March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day we acknowledge to honor and celebrate the women in our world today who are shattering glass ceilings, women of our past who have laid the groundwork for our own success, and women in our lives who empower and encourage us to be our best selves.
As a female founder, not a day goes by that I don’t look around at the brand and impact I have built, and think about the amazing support I received from women along the way, who believed in me over the last 20 years, inspired me, and equipped me with the tools I needed to make Kendra Scott what it is today. International Women’s Day is a day to stand together and celebrate the incredible impact women can have when we hold hands and support each other. But in our world today, there are still so many barriers that women face – whether cultural, financial or self-imposed. My mission as a woman, a founder, and an entrepreneur, is to break down those barriers and clear the path for other female leaders to follow – to empower women to achieve their dreams, whatever that may be, and pass on the wisdom I’ve learned through my own journey.
I like to say that 2020 gave us all clear vision, to see what truly mattered, to see the good and the bad. This month marks a year we’ve spent in this global pandemic, and as we take a moment to celebrate International Women’s Day, let us take a moment to acknowledge all we have overcome in the last 365 days. This year, we as women faced immense challenges, like disproportionate job loss (women accounted for 100% of job losses in December 2020, according to WWD). We faced the struggle of working from home while losing access to childcare and learning to homeschool their children. We battled mental health, whether for the first time or in new ways as our lives were turned upside down and our connection with our communities were cut off.
Over the course of this year, I found myself paying close attention to the elements of my work and my life that brought me the most joy, and I’ve recognized that the best next step for me is to focus on bigger projects that propel our company forward and will make a significant impact in our communities. I made the decision to hand off my role as CEO to my dear friend and president, Tom Nolan, which will allow me to devote more of my time to what truly brings me joy: philanthropy, design, and customer experience.
I am refocusing my efforts in the areas where I believe I can have the greatest impact. As Executive Chairwoman, majority owner, founder and designer, this new role will allow me to lean into where I can make the biggest impact creatively for our brand, and focus even more of my efforts on putting good into the world as a philanthropist and entrepreneur.
According to a 2018 PitchBook study, I am listed among only 16 women in the United States to carry the title of founder of a company valued at one billion dollars. Despite how far we have come as women in this country, there is still so much work to do to give women the seat they deserve at the table. As a woman, unfortunately we often find that people don’t take you or your business seriously. Only 17% of venture capital goes to female-founded companies, but women actually have a higher rate of success with their businesses than their male counterparts. My goal through all the work I do is to empower other female leaders to have confidence in their vision, and give them the tools they need to bring that vision to life.
But this day is about so much more than who I am and what my business has accomplished. It’s about all of us as women, standing by each other, and it’s about you – how you will make an impact in the world around you. I believe that there has never been a better moment to be a woman in our world, relentlessly pursuing her dreams. There is shattered glass everywhere these days created by women who are making history, from Kamala Harris taking her seat as the first female Vice President, to Sarah Thomas becoming the first woman to officiate the NFL Super Bowl, to Haley Arceneaux, the St. Jude’s healthcare worker and cancer survivor who will become the first female civilian in space with Elon Musk’s SpaceX project. Female empowerment is more than a day; it’s a movement, and that movement is growing. These women are just a few who are helping set the tone for the rest of the world that women are capable of doing and being absolutely anything they put their minds to – and that to me is exhilarating. As one of my favorite quotes from Ayn Rand says, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” So my question to you is, what will you set your mind to this year?
This International Women’s Day, I am thankful for the women who helped me get to where I am today, and I hope I’ve shared some words that will help you in your own journey. And I hope that someday you have the opportunity to look back and thank the women who helped build your dream, and you do the same to pass the baton to others. Remember, we women are so much stronger when we stand together.