There’s power in taking a seat at the table. One of my mentors taught me an important lesson about advocacy early in my career. She looked around a conference room and noticed that while the company’s executives and partners sat around the table, all of the junior level associates, including myself, stood along the back and sides of the room. She motioned us over and invited us to pull up a chair, seamlessly changing the dynamic by making room for everyone around the table. This instance has always stuck with me and helped me realize that everyone in the room has something valuable to contribute; we deserve a spot at that physical or metaphorical table. It also taught me that as leaders, to give someone the tools to advocate for themselves, we must consciously and outwardly support them, giving them the confidence to pull up a chair.


  • Karalyn Smith

    Chief Talent Officer

    Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

    Karalyn has spent the last 25 years driving business transformations through talent and organizational strategy. She is a strategic and creative problem solver with expertise in organizational design, talent acquisition, employment branding and engagement, inclusion and belonging, culture shaping and total rewards.   Prior to Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Karalyn was Chief People Officer for Sephora Americas.  She previously held several HR leadership roles at Best Buy and began her career at Accenture, specializing in human capital strategies within their retail practice. Karalyn leads with passion, heart and conviction to support the people who are the core of any organization.  Karalyn graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS Degree in Sociology. Originally from the Midwest, she now lives in Marin with her four children.