My Way: Emma Grede on Inclusive Cultures, Handling Negativity and Leaving a Legacy That Matters

Emma Grede is the CEO and co-founder of Good American, a fully inclusive fashion brand she launched in 2016 alongside Khloé Kardashian. In 2022, Grede and Good American created Good Inc., an incubator initiative dedicated to inclusivity by providing resources and mentorship to emerging talent in fashion. Grede is also a founding partner of SKIMS, a solutions-oriented shapewear brand, and co-founder of Safely, an accessible, plant-powered cleaning brand. She is currently a recurring Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, making her the first Black woman to appear in the investment chairs. As an advocate for inclusive representation, Grede also serves as chairwoman of the Fifteen Percent Pledge and as a trustee and board member of Women for Women International and Baby2Baby.

The best leaders support their teams’ happiness by…

prioritizing them. The best way for me to serve both our customers and my shareholders is to ensure my team is happy and able to thrive. This enables them to do the best work. That means making sure my people are seen and heard and working toward a greater mission. They must be well remunerated, have incredible benefits that enhance their lives—all those things help create a culture where everyone wins.

I define a great organizational culture as one that…

is diverse and inclusive. I am and have always been wholeheartedly committed to fostering a diverse and authentically inclusive organizational culture. It’s at the core of all of my businesses within the portfolio—from leadership to the talent we depict in marketing and advertising to the amazing teams behind the lens.

One thing I try to do every day is…

express gratitude. When you’re so immersed in the work, it’s easy to get caught up. I try to take a second to reflect each day.

I describe my vibe as…

[laughing] What’s the opposite of mellow?

I feel most alive when…

I’m with my family. I absolutely adore the work I’m fortunate enough to do and the brilliant partners I have, but being with my husband and kids is the highlight of my day.

A book that changed my life was…

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.

My favorite quote is…

“Either you run the day or let the day run you!”

To avoid distractions, I…

wake up early—although I don’t always enjoy it [laughing]. Getting up before my kids allows me to set my mindset for the day, get a workout in and tackle a few of my to-do’s.

I handle negativity by…

paying it an appropriate amount of attention. Feedback and an open dialogue is so important to me and a process that is integral across my brands. With that, it’s important to take feedback, listen and learn from it, and move forward; I never dwell.

One thing that is difficult for me but I enjoy is…

product development—I am (and I think always will be!) a product junkie. I love being fully immersed in product development—working on innovation, testing different tweaks, etc. As we’ve scaled, though, I’ve had to learn, especially on the product side, to make a decision and move on. Staying too in the weeds or second guessing doesn’t bode well for continued evolution.

I want people to know me for…

being an advocate of change. The work we have been doing with the Fifteen Percent Pledge has been incredibly rewarding because it goes even beyond my businesses and has encouraged other brands, retailers, etc. to enact tangible change. We’ve been able to foster movement toward inclusivity and are able to promote true accountability.

In 10 years I hope to…

have not only continued to grow my businesses, but also to have helped empower other entrepreneurs—particularly female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. At this stage in my career, I’m fortunate enough to have a platform, so supporting fellow entrepreneurs is one of my biggest priorities and a responsibility I do not take lightly. There is no shortage of talent, but too often a shortage of opportunity.

I define success as…

being cemented in community. Personal success has limited value if you’re not uplifting others alongside you. 

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2022 Issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photos by @pierresnaps.

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