Women from Skechers, Advanstar, Birkenstock, K-Swiss, East Lion, Puma, Mink, and many more came out last Wednesday, October 1 at Advanstar’s Santa Monica offices for a powerful panel on leadership. I was proud to moderate this phenomenal event and to hear first-person stories and advice from Leslie Gallin (Advanstar), Kathy Kartalis (Skechers), Stephanie Militello (Birkenstock), Stephanie Sheridan (Sedgewick LLP) and Yu-Lin Kong (ULink Consulting). From what defines leadership to what surprised you most when you became a leader, the panel weighed in with prescient tips for navigating the leadership landscape — whether you were a leader already, wanted to become one, or just started leading in your company.
The trait that all the panelists agreed upon was crucial for leading? Empathy. When I mentioned empathy was traditionally seen in the world as a feminine trait, the panel quickly debunked that theory — pointing out that empathy was spread equally among the sexes and how it was absolutely necessary for every leader to cultivate this important trait. Truly caring for your team, tuning in to what each member of a team was good at, and deeply listening to your team, your clients and your boss, all fell under the empathy umbrella. Fairness, headstrong-ness (is that a word? we don’t care because we like it!), flexibility and a willingness to have things out of balance every once in awhile also came through as traits necessary to lead as well.
The evening wrapped up with an amazing Q+A session and lots of networking, with the audience excited to meet again soon.
If you’d like to get involved in the Los Angeles Women in Footwear efforts, please feel free to reach out to Tanya Allain at email@example.com.
About the Author: Meghan Cleary is a footwear expert, author of the cult fashionista tome, Shoe Are You?® and celebrity shoe columnist for The Hollywood Reporter. Her company produces social media campaigns, web series, and innovative consumer trends focus group programs for footwear and lifestyle companies like Teleflora®, Marchez Vous, Melissa Shoes, The Italian Footwear Association, and she has served as a spokesperson for Jones Apparel Group, Dr. Scholls For Her and retailers from Macy’s to Nordstrom. She appears regularly on the red carpet and hedge funds, institutional investors and universities around the world regularly call on her for her consumer, merchandising and footwear trend forecasting. See more at: http://www.shoeareyou.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.