Career Code: Relatable Work Advice From a Female Billionaire
In honour of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s new book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($26, available June 1), we’re running an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honour of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the fashion industry. So far, we’ve tapped Sally Singer, Emily & Meritt, Rachel Zoe, and more. Up next? Sara Blakely.
As of March 2016, the total number of female billionaires was at 190, composing a mere 10% of the world’s “10-figure fortunes.” Today, we have the pleasure of sharing career insight from one of those successful women. Back in 2000, frustrated with the lack of comfortable, functional undergarments on the market, Sara Blakely founded Spanx. Fast-forward 16 years and you’ve got a gamut-spanning empire of women wearing Blakely’s shapewear pieces, which have expanded into categories like leggings, jeans, active, and even swim. Her growth and success have also been marked by efforts such as the Sara Blakely Foundation, supporting education and entrepreneurship among women. Additionally, she has been included on Time’s 100 Most Influential People list, was featured on the cover of Forbes, and three years ago signed the Giving Pledge, a generous endeavour that translates to donating half of her wealth in efforts to support women.
We can’t say we’re surprised by Spanx’s gargantuan success. After all, it taps into one of the most simplified desires shared by virtually every woman: the need to look and feel good. On that note, scroll down to read our interview with this inspiring entrepreneur!
“A cobalt blue suit from Casual Corner. But after I got the job, I started painting my nails wild colours and wearing candy necklaces. It was the only loophole I found to express myself with the strict, conservative dress code. I was also known for occasionally wearing wigs when I would get bored with my hair colour.”
“I look for passion in an employee, someone who loves the brand and the products or is a customer themselves and wears the products. I look for optimism and enthusiasm. I like people who are overall intelligent, resourceful, and glass half full. I also look for scrappy problem solvers who can anticipate as much as they can react.”
“I get in the car, listen to great music, and drive. I have identified that all of my best thinking happens in the car.”
“For lunch it’s usually salads with a side of fries—it’s all about balance. And for breakfast I try to make a smoothie. Here are my ingredients (my husband thinks I am insane every morning when I make it): a chocolate protein powder pack, half an avocado, two dates (dates are the key—they add sweetness and make everything else tolerable), kale, a full lime juiced, chia seeds, frozen wild blueberries, four to five frozen dark cherries, two scoops of ice, cold water, basil, fresh mint leaves, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Walnuts on the top. Eat it with a spoon.
“My go-to drink, which a restaurant in Atlanta actually named the Blakely, is fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, silver tequila, and muddled jalapeños.”
Pick up your copy of Hillary and Katherine’s new book below (available June 1):
If you had a chance to sit down and talk to someone about her career, who would it be? Let us know in the comments below!