Pam Gelsomini, president and partner of shoe components brand OrthoLite, reflects on her career in the business and support from industry veterans.
Here, she shares her journey from freelance designer to co-owner of an international company.
Best advice I received: “The best and most simple has been to remain true to yourself and your core values. Work hard and don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. If you put the time and effort in, it will eventually pay off. It it’s not, make a change. I took this advice 19 years ago and OrthoLite was started.”
Challenges facing women: “The challenges mirror those of women in most industries. As women continue to rise up the corporate ladder and take on bigger roles, time management becomes a herculean effort. The biggest for me has been maintaining a balance between the demands to both run a business and nurture a family. The shoe industry offers phenomenal opportunities for women with great paths for growth. Everyone works hard, but true passion and love for product makes the effort an enjoyable one. I have made countless customer relationships over the years that have morphed into true friendships which make my job even more enjoyable.”
Looking back: “Before my first job in the shoe industry, I had various freelance jobs. When I interviewed for a design position at Jones & Vining in 1991, I was offered the job of designing shoe bottoms on the spot, and little did I know where it would take me. Now, [as] an owner of a company that makes more than 300 million pairs of insoles per year and owns manufacturing in three countries, it’s hard to believe how it all started, and I couldn’t be prouder of those humble beginnings.”