Episode 39
February 2, 2021

Reaching Out, Reaching In

with Dawn Dobras, CEO of Credo Beauty

About this episode

Dawn Dobras is the CEO of Credo Beauty. Credo is the largest clean beauty retailer in the US. With over one hundred and thirty clean beauty brands and over 90 percent of these brands founded or run by women, Credo is on a mission to establish the highest standards in beauty retail by rethinking what goes into products, onto your skin, and down the drain. In this episode, Dawn shares with us her impressive career journey from launching and growing OldNavy.com to over 200 million dollars in sales, to holding numerous leadership positions at both large corporations and startup companies. Dawn talks with us about how she became the CEO of Credo, the importance of surrounding yourself with greatness, and how she works to create her own opportunities.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How she grew up in a family of sisters with parents who were great at setting high expectations but also providing lots of freedom to learn and grow
  • How even as a kid, Dawn was very entrepreneurial and had businesses throughout childhood and into adulthood that provided good memories of making money
  • How she went from a retail sales associate after college at Espirit to an entry level position at the headquarters of that company because she reached out to the CEO with ideas for improvement
  • What happened on her first day after being recruited to The Gap, how she worked her way up and created an opportunity for herself while learning from the great people around her
  • Why her time as a consultant was short even though she worked for a great company and loved the people, and what she learned from that experience
  • How she went on to launch OldNavy.com and learned the ins and outs of every aspect of the business throughout the stages of growth and development
  • How Dawn became the CEO at Credo and why she finally felt that she was able to blend her passion for social impact with what she was good at
  • How the decision to keep every employee in their job after COVID and shutting down all of their stores turned out to be what saved the company through the back half of 2020 and prepared them for the insane growth that would come during the pandemic
  • Why the company started Credo for Change, which is a BIPOC mentorship program for people of color who are Founders in the clean beauty space, and how that has created opportunities for many new business owners who have had the network and support to cast a wider net with their clean beauty brands
  • What changed within the company because of COVID, the many social and natural disaster issues that continued throughout 2020, and how Dawn and her leadership have navigated that in healthy ways
  • What advice she offers as an ambitious working mom and how she cultivates a healthy balance of ambition and kindness within the company culture

To Find Out More:



“I've never felt super intimidated by reaching out to people.”

“I have tried a lot of things in my life and found that when you take that first step, there's been a lot of rewards.”

“Just like going on these journeys and seeing what you'll find or what you can do has been really, really a big part of my story.”

“When you get around good talent, good things happen. So get yourself in the right position and don't worry so much about your job. I got myself around what I consider greatness, got great training from awesome people. And again, I was able to get myself in a really good position.”

“Create your own opportunities.”

“While I've gone deep into a couple areas, this idea of a generalist has been really helpful for me as I've stepped into greater roles of responsibility and leadership.”

“A healthy dose of knowing where your impact can be greatest and not needing the spotlight at all times I think is important.”

“If you ever have an opportunity to blend your passion with whatever you're good at and do it in a social impact way, like to me, it is just this jewel of an opportunity.”

“And so it has taught me along the way to be much more aware of the lateral or the other opportunities of learning things and experiencing new things because you can't tell where it's going to build.”

“So I wish I had gone back and told myself, like, it's not a straight line. That's part of it that got me to where I am now. And so I would embrace the non straight line.”

“My kids are a little bit older now, and I am so thankful that I listened to kind of what worked for me and what worked for them, dialed up and dialed down as I needed to, because it matters in the long run.”

“Surrounding yourself with great talent and people that you can ask questions of is also, when I experience either self-doubt or have questions or don't know what to do next, that sounding area, for me, female CEOs, it's been really, really helpful.”

“We play to win, but we're going to play nicely.”

“I try to be very transparent and I also try to be very accessible.”

“The expectation is not that everything goes perfectly, it's that you keep getting better every step of the way.”

“You know, hard work, perseverance, like kind of the standard things. But getting yourself in the right spot to be able to do that comes from knowing yourself and trusting your gut on the decisions.”

“About women and about female leadership... I see this over and over again. Get yourself a seat at the table. I mean, look, get yourself in the room. Get yourself a seat at the table. Don't wait for an invitation. It's not probably going to come.”

Read the transcript

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