My time at TOMS gave me a unique opportunity to think about social impact in everything I did. The brand’s strength and exponential growth was the result of its giving program: “one for one”. I learned first hand that it is far more difficult to sustainably give 25 million pairs of shoes annually in underserved communities than it is to sell the same amount through our direct and wholesale distribution channels. In the span of 3 years, I built the largest global supply chain for gift-in-kind in developing countries.
I left TOMS with a firm belief that leading brands in the next decade will have successfully built ecosystems where “Doing Good and Doing Well” feed off each other. It will create effortless loyalty with customers, strong employee retention/engagement and ultimately sustained profitable growth.
Organizations need to look at their values, their talent, their business model and decide what impact they are uniquely qualified to deliver sustainably.
At lululemon, I focused on two very specific areas:
- I leveraged my experience in Haiti to start a manufacturing program that created over 2000 jobs in one of the poorest countries in the World. It reduced our carbon footprint and cut our lead times by 2 weeks.
- I used our ambassador network to create “Here to Be”. A foundation dedicated to bringing mindfulness and meditation to kids in underserved communities.