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Building a dream team takes a lot more than talk

Read the secrets from ecommerce’s most influentials

Read the stories of the 30 Most Influential in Ecommerce for 2022

Cover of Signifyd's Secrets from Ecommerce's Most Influential Revealed 2022 e-book

Plenty of business leaders talk about the importance of “the team” when it comes to getting things done. They can talk about it all day. 

Dawn Trenson lives it. 

The FILA sportswear vice president of ecommerce defines her team broadly. Co-workers and reports, of course. But also vendors, partners, consultants and her professional network — anyone who can help her achieve the larger organization’s goals. And as importantly, anyone she can help achieve their goals. 

Dawn Trenson, FILA, for Signifyd Most Infludential in Ecommerce Secrets book

Dawn Trenson, FILA

“There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle both internally, cross-functionally and externally with all of the vendors and partners that we work with,” says Trenson, one of Signifyd’s 2022 Most Influential in Ecommerce. “There have been individuals that I’ve kind of followed around and sought their advice.”

Stay in your lane? Not on this team

It’s all about constantly learning and teaching. It’s about learning by jumping in and doing. It’s about curiosity building success. When Trenson thinks of her team, she wants people who yearn to understand the whole. She seeks those whose tenacity has been forged in the crucible of the frontlines of customer service. 

“When I’m looking at resumes or interviewing folks, I always ask, ‘Have you ever worked in a restaurant, waited tables, bartended or worked in a retail store?’” she says. 

Those who can navigate an impatient — and hungry — restaurant patron who just had a bad day at the office or a harried shopper at the height of the holiday shopping season, have what it takes to multi-task and remain pleasant under pressure. 


More from Dawn Trenson

FILA Vice President of Ecommerce Dawn Trenson shares more of her advice in the video below and in the Signifyd e-book “Secrets From Ecommerce’s Most Influential Revealed.”

The best teams understand every role

Trenson builds teams of people who understand the roles of every other team member — and who could probably fill in for them in a pinch. Being vice president of ecommerce, she has a broad mandate and manages a team of creative types as well as operational-technical types. The potential is there for siloed thinking and siloed communication. Trenson is a silo buster.

“It’s about allowing everyone to participate, even if as a quiet observer. If you’re on the operations side and you’re interested in SEO, SEO is kind of cool to you, please join the SEO meeting calls just to see what it’s about and see if that’s something you would like to learn about a little bit more.”

And Trenson, who got her start in high school and college managing online sales and retail stores, holds herself to the same mandate and standards.

Keeping communication channels open can be easier said than done

“It’s super important to me to not ask anything of my team that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do myself,” she says. “If I couldn’t do it, I would ask them to show me how. I’d like to learn it. That concept of being curious, staying curious, is really important to me as a leader.”  

It’s all part of what she sees as an atmosphere that encourages open communication — and even over-communication — rather than risk not communicating enough.

And, of course, one-way or top-down communication isn’t really communication at all. Trenson is all about two-way communication.

“As rudimentary as this sounds,” she says, “it’s everyone just being super respectful to everyone else, right? You don’t have to be best friends. But let’s treat each other with the utmost respect.”

After all, it’s often the basics — communication, curiosity and mutual respect — that make the difference between a team that excels and one that simply loses its way. 

Feature photo courtesy of FILA

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Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].