How does a woman go from being on welfare to being named one of the “Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the Decade”? By thriving despite the odds. Chances are, you’ve walked a mile in SHERI POE's shoes.
In 1987, Sheri founded Ryka, the first and only athletic footwear designed exclusively for women, where she claimed her place in history as an early female CEO. While single-handedly kick-starting the women-centric fitness movement, Sheri used her unique place in history as a woman CEO to advocate that corporate responsibilities should extend beyond the financial bottom line to include an ethical contribution. Her philanthropic aspirations stemmed from her own experiences, as well as an intense motivation to prevent any woman from ever experiencing what she herself had experienced.
Poe is the recipient of several honorary doctorate degrees. She has spoken before audiences throughout the country about her own experiences as a corporate entrepreneur, a working mother and a leader in corporate social responsibility. She has also shared her story of triumph on national television shows, including a feature story on the Today Show, as well as appearances on Oprah and The Joan Rivers Show, among others. Her story has been featured in over 500 publications including, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, People, The Los Angeles Times and Business Week.
Sheri's work has been recognized by the National Association of Female Executives with a NAFFY Award for nurturing the aspirations of females for the future. She also received The New England Women’s Leadership Award in Business and the National Victim’s Center Milton Petrie Award for her outstanding contributions toward helping end violence in our society.
Sheri's impassioned approach to sharing her life's experience makes her one of the most dynamic brand builders and speakers on the topic of women’s empowerment. When you meet her, a naturally magnetic personality will pull you in - and so will her warm embrace.
At the age of 19, Sheri endured two life-altering events; the first was the traumatic sexual assault by a stranger, and the second, which was just as damaging as the assault, was the accusatory treatment by professional personnel who she turned to for help. For two decades, Sheri became what she calls a “silent sufferer,” by internalizing her trauma, she suffered from PTSD, eating disorders, depression, and pain.
Ultimately, it was fitness, meditation, therapy, and sharing her story that put Sheri on the road to reclaiming and transforming her life, including the founding of Ryka R.O.S.E. (Regaining One’s Self Esteem) Foundation, a not-for-profit organization designed to help end violence against women. In addition to contributing a percentage of Ryka’s profits to aid victims of violence, she shared her personal story of triumph across college campuses nationwide.
Never one to stop at a single impressive achievement, Sheri founded her namesake line of footwear for HSN and, most recently, Purity of Elements, a prestigious skin care line found in high-end retailers including Nordstrom and QVC, where she represented the brand. The line sources powerful ingredients from nature and combines them with cutting-edge cosmetic technology to help women look and feel their best every day.
Today, Sheri continues to be a champion for women and is devoted to fostering entrepreneurship by consulting with women's consumer products brands, coaching, as well as her lifelong passion of ending domestic violence and sexual assault. Her commitment to advocacy continues and supports initiatives dedicated to ending violence against women through education, public speaking and philanthropy.
As a dedicated mother to 4 grown children, Sheri is passionate about empowering women by giving them knowledge and resources to help them live their most beautiful, healthy life.