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Tom Ford International Chairman Discusses Success, Quality, and Branding

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On January 17, 2013, Tom Ford International Chairman and former Gucci CEO Domenico De Sole drew on his experience and knowledge of the retail industry to inspire students to focus on leadership and human resources as the way to success.

“Don’t be afraid to hire people better, smarter than you,” said De Sole. “Hire them, listen to them, and let them do their jobs.”

The McDonough Retail & Luxury Association (MRLA) sponsored the event with the Undergraduate Program Office with support from the Distinguished Leaders Series.

“The purpose of the McDonough Retail & Luxury Association is to create a platform to connect all with retail and luxury through various learning opportunities,” said Edouard Freda, MRLA co-president.

More than 300 attendees seized this learning opportunity from across the university.

“Retail and luxury is an industry that’s different than what I’m studying,” said Foreign Service student James Schon (SFS ’16). “I’m here to gain a different perspective and learn more about the business.”

For future business leaders, De Sole offered this advice on being a successful manager:

• “Being smart and talented is good, but being liked is overwhelmingly important.”
• “If your employees believe it, you’ll be number one.”
• “Don’t point blame. Look at the process, not the people.”

He also suggested that entrepreneurs find a right fit with launching a business and connecting it to brand identity.

“Start where your brand belongs,” said De Sole on where to open a business. “ You have to have a home base. Start on your home turf first.”

Finally, he stressed the importance of building a quality brand.

“Quality we remember long after the price is forgotten. This is true even for Georgetown University,” De Sole, a Hoya Dad, added.

-- Lamar Dawson