KAHLANA BARFIELD BROWN
Fashion & Beauty editor at Large, InStyle
Fashion insider. Style savant. Beauty correspondent. Kahlana Barfield Brown has carved a niche for herself in the ever-evolving, uber-competitive world of fashion and beauty that transcends traditional titles. From writing countless feature stories to reporting live on the red-carpet, over the course of her career, Brown has earned the distinction of respected journalist and emerged as a staple among the industry.
In her current role as Fashion and Beauty Editor at Large at InStyle, Brown writes and edits in-depth fashion and beauty features while routinely making appearances as a guest on top-rated national television shows such as Today, The View, Extra, Entertainment Tonight and Wendy Williams. Brown’s on-air experience also includes hosting InStyle Jewelry Collection on HSN where she gives a tutorial on styling and keeping up with the season’s style trends.
Brown’s career began with an internship at InStyle where she handled menial tasks and floated between departments to learn the ins and outs of the magazine business. After her internship ended, Brown moved home to Seattle—where she was born and raised—and was soon called back to work for InStyle. Over the course of career, Brown has earned her stripes in stride, climbing the ranks from Assistant Beauty Editor to Beauty Editor, Senior Beauty Editor, Beauty Director and now Fashion and Beauty Editor-at-Large.
In 2016, Brown penned a riveting essay for InStyle entitled “Pretty For a Dark Skinned Girl” that delved into her personal experiences growing up dark complexioned. Brown’s story sparked meaningful dialogue among subscribers and garnered attention across national multi-media platforms, ultimately helping people learn to embrace beauty from within.
Brown attended Howard University where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Journalism and joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Dwayne, and daughter, Dylan.
Matthew Harris (Mateo)
Designer & Founder, MATEO New York
Born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the son of a seamstress . He arrived to the US at the age of 16 to attend Southern New Hampshire University to complete a B.S in Hospitality Management. After completing his studies, he discovered his true passion in New York City- the art of Jewelry making. Being a self-taught designer, he spent much of his time in the jewelry district learning and perfecting the craft.
After honing his craft, Mateo New York was launched in March of 2009. The brand began solely focused on men’s jewelry, with the first collection pulling inspiration from the concept of a working man’s toolbox. After the success of the men’s collection, a women’s capsule collection was introduced shortly after.
The collections both gained editorial features in Vogue Paris , I -D and were worn by influential celebrities such as Rihanna. The collections were soon sold by Macy’s, Nordstrom, Tsum Moscow, to name a few. The women’s capsule collection was especially well received during the brand’s tenure at HSN, selling over a million dollars in revenue.
However in 2014, a strategic decision was made to refocus the brand on a higher -end consumer, and thus our women’s fine jewelry collection was launched. The fine jewelry collections bare our true aesthetic of simplicity and minimalism, drawing inspiration from modern art for the modern woman. Each piece is made from 14KT gold with a consistent use of diamonds and precious gemstones.
Today the brand is sold only in high-end retailers including Bergdorf Goodman, Colette, Montaigne Market, Bloomingdale's, Moda Operandi, Stanley Korshak, to name a few. The brand also features regularly in renowned fashion publications such as Vogue Paris, W Magazine, The New York Times Style Magazine, Marie Claire, Allure, WWD and InStyle. Mateo New York was also selected by the Smithsonian Museum to be featured and sold at the African American Museum of Art and Culture in Washington D.C in 2016.
Following the elevated direction of the brand, there has been tremendous growth allowing us to open our first flagship store in the heart of SoHo, New York City this past December of 2016. Much of Mateo New York’s success is due to a continuous effort in making modern, relatable fine jewelry at an approachable price point.
SYLVIA ANN HEWLETT
Founder and CEO, Center for Talent Innovation
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, is the founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation, and the founder of Hewlett Consulting Partners LLC. The co-director of the Women's Leadership Program at the Columbia Business School, she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Association. An economist with 20 years of experience in global talent management, Hewlett has particularly focused on the "power of difference" and the challenges and opportunities faced by women, minorities and other previously excluded groups. She has forged a signature style of enquiry which blends hard data and rigorous analysis with concrete solutions and on-the-ground action.
Hewlett is the author of 11 Harvard Business Review articles and 12 critically acclaimed books, including When the Bough Breaks (winner of a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award); Off-Ramps and On-Ramps; Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets; Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor (named one of the ten best business books of 2013 by the Globe and Mail); and Executive Presence (an Amazon "Best Book of the Month," June 2014). In 2014 she was recognized as the Most Influential International Thinker by HR magazine and was honored by the European Diversity Awards with its Global Diversity Award. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal, she's a featured blogger on the HBR Blog Network. Her writings have been published in the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal and she's a featured blogger on HBR Blog Network and the Huffington Post. She has appeared on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, The Today Show, and BBC World News. In 2011 she received the Isabel Benham Award from the Women's Bond Club and Woman of the Year Award from the Financial Women's Association and in 2013 she received a Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute.
Hewlett Consulting Partners, the advisory services firm that she founded, focuses on helping organizations leverage talent across the divides of culture, gender, geography, and generation. Hewlett has taught at Cambridge, Columbia, and Princeton universities and has held fellowships at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard. In the 1980s she became the first woman to head the Economic Policy Council, a nonprofit composed of 125 business and labor leaders.
A Kennedy Scholar and graduate of Cambridge University, Hewlett earned her PhD in economics at London University.
James C. Rhee
Executive Chairman and CEO, ASHLEY STEWART
Mr. Rhee is an impact-focused entrepreneur, investor, operator and educator. As both CEO and investment firm founder, Mr. Rhee has generated market-leading returns by creating bespoke capital and operational solutions through the contemporaneous application of algorithmic, technologic and cultural change. He has a uniquely diverse network and knowledge base spanning the private equity, retail/consumer, venture and media/technology communities. At Ashley Stewart, as Chairman and CEO, Mr. Rhee has authored and executed upon an innovative complement of CRM, digital and organizational changes that have transformed a twice bankrupt, unprofitable brick-and-mortar retailer with decades of operating losses into an industry leader founded upon a values-based, social commerce paradigm. FirePine Group, the investment firm he founded in 2009, has successfully fueled transformative change in multiple enterprises, including Ashley Stewart.
Prior to this, Mr. Rhee was a senior investment professional at two leading, Boston-based investment firms, one specializing in growth and the other focused on distress. Mr. Rhee has played a leadership role in multiple platforms, including the carve-out of the Meow Mix brand from Ralston Purina, the purchase and then turnaround of Murray's Discount Auto Stores from a bank group, the growth catalyst investment in Mattress Firm and the turnaround of Ultra Diamonds.
Mr. Rhee is a visiting lecturer at Duke Law School and teaches frequently at leading educational institutions and professional organizations across the country. He is a regional winner of the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the recipient of one of five 2016 Power Player Awards granted by the National Retail Federation. In 2017, he joined the board of the National Retail Federation.
Mr. Rhee received his AB with honors from Harvard College and his JD with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He lives outside Boston with his wife and three daughters. He is a former high school teacher.