Women Who Rock: FitFlop’s Marcia Kilgore on ‘Leading Yourself to Happiness’

Marcia Kilgore women
Marcia Kilgore.
Jim Hobart

Marcia Kilgore, the founder of FitFlop, Bliss Spa and Soap & Glory, has some unique leadership tips:

Success comes in different forms: “This is the big philosophical question: What is success? Success is happiness. If you can lead yourself to happiness, that is a lot more important than being at the top of the ladder if you’re miserable every day. Success doesn’t necessarily mean the top chair in an organization for women who want more well-rounded life.”

Focus on empowering young men, too: “I think we have to be careful about isolating women as people we mentor or focus on. I have a great friend, the one person I think of as a mentor. I used to give her facials. She was an attorney and ran Warner Bros. International — and she was just brilliant and insightful. She retired at an early age, and I hired her for the board at FitFlop. We were talking about what we would do in terms of giving back. We had a couple of men on the board, and we had her. We were talking about the money we were going to donate for education. I felt very uncomfortable saying we’re only going to educate girls. The men on the board were saying, ‘No, you sell shoes to women, you need to just do education programs for women. It will be easier for your customer to understand.’ My friend called me the next day and said, We have to mentor the boys, too. If we do that, then they will realize there are great women leaders and will be more likely to treat women with respect.”

Don’t be afraid to negotiate: “In England, you don’t talk about money . There are a lot of women who still think it’s uncouth to discuss it. To go into a business situation to actually discuss money is horrible. You want to raise confident women who are comfortable going in and discussing finance.”

No one can have it all: “You always read this question, can women have it all? Does anyone ask if men can have it all? Men don’t have it all — they just don’t seem to be judged for not coming home and seeing the kids.”