Click to view photos from Susan Sokol's visit to the New York City campus as Executive in Residence.
Susan Sokol has earned the reputation as one of the fashion industry's most highly regarded senior executives. Serving in Presidential positions for high profile brands Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Pegasus Apparel Group/Leiber Group, Donna Karan International and Calvin Klein Inc. , she has repeatedly taken companies onto their next level.
Most recently, Ms. Sokol joined Vera Wang as President of all apparel divisions including Bridal, Bridesmaids, RTW and a newly launched Dress Collection. With full P&L responsibility, Ms. Sokol oversees all of the sales, production, merchandising and marketing of these individual businesses.
Recruited in March 2003 to lead the Michael Kors women's designer business after new ownership, Ms. Sokol rapidly grew sales volume, revamped distribution and re-positioned the collection, and increased gross profit by 5 points through more strategic merchandising, pricing and sourcing.
Ms. Sokol's expertise is leveraging and strengthening a brand to increase its business value. For 22 years she was a dynamic force in the development of the Calvin Klein brand. As President of the Women's Collection, she catapulted volume from $2 million to $60 million, doubling gross profit margins.
As President of Donna Karan New York, Ms. Sokol had P&L responsibility for a global $90 million business. Directing the department heads of design, Production, Merchandising and Sales, she led a staff of 120. Her accomplishments include revamping the Signature Collection, doubling volume, and re-launching Essentials, which grew to 20% of total volume. She improved organizational structure, enhanced product quality, created a highly motivated team, while dramatically reducing division losses.
Entrepreneurial and multi-faceted, Ms. Sokol led a fashion conglomerate as President and CEO of The Leiber Group. She directed senior management for 4 businesses. Creating short- and long-term growth strategies for each business, she reduced costs and improved operational efficiency.
Because of her keen understanding of the many aspects of this industry, she launched SLS Consulting, LLC in 2002 to build top line revenue growth and profitability for Badgley Mischka, Judith Leiber, Michael Kors, and Vera Wang. She identified new business opportunities, secured licensing contracts, expanded distribution in global markets, and implemented innovative merchandising strategies.
Educated at Finch College with a degree in English Literature, Ms. Sokol is on the Board of Directors for Executive Women's Circle (United Jewish Appeal) and Babies and Children's Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian. As Regional Chair of Annual Giving at Northwestern University, she is an accomplished fundraiser.
Throughout her distinguished career in the apparel and accessory industry, Ms. Sokol has demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of both the product and business aspects, giving her a unique ability to bridge the gap between the creative and financial sides of the business.