Allyson Felix, Bianca Gates and Jessie Randall at ‘Women Who Rock’ – WWD

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WWD’s sister publication FN and Two Ten Foundation celebrated a group of game-changing women at the “Women Who Rock” event, held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on August 3 with sponsors such as Birdies, New Balance and Wolverine Worldwide. The panel was moderated by FN Editor-in-Chief Katie Abel and included Olympian-turned-entrepreneur Allyson Felix, Bianca Gates, CEO and Co-Founder of Birdies, and Jessie Randall, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of Loeffler Randall. Changemakers spoke about their individual journeys, leading in a radically changed world, advocating for women’s rights and creating lasting legacies. All three are passionate about supporting other women and have started businesses that help empower and advance women.

Below are some takeaways from their conversation.

Moving forward with new ventures:

Allyson Felix“I started Saysh because I couldn’t see the business that I believed needed to exist in the world. I’m so passionate about the shoes we create specifically for women. But more than that, it’s about that company that supports and sees women holistically. I’m just excited to be a part of that and to do something that’s for and by women.

Jessie Randall: “We signed our first commercial lease in January 2020. We started Loeffler Randall in 2004 and it had been 18 years since we wanted to have our own store and we finally did, and everything closed. Even if it was kinda terrifying to have this commercial lease, it was something hopeful that my team could really focus on. Having this really wonderful, happy thing to focus on really brought my team together. It was a really beautiful time when I felt like we were all kind of reality check and grateful for our jobs and for each other and learning to work in new ways We learned to be creative in new ways .

Defense of women’s rights:

A F“I was a professional athlete for a very long time. I had been at Nike for almost over a decade when I decided to start a family and I wasn’t fully supported through it. I was really scared to talk about the experience and what was going on, not only for me, but also for my teammates and colleagues. I felt like I was able to share my own truth and try to fight for those motherly protections. It was so out of my comfort zone to talk about this issue. But I just had a baby, a girl at the time and I looked at her and I was like I wasn’t letting my daughter and her generation deal with that. Whatever the consequences, it’s so important that I have to speak up. From now on, women who start a family benefit from 18 months of maternal protection.

Bianca Doors: “Our mission is to uplift women – this is our guide, so we need to speak loud and clear. So when the cancellation of the Roe v. Wade announcement came, I was disgusted. I didn’t didn’t have time to consult with my team on what I was going to write. What you see on our Instagram now is what I personally wrote. I didn’t even think twice about the right to abortion, because it’s not political – it’s a human right. I almost think we have now, we’ve trained our clients to know what we believe and stand for. So now this is no longer a shock to the system, so we have to keep doing it.

J.R..: “I feel like I’m always talking about what I believe in. It was a no-brainer for me. It wasn’t even about talking. I was absolutely disgusted by the decision. [overturning Roe v. Wade]. But that being said, I don’t think I was surprised by it. I am completely disgusted with the direction the country has been heading for a long time, not just when it comes to women’s rights, but also LGBTQ rights. There have been so many people affected by policies that seek to take away their rights and even, fundamentally, their dignity, and that excites me. I was brought up in a generation where we were told that whatever we wanted to do, we could do it and I always believed that.

On empowering women through business:

A F: “We launched our maternity return policy at Saysh which is basically if you have a pair of our shoes and you become pregnant and your size changes and when your foot changes during pregnancy it’s usually a permanent change , so we’ll give you a new shoe size and it’s been very well received. I think it’s just a little way where we can support and show ourselves. I think just thinking about some of these things and to say we’re going to do things a little differently was a great way for us to show ourselves.

BG“We announced that we were a four-year sponsor of the Angel City Los Angeles Women’s Soccer Team in December 2020. Our logo will be prominently displayed on their jerseys and sleeves for the next four years. is really amazing and I hope more brands step up and do unique things like this and I think we can do more.

Equality and Equity:

A F: “Working with Athleta has been amazing. We have really been able to do important work to push for more equality. We have been able to offer accessible and free childcare services to our national champions for women, for the men, for the officials who were there, for everyone. I think that should be the norm in all of our sports and in all sports. It’s really important to find like-minded partners who want to change things up and show up for women.

BG.: “When I sit with my girlfriends and ask how much money do you make? What does your job pay? Women won’t share. This is a real problem. Talking about money between women is totally taboo and we I think we need to share more and help each other and lift each other up, ask for money and that starts with having a conversation and we need to break that taboo immediately.

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