ASSOCIATE SPOTLIGHT SERIES: AN INTERVIEW WITH BEVERLY GAYLE
February 15, 2022
In our Associate Spotlight series, we are highlighting associates across the company who are shaping our community and who embody our Life at Centric philosophy every day.
Meet Beverly Gayle, Design Director, Boys Separates Sportswear Program. Beverly is the Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair and has been with Centric Brands for twelve years in our New York City office.
What is your role at Centric Brands and how long have you been with the company?
My role here at Centric Brands is Design Director on the Boys Separate Sportswear Team. I have been at Centric for 12 years now. For ten of those years, I have designed on the Tommy Hilfiger and Lucky Brands. I have always wanted to design for Tommy Hilfiger, and I got that chance to do so with some amazing people.
Over the last two years, I have worked on brands/categories, which I had not worked on before. Those brands include Calvin, Nautica, Nautica Competition and Timberland. I work with a strong group of people.
What does the word ‘community’ mean to you?
Community means that people get involved to make things better for the whole. It is the exchange of ideas, experiences and thoughts in a constructive and respectful manner. When people feel seen and heard, they have a sense of trust, safety and sense of inclusion.
How can we support the next generation of Black talent in the fashion industry?
Cast a wider net to schools we offer internships to and recruit from HBCUs, which can sometimes lead to employment. Offer mentorship in unserved communities. Make a conscious decision to racially and social – economically diversify upper management because representation is important and is a great motivator for hiring and retaining talented people.
Who in your career has been a mentor and why?
I worked for a company called Reference Point, a missy and junior knit & sweater company. I was an associate designer for both Missy and Junior Head designers. Berentte Everett, the Junior Head Designer, is the mentor that stood out the most for me. Before her, I never had a boss who was a person of color. She was FABULOUS and super talented. I wanted to be in her seat. As an associate, Bernette allowed me to design a sweater line for Walmart’s “White Stag” program. She went to bat for me since I designed and won the order. She believed I deserved to go on my first buying trip to China to work with the factory. She also came to my house and helped me pack for my first business trip overseas! Bernette pushed and supported my growth as a designer. This had such a huge impact on me that when Centric Brands had the internships program with FIT I always volunteered. I have heard people say that if you don’t see representation, then push and make your space. This is true, but, as you can see, I saw someone who looked like me in a place of power, and it was easy to see myself in that seat within that company. Representation in leadership matters.
What does being on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee mean to you?
It means a lot because I am now part of the conversation that could possibly lead to change.
What is a hobby outside of work and why?
I love long distance running because it clears my head, getting the fresh air and it allows me to push myself beyond what I think I can do.
Beverly is so talented and professional. She’s also very approachable when it comes to talking about race and diversity. I’ve learned so much by listening to her and I value her feedback and correction when I may mis-word something, or could have said something in a different way that would be more inclusive. It matters to me because I’m a white manager and have always had a mixed team.
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