True Religion Apparel Inc., is making big changes. At the start of November this clothing company announced that their board of directors has appointed Chelsea A. Grayson, as the interim chief executive officer.
Grayson expresses how she feels about taking on the new role and opportunity in a press release. "As a Los Angeles native, I am honored to have been chosen to lead an iconic brand like Los Angeles-based True Religion," she shares. “I look forward to continuing the momentum started with recent initiatives like adding Bella Hadid as a millennial face of the brand and our partnership with global sports juggernaut, Manchester United."
True Religion “emerged onto the Los Angeles denim scene," in 2002 transforming the art of clothing. Their most unique denim style is the classic five-pocket jean. The well-known clothing company offers an assortment of styles and jeans for men, women and kids.
John Ermatinger has been chief executive officer since 2015. In light of his retirement, Grayson will step down as chairman of the board's Audit Committee to take on this role while continuing to serve on the board of directors as well.
On November 1, it was announced that Chelsea Grayson was named interim CEO of True Religion. Photo Courtesy of Michele Marie PR.
"We are fortunate to have someone of Chelsea's caliber and experience step up to lead the company as we continue to innovate our products and customer experience," says Davis.
Prior to joining the board of directors at True Religion last year, Grayson previously held a position as CEO and board member of American Apparel. In addition to being interim chief executive officer she is also on the board of directors of Delta Dental of California, where she is a member of the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee, and an advisory member of Marca Global LLC.
Gene Davis, chair of the True Religion board highlights Grayson for her contributions at the company and honors Ermatinger for the years he's dedicated to the company. “As a board member for the past year, Chelsea has been instrumental in helping True Religion evolve the brand," says Davis. "We are fortunate to have someone of Chelsea's caliber and experience step up to lead the company as we continue to innovate our products and customer experience. In addition, we would also like to recognize and thank John for his incredible leadership and dedication to the brand."
Grayson will remain interim CEO until the board identifies someone to permanently take on the position.
Eboni K. Williams and Cheslie Kryst have a lot in common, as Iman Oubou Founder & CEO of SWAAY as well as host of the Women Who Swaay podcast puts it, "They're both badass attorneys, they're both from North Carolina and they've both competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageants." And they also both took over our podcast on the most recent episode, straight from the headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization!
Cheslie is a successful licensed attorney who also happens to be the reigning Miss USA 2019, with plans to represent our country in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. Not only is she at the height of her pageant power, but she is using the notoriety to create positive change for all of the women in her life, much like her role model Eboni K. Williams. Williams is a journalist, author, attorney and speaker; from her long history as a pageant queen she has risen through the ranks of male dominated industries from law-firms to Fox News. All throughout her journey she has persevered with intelligence, tenacity and poise. Lucky enough for us, she has kindly put her reporting skills to use and got candid with Ms. Kryst about supporting their fellow women, the current state of race in America and their history together as pageant compatriots. All of these topics are incredibly close to their hearts as powerful black women using their influence to create a better future for all women in America.
Oh and, as previously stated, both are complete and utter badasses.
During their podcast takeover they talked about it all, from pageants to politics. It's clear that both of these women are motivated by an altruistic spirit and are strong supporters of #womensupportingwomen. Eboni even read a passage from her book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success, in which she outlines how her own career trajectory was so positively affected by the incredible women who mentored her in different stages of her life. She completely shuts down the idea of the "woman on woman teardown," calling it a "pitiful dynamic" tied to the "long and very hurtful history of women." This idea that in order to compete for a spot in the old boy's club, women must first fight off their own gender is not only reductive but it also supports an outdated social structure that was built to greatly favor male success. Throughout history women have been encouraged to look at one another as competition, one more obstacle to pass by. However, all that has managed to do is to pit us against each other, fighting for the few meager seats at the table allowed for women while we ignore the real problem. The problem isn't about the lack of seats allotted for women; the problem is that men are still the ones making the seating arrangements, and it's time for that to change, something that both Cheslie and Eboni understand well.
Race is another topic that is incredibly important to both of these women, and they have quite the in-depth discussion on it during this podcast. Cheslie, who is biracial and self-identifies as black, laid out her point of view on race. She voiced her frustrations for never feeling like she had her own box to tick, being stuck to decide between "black, white, or other" in standardized situations like the SATs. Existing as someone stuck between two cultures has been incredibly challenging, and though she found some solace in the black community, she felt less welcomed by her white peers. Self-identifying as black is something that has allowed her more agency in regards to her own identity, and though she still faces difficulties she realizes how important it is to be a confident black woman in the esteemed position she is currently in. Both Cheslie and Eboni seem to bond over the idea that no matter the successes, they both revel in the victories of their fellow women of color. Each of them is motivated to see more women of color in powerful, visible positions to inspire future generations. It's not about their own success; it's about respect and renown for any and all women of color.
I may have just provided the highlight reel, but the full conversation shared between Cheslie and Eboni on the Women Who Swaay podcast is a must listen. These two women managed to make me laugh while restoring hope for a better America all within a half hour of listening time! Seriously, go get those headphones, right now. You will not regret it.