Women to Watch

Women to Watch: Rebecca Van Dyck, Levi's

Exec Calls on Global Experiences as She Works to Take Apparel Brand's Business Model From Regional to International

By Published on .

Above each of Rebecca Van Dyck's daughters' beds are tacked large maps of the world. The maps serve as a way to point to where Mom has been and where she's going, as well as determine where the girls, ages 7 and 9, would like to visit.

Rebecca VanDyck
Rebecca VanDyck

"I grew up traveling quite a bit. It was an important part of my family upbringing and education," said Ms. Van Dyck, global chief marketing officer of Levi Strauss & Co.'s Levi's brand. "My mom would always say, 'Don't let schooling get in the way of a good education,' [referencing] Mark Twain. I think of that often."

Ms. Van Dyck will mark a few more places on her girls' maps in the coming months as she settles into her new role at Levi's. She officially started work April 19 and trips to Brussels, Hong Kong and India are already on the horizon.

There's a decidedly global flavor to Ms. Van Dyck's resume, with stints as Apple's senior director-worldwide marketing and communications and Nike 's global account director at Wieden & Kennedy. She also spent two years in Melbourne, Australia, during an assignment leading up to the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.

Her experience shepherding global brands will be an asset to Levi's as it works to restructure into a global, rather than a regional, operating model. And creating a globally consistent message -- Levi's first truly global campaign is slated for later this year -- is tops on Ms. Van Dyck's agenda. "Consistency is innovative," she said. "And it's more than a campaign, a season. It's about creating a singular message that can live over time."

Ms. Van Dyck is also heading back to her roots, in a sense, with the new gig at Levi's, which counts Wieden as its lead agency. Dave Luhr, chief operating officer at Wieden, said he's looking forward to working with Ms. Van Dyck again, though he doesn't expect the agency to get any free passes. "She's not going to do us any special favors, but she knows how to get good work out of this place," he said. "Her great strengths are that she's both very creatively oriented and creatively intrigued, and she's also incredibly disciplined. Those traits don't really often come together."

Mr. Luhr summed up Ms. Van Dyck's executive style by likening it to her soccer abilities -- she played at Macalester College and still plays every Sunday. "She's all over the pitch. She's everywhere you turn," Mr. Luhr said. "She's tenacious, aggressive and at the same time a good team player."

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