Lynne Sprugel


Lynne M. Sprugel
Vice President & Managing Director  - International Sourcing Operations|

Academy Sports + Outdoors



Introduce yourself to our audience.  Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am currently Vice President and Managing Director, International Sourcing Operations for Academy International Limited, a subsidiary of Academy Sports and Outdoors, a US Sporting Goods and Outdoor Lifestyle Retailer based in Katy (Houston), Texas.  I moved to Hong Kong in January 2014 to establish our Asia Sourcing Operations Hub office in Hong Kong.

Prior to January 2014, I was responsible for the Global Sourcing function including Brand Management, Product Development, Raw Materials Sourcing, Technical Design, Global Production, Sourcing, Global Sourcing Technology, & Quality Assurance (including QA Testing Center, Assembly Center, and Asia QA Inspection Team).  


We'd love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?


Growing up in the Midwest in Kansas City, MO, there was not much cultural diversity at the time. In 7th grade, my Social Studies class studied other cultures and countries and I loved it. In 9th grade, I took a Spanish class that opened my eyes and led to a quick week in Mexico City during that summer. My passion was born ... I knew I  wanted to do something "international."


Some career path advice --- I stress the importance of being involved in trade associations and other industry groups to network ... it's how I found my first internship at an international bank ... from there I worked for a large electronics retailer that led to a background in logistics and distribution. I moved to the West Coast to work for the electronics retailer in customs brokerage. Networking led to working for a customs broker in the Los Angeles port. There I was able to study/pass my U.S. Customs Brokers license. Through networking at the broker, I went to work for a large department store in global sourcing. Next was an opportunity to start an international sourcing operation for an apparel brand, which included global sourcing, product development, quality assurance, factory and Customs compliance and logistics. Through another network contact, this led to my opportunity at Academy.


What is the best career advice you ever received?


In your passion to work, identify if you are a "builder" or a "renovator." While you may be both, there is probably one you like better ...  a "builder" would create something from nothing (more entrepreneurial and innovative), while a "renovator" would update and modernize that which has already been created.


In my first job, a female boss told me that if I wanted to be a woman in business, I needed to learn to play golf. So I took up golf ... quite a few lost balls later and a few "pars" to keep me energized, I still play golf today ... unfortunately not as often as I would like. But it has opened doors!


What advice would you give leading ladies who wish to break into the industry?


Work outside your comfort zone ... pick up and move to other states and countries; Life is a journey made up of many experiences ... good and bad. Keep moving ahead ... step by step.


Network: the Girl Scout song: make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.


Adopt a PPPTT philosophy to create your work vision and strategy ... P=Product; P=Process; P=People/T=Talent; T=Technology, and T=Training.


Be a lifelong learner ... always be inquisitive and curious. Create 5 year plans of education .. whether a new college degree, one semester courses, internet classes or just picking a new interest group. Also look outside your industry to benchmark how other industries strategies can be adopted into your own.