Aussie GM’s journey from teen retailer to TAG Heuer frontrunner


Van Mulryan has been working in retail since she was 15 – now, she’s the general manager of TAG Heuer Australia. She sits down with Forbes Australia to share her thoughts on leadership and success.
Van – you worked your way up the retail ranks to become the General Manager of TAG Heuer Australia. Were there any skills you had to learn along the way to get there?

Absolutely – I started working in retail at the age of 15, which has continued up until this point. Upon reflection on my retail experience, I was more focused on the end of client understanding their needs which is a skill I’ve definitely carried throughout my career.

However, beyond that, from a corporate perspective, understanding the commercial aspect have been honed and refined over the years for sure. Although, at the essence of it, we are here to serve the client, so the hands-on experience from all those years ago has certainly shaped my approach.

How do you prioritise what needs to be done for the day/week ahead?  

I’m a creature of habit in every aspect of my life, so for me, planning ahead and having a very up-to-date work and social calendar is vital as it keeps me in check and accountable to achieve all tasks throughout the week.  

What’s non-negotiable in your daily routine to ensure you’re productive and performing at your best?  

Outside of my extra hot soy cappuccino (I’m very Melbournian), I schedule my day and provide myself with bite sized targets that need to be achieved in order to deliver on major projects.

As a forward planner, I make sure I have all tasks in my calendar, whether they are small or larger tasks, I ensure they are scheduled in so I’m achieving all targets.

I’ll always make sure I’ve achieved the tasks on my to-do list for the day as I don’t like leaving this to be completed to the following day. That feeling of being behind the eight ball is a non-negotiable for me.

What is your decision-making process like?  

In all my decision-making process (whether it’s small or large), I determine the highest risk and highest impacts, where I will then determine the best outcome based on the answer.


Is there a characteristic or quality of yourself that you think is underrated by other people?   

Stay humble, authentic and dream big!

Is there a quote that you live by?  

The quote that resonates with me the most is “Nothing changes, if nothing changes”. Victory sees that often, we try to replicate the same success using the exact same formula, but if you continue to do the same thing, you will only get the same results.

Is there anyone you look up to in the business world?  

I personally enjoy Simon Sinek videos and podcasts, as I find him incredibly inspiring whilst he continues to provoke self-improvement and mental fitness. My favourite episodes are “Trusting teams” and “The power of your WHY”.

Is there something you see business leaders repeatedly getting wrong? If so, how would you help them fix it?  

Organisation – I think it’s a very non-specific word sometimes that can be used flippantly. But I have to say that being highly organised is what allows me to be successful. It gives me the space and time mentally to adjust to curve balls that we all know happens in life and manage my time efficiently. I don’t think you can put a value on how important being organised is.

What’s the best investment you ever made? 

Investment in people – the team are the heart of the business. When you have a great team who are committed and passionate, the time spent with the team is important.

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