You just met with 50 young women who are emerging leaders from across the country. What was that experience like for you? What did you take away from it?
"This is the first time I've done this, and for me it was inspiring. You see all of these young girls, these fresh faces, and their lives all ahead of them, and you can see the excitement. And the energy in the room was palpable. You sort of of go, 'Wow, these girls have everything in front of them.' I remember, just for me at the time, it's an exciting time because the possibilities are right in front of you. These young girls, the projects they are doing, are just incredible. They should be setting examples for young girls across the world. It's just really amazing."
What advice do you have for women who want to balance careers with motherhood and really "have it all"?
"Do what you want. Do what feels good for you. I think that it's not about setting the goal to have it all, because I don't even know what that means. What it's about is: What are your goals, and what are your focuses in life that make you happy? And I always like looking internally and asking if I am leading with integrity, for me personally – asking if my choices are being [made] with integrity and being true to myself, and what will really inevitably make me happy and my family happy."
Who are the role models and mentors in your life that embody female empowerment?
"I was blessed with a mom who could be that for me in my life. But along the way in my career, I've also had women that were real cheerleaders for me and real teachers in the sense of allowing me to actually have a voice at a young age in a project — challenging me, but also trusting in me. And one of those was Sherry Lansing. It was the first time it was a project I was involved with from the beginning to the end, and it was an amazing learning experience for me. Sherry really guided me through that, and also it was a real working relationship, in that she really challenged me on ideas and I challenged her. That relationship, to this day...I just have so much respect for her for the trust she put into me for that project."
We're excited about the capsule collection you worked on for Ann Taylor. What was that like, and what was your favorite part of the process?
"It is flowy and flirty and white and rose gold. When I saw the board for the first time, with all the inspiration ideas and colors, I got all giddy and excited. I knew it was going to be so much fun. It was amazing. When I saw the pieces and put them on, I was like, 'This is just perfect.' So I am very excited, and I think people are really going to respond to the collection."
Lastly, since you're here, what do you think of D.C.?
"My mom is from outside here. She lived in Takoma Park and was raised there, so we have gone back quite a bit throughout the years. And my grandma is buried here. And my grandpa. So I have all of the stories about my mom growing up — I remember the first time she took me there as a little girl, she took me around and showed me all of the pivotal moments of her life. Where she got her first car, where she got in trouble because she was dating the boy she wasn't supposed to be — all of these little things. So this is definitely a place we know. I think my mom went to American University, too, for like a second. Hah!"
Photo: Courtesy of Ann Taylor