Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
After leaving a long and full career in the corporate apparel world, I am full throttle on a new venture that takes all my years in apparel and combines it with my passion for golf. I have co-founded a women’s golf apparel company, KINONA (pronounced KEY-no-nah). With community at the core, KINONA’s mission is to bring modern, stylish, and flattering golf apparel to women of all shapes and sizes — golf apparel that reflects a woman’s sense of style while pushing the boundaries of what is “golf appropriate”.
As a start-up, I am officially the CEO, but with that comes a whole lot more, of course: wearing many hats and calling on my fabulous network of friends and colleagues I am merchandising, building product, warehouse and distribution, sales plus getting exposed to every aspect of building a company from scratch
KINONA wants to re-define "appropriate golf attire and to reinvent the process of how it is purchased. KINONA will be using a network of women, (we call them our "Champions") to help spread the word about the brand and to sell our products to their golf "tribe" through in-home parties and trunk shows.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
In the Apparel industry you must learn to think forward, anticipate what you can, and then always have a plan B. There are so many unforeseen problems that can arise in developing and producing product. It could be a natural disaster in the Phillipines, fabric that turned out completely incorrect, or factories that didn't purchase fabric due to cash flow. Whatever it is, you need to be calm, and work through it.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
We launch the Loft outlet division while at Ann Taylor from scratch in about 8 months, including opening 10 stores on the same day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Mentoring others, developing all levels whether its an intern or a VP.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
The ability to engage others in meaningful dialog, influence and build enthusiasm and commitment
What does success look like to you?
I have had really strong success with a 25 + year career in the apparel industry reaching SVP levels and multiple large companies: Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor, Speedo - PVH, and other strong apparel brands. I felt completely successful and stepped away to start my own women's golf apparel brand with a business partner. I’ve had the success and the ability to now build a business I am passionate about everyday.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
When I traveled globally for my career, work-life balance was definitely a problem, especially raising my kids as a single mom. It is really a matter of priority giving everything while at work, stepping away for family time and always allowing myself time to exercise.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Get a lot of experience. Do whatever is asked of you, take roles you aren't sure you'll want long term but gain the experience while you can. It will make you more valuable to your employer and you never know what might be the area you end up enjoying the most.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Its ok, let yourself let go of the guilt. When I traveled a lot globally for work I would call my kids from any country, bring them home crafts from the country and speak about the world. They have grown into amazing global citizens with their own thirst for travel.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I originally joined Ellevate after reading Sallie's book as I am a firm believer in networking and connecting with other women in a supportive community. At my first Ellevate event at the Trunk Club, I met a woman and she and her daughter both have become friends. The daughter helped us find the photographer that shot our website photography, and the mother is helping make connections for us in Florida.