2021 Honorees

Vernita Brown

CEO & Founding Employee

“I see one of my greatest superpowers as helping people find their own superpower.”

Tell us about where you work and what you do there.

I am the CEO at Natalist, a women’s health company. I was the first hire, having come on as the Operations Manager. Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked in various ways to add value to the work and now I lead the team. Leading a startup requires me to wear many hats so my work spans across marketing, operations, finance, and product development.

How would you describe yourself?

An Enneagram 2 through and through. That just means I love people… really hard. I see one of my greatest superpowers as helping people find their own superpower. I get jazzed by mentoring others and connecting with people. Home base for me is Charleston, SC; I’m a huge beach bum and would go chill out there every day if I could.

What is your leadership style?

I’m a coach. I think of my job as ensuring people have the things they need including tools, direction, and confidence to do their jobs well. Then I make sure to check in with them frequently.

What do you think has been your biggest professional success so far?

Allowing myself to be the best leader I could be before I had authority. I’ve always been a leader but sometimes that is difficult to do when you don’t have the fancy title. There were many days in the earlier years of my career that I felt I had to stifle my leadership ability and desire in order to make those above me feel more comfortable. But leaning into my leadership and focusing on becoming a better leader despite my lack of title is what created the pathway for me to sit where I now sit.

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What goals do you have for 2021?

Making time to learn. Last year was tough, and while I typically try to be actively learning something new, my brain felt too stretched for one more thing. I also spent a lot of time in the weeds last year. So this year I’d like to be sure I’m carving out that time each week to actively be becoming more skilled and deepening my expertise in our field.

Also self-care. Caring for other people is really the default for me, so I’m intent on giving myself that same level of love and care this year.

What do you think is the next big trend in eCommerce?

I’m sure some new social media channel will arise that will make way for instantaneous purchases.

Name an eCommerce brand you admire and why.

Glossier. Everything they do is so trendy, beautiful, and inspiring. And they sell it at a price that won’t break the bank.

What do you geek out over?

I love brunch. Cooking it. Finding new recipes for it. Hosting it. Dining at all of the “Top Brunch” restaurants.