Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt | Audio

S7E1: Caroline Wanga

Caroline Wanga is chief culture, diversity, and inclusion officer and vice president of human resources at Target.

Wanga sat down after speaking at The Design of Business | The Business of Design conference, wearing African fabric dress, a necklace with the national seal of Kenya, and bespoke shoes from Etsy with the words “Wanga Woman” carved into the wooden platforms.

Wanga explained:
I spent a long time especially in corporate America dressing in what is traditional dress because I thought that's what you had to do and I hated every minute of it particularly cardigans. Can't stand cardigans. Not hating on cardigan wearers — it's just not my thing.…

I don't ask about dress code when I'm asked to come speak, because I don't care because I will never be inappropriate but I probably won't be traditional. And if you want to manage what I'm wearing, then you don't want me. So I'll decline the invitation.

I will not tell anybody else what to wear. But if what I'm wearing gives you permission to wear something you want to, I will celebrate with you I will walk with you.

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Posted in: Design of Business | Business of Design

Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt Ellen McGirt is an author, podcaster, speaker, community builder, and award-winning business journalist. She is the editor-in-chief of Design Observer, a media company that has maintained the same clear vision for more than two decades: to expand the definition of design in service of a better world. Ellen established the inclusive leadership beat at Fortune in 2016 with raceAhead, an award-winning newsletter on race, culture, and business. The Fortune, Time, Money, and Fast Company alumna has published over twenty magazine cover stories throughout her twenty-year career, exploring the people and ideas changing business for good. Ask her about fly fishing if you get the chance.

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