Gap Inc. has assembled a diverse group of change-makers and revolutionaries who Champion Inclusion and Create with Audacity to help drive and influence positive change across the fashion industry and the world at large. The advisory board will partner with Gap Inc. to create access, drive awareness, and advocate for historically marginalized and vulnerable communities, building upon its efforts to drive systemic change and achieve its 2025 commitments to Create For All, With All.
“Creating a culture of belonging where we all feel seen and respected for who we are is as critical to the success of our company as it is for the communities we serve,” said Sonia Syngal, CEO, Gap Inc. “We are more powerful in creating change when we move as a collective, gain external inputs and lean into discomfort. Together with our leaders, this advisory council will help deepen our role as a force for good.”
The Council’s strategy is aligned to three strategic pillars: Community, Customer, and Employee. Through this framework, each member will focus on a business component that leverages their specialized areas of expertise and amplifies a core focus area of diversity and inclusion for the company. While each pillar is mighty on its own, Gap Inc. will work together with the Council as an interlocking solution to create meaningful change.
Aurora James, founder of Fifteen Percent Pledge, and founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, was part of the initial vision for this effort and will support the Community pillar as the Council’s Economic Inclusion Advisor. The Council deepens the company’s existing relationship with James. In February 2021, Gap Inc. joined the Fifteen Percent Pledge as an advocacy partner and committed to increase the company’s pipeline programs by 15 percent to drive access and opportunity for the Black community within Gap Inc.’s family of brands starting with early empowerment programs, including internship, externship, apprenticeship, and training. Additionally, Gap brand has partnered with James during Black History Month 2022 to highlight Black-owned businesses on the brand’s social channels.
“I am thrilled to expand my relationship with Gap Inc. to tackle issues that I care deeply about,” said James. “Together, we’re taking another major step to drive equity in the fashion industry and beyond, and I look forward to working together to expand the Council, and further this important work.”
Leonardo Lawson, internationally renowned in luxury and fashion brand building, management consulting, and executive search joins the Council to support the Customer pillar as the Creative Impact Advisor. The Head of YZY Gap since August 2021, Lawson brings a diverse background in fine arts, brand strategy, digital, and retail combined with expertise in building unique experience and partnerships with industry leaders. Leo’s thought leadership and deep desire to identify, nurture, and unlock the potential of a critical voice in fashion will create pathways to authentic and creative products and experiences for our customers.
“I am honored to be an inaugural member of The Power of the Collective Council. I have spent my career empowering talent and creating pipelines for marginalized communities in our industry,” said Lawson. “Gap Inc’s commitment to support and advance change is not just spoken of but is in action. As the head of Yeezy Gap I am leading a team that is creating a seismic shift. Stay tuned!”
Amber Cabral, an Inclusion Strategist, certified coach, speaker, and author of Allies and Advocates: Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Culture, joins the Council as the Employee Experience Advisor. Since 2018, Gap Inc. has partnered with Cabral to advance internal inclusion efforts through employee workshops, executive coaching, and facilitated discussions. Listening and learning is an ongoing and necessary part of our journey. Amber’s insight, human-centered approach and authentic connection with our leaders will help create safe spaces for radically human dialogue and build an even stronger sense of community and belonging for our teams.
“I have had the opportunity to be a part of Gap, Inc’s inclusion journey for the last several years and have seen the level of investment and commitment the organization is willing to make to be inclusive by design for employees, customers, and communities. The Power of the collective council underscores Gap Inc.’s commitment to equality and belonging and positions them to evolve and grow by leveraging the talents of leaders who have demonstrated impact and change in our respective spaces,” said Cabral. “I think it’s necessary but also brave for Gap Inc. to lean in this direction. I’m both humbled to participate and incredibly excited for the challenges, learnings, and most importantly the outcomes of The Power of the collective council.”
Under the guidance of the new Council, Gap Inc. will further its Equality & Belonging commitments which focus on doing more to be a force for good, driving systemic change both in and outside the company’s walls, and enabling a culture of belonging for teams, customers, and communities.
“We have momentum built on a strong foundation, years in the making…but this year must be met with increased speed, efficiency and accountability,” said Kisha Modica, Vice President of Equality & Belonging, Gap Inc. “Their collective counsel will ignite and guide our teams to uphold our company’s purpose, which is to be Inclusive, by Design.”
To learn more about Gap Inc.’s progress towards its 2025 commitments, please visit its Equality & Belonging Mid-Year Report, released June 2021.