Faryl Morse, founder and CEO of Farylrobin, never had the luxury of watching other female leaders as she built her namesake company.
“Up until five years ago, women weren’t in top executive positions,” Morse said. “For the longest time, our big challenge was, first, to become leaders, to get higher up. Now our challenge is to become good leaders.”
Today, Morse said she’s still developing her own leadership style. “I’m finding a way to lead as a woman. It’s innately different. We’ve always been asked to communicate as men, but that’s not natural to us,” she said.
Here, the exec and designer talks about who she admires in the footwear business and offers up interesting advice for young women.
Someone she looks up to: “The obvious one is Diane Sullivan. She’s a woman who has broken boundaries. She the highest ranking executive in our industry of a company not created by herself. She walked in and was effective and successful, and everyone recognized that. She’s also incredibly approachable and, I think, has made it a point to be. She looks for new opportunities and reacts to opportunities quickly and thoughtfully.”
Advice for young women: “Embrace your femaleness. It’s a strength not a weakness. In our industry, especially, it helps because you’re better able to understand your customer and how to connect with her. With Pinterest, Instagram Tumblr, these are all female worlds. Being a woman gives you a great opportunity to take advantage of that.”
Make it a group effort: “The Two Ten WIFI group and women’s meetups are so important, and their impact is tremendous. They help women expand their horizons, and more and more leadership skills are developed outside your profession. Go out and learn and then bring that back to the office. If we wait for our organization to make us a leader, it’s going to take a long time.”
Words to live by: “Don’t pass open windows because you never know what you’ll discover.”