Leslie Gallin, president of footwear at UBM Advanstar in Santa Monica, oversees all of the company’s footwear trade shows, including FN Platform, which she singlehandedly launched in 2010, and Magic, a big forum for fashion brands and buyers that takes place annually in Las Vegas. Gallin was vice president of footwear for Advanstar until she was promoted last August. Before joining the company, she was director of the collections at the World Shoe Association and Sole Commerce. Gallin spoke with the Business Journal about maintaining a sense of humor despite a heavy workload.
Question: Describe your morning routine.
Answer: I get up and I have a 20-lb cat and a kitten, its little sister, that is half that weight. If it was up to me, I’d have a whole house full of animals because they just provide a lot of love. I feed them. I return emails. Then I stop at this deli in Beverly Glen. I love where I live. I’m halfway between Beverly Hills and the Valley – the best of both worlds. So in the morning, I meet with people in the neighborhood and catch up on local stuff. Then, I’m off to offices in Santa Monica.
What does a typical workday involve for you?
Multitasking. I’m in a customer-centric business so I spend a lot of time with customers, figuring out their needs. My job involves different levels of marketing because I deal with exhibitors that show brands people would find in stores, everything from UGG to Steve Madden. So, a lot of the marketing we create is geared toward the industry itself, and then the other side is promoted to retailers that would be purchasing footwear and then the third is to the actual consumer. Then I organize two trade shows in Las Vegas, in August and February, and then two shows a year in New York for men and two for women. It’s a lot of heavy lifting.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
By having a sense of humor, and enjoying every moment of the day. The lines are pretty blurred between my work and my personal life. After so many years in the industry, I have close friends that are people I do business with. My husband too, Ken Linzer, his legal practice consists of clients that have become friends, and friends that have become clients, and I think that it makes for a great life. It makes the days just slide by. You have to be able to laugh because other than life and death, it’s all about problem solving.
Your work involves a lot of travel. How do you stay focused and organized in transit?
I’m old school, so I have a written calendar in addition to an electronic one. With travel, I try to make it so that the launch is as gentle as possible. That means arriving early at airport so I am not under duress. That’s one of the rare times I make time for myself.
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