When Elizabeth von der Goltz began her career as an assistant buyer at the now-closed luxury department store Barneys New York, it was “the fashion industry as you’d imagine it in the nineties—egotistical and hostile”, she remembers. “Assistants were asked to do things people would never be asked to do today.” Specifically, one of her managers at the time, though talented at her job, was so disrespectful to those around her that Von der Goltz quit the business for two years. “I thought to myself, ‘If that’s the kind of person I’m meant to aspire to become, I don’t want to do this.’”
The experience, however, was a turning point for Von der Goltz, who vowed to leave a different sort of legacy when she re-entered the business. At her next role, at Bergdorf Goodman, owned by Neiman Marcus Group, Von der Goltz worked under CEO Karen Katz, whose eloquence, confidence and ability to hold her own on a board dominated by men taught her the value of having positive female role models. It’s one thing to know it’s possible, she says, but it’s so much more impactful to see a tangible example.
After taking on the role of global buying director for luxury e-commerce giant Net-a-Porter in 2017, Von der Goltz launched the company’s Incredible Women initiative, which highlights powerful women around the world who are at the forefront of their businesses and are using their platforms for change. Audiences are invited to panel discussions a few times a year or to listen to Pieces of Me, a recently launched series of podcasts with speakers such as artists and filmmakers.