Nancy Youssef is the founder and president of Curves with Purpose, a plus-size e-commerce marketplace that curates global brands for women sizes up to 3X. Curves with Purpose utilizes a fit tool that enhances the online shopping experience by providing sizing and styling recommendations. Furthermore, the brand has a mission to break the cycle of poverty by donating clothes, portions of proceeds and time to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that collects new shoes and clothing to distribute to people in need across the U.S. and around the world. Nancy is also a member of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle. We asked Nancy some rapid-fire questions so you can get to know her better!
- What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Brick by Brick: Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere. I actually picked it up in a local tea store, and was drawn to it because as an entrepreneur I learned that being entrepreneurial is about survival. As an advocate in the nonprofit community supporting women, the book spoke to me. The stories of resilience and the women’s spirit of survival are the definition of what an entrepreneur is, and we as women, as retailers, are a conduit for impact.
- What excites you most about retail?
Retail is changing for good. I love the notion that there’s an intersection of purpose with profit. As the retail industry contemplates how to best engage and excite employees, how to continue to grow and retail the customer base and, most importantly, how to create shareholder value beyond profit, the realm of social good continues to bubble up to the top, through conversations around sustainability and encouraging community engagement.
- What’s a mistake you made early on in your career?
I was timid. Truly timid. I grew up in the men’s lane of retail, but didn’t raise my hand enough and highlight my accomplishments. I thought my work would speak for itself. In essence it did, but the lift up only happens when you share your stories — your wins and your losses. As a leader, you’ve earned your seat at the table. As you grow, you keep your seat at the table by vocalizing and visualizing your work.
- What’s the toughest part of being in charge?
Having a lens of emotional intelligence in decision making and empowering people to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Being in charge is to make the hard decisions, but making sure that people feel like they have a voice and are supported whatever the outcomes of those decisions are.
- What’s the best way you motivate team members?
Amplifying the accomplishments, small or large, of team members. Creating an environment whereby not only are they seeing an example of positivity, but a place where voices are heard.
- What woman inspires you right now, and why?
I have been, and continue to be, inspired by Mindy Grossman. I had the privilege of working with her during her time at HSN and watching her turn that organization around, and now moving on to WW to create another lane for women’s growth and brand building. She has raised awareness and created a path for so many with bold, audacious ideas, which is really a theme in this moment for women leaders.
- What’s one thing you look for when interviewing a potential job candidate? Authenticity and an aptitude to learn.
- What’s the hardest thing about your job?
In some respect, knowing that women are looking at me as a leader.
- What’s your favorite podcast?
How I Built This. I’m an entrepreneur at heart.
- Where is somewhere on your travel bucket list?
- What is always in your carry-on bag?
Chapstick and a book.
- How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?
- What’s your favorite app?
- What do you do to recharge?
Yoga and CrossFit
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
Raising two boys, two cats and a dog with my husband.
- What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
You can have it all, just not all in one day.
- Who has left the most impact on your life?
- How would you describe your leadership style?
Honest and easy to talk to.