going on at home too.

Barriers for working mamas?

The barriers are coming down, but we still have a long way to go to make it easier for working moms to juggle both. It’s still really hard.

Your not-so-secret vice?


Find time for every day?

My morning routine is super quick, 20 minutes max but I never skip my morning shower.

Diana Drewes: Buyer, Creative Projects

Brand new mom of one (!) and hailing from Durham, NC

Pregnancy style?

My pre-pregnancy uniform consisted of oversized crew neck sweaters and vintage Levi’s. Then, I switched to jumpsuits and onesies once I outgrew even my biggest jeans — my Hatch Georgie jumpsuit is a lifesaver and has taken me through to the very end of my pregnancy!

Part of a strong female-led team?

Inspiring, fast-paced, and fun.

Barriers for working mamas?

The perception of motherhood and the workplace may be changing, but the key to turning this perception into real tangible improvements for women is empathy. I didn’t realize that until seeing some of my very closest friends make the adjustment from new-mom to working-new-mom and seeing how hard it really is to manage a work-life balance without feeling like something is being sacrificed.  I’m fortunate to work at a company that offers excellent leave options for new moms (and dads!) but that just scrapes the surface of what is required to feel supported during such a fundamental life change. The women on my team are all advocates for flexibility in the workplace; flexibility is an issue that disproportionately impacts moms and caregivers. There are incremental improvements being made all the time, but the road ahead is long and will require people to think about new ways to support those who require extra flexibility at work, whether it’s flex hours, work from home options, or something totally different such as job-sharing.

Your not-so-secret vice?

Soup Dumplings from the Taiwanese restaurant Din Tai Fung, earrings from Susan Alexandra, and insisting on driving a car with a tape cassette player.

Find time for every day for?

These days, brush my teeth twice a day and not much else! (I’m currently responding to these questions with an 11-day old baby napping on top of me.)

Sanda Belaire: Divisional Retail Merchandiser 

Mom of two, Born in Burma (Myanmar) but grew up in the LA sun

Your style? 

Funny, I always joke its pre-maternity because I love a floaty dress with pockets. My favorite outfits are a mix of vintage, Comme des Garcon, Nike sneakers and rock & roll. 

Part of a strong female-led team? 

We multi task like crazy! Our team will roll their sleeves up and pitch in with any tasks- no matter how small or how large, we do whatever is needed to get the job done. As women who are also, mamas, sisters, partners and pet mamas, juggling tasks comes naturally. We’re also one of the most diverse and inclusive teams at Nordstrom which brings great energy and respect for different cultures.

Barriers for working mamas?

Being a working mom of 2 now grown kids, the biggest barrier is self-imposed working mom guilt. The best gift you can give your kids is being happy, present and fulfilled whether in your career or being a stay at home mom. 

Your not-so-secret vice? 

Vintage and thrift shopping . Sunday Flea Markets are my happy place. I also have a chocolate addiction. 

Find time for every day for?

Read. I start the day by reading what’s happening in the world and end it with a good murder mystery or Instagram.

Julie Ly: Senior Manager of Public Relations 

Originally from Maine, but recently moved west to Seattle from NYC (after 15 years!) 

Contributing to a positive workplace for women on the daily?

Mentorship has been a huge priority to me in recent years because I have been so fortunate to receive both career and personal guidance from wonderful bosses and colleagues in the past. If I can continue to teach my team something new every day, then I feel like I’ve made an important contribution.

Barriers for working mamas?

I have not yet crossed that bridge personally, but I know that balancing motherhood and a career is no small feat and I give a tremendous amount of credit to women who manage to do both. Time is a huge barrier, there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all.

I do think the work place is changing and becoming more flexible. We have the technology to do our jobs from virtually anywhere and it’s becoming more normal to work remotely or adjust our traditional office hours. I think a lot of companies have made progress, but there is still a long way to go. I believe that women truly need a lot more time off after giving birth and they should be able to take that time for themselves without feeling fear, guilt or financial burden for being away from work.

Your not-so-secret vice?

Late night online shopping, in bed.  I often forget what I buy or that I’ve even bought something until the box arrives. (Does it count as a surprise if you buy it for yourself?)

Best advice?

Be NICE. Treat the janitor with the same respect as you would treat the CEO. Also, it’s okay to be tough sometimes, but always be fair.