Beyond Binary with Michal Duffy

In support of Pride Month, our Diversity & Inclusion Committee welcomed a guest speaker from Out Boulder County (OBC) – the area’s LGBTQ advocacy and community center.

Michal Duffy, Out Boulder County’s Education & Program Manager shared a presentation called Beyond Binary: LGBTQ Concepts & Etiquette. During this session, we had the opportunity to learn and discuss the differences and relationships between sex assigned at birth, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation. Michal also covered appropriate language, pronouns, effective allyship in both professional and personal settings, and provided a welcoming forum for any questions our team had.

Michal oversees OBC’s programs and leads their education and advocacy efforts. Michal also works with OBC’s Trans Steering & Events Committee and serves on various working groups in the county including the Boulder Chamber’s Community Affairs Council, Longmont Multicultural Action Committee, and El Centro AMISTAD’s Board of Directors. Our team was very grateful for the opportunity to learn from their over 15 years of engagement in the LGBTQ+ community.

Understanding and awareness is part of creating a more welcoming work environment, and Beyond Binary was a great opportunity to deepen our knowledge and prepare ourselves to be better allies.

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

EDGE – Emotional Intelligence

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the EDGE team welcomed BlueEQ™ keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Jackson to introduce & discuss Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

During the workshop we learned that Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Learning these skills enable us to harness our reactions and apply better strategies to tasks like thinking, problem solving, and technical work. They also enable us to be aware of the emotions of others and to become aligned with them to accomplish complex tasks. High emotional intelligence empowers us all to influence others to achieve superior levels of business impact.

Some key takeaways included:
• There are 2 sides to developing yourself as a leader: The job itself (technical) and you as a leader/performer (human factors)
• The smartest people are often not the best performers and leaders—that “what” you know is
only as good as “who” you are
• The core 5 skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Regard, Self-Control, Social Perception, and Social Effectiveness
• EQ skills increase Psychological Safety which increase career and business success
• We need to keep in mind our own personal strategies for managing: Impulse Control, Motivation, Stress Tolerance, Mindfulness, Resilience and Emotional Stability
• Remember the value of a ‘Strategic Pause’ and how taking a few seconds or minutes can help us make better and more informed decisions
• Red zone workplaces produce low Psychological Safety and Blue Zones produce high levels
• Culture is the extension of us all as individuals. We need to start with ourselves and be intentional about being in the blue zone!

This workshop proved to be a valuable introduction to exploring new principles, mindsets, and strategies that can be used to up our game as leaders, both on the job or at home, wherever we lead and serve.

The EDGE Team

Our World, My Wow!

Communication teams around the world have had to rework their strategy since the unwelcoming presence of COVID-19. WOW! mobile boutique is no different. With the shutdown of our office over a year ago and minimal in person field visits to our 83 locations across Canada, we needed to find a new way to bring our sense of WOW! brand and community back to our sales floor. To do this, we brought in the “Experts” to discuss Associate mindshare; our people.

Early in 2021, our Communications and Marketing team connected with Managers across Districts to discuss how 2020 went from a support perspective and took the time to get feedback on what we could do better.  Out of the three major buckets, one stood out the most, which was having one source of truth for business news and updates. In a pre-COVID world, we connected with our people via email and WhatsApp notifications.  This worked because it was coupled with an in-person meeting to ask questions and provide additional communication on the sales floor.  With the in-person experience gone, our people were asking us for a new way to engage with the Support Team.  With that in mind, our team thought “out of the box” and created our internal site, My WOW!


“Our mission was to create an online user experience for our people as both the one source of truth and a place of community in our new world.”

My WOW! was created with passion and through the perspective of our associates in order to bring a user experience that was taken away from them.  Our mission was to create an online user experience for our people as both the one source of truth and a place of community in our new world. With its Phase One launch in April, we saw adoption to the site instantly with over 200 associates going into the site every single day! Feedback we have received since its launch has been consistently positive. Associates feel more connected to the Support Team and have a better sense of understanding the “why” behind what we do.  Transparency is the key to creating a positive user experience, and My WOW! nurtures the environment for transparency to thrive.

This also brought a new level of data analysis our business never had before. With the analytics built into the dashboard, we are now able to see how long an associate stays on the site, where they navigate to, and how often they are logging in. We are now able to export the data to take a deep dive into how we can improve areas of our communications on the site. For example, we have built new areas on the site from this data for different functional teams. Our inventory management team now has dedicated area to show backordered, end of life, or allocated products.  This allows preparation to pivot to other products on the sales floor.  We have also integrated our New Hire Training program on the site, titled WOW 101.  New associates become familiar with the site, use it during training and look at it again in the future if needed. Productivity increases by giving our people more time to learn outside of their scheduled shifts. In time, this will allow people to learn at their own pace once the mandatory training is complete.

At WOW! mobile boutique, we look forward to continuing our growth on the site to provide a truly unique experience for our audience.  My WOW! will continue to grow with our people, our business and our brand in order to foster an authentic community in our new world.

Jennifer Barr, Pricing & Communications Manager, Match Retail




EDGE – Personal Branding

EDGE wrapped up the Q1 theme ‘Change’ and entered into Q2 focusing on employees and their wellbeing. Our theme for Q2 is ‘Getting Personal’.

EDGE introduced the theme in April through a cohort discussion on Personal Branding. We wanted employees to recognize themselves and define their brand. Some interesting discussion points were.

  • Identifying your mission statement?
  • Visual representation of your brand? (e.g., logos, websites, typeface)
  • List of offerings?
  • The tone of your brand?
  • Your tagline?

EDGE wrapped up April with a presentation on Personal Branding. The goal was for employees to recognize each other’s strengths and focus on those rather than wasting time on the things each person may not succeed in. The presentation opened up with some icebreakers that allowed for employees to share stories or their past, views on personal beliefs, and the things they are most passionate about. We then asked each employee to share stories about what made them awkward as a kid. The goal of this exercise was to show each employee that the things that made them awkward as a kid are the things that now separate them from the rest.

In another exercise, we asked employees to interview their colleagues to understand what an ideal work environment would look like for them. They were asked to provide an example of a time they worked on a project with different teams successfully and what made it a successful project. We wanted them to identify the behaviors that would make such an environment an everyday thing for them. Through this exercise, we were able to identify each other’s strengths, values that define us and know our colleagues better.

At the end of the session, each employee walked away with their brand house and a greater understanding of their peers. We see so many materialistic brands every day that we often forget to give our own brand a thought. It is time you identify your uniqueness and celebrate it just like we did at EDGE!

The EDGE Team

EDGE – Getting Personal

As we start slowly peeling off the coping methods that were developed during the dumpster fire that was last year, we start to re-prioritize. Many of us found that 2020, while not the year we planned gave time to contemplate what our priorities truly were. We decided to source our own produce and build beautiful gardens in our backyards. We opted to spend our money on helping others in need whether that was the BLM movement or essential workers who were our everyday heroes in times of uncertainty. We made business decisions out of fear because there was no light in sight, no path to follow. We decided our time was better spent learning to bake and cook with our families and close friends rather than rushing to our local watering hole for happy hour. We learned that you could run through the entire library in Netflix and people who house giant cats are some of the most fascinating people in pop-culture. We shifted, we changed, we grew, and we coped. Now it’s time to take what we learned and dust off some of the bad habits that may have come with it and figure out what’s important now.

The next couple months EDGE will be allowing space for vulnerable moments in hopes of assisting in personal growth. We will start the quarter with a lesson on personal branding. Helping employees and ourselves learn a little more about allowing our authentic self to come through. We will ask employees to find their “why” in hopes of creating better colleague relationships, allow for better self-advocacy, push further towards our passions and create a space where individuality is nurtured and desired. Understanding how to market oneself will ultimately help us to be better marketers for our clients.

From personal branding we will then push ourselves by discussing mental health. A topic that in recent years has become highly prioritized and politicized. Mental health is something that Match Retail asks their employees to think about regularly. Our leaders push us to take a step away, get outside, take an extended lunch or a day off to re-group and come back ready to create. We will share some thoughts from industry leaders and our own staff during a monthly session in May.

The last part of our quarter will dive into personal finance. One of those topics that people seem to get a little smaller in their chairs during. We dipped our toes into this last year with a guest speaker from the Pledgettes, a local group leading the charge in personal growth in numerous ways. We will be bringing back a guest speaker to talk a little more in depth about how we spend our money, how we should be talking about it and how we can better think about it.

It’s going to be a great quarter with a lot of opportunity to grow and we could not be more excited.



Meet The Team: Erin Miles

“Meet our Team” introduces you to the people of Match Retail and shares what it means to be a part of such an incredible culture at Match.

This week we caught up with Erin Miles.

What do you do at Match?
I am the Human Resources Generalist at Match and I’ve been with the company for 6.5 years.

I started on contract assisting the recruitment team before I was offered a permanent position as a Customer Protection Analyst with the Loss Prevention department. I later moved into a role as Project Manager – Field before I was promoted to Human Resource Coordinator after which I was promoted to my current role.

What do you like the most about Match?
Match is like a big family that puts its people first, encouraging employee’s to dream big and helps them achieve those dreams. You never feel alone, there are always people there to help and collaborate with.

Tips for anyone looking to get into your line of work?
No role is too small, take every opportunity that comes your way. Many roles have an HR aspect to them, build on your role and stay connected. Have confidence and show empathy.

Thanks Erin for all you do and being you!

EDGE – Leading For Change

To wrap up EDGE’s Q1 thematic of CHANGE, and in celebration of Women’s History month, we welcomed guest speaker Kathryn Simpson. Kathryn is a change leadership consultant with many years of hands-on experience. Kathryn collaborates with leaders in organizations of all sizes across North America and Europe, to create pathways to organizational success through focus and alignment.

Ahead of the session, each Match Retail team member received a copy of Kathryn’s best-selling book Leading For Change. How to thrive during uncertain times. During the interactive discussion, Kathryn shared her own stories of change, examined learnings and highlighted how the process was effective. We reviewed the eight factors of successful change and discussed how each person, at any level, can play a role. Through survey results, we were able to identify as an organization where Match Retail has succeeded in leading through change as well as areas of opportunity. We left the session with a stronger understanding of why it is important to lead change effectively in 2021 and beyond, and the key success factors to doing it well.

After our session with Kathryn we had the pleasure of hosting a live question and answer session through our social channels to gain and share some great insights and learnings on leading change within the workplace and personal life. Here is what Kathryn had to say;

Why is it important to you to lead change well?

I am very energized when I am part of organizations coming together to create a strong future. I’m grateful I have been able to help leaders at all levels guide their organizations and teams to successful futures.

How can we ensure that change is being implemented and measured flawlessly both in the workplace and personally?

Measure change from many perspectives, not just the easily quantifiable finance and process measures but from the more difficult and important people measures whether they are customers or employees.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a leader of change within their organization but is currently not in a leadership role?

Learn from customers or other functions what is going on and what is likely to happen in the future. You will also be able to spot opportunities to change and influence those around you, by describing the change you want to make.

How would you advise employees in an organization to adapt to changes that may be outside their comfort zone?

Express your feelings and what you see as the barriers to change. Understand why change is happening and ask what is carved in stone. Find out if there are opportunities to design something that will work better for you and your team.

We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to listen and learn from Kathryn Simpson in last months EDGE session and look forward to working together as a team to lead change here at Match Retail.

Evolution of Merchandising Over 15 Years

At Match Retail, merchandising is our “thing”. We have created efficiencies in the way we work, and we are passionate about what we do. We get in and out with minimal customer interference and strong brand presence and the best part is, we simply love what we do!

This month we had a chance to sit down with Dahlia Chiesurin, Director of Client Services and Operations to give us some insights into the evolving world of merchandising from past, present and future and how she feels it has evolved and where it’s going!

So, what is merchandising?

Known as the final step in retail projects, merchandisers like to think of themselves as the little fairies working behind the scenes to create the magic on shelf. It may not always be the most glamourous, but the end result is beauty and brand presence day in and day out through consistent executional excellence and attention to detail! Merchandising has certainly evolved over the past 15 years and we are proud to have been there for it, contributing to the evolution.

“Merchandisers are the little fairies that work behind the scenes to create magic”

Driven by aggressive KPIs, it can make or break a marketing campaign, it supports the billboards, creates appeal of a given product at store level and ultimately represents the company and brand. Merchandising can often be overlooked however it is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign, product launch and new collection, with its high traffic visibility, rapid deployment of infield resources and quality control we understand what it takes to make sure brands are the forefront of the customer in the retail landscape.

How has it evolved?

One may think that merchandising is viewed as a basic task that may not require change or cannot be improved, but when we look back over the past 15 years the evolution of merchandising has far surpassed this idea through its identification as the crucial final step in a marketing campaign.

“We went from hardly any in-store visibility to live updates accessible anytime, anywhere making it easier to communicate with teams and clients!”

Merchandising consists of many touch points both before and after execution and over the past 15 years our teams have certainly seen these changes evolve in many ways that have helped with both communication and efficiency for merchandisers and clients. When we think of technology changes, we see that programs, phones and data capture have come such a long way making it a pivotal moment for merchandisers. From capturing images on a phone to online live digital visibility of executions we have seen such great change that has helped drive speed and accuracy in the work at retail. Technology advancements have allowed us to create live tracking documents that are available anytime from all locations, including remote locations which allows us to pivot quickly. Reporting results and KPI compliance has become more insightful for clients, allowing for immediate knowledge of the field execution. Our merchandisers are the eyes and ears. Even client briefs and communication have evolved from mail and print to digital and online portal communication and tracking, allowing for faster approvals.

What’s to come?

Looking ahead with artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) we see it as a game changer in merchandising through the use of interactive planograms on tablets. These planograms allow customers to visually see each tray component and product sequence for a more virtual and interactive instore experience. Damaged components can be ordered directly on the planogram and are reported directly to client for ordering. Corrective planograms can now be uploaded immediately, allow for replacements to limit any errors and drive speed accurately.

“Allowing consumers to test out products virtually has created a whole new experience that’s provided them an opportunity to adapt to a new way of trying out products”

A virtual and interactive world has already started and with the technology behind augmented reality (AR) programing providing brands the resources to bring customers a virtual “trying” experience in the comfort of their own homes or instore with the click of a button.

Evolution and experience have guided merchandisers to understand what it takes to make sure brands are at the forefront of customers in the retail landscape in effective and efficient ways. Brands need to be Retail Ready for the consumer shopping experience and to drive sales. Our merchandisers are passionate to make it happen!

Choose To Challenge

When I was born, my parents wanted to give me a good, strong name. So they named me Austen. When I send an email, people address me with male pronouns. When I showed up at my Professor’s office hours in college, they were always surprised to meet a petite, 4’10” woman.Whether my parents knew it or not, their decision to give me a traditionally male name gave mea small leg up in a world that doesn’t always lend an ear to women.

My dad had three daughters, and he raised us just like he would have raised sons. We grew up in a little 2 bedroom home on 50 acres in the mountains of Colorado and our days were full of dirt biking, hiking, climbing trees, shooting, and taking care of chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, and turtles. We never heard the phrase “No, that’s for boys”, and so I grew up blissfully unaware that in some situations, my gender would put me at a disadvantage or worse.

As I grew up and learned more about gender disparities that still exist in our culture today I asked my dad why he didn’t warn me. His answer was simple. “The only obstacles you have, are the ones that you perceive”.

I think there’s profound wisdom in this mentality that’s rooted in true self-confidence and self-worth. I’ve never viewed myself as incapable or less deserving. I never internalized the challenges that women face. And I truly believe that truth has helped me succeed.

But please don’t take me as a fool. I am not discrediting any struggle we as women face, and I’m not saying that to be naive is better or smarter. I’m simply offering the thought that we can acknowledge our obstacles without making them part of our identity. This is a choice.

The theme of this International Women’s Month is “Choose to Challenge”. So, I’m calling on you to challenge the obstacles you may face without giving them the power to hold you back. Acknowledge the hills you’re about to climb without doubting your ability to climb them. The world is at your fingertips, so go do whatever the hell you want.

Written by Public Label’s Social Media Strategy Manager, Austen Overman

Exploring the state of in-store merchandising and modern retail

Match Retail is excited to share the latest episode of The Voice of RetailTM, a weekly podcast hosted by retail veteran Michael LeBlanc with . Check out this week’s podcast featuring our very own , Managing Director.

In this podcast, Vanessa and Michael outline Match Retails’ goal to enhance the customer experience in retail and help brands drive the conversation. As an innovative Canadian company in the retail space, our mission is to push our brands and retailers to the next level.

So please take a listen and tap into Vanessa’s experience and wisdom about the state of brick and mortar retail.