Gilt Groupe’s Latina Co-Founder Alexandra Wilkis WilsonFriday, June 1st, 2012
Gilt Groupe, the innovative online shopping destination inspired by New York sample sales for fashionistas looking for the latest trends at a good price, was valued as a billion dollar company this year.
Last month I attended a talk and book signing discussing the recent publication of By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop, which tells the story of Gilt Groupe and how the company was founded and achieved success. The book was written by Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank, Gilt’s co-founders. I was encouraged to learn more about the great people behind Gilt’s success. First of all, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is Latina!
Alexandra’s mother, Elsa Fleites Wilkis, is a Cuban “who had grown up in a family of progressive, professional women. She prized education above all else.” (p.11, By Invitation Only) My own mother, who is half Colombian, is exactly the same when it comes to education. In addition to the high value Latinas place upon education, giving back to and serving the community are also strongly emphasized.
Despite the fact that Alexandra and her team have built a billion dollar business, she still makes giving back to her community a top priority.
Alexandra’s Service Projects
Pro Mujer: Founded in 1990, is an international women’s development and microfinance organization that alleviates poverty in Latin America by providing financial services, healthcare and training to poor women entrepreneurs.
Pro Mujer invests in women because women invest in their families. Pro Mujer also provides business training, healthcare and health education.
Endeavor Global was established in 1997 and is the global nonprofit that pioneered the concept of High-Impact Entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Headquartered in New York City, with 15 offices across Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and South East Asia, the organization transforms economies by identifying and supporting high-potential entrepreneurs.
These entrepreneurs generate sustainable economic growth and jobs, become role models, and help nurture a culture of entrepreneurship which spurs investment and encourages people to innovate and think big.
Robin Hood Foundation was founded in 1988. The foundation granted more than $146 million to fight poverty in New York City in 2011. The organization has identified and funded just over 200 of the most effective organizations on the front lines of the battle against poverty. Robin Hood feeds, guides, heals, nurtures, shelters, teaches and trains.
RHF is New York City’s largest private funder of food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, job training programs and public charter schools.
Alexandra also serves on the Board of Directors for the Dress for Success World Wide, Fashion Group International and the Harvard Business School Club of Greater New York.
Gilt Groupe- By Invitation Only
The book By Invitation Only is phenomenal. If you are like me and are interested in leadership, start-ups, creativity and fashion, plan on blocking out a few hours because the book is addictive and empowering. Below is an interview by Forbes of Alexis and Alexandra on founding Gilt Groupe, as well as Alexandra talking about Gilt on Telemundo in Miami.
Gilt Groupe and Gilt Taste are both part of the Valoramás Online Mall. Budget conscious fashionistas unite!
I am inspired by this Latina, not only because she built an extremely successful business that makes shopping better for customers, but because of her heart and dedication to her community.
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