2023 Honorees

Jenna Holcombe

Co-Founder and Creative Director

“I like to say I’m the scariest nice person you’ll ever meet.”


Tell us about your company and role.

I’m a Co-Founder and Creative Director at Centra, a commerce platform for fashion and lifestyle brands. I came up in the industry from a design background, doing branding and design for lifestyle brands. I was part of the first wave of DTC eCommerce, helping brands create their very first eCommerce experiences (long before DTC was even a term) as early as 2009. Now with Centra, I’m still serving the same types of brands, but from a totally new perspective; from the solution side. My role at Centra is to champion brand and design across every touchpoint to ensure that clients, partners, and users have an experience with Centra that exceeds their expectations.

How would you describe yourself?

I like to say I’m the scariest nice person you’ll ever meet. I am really open, social, and friendly — but I have a fierce side to me that’s allergic to bullshit or nonsense. My passion for creative problem solving is democratic — meaning my standards are high, even for the smallest of projects. As a young art director, I was once told by my creative director that I disagreed with him too much. I still wear that one as a badge of honor.

What qualities do you think a true innovator needs to have?

Innovators need to be willing to take risks and stand out. You can have the best product in the world, but no one will care if it looks and sounds like every other company in that space.

What has been your biggest professional success so far?

Every new client we win feels like my biggest success — even though it’s a shared success. Runner-up for biggest success goes to literally any time we get unsolicited, positive feedback about the Centra brand. Our brand is my brainchild and spirit animal.

Pattern art Pattern art

What causes are you most passionate about?

I’m a feminist. I’m passionate about equality for women, in life and in the workplace. Now that Centra is growing in size and reach, I feel more personally responsible than ever to advocate for fair treatment, model feminist values and provide mentorship for the younger generation who are still dealing with the same issues I’ve been dealing with for 20 years. Change is slow — we must stay vigilant. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing eCommerce brands?

Juicy one! I’d say it’s easier than ever for brands to find global fans through social media. Those platforms are really mature and the algorithms for finding people who will fall in love with your product and brand — they’re really good. But having a smooth, on-brand eCommerce experience that’s ready to handle anyone from anywhere — that’s the challenge for so many brands we meet.

What's your favorite loyalty program or subscription offering from an eCommerce brand?

Nudie Jeans has a Members Only vibe that’s free to join. It doesn’t feel like bullshit at all. You instantly get “Unlocked” access to new gear that hasn’t been released yet. Run to check it out.

What do you geek out over?

Brand. I’ve been obsessed with brand, branding, brand identity, and brand strategy since I was a child. When I was 10 years old, I literally dressed up as a logo for Halloween. And not just any logo, the logo of the hot 90s jeans brand Guess. And I designed it myself when most kids wore store-bought superhero costumes. It’s wild that I’ve since turned that early obsession into a career dedicated to brands.