Founder, CEO, New Yorker, Athlete, Mama-To-Be
What do you do - and what what drives you in your career as well as personal endeavors?
I am the founder of Rebecca Allen, a footwear brand for all women of color. As a black woman navigating corporate America, I always needed a go-to nude pump in my closet, and I could never find a shade that was MY nude. This drove me to begin working on Rebecca Allen to create our initial style, which is a timeless patent leather pump available in FIVE nude shades. Today, I’m driven by the opportunity to bring together like-minded women who want to celebrate one another and share in each other’s wins.
Ambition: What does ambition personally mean to you - what place does it have in your life? Do you think our culture perceives “ambition” to be a dirty word for women? Why or why not?
Ambition for me is relentlessly pursuing a goal that I have set for myself. Right now it’s an overarching theme of working tirelessly to build my brand, while also being a supportive partner to my husband as we both strive toward our common goal of continuing to build a great life together.
As someone who grew up playing team sports, ambition was never a dirty word for women or girls. And today I don’t think ambition has a negative connotation for women or men. I think of an ambitious person as someone who is driven by something a little more inspired than just personal gain. Being determined, hungry and scrappy in that pursuit is admirable regardless of sex or gender.
What does ‘having confidence’ mean to you - what place does it have in your life? How do you work on it?
For me confidence means being prepared, and that can be anything from giving a presentation or a pitch, to being poised, to getting a great blowout before a meeting. For pitching/presenting, I practice a ton usually in front of a mirror (or with my cat). I try to debrief myself right after meetings to see if there were any questions that came up that I felt less than prepared for so I can better prepare for the future. Confidence is essential in my life right now because I want my customers to feel confident in the purchase they’re making from me. It’s very much about building trust, which I feel is a warm confidence, not an arrogant one!
Goals: Please share one of your current, important goals (can be personal or work-related). Why is this a goal and how did you realize it was something that you wanted to work on? What’s your plan for achieving it?
My goal right now is working to bring Rebecca Allen to more women. Women are so excited to be a part of the brand in this early stage and I want to be able to share that with as many women as possible. I want customers to continue to feel a personal stake in the success of the brand. We have a lot of ways we’re working on growth! Collaborating around great events, connecting with the right ambassadors, leveraging happy customers to help spread the word, to name a few.
What do you do if you are having a hard time defining goals? How do you stay motivated to fulfill your goals and sense of ambition, and what do you do when you get stuck?
I work well when I can break things down into smaller steps. Checking things off of my to-do list helps me feel a sense of accomplishment and I always find that nothing is ever as challenging as it seems on the outset. It never hurts to remind myself of that when I’m having a hard time working through something.
What is your outfit when you really have to get shi*t done?
If I’m doing an event or taking a meeting I will either wear a dress with clean lines that has some stretch so I feel comfortable moving in it or a nice tailored jean and a blouse. I wear the Rebecca Allen New Pump in Nude III (of course). Having on a great outfit really ties into my confidence and I never feel like my best self if I’m physically uncomfortable. If i’m just working out of my office and need to crank on something I am usually in baggie jeans and a t-shirt.
What is one fashion tip / hack you swear by for a quick or on-the-go change?
Ex. I dress in neutrals, but change my makeup for different settings.
Usually putting on a bigger pair of earrings. I am not big on jewelry, but I find that a fun pair of earrings can make me feel like I took things up a notch.
What is your process - or what are you guidelines - when choosing to buy something new for your wardrobe?
I care much more about fit than I do about trend. At this point, I usually know what will work on my body type and what I will actually re-wear (opposed to buying something fleeting). Unless I need a dress/outfit for a specific event when I’m really dressing for the occasion and the venue, I am typically looking for great, well-made basics fill holes in my closet or replace items that have been worn to shreds.
What activities do you do outside of your full-time gig (whether that’s work, parenting or something else)? How does it bring balance to your life? How does it make you more successful in your full-time gig?
I love to be active whether it’s Flywheel, dance cardio, a little yoga or tennis. I played sports my whole life and I find that I sleep better and am more productive when I’m in a good exercise groove. I also really try to get out of the city on the weekends or whenever I can. It makes the time off feel longer than when I stay put, I breathe deeper and always come back refreshed even if I was only gone for an afternoon.