top of page
Search

PODCAST EPISODE 39: WINNIE PARK | CEO, FOREVER 21



For Winnie Park, CEO of Forever 21 and former CEO of Paper Source, one of the biggest leadership lessons she learned in her career was when she was told to stop being perfect! Her boss at the time challenged her by moving her into an area where she had no past experience. While initially this seemed like a bad career move, it resulted in incredible growth for her as a leader, and re-ignited her curiosity and humility.


In this interview, Winnie, who recently took over the helm at Forever 21, talks about the most vulnerable time in her life and how it prompted her to show up as her authentic self as a leader. She also discusses her early experiences emigrating from Korea to the US, how it established early patterns in her life, and the rippling effects of how you show up as a leader for your team.


Here are my three big takeaways from the conversation:


  1. It’s not only ok to not know all the answers, it will actually make you a better, more curious and thoughtful leader. Oh, and it will help people feel more connected to and inspired by you.

  2. You are establishing (or not establishing) trust with every single action and non-verbal communication.

  3. Good leaders cultivate other good leaders right from the start.


Winnie demonstrates how soft skills such as relationship building and self awareness can empower leaders to be most effective for their teams. I know you’ll find a ton of wisdom and insights from this episode. I can’t wait to see her plans for Forever 21!


TAKE A LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:

iTunes

Spotify

Google Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn


What was your biggest takeaway from this episode?


CONNECT WITH WINNIE ...

on LinkedIn


LEARN MORE …

about Forever 21 here


SPREAD THE WORD

Leave us a review



TRANSCRIPT


Winnie: There was a moment when I started at Paper Source and I said, I'm just actually going to show up as my authentic self and share my journey, my personal one, not just my professional one and the receptivity by the teams at paper source. When I was able to share my most vulnerable moment was incredible.


Aaron: I'm Aaron Levy. And I have this vision of a workplace where your manager doesn't suck where instead your manager is your coach helping you to reach your full potential at work. I founded Raise The Bar, wrote Open, Honest and Direct, and started this podcast to help companies transform their workplace to a place where both the company and employee succeeds.


In this podcast, I get to interview leaders who built high-performing teams. And learn from them on what it takes to unlock a team with potential.


Today, I'm lucky to have the new CEO of Forever 21 Winnie Park. Winnie's career as a brand builder over the last 20 years is really impressive, though what excited me most about our conversation today was her humility and curiosity and how all of those skills lead to high-performing teams. Winnie brings a level of humanness to the workplace and our understanding of people is what truly seems to be the connection that binds all her vast experiences together.


Listen closely as there's a lot of gold to glean from this episode.