Guest blogger Nicole Gibson is an Account Executive in the International Division at Caleres. Her responsibilities include getting as many pairs of Naturalizer, Bzees, LifeStride, Ryka, Dr. Scholls, Franco Sarto and Via Spiga shoes on the stylish women of the Pacific Rim as
Nicole has been involved in Two
Ten and WIFI since 2011. She has participated in the WIFI Mentoring Program and in early 2015 joined the St. Louis WIFI committee. She studied Textiles & Clothing at Western Kentucky University.
Two Ten would like to thank Caleres for their sponsorship of this event and the Two Ten WIFI program along with New Balance and The NPD Group. Thank you also to our WIFI St. Louis Chairs Liz Robison and Jessica Ulrich.
If you’re in the footwear industry chances are you’ve heard of Diane Sullivan. The CEO, president and chairman of the board of Caleres, Diane is undoubtedly one of the most powerful women in the footwear business. What makes Diane so unique and admired beyond her professional accomplishments is her authenticity and compassion.
In late October the Saint Louis Two Ten WIFI group heard from Diane during an evening of conversation on the Washington University campus. Diane answered questions provided by Two Ten WIFI members and without question every woman (and one brave gentleman) left the event inspired, enlightened and motivated. Below you will find Diane’s words from the event on surrounding three topics that have proven to be of utmost importance to women in footwear.
Life Balance & Inspiration
“Keep your eyes and mind open, be ready to accept inspiration as it comes”
“I love what I do so much that I don’t need to hit the reset button much. I can’t wait to come to work. There are times when you need some down time – so do something different, changing it up rather than slowing it down is best.
“I have been fortunate, some years back I attended Leadership at the Peak (at the) Center for Creative Leadership. They analyze how you communicate by putting you in uncomfortable positions. I learned an interesting philosophy about becoming a more complete person. The first one is about yourself. For a lot of us, that’s hard to do – but essential. The 2nd thing was family. The 3rd was work and the 4th was about giving back and philanthropy. I had missed the 4th thing completely. There are… ways to give back that rejuvenate you too. I’m on Two Ten (board) and I’m on (the) BJP patient care and safety committee. I get involved with a lot of other things. It’s a little bit about yourselves and little bit about your family. I urge all of you to get involved sooner.”
“There are two kinds of leaders, those that lead from the front and those from behind. There is no formula for leadership, find your strength and embrace it. The kind of leader that you need is someone who listens really well…. They understand what is going on a couple of layers down.”
“Put yourself into uncomfortable positions. Put yourself in a situation and rise to the occasion – what’s the worst thing that can happen? Find the people you respect and figure out how to work with them – it takes a team of people (to be successful).”
“Be open, be curious and believe in the possibilities. Curiosity is one of the core competencies that drive success.”
Two Ten & Giving Back
Diane currently sits on the boards of BJC HealthCare, Enterprise Holdings and the Board of Trustees at Washington University. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Two Ten Footwear Foundation (Vice-Chair) and the Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY).
An event attendee who has received support from Two Ten asked Diane why she thought the footwear industry is such a strong and loyal community.
Diane’s answer: “We work in an industry of caring people and there has always been a strong sense of family in the footwear business. Family takes care of each other and Two Ten brings awareness and true support to those in need.”
Diane left the audience will some words of wisdom:
“Life takes all sorts of twists and turns, that’s the fun part… go with it and don’t fight it. Have optimism and (a) sense of good for the future.”