Mariela Dabbah, Red Shoe Movement

Q&A with Red Shoe Movement founder on the Signature Event at MetLife

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event in NYC

Red Shoe Movement Signature Event in NYC

Have you heard of the Red Shoe Movement (RSM)? It is the only women empowerment platform born from a movement and sustained by a movement. Mariela Dabbah, its founder and leader, is a world-renowned thought-leader, international speaker, corporate consultant, and best-selling author who has been helping Latinos and women connect the dots to achieve success for twenty years.

Now, she is getting ready to launch her Signature Event of the year at MetLife, a gathering that nobody interested in personal and professional growth can miss. Seriously!

This year 2015 has been an important one for Mariela, when she was selected as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women” by People en Español. Her “madrina” was Maria Elena Salinas, another powerful Latina in media.

We asked Mariela to talk about the event, about her and her future plans. These are her answers.

Mariela Dabbah, Founder of the Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah, Founder of the Red Shoe Movement with her Lola Ramona shoes

Q: What is the goal of this new event happening November 9 at MetLife? What impact do you expect to create in the participants?

Mariela: This is our annual RSM Signature Event, an event unlike anything you’ve seen. And not only because 90 percent of the people show up with red shoes and ties, but also because of the goals and format. The goal is to provide women with a space to discover what they want professionally for themselves, to experience an “aha” moment that will guide the next steps in their careers. We attain this by inviting them to actively participate in six conversations about topics that are very relevant for career growth. Topics include how to discover your passion, engaging men to propel your career forward, what is executive presence and how to develop it, winning negotiation strategies, embracing assertiveness, and how to be the CEO of your own career

During these conversations, facilitated by senior executives trained in our methodology, women have a sense of how much they have to offer and how much there is to learn. And of course, they become part of a powerful community of likeminded women who support their objectives.

Q: What is the driving force of the Red Shoe Movement now that is has become an international movement? Why do you think it is so successful –in addition to your dedication and passion for empowering women? What does it “awake” in women?

Mariela: We only started three years ago and we now have fans in over 130 countries and work with companies across the US and Latin America helping them develop and promote their female employees.

The 7 Red Shoe Movement Principles along with our #RedShoeTuesday campaign give women a sense of ownership and purpose. Something concrete they can do to fulfill their career goals while helping others to fulfill theirs. The message around defining your own success so you may align your aspirations with your career objectives is very powerful. It all came out of my book Find Your Inner Red Shoe (Penguin 2013). And of course the fact that, as a leadership development company focused on diverse women, we offer year-round coaching and resources to help them move to the next level in their careers. Because both large corporations and individual women can subscribe to our Step Up program it has made it very easy for people to jump on board.

Q: Can you explain a little bit the Red Shoe Tuesday campaign?

Mariela: The Red Shoe Tuesday is a campaign we launched from the very beginning. We encourage people to wear red shoes and ties to go to work every Tuesday to show support for the career advancement of women. This action helps to keep up the conversation about the value of having more women in leadership positions and about what women and organizations can do to make it happen.

L to R: Mariela Dabbah, Maria Salinas Adamari Lopez

L to R: Adamari Lopez, Mariela Dabbah, Maria Elena Salinas

Q: What is important for Mariela Dabbah now that you have achieved recognition as one of People en Español “25 Most Powerful Women”? What is not important anymore? What is next?

Mariela: I was honored to be nominated by Maria Elena Salinas for this powerful list. It’s a great milestone because it gives me and the RSM more visibility so that more women can benefit from being part of our community.

It has also been an important year as we developed amazing relationships with Lola Ramona and Farylrobin, our shoe sponsors. They have enabled us to take our work to the next level by helping us make our events, webinars and programs that much more fun with lots of shoe giveaways!

Nothing has changed much in terms of what’s important to me, though. I still work hard to create and deliver the best quality content across everything I do. I still value each one of my relationships. I still underpromise and overdeliver. So far, my strategy seems to be working well.

Q: Where can people register for the event on November 9 in NYC?

Mariela: Readers can register here for the event. As fans and readers of, you can get a 20 percent discount using this coupon rsmsepa2015 at checkout.


We also wanted to get the views of our friend and fantastic leader Ali Curi, President and Founder of Hispanic Professionals Networking Group (HPNG), who will be the MC and interviewer for the Signature event.

Ali Curi, President and Founder Hispanic Professional Networking Group

Ali Curi, President and Founder Hispanic Professional Networking Group

Q: What is the added value that Hispanic Professionals bring to the table to the Red Shoe Movement?

Ali: HPNG has had a long history of creating a platform for Latino leaders to share their experiences with other Hispanic professionals. We’re honored to be able to contribute to the RSM Signature Event by inviting HPNG members to learn from Red Shoe Movement members and for them to share their own insight for a well-rounded experience for everyone.

Q: What it means personally and professionally to you to be part of this event?

Ali: Personally, to be involved in great endeavors that service Latino professionals such as this one is part of my DNA. I have always maintained a mission of collaboration with my peers and other organizations to better our Hispanic community as a whole. Am I’m thrilled that I can personally contribute by leading the Lunch Keynote Interview that day.

Mariela Dabbah feature

Mariela Dabbah “la poderosa” at the 2015 SHCCNJ Annual Convention

Mariela Dabbah, Red Show Movement

Mariela Dabbah, Red Show Movement

Last summer, when I was thinking and designing the website, I had to decide on different options for the title, the feel and look of the website, its structure and font styles, etc. However, I never had a bit of doubt about the color: it had to be RED.

According to experts, red is “a positive color associated with our most physical needs and our will to survive. It exudes a strong and powerful masculine energy… it is energizing and excites the emotions while motivates us to take action.”

I guess that was the same idea behind the Red Shoe Movement (RSM), the only women empowerment platform born from a grassroots movement and sustained by a movement. Their leader, a world-renowned thought-leader, international speaker, corporate consultant, best-selling author and recently named one of the “25 Mujeres Poderosas” by People en Espanol is Mariela Dabbah, a fearless Argentine-American red-haired whose power and determination has impacted the lives of thousands of women around the globe… and counting.

Mariela Dabbah Maria Salinas Adamari Lopez

Mariela Dabbah with Maria Salinas and Adamari Lopez

I have crossed paths with Mariela at different events but never had the opportunity to talk with her about the #RSM. This time we did connect and the conversation went easily into the topic of empowerment.

“Most women looking for empowerment usually end up trying to find a formula that worked for someone else without realizing that their characteristics and personality are likely very different from the person they are trying to emulate. The success of the Red Shoe Movement is based on providing tools for women to find their own definition of success and to follow their own style,” she said.

“Many know the Red Shoe Movement because they have either participated in our signature events, have received training through their workplace, or read my book Find Your Inner Red Shoes,” Mariela told me. “From these experiences, they have discovered what makes them unique, helping them to better align their motivations with their career goals, a very necessary step towards defining your own success.”

And of course, she chose red –the color that excites the emotions and motivates us to take action– for Red Shoe Tuesdays, the idea she coined to encourage women to show weekly support for women’s career advancement by wearing red shoes to work on Tuesday. “We are redefining the leadership development model because we believe it’s broken. For each person, attaining success is a journey that they embark on with their own singular style. What success means to me might not be the same thing it means to you,” she shared.

Mariela Dabbah with Maria E Salinas

Mariela Dabbah with Maria E Salinas at the 25 Poderosas event.

Mariela believes that our society has set up “male genetic markers” as leadership features, which need to be achieved in order to be considered “successful.” Even if women reach those same levels of success, their genetic makeup is different and consequently, it is hard to transform ourselves into someone we are not. “Unless we redefine the concept of leadership to include the feminine aspects and strengths, it will be very hard to move the needle in female representation at the highest decision-making levels,” she said.

In her book, Find your Inner Red Shoes: Step into Your Own Style of Success, Mariela challenges the concept of success and failure. “The word success derives from the Latin succedere which means ‘come after’ and ‘accomplishment of desired end’…the word failure comes from the old French word faillir, which derives from the Latin fallere: ‘to cause to fall’ or ‘to disappoint’… For each person, success…is a journey which each of us embarks with our own singular style… When we understand success in these terms… it’s possible to move away from the simplistic success and failure dichotomy, which can ultimately create a suffocating ‘no way out’ situation…” (Excerpts from the book’s Introduction).

In response to high demand for its programs, the #RSM now offers the RSM Step Up Program- It’s You.Amplified! It’s a way for individual professional women to access phenomenal content (podcasts, Master Classes, the book, and so on,) have a large, powerful network of year round supporters, and receive other benefits. The program is available in English and Spanish.

“Our approach is a program that motivates and engages women so they take control of their careers and grow. We created a number of tools so it could become a sustainable platform for implementation in organizations that we could replicate and measure. Now, these same tools are available to individuals through our new program that anyone can subscribe to through our website,” Mariela said.

The program has been designed to empower already successful women who want to do even better, tweak their leadership skills, or start them on the journey to achieve new professional as well as personal levels of success. And who cannot use that kind of empowerment?

And Mariela promises in her book: “Once you understand that success is what works best for each person, you’ll be able to shake off the stress that ensues when trying to meet goals you haven’t set for yourself, and most likely don’t even make you happy.”

Sign up now to see Mariela Dabbah at the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey Annual Convention and Awards Luncheon on October 16th at The Brownstone in Paterson, NJ. Register here now!