The Lead Summit Speaker Spotlight:
Jed Berger, Kenneth Cole Productions

This week on The Lead Interview Series we sat down with Jed Berger, President at Kenneth Cole Productions, an American fashion house founded in 1982. We spoke to Jed about his professional journey, Kenneth Cole celebrating its 40th year, and the advice he has for his younger self. Read the full interview below!

Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today Jed. You have had an impressive career with leadership roles at Modells and Foot Locker. Can you share with us just how your career has unfolded? Is there a mentor, or an experience that you can point to which set you on the path to this point in your career? 

I started as an entrepreneur and I still see myself that way. No matter what stop I’ve been in, I’ve always positioned myself as a business partner, growth driver and a scalable ideas person. I’ve had to purposely and deliberately tried to not be perceived as one thing… such as just a marketer or a creative. It’s natural for people to want to classify you but I truly believe holding myself accountable to being a business and growth driver has been key to my growth. 

And I’ve learned from so many people along the way… both the good and the bad! 

The key learning that turned the corner for me was finding the right balance between ego, confidence and humility. There is a fine line between all three and an occasion for each of them. I’ve had to make hard unpopular decisions, I’ve had to take blame and keep on going, I’ve had to apologize for things that I may not think I was wrong about and I’ve had to make plenty of other people’s ideas. All of the above has helped me get to where I am now.

Kenneth Cole is celebrating its 40th year. How has Kenneth Cole Productions leveraged technology to keep the brand successful year after year?

It’s not just technology that’s in front of you. It’s how technology has, is and will continue to  disrupt business models. You have to be constantly self aware about where your brand and your business is and isn’t and you have to be willing to continually evolve.

One of the themes you’re speaking about at The Lead Summit 2024 is keep the brand relevant. Can you give us a sneak peek of the session?

Authentic context, simply articulated and rinse and repeat always and often. 

When it comes to finding your path and crafting your career, what advice would you give the 25-year-old Jed Berger? 

Be you and all of you. All of the life experience, all of the failures and all of the successes creates a perspective and approachable balance that people will appreciate and respect. And will make you a more empathetic, a more approachable and a better leader and communicator. Also, trust your brain and trust your guy. They’ve both been pretty good. 

Join Jed at The Lead Summit, July 10-11 in New York City!

Brand and retail attend free!

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