Women Of The C-Suite: “Fear regret more than failure” With Dr. Taryn Rose

I would like to create a non-judgment movement. We don’t judge ourselves or others. We just stay in the moment without thinking and…

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I would like to create a non-judgment movement. We don’t judge ourselves or others. We just stay in the moment without thinking and judging…only feeling the pleasure of being.

I had the pleasure to interview Taryn Rose. Taryn created one of the highly coveted brands in footwear. An orthopedic surgeon turned shoe designer, Dr. Rose married fashion and function in 1999 and changed the footwear industry forever. Her idea of being dressed with a sense of well-being touched a nerve with women from coast-to-coast, creating a dedicated following for her footwear collections. A formally trained surgeon, Dr. Rose witnessed the serious foot problems caused by fashion footwear. A high heel lover herself, Dr. Rose saw a need to combine her knowledge of foot biomechanics and passion for fashion to spread ease to women everywhere. What started in a garage grew to a 40 million dollar business with boutiques all over the country. Right now, Rose is busy creating a new type of shoe featuring “winged technology” with her former shoe sketcher, Enrico Cuini. Together, they have launched Enrico Cuini shoes ( will change the foot industry once again. Dr. Rose and her shoes were featured in the Smithsonian museum in 2007 and she was invited to meet First Lady Laura Bush at the White House since Mrs. Bush is a fan of her work. Rose has been featured on a variety of television, newspaper and magazine write-ups including Oprah, CNN, Today Show, New York Times, People magazine, Entrepreneur, In Style, Elle, Lucky, O magazine, British Vogue, Town & Country and countless more. Close to her heart, Rose regularly participates in projects to support Breast Cancer Research Center in New York, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Clothes Off Our Back, Lynne Cohen Foundation and Step Up Women’s Network.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was running around the hospital as an orthopedic surgery resident in Prada heels that were killing me so I said “Nada” to the pain and decided to start my first shoe company, Taryn Rose International, with a vision to create luxury, fashionable shoes that also feel good. If we can get a man on the moon why can’t we get woman down the street comfortably? That’s been my mission in life. I’m happy that vision is continuing at the Taryn Rose brand, where I serve as a strategic advisor and spokesperson, and with my new venture Enrico Cuini where the focus is on sexy, smart heels.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

With my current company, ALIA Technologies, my partner is also my fiancé. He is Italian so sometimes it can be very hard to lead…he says I even try to lead when we dance.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It was not funny but certainly memorable…I once built a retail store for Taryn Rose in Las Vegas using non union labor. When the unions tried to stop the store opening, I flew to Vegas 8 months pregnant and faced them. That’s when I knew I was a badass. I guess this is a funny story if you can imagine me waddling into the meeting with a bunch of union guys.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our clients know we are very hands on. I’ve always embraced technology for allowing companies to be closer to our clients but I think they are sometimes surprised to see me carrying boxes of shoes and Enrico, my partner, on the floor adjusting a shoe for a client. This is not just a business for us, it’s our life and people feel that whether they are aware of it or not.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are bringing to market our patented ALIA shoe technology which will help everyone feel more comfortable and protect their feet especially women who love heels. ALIA stands for Active Lift In Alignment and it’s a dynamic support system built into shoes. It is a real paradigm shift and will change the industry.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

1. Be yourself

2. Be confident

3. Be a listener

4. Be humble (which allows you to listen)

5. After the above, be decisive.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

People really thrive when they know what metrics they are responsible for and they are rewarded for those metrics. Managers need to feel empowered to make decisions within their area and staff members need to feel that you are willing to listen.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are too many to name. I’ve been an extraordinarily lucky person and have had a lot of people believe in me. If I had to name one person I would say I’m grateful to Karen Katz who was president of Neiman Marcus for taking an interest in my business and giving the green light for its growth. Also I’m grateful to Oprah for putting my namesake brand on the map.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

A happy woman makes the whole world much better I believe and a good place to start is her sole!

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why.

1. Be humble: this allows me to admit I’m wrong which is important if people are to respect you.

2. Be curious: good leaders know they don’t know everything and love to ask questions. My curiosity allows me to learn constantly. I still learn new things about making shoes after 20 years in the business.

3. Listen: to lead well you need to be in touch with those you lead and a good place to start is to listen to them.

4. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and try to foster the strengths while minimizing the weaknesses.

5. Show them a vision not just a point of view…one gives them a long outlook the other is myopic.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to create a non-judgment movement. We don’t judge ourselves or others. We just stay in the moment without thinking and judging…only feeling the pleasure of being.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My motto has always been “fear regret more than failure” It was what I believed in when I left orthopedic surgery to become a shoe designer.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Richard Branson! He’s a brilliant businessman and also seems like a lot of fun. I think he would set me straight about a lot of things and I’d like to give him a pair of men’s shoes.

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