Kathleen Griffith is the Founder & CEO of Grayce & Co, a strategy shop that specializes in the female consumer and works with Fortune 500 brands to leading early stage growth companies.
Kathleen has worked on campaigns for Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Diane von Furstenberg’s Water Tank Project and Ashton Kutcher’s Thorn. In 2016, she started Grayce & Co Ventures to invest in startups that are both women-oriented and purpose-driven and this next year she will launch Build Like A Woman to help more female entrepreneurs scale and succeed.
Her work has been recognized with awards, including a Cannes Gold Lion for creativity and an Effie for effectiveness. She has been featured as a ‘Leading Woman In Business’ by Huffington Post, ‘Creative Innovator’ by Conde Nast, IBM Think Leader, Women in the World featured entrepreneur, as "The Fixer" on EntrepreneurTV, as a Facebook Live ‘business leader’ and also as a judge on the BBC’s Apprentice.
What woman do you admire most and why?
Diane von Furstenberg. She’ll often cite that when she was younger, she did not know what she wanted to do, but she knew the kind of woman that she wanted to be. That idea left a mark. I admire her style, the businesses she’s built, and her resilience. A few years ago she gave me a beautiful leopard print scarf that is one of the favorite items in my closet.
What does style mean to you?
To me, style is a personal expression. I think what’s most important is really coming into your own and deciding what it is that you truly like and gravitate towards instead of focusing on what may be ‘trending’. For me, that’s usually pieces that are on the modern side, that are both simple and edgy.
How important is fashion or jewelry in your life?
Jewelry is a way to celebrate and mark moments. For example, I got myself a Cartier bracelet when I won my first seven figure account. It now serves as a daily, constant reminder of that accomplishment. I have some really cherished pieces from traveling, beaded bracelets from women in South Africa and earrings from the market in Egypt. My grandmother used to hang her necklaces (many of which were made by her) on her wall at home as art and I like that idea. As for fashion, I tend to think you can never wear enough black and leather, so I’ve got a pretty easy, consistent look going.
How has the experience of starting your own business shaped your view of what women can achieve in today’s world compared to that of your grandmother’s generation?
I come from a long line of strong women – in fact, my agency Grayce & Co is named after my grandmother Grayce. Her name serves to remind us that values come first, and to never forget all of the women who helped us get to where we are today. I am grateful that I have many more opportunities than previous generations, and more so than many women in other parts of the world today. Getting more women into positions of power is important, and we’ve built initiatives to support other women entrepreneurs and founders into the company.
Please describe a tough time you faced and how you found your strength?
Going out on my own and founding my own agency was a really pivotal time for me, and a trying one. At the time, it looked like I was at the top of my game; I had the job title and the accolades at a relatively young age, but I kept feeling like something was missing. My work was starting to feel lackluster and I didn’t feel creative. I was burnt out. Ultimately, I decided that if I wanted to engineer a different life and career for myself, then it was something I had to do.
What are your words of wisdom that you use to inspire others?
‘The one I become will catch me’ this to me means in order to leap, we must trust that we will grow into who we need to be before the end of our free fall. I tend to encourage others to take risks, personally and professionally. Stay curious and try things that put you out of your comfort zone. That, and always say ‘thank you.’ If you practice both gratitude and taking smart risks, you’ll change your life.