First Movers: Gemma Pinedo

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GEMMA PINEDO is the Director of eCommerce Advisory at Edge by Ascential, leading the Ecommerce Advisory practice in EMEA. 

Prior to joining Edge, Gemma worked for Kimberly-Clark for 12 years, where she most recently led their EMEA digital strategy & ecommerce business development. In that role, she was responsible for driving revenue growth for the EMEA region in eCommerce by expanding online distribution through strategic partnerships and commercial relationships with online retailers, industry players, digital media platforms and other partners. Prior to that, she held multiple other roles at KC, in addition to Newell Rubbermaid & Morgan Stanley.

Why did you choose to pursue eCommerce in your career? Working in a CPG company, it was very clear that Digital and eCommerce were a whitespace of growth opportunity for companies that otherwise were struggling in a highly competitive environment.

It truly represents a new way of doing businesses, a new way of connecting with the consumer and a step forward. For me, eCommerce is a synonymous with forward-thinking.

What is your biggest strength, and how have you used it for your success in eCommerce? I am very analytical. I like numbers. I like to read and interpret data and connect the dots to recommend next steps to go forward. Also, I like to feel continuously pushed out of my comfort area and in a continuous learning mode.

What is the weirdest skill or talent to come in handy in your eCommerce experience? In commercial roles, you typically find very social people that like to build relationships with customers, clients or even colleagues. The pandemic has proven that we can still operate “business as usual” working remotely and isolated from the rest of the world. While this isn’t what we may want, it requires that even in very extreme circumstances, those who are resilient and who can adapt will thrive.

How have you most successfully influenced change within your organization (or with your clients)? Definitely using data. For some industries, eCommerce is still early days and only represents ~10% of their revenues. This had made it difficult to justify certain decisions in the past. However, the pandemic fast-forwarded a trend into undeniable reality, and now organizations and clients are coming to us to help them to upskill, close gaps and accelerate.

What was your most “valuable” career failure, and why? This is a difficult one to answer. I have made some bold decisions throughout my career, and I do not consider those failures as I do not regret them. Every step change has become a learning.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life? You need to enjoy what you do at work and have fun. This makes everything else much easier.

What are you learning right now? Phyton programming language.

What are the 1-3 songs that would make up your career soundtrack today?

I have to go into my Spotify and check. I can not live without music, so I have many soundtracks.

  • ONE by U2: I love this group and when I went to Scotland to study, this was a massive hit at the time a symbolizes a step change in my career.
  • Wonderwall by OASIS
  • 7 Seconds by Neneh Cherry: I remember long nights studying maths with this song in the background at university.

What are the 1-3 books you’ve gifted the most or that have greatly influenced your life, and why?

  • Investment Valuation by Aswath Damodaran:During my early career working in investment banking, this book was my point of reference,. It helped me to answer questions that sometimes seemed a bit illogical and put things in perspective on how to put value to business. It was a good guide for someone young at the time, that does not have answers for some business-related questions and feels afraid to ask.
  • Digital Disruption by James McQuivey: This book represented a game changer in my professional career. I started to read out of curiosity and really made myself to question things and even shift gears in my career. It was eye opening and made me to want to change status quo.
  • Red Notice by Bill Browder: Brings you to that reality that sometimes you do not even know exists. It is shocking and scary.

If you could have a gigantic billboard for the world to see with anything on it, what would it say, and why? “Let’s protect what we have.”

What are the worst recommendations or advice you have heard related to eCommerce? eCommerce is not incremental to our business. It’s just a shift.

The reality is that there is a new consumer who is turning to eCommerce. If you as a Brand are not there, the consumer will choose a competitor.

What advice would you give to a future leader of change about to enter business, or specifically the eCommerce field? You need to understand who your customer is and what he/she wants.

What specific, industry-related change do you believe will happen that few others seem to see? Data is so important for driving decisions. If you know how to read data, you have a massive competitive advantage. The consumer is changing, and the consumer wants a personalized offering. You can leverage the data to mine insights to turn into an improved product, or even a completely new category. Platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba put data at the core of their business models and leverage data to expand into other verticals. This allows them to continue to connect with the consumer across multiple touchpoints. It is not just eCommerce, it is a completely revolutionary new way of thinking.

What is the last thing you bought online, and why? Grocery this morning and my Christmas presents over the holidays.

First Movers is a change leader interview series featuring select industry pioneers who are boldly driving the evolution of digital commerce, the consumer and everything in between.

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