NEW YORK — After spending a decade building Two Ten Footwear Foundation into a powerful and far-reaching organization, President Peggy Kim Meill will step down on Aug. 1.
Through her exceptional fundraising abilities, community outreach efforts and industry team-building initiatives, the executive, who is leaving for personal reasons, has touched every corner of the footwear space.
Last year alone, under Meill’s leadership, the group handed out $1.7 million in financial relief and $750,000 in scholarships.
“Today we serve people in need faster and with more care and compassion,” said Meill. “We have done well in terms of gaining the support, credibility and pride of a broad spectrum of our industry. We were born out of a vision of building a community and helping one another, and that’s really what this organization has become.”
Industry leaders universally lauded Meill’s contributions and said she is leaving the group in an excellent position.
“She has been the heart and soul of the organization. She really worked so hard to understand and respect Two Ten and what it means,” said Two Ten Chair Carol Baiocchi, VP and DMM of Kohl’s Department Stores. “She created a modern foundation that reflects the diversity of the industry with new ideas, new energy and new initiatives.”
“Because of her work, Two Ten is in a better place and is more relevant in making our industry unique,” added Two Ten Vice Chairman Jim Salzano, interim CEO of The Clarks Cos. N.A. “Her greatest accomplishment is that she adhered to the founding vision, which is shoe people helping shoe people.”
Salzano said Meill’s forward-thinking strategy helped take the organization to the next level.
“She helped us see the mission in a broader sense, by creating a community and developing the industry to be more sustainable with initiatives such as WIFI, the leadership forums and the young professionals group. She has broadened our understanding of what Two Ten could be.”
Board member Tim O’Donovan, retired chairman of Wolverine World Wide Inc., said Meill has transformed the group dramatically.
“When she came on, she worked with the board to put in place new board governance and board structure,” O’Donovan said. “As the transformation took place and the organization changed, its mission didn’t. She had tremendous empathy for people and enough persuasive skills to move the organization forward in quite a dramatic way. That match of fundraising abilities and interpersonal skills, along with having an incredible heart for people, helped move Two Ten to an entirely new level.”
Salzano said Two Ten would now form a committee and hire a search firm to find Meill’s successor. “We are looking for someone who will honor her legacy by building on her achievements.”
Meill said she looks forward to watching Two Ten as it begins its next chapter, in better shape than it has ever been.
“If only every industry had a Two Ten, the world would be a better place,” she said.