Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently and lead with their heads and hearts.
Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted and articles written on authenticity and its impact on life and leadership. One such article was a Harvard Business Review noting authenticity as the gold standard for business. Clearly, the gold standard is something we should all be striving for and while there are many businesses and leaders that fall short of this standard, there are also many that thrive.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to highlight a leader who in my view is the gold standard. By all accounts, Tory Burch is a huge success. With a growing fashion and lifestyle business valued at more than $3.5 billion and numerous mentions on the Forbes 100 most powerful women’s list, this entrepreneur turned billionaire and philanthropist is a force to be reckoned with.
From the launch of her firm back in 2004, Tory Burch has created a company and lifestyle brand focused on quality, innovation and yes, social responsibility. Recognizing the many obstacles women face in business, Tory established the Tory Burch foundation in 2009, to provide economic empowerment to women entrepreneurs in the U.S. by providing access to capital, entrepreneurial education and mentoring opportunities. For Tory, philanthropy is not about charity but instead a way of empowering women to help themselves and others by providing them the tools and resources they need to grow their own businesses and thrive.
As a recent graduate of the co-branded Goldman Sachs 10K and Tory Burch small businesses program, I can tell you firsthand that support from Tory’s foundation proved invaluable to me. It provided me with the framework from which to position my business for future growth and success and created a supportive environment of trusted business advisors whom I am eternally grateful for.
While I can probably go on and on about how impressed I am with Tory’s business success and how grateful I am for her philanthropic efforts, the one thing that stands out most for me is watching her authentic leadership style come to life. Above all the fortune, fame and success, Tory is a down to earth, approachable and a refreshing reminder of an authentic leader and the gold standard we should all be striving for.
What role does authenticity play in your leadership style?
CEO, Entrepreneur, Innovator, Fashion Designer, Philanthropist