Meet Constance Polamalu: C.O.O, Mother, and Enterprenuer

An Interview with Constance Polamalu of Zachary’s Jewelers

            As C.O.O. at Zachary’s Jewelers, an amazing mother (slightly biased, but also a wonderful sister), and entrepreneur, Constance Polamalu is someone who could connect with absolutely anyone. Constance is a natural born leader. With years of experience in the jewelry industry, Constance breaks down how she got to where she is and how she faced challenges in her journey. Learn from Constance on how to recover from failure and reach any level of success.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.

A: "I am Chief Operating Officer at Zachary’s Jewelers. I’m also a mom. Not many people know this, but I’m your sister in law, which means I’m married to your brother. My main job at Zachary’s is to make sure that everything works towards the common goal of us being a profitable and long-lasting company.”


Q: How long have you worked in the jewelry industry? What did you do before?

A: “I have worked in the jewelry industry for almost 12 years. Before I got into jewelry, I was actually a professional Hula dancer, actor and promotional model.”

Q: What are some patterns you’ve noticed over the years about women at work, and things they could be doing better to advance their careers?

A: "I think the new generation of women in the industry can do a better job of sticking together and not being catty. When I first got started in the industry there were still so few of us [women] that at times there was this uncomfortable sense of competition. It was like there are so few of us, so we each have to be the best in order to be welcome. And that is just not true. There is room for everyone to be excellent and to live a great life in our industry."



Q: How do we move forward when everyone is telling us that our idea won’t work? Do you have any advice on rejection?

A: “Do it anyway. Just do it really fast and learn from it. If you have an idea, and you feel like it could work and other people tell you that it’s not going to, do it anyway. Do it quickly. Fail fast. Fail hard. And then move on. Or crush it the first time!”

Q: How was your experience switching from the employee to the leadership role? 

A: “There is this movement now of not telling your daughter she is being bossy, but rather say she is showing leadership skills. For me, becoming a leader is realizing that there is a difference. It is dangerous to say that bossiness and true leadership are the same. I was a bossy little girl and that meant that I had the potential to be a leader. But to say that being bossy is the same as having leadership skills undermines all the hard work that goes into learning to be a leader.”


Q: Was there a moment that specifically made you realize your new role?

A: "I think the first place I felt like people were listening to me was in Vegas at trade shows. All of a sudden, I had an audience with the president of Forevermark and I was the one doing the talking in meetings. A lot of work went into getting to that moment, when I reflect, I see how it happened, yet it feels like it happened overnight. It all moved so quickly. But in reality, I still don’t know if I realized how I fill this role. To be honest, I still have imposter syndrome.”

Q: How did you reach your level of success, given the sector’s gender gap, especially among leadership?

A: "Busting my ass. Haha. But really, I think the first big step was in New York. I pitched another female. I had gone to New York with a company that was looking for help developing product with celebrity brands on television. I sat in the room and I was really there just to take notes. At the end, it was a room full of men talking about how she is such a bitch and how they don’t even know what she wants. But I knew exactly what she wanted. It was very clear to me. I spoke up and said that I have an idea. I pulled an all-nighter and had it to her the next day. She loved it. So really it started from just trying to listen, when everyone else saw a bossy woman who made more money than they did.”



Q: Is there a woman in business, or in general, that inspires you?

A: “For sure. Tory Burch. I remember reading a piece on her and it was more about getting to know her at home. She obviously is phenomenally successful and has gone on to fund all of these initiatives to get people into business. What really stuck with me, though, was when the writer detailed about who was sitting at her dinner table. It was her kids and her ex-husband’s daughters were still sitting at dinner with her. That made me feel like she must be really special amongst everything else that she is doing.”