These 8 words persuaded Angela Ahrendts to join Apple

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Angela Ahrendts.
Angela Ahrendts at the iPhone X keynote.
Photo: Apple

It took Apple nearly a year to convince Angela Ahrendts to ditch Burberry join Apple as the company’s head of retail.

Ahrendts discussed Apple’s recruiting process in a recent podcast interview and said a 2012 Fortune magazine feature put her on Apple’s radar because Tim Cook was on the cover. Cook apparently tried to get Ahrendts to join Apple shortly after but Ahrendts felt like the timing wasn’t right. Months passed and she had another meeting with Cook who said eight words that completely changed Ahrendts’ life.

“You know you are supposed to be here,” Cook said to Angela after revealing a TED talk she gave was going viral around Apple.

Ahrendts officially joined Apple’s team a few months later. She worked as the head of retail operations for five years before stepping down this past February. During the RBC Disruptors podcast interview, she said she didn’t want to wake up in five years and wish she would have taken the job.

“I couldn’t get that off my mind,” said Ahrendts. “It’s pretty well known that I’m a spiritual person and that was somewhat of a spiritual sign to me. And I thought ‘ok’.

Ahrendts said she was initially insecure about not being a techy and how she would fit in at Apple. Instead of inserting herself into the operations and making moves immediately, she learned to listen for months before coming up with a plan.

The entire interview is pretty interesting and covers Ahrendt’s career in fashion, how she increased employee retention rates at Apple stores, improved communications and adjusted to the daily challenges of running one of the biggest retail operations in the world.

“I think when you run a business that big and that global, and nearly 70,000 employees when I left, there’s a challenge a day,” said Ahrendts. “I think that if it is a challenge, it’s your job to fix the challenge.”