An Unexpected Path

Author: Beth Elkin

JoAnn Martin was a JDA customer for 17 years before she joined the company as vice president of Industry Strategy for Retail. Her experiences at L Brands, DSW and Luxottica, leading planning, allocation and analytical teams – and implementing a broad set of JDA solutions – has given her a unique approach to her job and an intimate understanding of the challenges and opportunities retailers face today. When she’s not helping her customers make a positive impact on the bottom line, she’s a wife and mother to an active teenage son and daughter whose activities keep her family on the go. In talking with her about her unique career path I learned that she is a strong leader, has a thirst for learning and loves receiving feedback. She possesses experience and insights worth exploring.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

I was 100 percent certain I was going to be a lawyer. I thought a job convincing people you were right all the time sounded awesome!

You studied finance, marketing and political science in college. What happened to the goal of being a lawyer?

I became a math girl, and fell in love with statistics, finance and analytics. That became a passion for me. I realized the classes I was gravitating to were pointing me to business.

What was your first job after graduation and what did you learn there?

I worked at a mutual fund accounting firm for nine months. I learned that I didn’t want to be an accountant, and that I didn’t want to work with my soon-to-be husband, who I met there. It wasn’t super exciting or dynamic. I knew right away that I needed to look for something different.

You also learned what you didn’t like, which meant you weren’t stuck in a job yo

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