Here at Who What Wear, we're champions of female-founded, -owned, and -operated businesses. After all, our company was founded by two fearless women. That’s why we’re launching Female Founded, a new editorial series that dives into the stories of those who launched their own businesses. Here, you’ll discover who these women are, what they've accomplished, and see how they style pieces from our own Who What Wear collection at Target.
Kori Hale has worn many hats. Before she launched CultureBanx, a savvy platform that delivers curated business-related news content to black professionals, she was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, a TV producer at Bloomberg and CNBC and, most recently, a news anchor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. With the kind of stacked résumé Hale touts, you'd imagine that as she gets dressed for work each day, it would resemble the strictly corporate uniform of the Wall Street variety. But whatever preconceived notions one might have about the work wardrobe of female professionals of Hale's caliber are quickly shattered upon meeting her in person.
On Kori Hale: Who What Wear Polka Dot Long Sleeve Tiered Ruffle Blouse ($30); Tibi pants; Malone Souliers heels; Bonheur jewelry
Hale let us in on her invaluable career advice and shared three ways she'd style pieces from our Who What Wear collection for work. The outfits she put together—a mixture of vibrant colors and graphic prints with a signature NYC sleekness to them—felt as fresh and current as the cheery surroundings. For anyone who works in a corporate setting, Hale's genius office-friendly attire should serve as the ultimate inspiration. To inject a sense of personal style in such an environment, she advises to "play up your personality with accessories, prints, and bright colors."
Ahead, Hale reflects on starting her company and the future of female leadership while expertly styling the latest pieces from our Who What Wear collection.
On Defining Your Own Success
You may not think that spirituality and business go hand in hand, but Hale sees things differently. She's the type to wake up extra early to ensure there's time to pray and meditate each morning. It's what keeps her centered, she says. For someone who's accomplished what she has, we were curious about the best piece of advice she's ever been given. "You can define your own success," she shared, "so walk in your life's purpose every day because the universe is always conspiring to work things out for your good."
She's grateful for the hard work that's gotten her there, sure, but acknowledges that it's not all a product of divine intervention. For Hale, the idea that simply working hard day in and day out will get you places is just plain wrong. "You have to be vocal about what you want and then relentlessly go after it," she strongly advises.
On Kori Hale: Who What Wear Long Sleeve Crew Neck Jumpsuit ($40); Loeffler Randall heels; Lizzie Fortunato earrings; Georg Jensen rings
On the Tough (But Necessary) Lessons She's Learned
Hale's built an entire career (and the basis of her company, CultureBanx) on being vocal. CultureBanx at its core is about bringing the right information to the right people. So it's only fitting that when she reflects on the career mistakes she's learned the most from, the number one lesson would be about using her voice.
"I could write an entire novel on mistakes, but I'll just give you the abridged version," she said. "Not speaking up enough and giving away my intellectual property for free." She also added that "being a woman means you are capable of doing it all but you just have to figure out the right time and place for everything to align," and a nugget of hyper-practical advice: "Never write something in an email you don't want to be forwarded."
On Her Goals for CultureBanx
Hale built CultureBanx because she saw a deep lack of thoughtful, intelligent stories being told to her community. The company aims to "add focus and clarity to stories that are missing from the mainstream news cycles," and it's echoed by Hale's personal goals as well. When we prompted her to share the legacy she wishes to leave behind, she shared, "I want to see entire communities start to turn around and cycles of poverty broken because black and brown people have started to engage in high-level business news content that reflects their communities and core values."
It's thanks to those she calls mentors that she's able to hold such a strong vision. "I really look up to people who are the ultimate multitaskers and are trailblazers like my mom, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama, and Michael Bloomberg."
On Redefining Power Dressing
By now it's more than evident that Hale's as savvy a businesswoman as they come, but proof of her creativity needs just one glance at how she approaches a work wardrobe. Take the third outfit she styled for our shoot—cheery yellow knitwear meets bold red accessories—which exemplifies her bold, fearless take on power dressing. Actually, there are barely any traditionally professional pieces in her looks. Bright colors and graphic prints immediately command our attention without losing any of their office-friendly polish.
If she had to interview for a new job today, it's a brightly colored knee-length dress she'd reach for—professional yet full of personality. As for how she puts pieces together, she advises, "Never spend a lot of money on basic pieces and don't be afraid to remix your outfits for different occasions." We can already imagine how she remixes the Who What Wear pieces she chose to work across day and night events. The Long Sleeve Crew Neck Jumpsuit ($40), for instance, is easily taken into the evening by swapping out flats for heels and a work tote for an evening bag.
On Kori Hale: Who What Wear Polka Dot Long Sleeve Tiered Ruffle Blouse ($30); Tibi pants; Schutz heels; Bonheur jewelry
Through her strong sense of style and penchant for bold, attention-grabbing pieces, Hale is a student of her own style advice: "Dress like you're an icon." As for the icons she personally gleans a wealth of inspirations from, Solange and Janelle Monáe come to mind. It's no coincidence that both of her inspirations are women who forged their own path creatively. Hale herself reflected on her success, noting, "I'm most proud of being the first African American woman to anchor a daily news show from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange."
We need more women like Hale in positions of power; that much is clear. Through her vision for CultureBanx and her work wardrobe that makes corporate recruiters and fashion editors alike smile from ear to ear, Hale is helping to shape a future that we very much want to be a part of. Her final words: "We have to stick together and lift one another up as we climb and build the best companies of the future."
Also available in more sizes.
Also available in more sizes.
Also available in more sizes.
Photographer: Winnie Au at This Represents
Stylist: Connie Berg at Kate Ryan Inc
Stylist Assistant: Ana Tess
Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Giselle Negron