As August comes to a close, it’s time to think about getting back to work and how to get things done in the year to come. Here, we catch up with the ultimate multi-tasker, DVF CEO Sandra Campos, on working to inspire women, the tug of war that is balancing a career and family, and what makes her feel #INCHARGE.
This year marks a significant milestone for my family. My oldest is leaving for college in the Fall and will be across the country at Pomona College. I’m excited for her as she transitions to college life but I’m already feeling a little sentimental. August is always busy getting organized for three kids going back to school and it’s also going to be incredibly busy for DVF as we get ready to launch our DVF Atelier on 14th street, a DVF Bespoke made-to-order in-line, and Spring ‘19 market presentation. We have so many exciting initiatives that I’m looking forward to seeing them all come to fruition.
Can you speak to your vision for the DVF brand and its role in empowering women?
I am proud to lead DVF and do not take my role lightly, or the responsibility that comes along with it. Looking back at the 45-year history of the brand, Diane has always been an innovator and trailblazer in business and in culture. While I am focused on protecting and building on the brand’s heritage, I am also committed to ensuring that we have a laser-like focus on putting the woman at the center of everything we do and every decision we make. We have a responsibility to give her the tools and knowledge that help her feel confident in what she wears, how she presents herself, and how she can get the most balance out of life. By giving her the platform where she can be a part of the original Women’s empowerment community, we can share and spread our message of being “In Charge” across several generations and drive intelligent and inspiring conversations. DVF is about giving women access to all things that can help her find purpose and be the woman she wants to be. We will be sharing this every day—whether it’s through a beautiful dress, our blog, our Ecomm experience, our in-store events, or our social media and marketing campaigns.
What advice would you give to young women who are just starting out in their careers and are not sure, exactly, what they want to do?
Looking back, I was very focused on my career growth within the fashion industry. However, it doesn’t mean I haven’t wondered what it would have been like had I chosen a different path! The advice that I give to my girls is to try different things you’re interested in during high school and college internships based on your interests. Then, once you’ve decided where your passions lie, listen, absorb everything, and don’t give up. Find a mentor and observe their day-to-day interactions. You will learn the most by doing, so don’t pass up any opportunity, even if it’s extra work. Be able to take feedback and constructive criticism. I also tell them that it’s a small world so try to do as much good and keep your connections close.
As a female CEO, can you speak to the importance of being a champion for other women in the workplace?
On a personal and professional level, I strive to make a difference for others and am particularly focused on helping women find a career path that allows them to also have a family life. As a first generation daughter of Mexican immigrants, diversity in the workplace is also important to me. We need equal opportunities, regardless of one’s background. Building a career and having a family is a constant tug-of-war. No matter what, it makes one pause to think about priorities. I hope we can all help the world see that women are just as productive while having a family to take care of and women are just as strategic, innovative, and inspiring in the boardroom.
As a mother of three, what advice would you give working mothers (and fathers, for that matter!) looking to find that elusive "balance"?
Striking the right balance isn’t easy and I believe it’s very individually defined. You can have it some days, and not on others but on the whole balance is the happiness that you make of a situation. While family comes first, the pressures of work sometimes interfere with that priority but I’ve learned over time that it doesn’t make you a less loving or supportive parent or a less devoted employee. I’ve done everything I could, as a single working mom for the past twelve years, to find peace with my choices. Whether it was attending a school birthday celebration, helping with homework, or being a class mom I have always tried to be as involved as I could while still traveling overseas and overseeing large teams of people who also needed my support. There were many years where I had less sleep than I needed and also many times I would go to bed feeling guilt over something I had or hadn’t done but perspective is everything.
Did you always know the kind of woman you wanted to be and have you become that woman?
From early on, I knew the life I wanted to have. I didn’t know how I would get there, but it was always something I created on my own. I’m working on becoming the woman I want to be every day. Reality is different when life is a roller coaster ride, but I certainly am not as hard on myself as I used to be and understand that I’m human and make mistakes that are also part of life’s journey.
As you know, Diane loves mantras. Do you have any words that you live by?
Be someone who makes it a better day for everyone. Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. Love life and life will love you back. It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
And, finally, what does being a Woman In Charge mean to you?
Being a woman in charge means I can be a mother of three, be a loving partner, give back to others, lead a company, be a good friend and sibling, cook a mean lamb chop, and exercise all in the same day.