Women in Leadership and Their Professional Journey

Mi Hub, our global corporate apparel group, has aligned itself to act upon six sustainable development goals, with SDG 5, Gender Equality, being one of them. Looking behind the Affinity brand, women contribute to 64% of our workforce, beating the national average of 58.4%, with a senior leadership team of 60% women, exceeding the national average of 35% in September 2022 (Zippia). 

To honor women of the past, present, and future, we've rounded up professional insight from our women in leadership. From our global CEO and Head of Marketing to our U.S. team's Sr. Director and Program Director, their career journeys provide great perspectives and meaningful stories throughout our business! Below are their responses.


Lynn Helfrich | V.P. of Program Management & Customer Service (Affinity)

Woman Leader


1. Tell us about your career journey.

My first job out of college was as a trainee in a large U.S. retailer's Management Training Program. After six months of training, I was assigned as Manager of the Housewares and China Departments of one of their retail stores. After a year of working almost every weekend, I decided I needed to find another job to give me more time to spend with friends and family. 

My next work experience was in the Banking industry, working as a Marketing Coordinator for the head of Retail Banking at the fourth-largest bank in the U.S. at the time. Initially, I worked at the bank's headquarters in Boston, MA., which exposed me to all the various departments within the organization. Throughout my 15-year tenure at the bank, I leveraged the relationships I built with multiple teams to obtain challenging and varied positions from special projects team member, distribution network planning, market research, branch regulatory and compliance, to marketing. I decided to leave the bank as I was commuting an hour to the office and needed to be closer to home for my young son. 

I found a Program Manager position with on-site childcare at one of the top apparel companies 10 minutes from my house. The skill set that I developed in understanding and marketing to bank customers made the transition into the apparel industry seamless. As a Program Manager, I managed the company's most extensive account for a few years before being promoted to Director of the account team. I continued in this position for nearly ten years before deciding I needed a change and found the Director's position at what is now the Affinity brand. Although in my initial years, I worked closely with the same client, over the past few years, I have learned and grown with several different clients of all sizes. In April, I will celebrate my 7th anniversary with the company.


2. What career advice would you give to people entering the workforce?

Be open to new opportunities that come your way. If you graduate with an accounting degree, it doesn't mean that you need to be an accountant your entire career. Throughout life, you will meet many people professionally and socially, and opportunities outside your current path present themselves to you. Be bold and take risks, especially early on. As you progress in your career, more factors will come into play for consideration, such as housing, partners, and children, that may impact the decisions you make for your path. Work hard but remember to have fun too.


3. Which female leaders have influenced you in your life and how?

My grandmother had a tremendous influence on me. She didn't always have the easiest life; she was the twelfth of thirteen children growing up;  a young widow when my grandfather passed suddenly, working hard to support my mom and uncle; and a breast cancer survivor. Even in the most challenging times, my grandmother was a very strong person, never seeming to crack under pressure. She never wavered and was always true to herself. She was always highly supportive of me and my endeavors, except that I loved to play sports and didn't choose dance- two left feet.


4. What are the work challenges you've faced in your career? How do you juggle work-life balance?

My most important job in life has been focusing on being a good mom and strong role model for my two sons. Having a full-time career requiring some travel has presented me with many moments of "Mom guilt" along the way. I've missed school events, sporting events, and a birthday here and there. Over the years, things have changed, and now there is a greater focus on work-life balance, which is a needed change. My boys are now in their 20s, but when they were young, there was such pressure and almost disappointment from some of my male managers on those days when I had to call in sick because they were homesick. I certainly wasn't any less dedicated to my job, but family first. Luckily, both sons were healthy because those calls were more challenging than they should have been.   

I've also spent many work lunches and dinners where I was the only female amongst a table of male counterparts. In those instances, I felt terrible for the majority as it was evident that everyone was on their best behavior as I was in their presence. I'm a relatively quiet person, but sometimes it took an icebreaker from me- How about those Red Sox? to get the conversation flowing and everyone more at ease.


5. Which significant female figure in history celebrating social, economic, and political achievements do you admire and why?

There isn't one significant female in history to single out for me. I've learned that every woman has a story through life and my career. Each has individual wins and challenges, and admiration should extend beyond those with greater visibility or status.


Hayley Brooks | CEO (Mi Hub)

women leaders


1. What career advice would you give to people entering the workforce?

Do something that you love. If you need to figure out what that is, that's ok, but keep searching for it. Be passionate about what you do. Never stop learning new stuff, and stay curious. Someone can teach you everything you need to know; a great attitude has to come from within.


2. Which female leaders have influenced you in your life and how?

Well, this one is easy. This woman has always had my back; she has stood behind me, sometimes whispering and sometimes yelling, "You can do this!". She has never wavered, always been there whenever I glanced behind to check. She was firm but fair and encouraged me to be self-motivated and go for it. She never judged me when I made mistakes, of which there were plenty; she just picked me up, dusted me off, and pointed me back in roughly the right direction. She's my mum.


3. What are the work challenges you've faced in your career? How do you juggle work-life balance?

It was a man's world when I entered the workplace. As a working mum with three boys, I've had to juggle work, childcare, and being in three places simultaneously. But I'm a determined and driven individual who has ignored any stereotype limitations people can place on women. Women bring a completely different perspective to a business, and with some flexibility and thought, they can balance all the demands of work and personal life.


Brittanie Stacy | Director of Implementation and Service (Affinity)

woman leader


1. Tell us about your career journey. 

I started in the uniform industry right out of high school while attending college. When working in the marketing department, I was given opportunities to grow my responsibilities and work heavily with the Sales and Program Management teams, where I first realized my love for service. From there, the external, customer-focused responsibilities grew to encompass internal service, and over time I became the lead over our Human Resources, Marketing, Customer Service, and Program Management departments. Now at the Affinity brand, I focus solely on the external service that continues to feed my passion for customer service and program management.  


2. What career advice would you give to people entering the workforce?

Simply put, take on whatever responsibilities, activities, and job functions you can manage. You will gain valuable, well-rounded skills and experiences that will prepare you for future growth opportunities. 


3. Which female leaders have influenced you in your life and how?

I can't honestly say that I have a female influencer. I'm driven and influenced by my goals, which are uniquely mine. There are many women and men out there I can learn and grow from, but it is more about how they carry themselves personally and professionally than gender-based.   I like to look at the fruit of the person, which is how I also hope people view me.  


4. What are the work challenges you've faced in your career? How do you juggle work-life balance?

I've never looked at my career through the lens of my gender but rather through my self-satisfaction and my work-life balance. As a wife and mom, I have had to juggle work responsibilities and being the primary caretaker in our family. However, not all families operate that way. Fortunately, I've successfully juggled this throughout my career by having a tremendous support system at home and understanding employers who view that as an asset rather than a liability.  


5. Which significant female figure in history celebrating social, economic, and political achievements do you admire and why?

There are undoubtedly many to look up to, and again, gender aside, Corrie ten Boom is someone that I have always had great admiration. Her courage, servant-attitude, and her faith are great examples for me. Her story is an excellent reminder that at the end of our lives, we want remembrance for how we treated people and cared for others, so I try to apply that in my personal and professional life. 



Across Mi Hub's family of brands, influential leaders surround our teams. We hope you have enjoyed their career advice and a glance into their professional journeys. 

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