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Uplifting Women: CEO Shelley Broader


Inspired by our Enticing Lift bra, we’re celebrating women who are uplifting in their own respect. We didn’t have to look far to find Shelley Broader—she’s the new CEO of our parent company. She immediately captivated us with her dynamic personality and we just had to get to know her better.

Q: You came to this company after serving as CEO at Walmart’s international division. Why did you decide to change jobs?
A: I’ve spent my career in retail and have been the happiest when I’ve been able to impact all parts of the business. I like being in the cockpit of the plane, with the ability to control and move all the levers. I wanted to find a company that was the right size and scale so that I could impact its future.

Shelley addresses the crowd at a company meeting.

Q: As the leader of a bra company and as a woman, what perspective do you bring to the business?
A: I feel like I’m a youthful person. I’m not necessarily a spring chicken, but I shouldn’t feel foolish, uncomfortable or silly purchasing things I think are sexy, pretty or even purposeful. I believe millions of women feel the same way. Women want sex appeal without sacrificing dignity. I think that brand positioning is very exciting for Soma.

Q: You’ve been working long days as you get to know the business. How do you stay energized?
A: I am a coffee drinker, but I also wear my fit bit and try to get in 10,000 steps a day. Most of them are in this office. I happen to be blessed with Energizer bunny powers, I almost never get tired.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your family.
A: I got married at 23, which is young by today’s standards. I met my husband on a blind date and married him 6 months later. We were really such kids, I think of all the things I liked when I was 23—I had a bi-level haircut! Thankfully, I grew out of that. So I feel lucky I got married young and we grew up together.

Shelley and her family at a New York Giants game last fall. Left to right: Shelley, son Clay, husband Brian, and daughter Madison.

Q: You have a 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son. What are some of the most important things you’d like them to know?
A: I want my kids to learn the importance of giving. That’s why holidays make great teaching opportunities. It’s a chance for them to make someone else feel special and in turn, feel the joy that comes with making someone smile.

Q: What advice would you give to working women looking to grow their careers?
A: If you think of a plant, it’s only going to grow so big because its roots are confined. So you need to replant yourself once in a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean move, but go to a different window or move to a different container. Unless you put yourself in situations where you can expand, you won’t.

Q: Here at Soma, we have a mantra we call “Own Your Beautiful.” It’s about being your best self and embracing who you are. What does that mean to you?
A: Being your best doesn’t mean being a supermodel or an executive. It’s being the best at what you do and that can be empowering. What I’ve found in leadership is that people believe leaders have that “something extra.” We don’t. We have exactly what you have. Honestly, any big job you get, you’re not qualified for. In my first CEO job, people asked “Are you ready to be CEO?” I said, “No, nobody is ready to do that job, until you do it.” That’s why I encourage people to go for that new job and take risks, women especially.

 


Q: What tops your bucket list?
A: I want to go to Iceland. My kids did school reports on it and I’m really fascinated by the northern lights.

Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: When I was really little I wanted to be a shoe salesman. I would put shoes on my dad and ask if they fit. Maybe it was my start in retail! When I was older, I wanted to be a journalist.

Q: What are your favorite motivational songs?
A: I’m a rocker. “Wake Me Up” by Evanescence and “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor” by the Arctic Monkeys.

Q: What’s the most meaningful item in your office?
A: My Inukshuk from my son. It’s a spiritual rock figure that means a lot to me.

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: True crime TV, medical journals and websites—and champagne truffles.

 

 

 

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