Stormy Simon is a divorced mother of two. After her marriage ended she made ends meet with the support of welfare. While she doesn’t have a college education, she learned early on that she needed to be successful in order to provide for her sons.
So how did she become the top executive of a $1.5 billion company? I had the opportunity to ask her.
Her response: “I made a conscious decision of where I was going to put my energy.”
Stormy did some soul searching to figure out what she wanted to do. She came across an innovative new company called Overstock.com and after doing some research, Stormy concluded it would be the company she’d focus her energy on. She applied for a position and was hired as a temporary sales agent.
At the time, Overstock.com was just two years old and Stormy was about its sixty-fifth employee. While the company was still relatively small, she had the opportunity to work closely with the CEO, Patrick M. Byrne. Whenever Mr. Byrne had a task to be done or needed help with a problem, he would ask, “Who wants in?” Stormy would be the first to shoot her hand up enthusiastically and respond, “I’m in!” She was not afraid to offer help where it was needed. “I saw where there was a huge amount to be done, and I was happy to do it,” she told me.
It wouldn’t be long until Stormy was recognized as a valuable asset and a dedicated employee who deserved to be promoted. She rose from sales agent to Director of Business-to-Business, and in 2003 she created the Books, Music and Movies department, a division she spearheaded from its inception.
Stormy Simon then took over Overstock’s Customer Care functions. She worked diligently to restructure the department by setting up cross-functional teams, creating educational programs for agents, and implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software to improve response times. Under her direction the company gained traction for its superior customer service, and since 2007 Overstock has consistently ranked in the Top 5 in customer service by the National Retail Federation/ American Express Customer Service Survey.
From there, Stormy was named Chief Marketing Officer, appointed to oversee the direction of the company’s marketing and advertising department. She wrote and produced Overstock’s iconic television ads, which she often appeared in. She continued to climb the career ladder, and became the Senior Vice President of Customer and Partner Care. In 2013, she earned the title of co-president and in 2014 Stormy was named president.
As would anyone holding such a position, Stormy puts long hours. However, she does not consider herself to be a workaholic; she manages her time strategically. Demonstrating her appreciation for work-life balance, she takes time off for vacations and encourages others to do the same. Her philosophy is, “When you begin to feel grumpy, take time off. There’s always tomorrow. There’s always another 60 hours next week if all doesn’t get done, so there’s no need to stress.”
A typical day for Stormy is meetings, meetings and more meetings and answering thousands of emails personally. She enjoys going to work each and every day. “Each day feels like a brand new day,” she says. Stormy believes it’s important to feel happy and excited about your job, and that working should be fun. “Work to live, not live to work,” is her motto.
Employee input is key at Overstock.com. All employees (currently numbering approximately 1,760) are encouraged to submit their ideas, which are read and reviewed by their peers, without fear of retribution. “Our goal is to work in collaboration, as opposed to working alone,” Stormy says, citing that the contributions of many minds is essential for the company’s evolution. “We don’t all have to agree, but we do have to respect everyone’s message.”
The intention is for all employees to feel empowered and happy, and to feel like they’re part of a family. And having fun is an essential ingredient; the company even had rapper Snoop Dog perform at a corporate event.
Stormy Simon became the CEO of her own life and in the process, held an instrumental role in developing the Overstock.com brand into a worldwide online giant. She saw the opportunity, the company’s potential, and made a conscious decision to commit her energy fully with enthusiasm.
Stormy didn’t allow anything or anyone to distract her—no “Scattered Thinking Syndrome” there—and made herself available to embrace and help solve any problems that needed to be addressed. In retrospect, she admits, “There were many times I put the company first. The opportunity was so great that I had to make tough decisions on how to spend my time. Being older and wiser, I’m not sure I would make the same decisions as the company is still here, and my boys have grown.”
Nonetheless, Stormy has been a great service to others, with a commitment to living with integrity. Most of all, she repositioned and empowered herself, and went on to succeed in bad times.
From a temporary worker to president of a $1.5 billion online retailer, Stormy Simon’s meteoric rise demonstrates the power of conscious decision making.
Renowned Performance Trainer in the field of Business and Self-Development, Nikkos (Nikk) Zorbas passionately helps people dream big and release their potential from within. Nikk is the Best-Selling author of “Discovering Your Personal Power, and “Discover Your Business Power” both available on Amazon.com. His columns appear bi-monthly on www.MesquiteLocalNews.com. To learn more visit www.