WIE Inspiration Day: Talk'in About Our Generations
Founder, Cube Ventures
Founder, Birch Box
Alexandra Wilkes Wilson
Co-founder, Gilt Groupe
Inspiration Day features some of the most impressive minds in philanthropy, politics, business, entertainment and media. Whether your goal is to make a real difference to the issues you care about or to get tips from your role models about overcoming the obstacles to success, here’s where you'll get help becoming the very best version of yourself.
WIE Network is a next generation media company that aims to inspire social change through the creation of engaging and inspirational filmed content, large scale forums and innovative social media programs. The company’s properties include the annual women’s conference, The WIE Symposium; WIE Interact, an online social network for women, and a new online reputation service to be announced. Other projects include a feature film about legendary African heroine Yaa Asantewaa; and a documentary that explores the role of forgiveness in conflict resolution around the world.
WIE Network’s principals are television host and political commentator June Sarpong, and branding and entertainment marketing expert, Dee Poku. According to Sarpong and Poku, the WIE Symposium was created as way of uniting women from different backgrounds. The event engages women from the world’s wealthiest nations in the quest to give a voice to those less fortunate than themselves: "As New York based British women of Ghanaian heritage, we consider ourselves to be citizens of world. And as such our mandate is to unite and empower women everywhere. We all share common goals of wanting to be happy and successful, to have strong families and dynamic careers. And that’s what the WIE Symposium is about, setting aside our differences and uniting behind our common aspirations."
Katia Beauchamp is the Co-Founder of Birchbox, the discovery commerce company changing the way women and men women shop for beauty, grooming and lifestyle products. Through its multi-channel platform, the Birchbox experience features personalized sampling, informative editorial content and a hand-picked online store.
Katia began her career as an entrepreneur after graduating from Harvard Business School in 2010, where she met Hayley Barna, her Birchbox Co-founder. Prior to founding Birchbox, Katia worked in structured finance and commercial real estate. A native Texan, Beauchamp has a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies & Economics from Vassar College.
Eva Ho is Vice President of Marketing and Operations at Factual.
Cynthia Rowley has long been a fashion and style authority, with a namesake collection that includes women’s wear, beachwear and wetsuits, men’s wear, eyewear, handbags, shoes, baby, home sewing products, tools, legwear, shapewear, and ‘dress-up’ band-aids, not to mention a mobile fashion unit: the Cynthia Rowley Shop on Wheels. Cynthia has appeared on “Project Runway” and “America’s Next Top Model,” and her work has been featured in nearly every major magazine and newspaper domestically and internationally. She has received an award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for her women’s collection as well as an acknowledgment from the Council for her menswear designs. As a best-selling author of the Swell series, Cynthia has five books to date; her most recent, Slim: A Fantasy Memoir, was published by Rizzoli and includes her original drawings. She is a mother to two daughters and is married to Bill Powers, co-owner of HALF Gallery and judge on Bravo’s competition series “Work Of Art.”
An art enthusiast herself, Cynthia has collaborated with artists Will Cotton, Nick Cave, Olaf Breuning and Ryan McNamara on various ventures and collections, and has designed a capsule for the Gagosian Gallery, a collaborative exhibit for MoMA’s PS1, and co-founded the groundbreaking art retail site Exhibition A. The Cynthia Rowley Collection is sold in better department, specialty and online stores, as well as in approximately sixty Cynthia Rowley shops around the world.
Rachel is a fourth generation entrepreneur who loves finding the next big thing almost as much as sharing it with her clients. In 2003, she launched Cube Ventures, a retail and marketing consultancy that has worked with clients such as: Gilt Groupe, Lord & Taylor and others. In the Fall of 2006, Rachel was hired by Diane von Furstenberg on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to launch its first ever business membership initiative, The Business Services Network (BSN).
In addition to her consultancy, today Rachel is bringing her strategies to life for herself through STORY, a new physical retail marketing experience in the heart of Chelsea in New York City. Rachel has been named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2012 and has become a sought after speaker covering topics ranging from curation to storytelling and new business models; most recently, she spoke at the annual PSFK conference and C2C Montreal as one of the selected individuals to represent the Fast Company creative list.
Rachel is also currently running a competition called Project Pop-up NYC for the City of New York and on behalf of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Fashion 2020 campaign; the winners of the competition will receive month long exposure in the September STORY.
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is founder and chief merchandising officer of Gilt Groupe. She is on the forefront of revolutionizing the landscape of luxury e-commerce. Prior to co-founding Gilt Groupe, Alexandra ran operations at Bulgari, overseeing 15 North American stores. Before working at Bulgari, she ran leather goods sales planning for Louis Vuitton North America. Alexandra began her career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, spending her time between New York, London and Latin America.
She subsequently entered the retail world working for retail guru Marvin Traub at Financo Inc. Alexandra holds a B.A. from Harvard College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Alexandra speaks five languages. She is involved in a number of not for profits including: Dress for Success, Endeavor Global, Robin Hood Foundation and ProMujer. She is also an active fundraiser for her alma maters The Brearley School, Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University. Alexandra is an official mentor for Tech Stars and an unofficial mentor for many budding entrepreneurs.