As Michelle Distasio-Flinn sits behind the executive desk as the new vice president and general manager of Oakbrook Center’s Neiman Marcus store, it appears that her life has come full circle.
“My first management role was in this Oak Brook store,” says Distasio-Flinn who worked at Neiman Marcus Oakbrook from 2001-2005, “and now I’m back here running it. I feel a real sense of pride and am thrilled to be back home.”
Distasio-Flinn spent the last few years in Dallas honing her managerial skills as an assistant general manager in two of the company’s most successful stores. Though it’s been some time since she worked in the western suburbs, Distasio-Flinn returned to a store where many of her current colleagues are people she worked with years ago. “This speaks volumes about our company to have such tenured teams,” she says. “We have a wonderful mix of tenured people and new people. This great balance really helps us build a strong brand and a strong store.”
One of Distasio-Flinn’s greatest mandates is to continue to enhance the customer experience for Neiman’s clients. “At Neiman’s, it has always been about the customer. But it’s critically important today with the competitive landscape so deep with online shopping that our customers have relationships with our associates.”
Distasio-Flinn is poised to make Neiman Marcus the go-to fashion destination in the western suburbs. “We need to be true to who we are, but we do need to introduce new products to capture new clients,” she explains. While Distasio-Flinn hopes to elevate high-end designers like Vince, rag & bone, and Cucinelli, her goal is to truly understand the lifestyles of her clients. “We need to get to know our customer on a more intimate level and learn what their wants and needs are so that we can tailor our product assortment to them. We need to speak to their lifestyles.”
Under her direction, Distasio-Flinn will offer a number of in-store events, but she is also looking at how the store can do more outreach in the community. This holiday, the Oakbrook Center Neiman’s “Love to Give” program will donate money purchased from a curated collection of gifts to the DuPage County Children’s Museum. “This program is meaningful because it’s tied to children and tied close to this community,” she says.
In addition to being proud of the products offered exclusively from Neiman Marcus, Distasio-Flinn is very optimistic about the future of the Oakbrook Center store. “The energy of every day is exciting and keeps me motivated. I love the interaction with my team and our customers and I love that our goal is to make people happy,” she explains. “That’s what fashion is. It’s a self-expression that can empower people. To be a part of that is truly joyful for me. “