March 31, 2020

StockX x Women's History Month | Sunni Fleming

Pete Forester

Pete is a writer, host, and producer based in New York City. He is the Editorial Director of StockX.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we talked with women all over the industry about the other women who have influenced them, ways to support women in our communities, and more.

For this installment, we talked with Sunni Fleming, New Balance’s Senior Project Manager of MADE by Women, the brand’s inaugural collection of sneakers designed and developed by women. Sunni talks about the importance of speaking up, enjoying life’s experiences, and reminds us all to just breathe.

This interview has been lightly edited.

Who are the women who have influenced you?

More than anything, the women who have most influenced me are in my own family. On my mother’s side, they are fierce, from my great-grandmother and grandmother who were business owners, my older sister and my mother who, in the beginning of my life became a single mom raising two girls. She had to figure it out and she did. She became our sole provider and out of need, she pivoted from being a teacher to going into international business for a consumer products company. I never doubted that I could do anything because I witnessed her do it all when it was even more than now, a man’s world.

What is the most overrated and underrated thing at the moment?

Overrated, things. Underrated, experiences. I’m definitely in the mode of less is more. The things around me need to have a purpose or meaning and it’s okay to let go and pass things on. Experiences have enriched my life more than anything. Seeing the world, near and far, being engaged in meaningful conversations, stopping and listening, having authentic interactions. We need more of that.

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say?

To my younger self, I would say, study hard, have fun (which I think it did – haha), take pictures of the places you will go, believe in yourself, breathe, listen to your heart, speak-up, be fearless. No regrets though, I’ve lived my life the way I’ve wanted to and I am happy with where it’s brought me so far!

What is something we can all do, regardless of gender, to lift the voices of women in our communities?

Don’t talk over people, listen more, allow for a pause, everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard. As women, some of us tend to take a backseat by nature. I try to look around the room and see who has something they are holding back and ask them their thoughts. I do this with both men and women. We should all have an equal share of voice.

Put time aside to help someone, or a lot of people if you have the resources and time. I am lucky to work for a company that provides many opportunities for us to help, it’s so uplifting to give yourself to a cause in that way. It’s always in giving that we get so much in return.

What’s next for you?

Personally, just raising two daughters keeps my head where my feet are. Professionally, I am hoping to work with a female collaborator to do something impactful in the sneaker world. You have seen what we have done recently with the guys, Joe Fresh Goods, being the most recent, I want to see what we can do from a women’s perspective on that same level.

BONUS: Has there been a time in your life where another woman has lifted you up? What’s that story and what did it feel like?

There have been so many women along the way that have lifted me up and that continues every day, but the most recent lift was this past World Cup, watching the USWNT dominate, unapologetically, together as a team, lifting and inspiring women and girls across the world was incredible. Love that they are beautiful, strong, and loud voices for women’s equal pay. Our kids are watching and I truly believe that that team will have made their mark in history through their efforts on and off the field. And I love their style!