It was destiny—rather than desire—that first led Len Pesko to the world of footwear and accessories. 30 years on, he has been instrumental in the success of some of your favorite global brands. Co-owner/founder of we catch up with this industry mover and shaker to talk career, inspiration and life in the fast lane. 

Len Pesko | Modern Pulse

How did you get started in footwear? As a buyer at Macy's many years ago, I was asked to transfer into the footwear division. I was honored, as footwear was a select area. When I politely said thank you but I would like to stay where I was, the response was that this was not an option. This was the start of my footwear career nearly 30 years ago. I quickly made some very good contacts and friends and became a student. I began to love the product and the industry.

What does an average day look like for you? Currently as an owner, an average day can be endless, as can days worked in a week. As we are a global business, and deal with countries all over the world, it is not uncommon to be on a Skype call in the middle of the night my time as it could be the middle of the day in the foreign country. Executing work that is an ongoing from consultations on a specific topic for financial institutes that want a professional opinion about many issues brands, global sourcing and much more. Also evaluating projects that come across our desks on a daily basis. Each day I make sure that I am keeping current on the issues that effect our industry. By attending seminars, webinars and reading current topics I am able to be as current as possible on many prevalent things.

What duties are you responsible for? Bringing in viable opportunities where we can help our clients as well as executing business and financial aspects for our clients. If we utilize our vast professional network of people and services, I will stay involved to offer further support and help in the project. This can be business, analytic, financial, pricing products, sourcing, operations, PR, Social media and much more.

What do you love most about what you do? I love helping our clients. Whether it's teaching the the basics of the business, structuring their company and the needs that are associated with running a successful business, evaluating an established business and making worthwhile suggestions and even being part of the decision making process. I also love that I am constantly learning each day and after all the experience that I have accumulated, I feel that I am a very good and worthwhile student which only helps our clients even more.

What qualifications do you need to be great at your job? Among the obvious qualifications, the ones that are sometimes overlooked is being, what I call, a loud listener. Also being able to delegate and oversee projects at the same time is a key thing for success. You need to have a vision and a plan which are two different things. Also being a good communicator is vital.

What have been some highlights so far in your career? I have many highlights but one that stands out—and that I am very proud of—is there are at least six people in my industry that worked under my tutelage that have gone on to hold significant positions in the industry. I am proud of this and them.

There are no easy industries and there are no shortcuts

What are some of the misconceptions of what you do? When people learn about the vast services that we can provide , they are surprised that we are so involved in a very highly professional way in the different aspects.

What advice would you give to those who want to work in the footwear industry? As I conduct seminars in many locations around the world, I have some standard advise to my audience. It does not matter what industry you are entering. This advise will apply to all. You must do your homework. Become an expert and learn the industry that you are about to enter and keep learning. There are no easy industries and there are no shortcuts. Footwear has its own challenges that are unique. I would strongly advise that you need to be obsessive in becoming an expert.