6 Questions You Might Ask Carol Tomé
If You Could
By Amy Hyatt Fonseca
Susan Fonseca Lanham
Recently, Women@TheFrontier interviewed The Home Depot’s CFO, Carol Tomé. In the post, we uncovered how Tomé became one of the most admired power players in retail today. We’re not stopping there, though!
Here are 6 more questions you might ask Carol Tomé if you could:
1. What do you think will be your main contribution to The Home Depot?
“The first is the people. If I look at the finance and corporate services group, they’re amazing. I would put the talent up against any company regardless of the industry. We worked really hard to build an outstanding team. They’re not only terrific producers but they’re extraordinarily diverse. We’re a value-based business, and one of our values is giving back, and they live this value every day. Any of them could be CFO’s in any place. And I have CFO’s all over the country that used to work for me. I’m really proud of them.
Second, I’ve worked really hard to get the company where it is today. It’s part of a team effort. If you think about it, last year we had our highest sales and highest profits in our company history. Our stock price is trading at a record high. And part of our performance is based on capital allocation, and I’ve been the driver behind our capital allocation efforts…
So if you benchmark yourself against other people in the finance world, you can’t find others that perform this way. I think the numbers are impressive. But most important are the people.”
2. What is the first thing you do to help make key decisions?
“I believe in the power of the team and gaining insight. I solicit a lot of opinions, and I’m very data driven in terms of the analysis. At the end of the day, I’ve been here for 20 years, and I know what to do. I’ve been around awhile. “
3. Have mentors or Role Models played a part in your success?
“I’ve been blessed by lots of people. Some have had a significant impact. The first couple of years of school at the University of Wyoming, I’m like, this is boring. I wasn’t engaged, and I had a professor who said, you’re better than this. And I’m like, yes, you’re right. And it changed how I was applying myself in school.
W@F Cofounders Susan Fonseca and Amy Fonseca with Carol Tomé at the Home Depot Corporate HQ
When I came to The Home Depot, Faye Wilson, a member of our board, helped shepherd me through the company. And we’re still in contact 20 years later.
And I have admiration for our founders Bernie [Marcus] and Arthur [Blank]. They’re retail icons.”
4. What is the key to being such an outstanding CFO?
“I don’t know. I will tell you the recognitions that mean the most are the ones that are gender neutral.”
5. What do you see as one of the biggest disruptors that you’re monitoring as having a potential future impact?
“The impact of a higher wage. We pay over market in every market in which we operate, so it’s not an immediate concern for us. And who could argue against a higher minimum wage? The unintended consequence, however, is it will kill jobs because companies, particularly retail, will automate, and the jobs will be eliminated. We as a country and we as The Home Depot need to be careful as we think of solutions.
From a customer perspective, the consumer is changing, and retail has undergone more change in the past three years than in the past 30 years. That will continue to increase. Customers want to shop when and where they want to—mobile device, laptop, at home, in the car, in the store. We are leaning into that through interconnected retail. We’re getting pretty good traction there. So, we’re really driving this interconnected experience. But we’ve got to continue to invest in that, so we meet the needs of our customers.”
6. Who are the next generation women you have your eye on?
“Several senior women here. Ann-Marie Campbell, Crystal Hanlon. Those two come to mind. Rosalind Brewer, the CEO of Sam’s Club. She’s terrific…and the impact they’re going to have on the experience; it will shape us.”
That’s 6 more questions you might ask Carol Tomé if you could. We hope you’ve learned something new about this financial trailblazer. Let us know your thoughts. What else do you want to know about this Atlanta business icon?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prior to catching the Women@TheFrontier bug, Amy was a research and clinical speech-language pathologist interested in the impact of technology on individuals with disabilities. Today, she is a wife, mom, lover of words, Co-Founder and Managing Editor for Women@TheFrontier.