(Originally posted at www.katieblauer.com)
The Two Ten Footwear Foundation is a charitable organization focused on the mission of “shoepeople helping shoepeople.” For over 75 years, the foundation has been providing financial assistance (emergency funds and scholarships) to anyone in need from the footwear business. Within Two Ten, there is also a sub-community called Women in the Footwear Industry (WIFI) – a group who inspires, supports and educates women through its mentoring program and gatherings put on by local chapters. I’ve attended every such Boston event since moving back to the area 4 years ago and tonight’s get-together was one of the best.
It was “An Evening with Libby Edelman,” the co-founder of Sam & Libby and Sam Edelman shoes, hosted by my very own employer on the top floor of our amazing new world headquarters. For an hour, Libby entertained a room full of ambitious ladies from Converse and other surrounding footwear companies with the story of her career and subsequent advice she’s learned along the way. Between attempting to glean every drop of wisdom and admiring her effortless boho-chic ensemble, I, too, was thoroughly riveted.
Libby spoke to us on topics like networking, culture, patience, traveling, work-life balance, and philanthropy. As for inspiration, she was generous to share with us a page highlighting some of her favorite things. She also spoke about what success looks like to her. In asking myself the same question, I’d say that being given the honor to similarly inspire the next generation through the telling of my own career journey would be one of the best measures of accomplishment. But in recognizing that dream, it’s hard not to worry about the choices I’m making now that are crafting that very story.
This notion is then followed by a series of spiraling questions: How is my time best spent reaching my goals? Where can I find more time? Am I the mentor or the mentee? An individual contributor or a leader? What does my leadership voice sounds like and what kind of an impact can I make? Or should I quit my job and dive into my own project? Am I taking enough risks? As a mother, am I completely selfish for even asking these questions? And why am I bothering to write a blog when all anyone wants to do is scroll through pictures on an Instagram feed?
I suppose these are existential questions that are nearly impossible to answer (yet always worth considering). If anyone would ever like to chat on such topics, I am open to offering advice as well as accepting it – please reach out and get in touch. In the meantime, if you’re a woman in the footwear industry, please consider joining WIFI and donating to the Two Ten Footwear Foundation. Thank you!
– Katie Blauer
Special thanks to Katie Blauer for attending WIFI Boston and writing this unsolicited blog post. You can find more of her thoughts, as well as her custom, special occasion footwear at www.katieblauer.com.