Tory Burch encouraged women to embrace their ambitions as she accepted an honour at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Monday.
The American fashion designer and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation was presented with The Visionary Award by Black Panther actress Danai Gurira at the Lincoln Center in New York, and during her speech she delivered a powerful message about being an ambitious woman and the obstacles she faced as she prepared to launch her eponymous label in 2004.
“When I was first launching the company, I presented my business plan to a group of men; they were the investors. I told them I was going to build a business that focused on purpose. They very concretely said to never mention the words business and social responsibility in the same sentence,” the 53-year-old said. “Of course, that only furthered my resolve. What they called charity work, I called a business plan.
“It was then that I realised that women are criticised for being ambitious, for exhibiting the exact same traits that men are praised for. And that is simply unacceptable… we must combat the unconscious bias at the root of all inequity. And we believe that starts with embracing ambition. I believe that starts with embracing ambition. Whether that means being a stay-at-home mom, a business executive or an activist, whatever ambition means to you.”
Burch, who set up her foundation to help empower female entrepreneurs, added that her dream was to move the needle towards equality and support women who wanted to make it in business.
“To all the women that are here tonight, all of you that have a dream, I want you to remember that the world will say ‘no’ to you in so many different ways. Your job is to keep saying ‘yes’ to yourself,” she concluded. “Because I feel like we’re just beginning, and the conversation is so important. So thank you so much for this honour.”
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