Lisa Sun

Founder & CEO, GRAVITAS, Former Associate Principal in McKinsey’s Global Fashion Practice

  • Founder and CEO of game-changing retail brand and confidence company Gravitas—featured by Oprah magazine, TODAY show, People, Fast Company, Elle, Forbes, CNN, and more
  • Former McKinsey Associate Principal who understands how to tap into inner strength and bet on innovative ideas to find success in even the most difficult business environments
  • Seamlessly blends her personal story and the story of the launch of Gravitas to showcase the power of confidence, innovation, and a strong vision

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What would happen if you let go of fear, got off the sidelines, and jumped boldly into the game of life? Lisa Sun, founder and CEO of GRAVITAS, electrifies audiences as she unpacks this vital question in her moving, motivating, and empowering talks. Catalyzing confidence and inspiring innovation, Sun seamlessly blends stories from her personal journey with data and experience-driven insights from her 11 years at McKinsey & Company to offer talks that encourage audiences to choose self-confidence, work to harness their “superpower,” and use gravitas to advance personally and professionally.

Sun founded GRAVITAS in 2012, and its origin story dates to her first professional review. The feedback that changed her life? Being told that she “comes across as young and overly enthusiastic at times,” that she “lacked gravitas,” and “should go buy a new dress, big jewelry, and great shoes.” With those words in mind, an understanding of the transformative power of clothing, and a determination to create a game-changing company, Sun filed for a global patent to build shapewear directly into dresses. She launched GRAVITAS as a “confidence company” that offers innovative apparel and styling solutions designed to makeover women from the inside-out. Two months after launch, her first collection was featured in O, The Oprah magazine, PEOPLE, and The TODAY Show in the same month. Sun and GRAVITAS have not slowed down since; she has been featured on CNN and in Forbes, Fast Company, New York magazine, Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle, and more.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Sun explores why it’s vital to push past your potential, how to transform an idea into a movement, and why you’ve got to bet on yourself every single day. Praised for her passion and warmth, she has spoken for groups including JPMorganChase, Mortgage Bankers Association Summit for Women in Real Estate Finance, HSN, Dress for Success Global Success Summit, The Nantucket Project, and more. 

Prior to founding GRAVITAS, Sun spent 11 years at McKinsey & Company where she advised leading luxury, fashion and beauty brands and retailers in the US, Asia, Europe and Latin America on strategic and operational issues. At McKinsey, Sun was considered one of the firm’s top experts in the luxury and fashion space, Lisa published perspectives and gave keynote speeches at forums such as the American Express Luxury Summit. In many ways, Lisa “grew up” at McKinsey, being mentored by the firm’s best thinkers, learning from top executives, and having the privilege of leading teams of talented colleagues around the world.

Sun has always had a passion for style, for inclusivity, and for helping people look and feel their best, having been a size 22, a size 8, and now proudly a size 12. At every size and age, she has found creative ways to show off her style, having been named one of Washingtonian Magazine's Best Dressed Women. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University with distinction in Biology and Political Science.

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Speaker Video

Lisa Sun: The 6 Steps To Innovation

Lisa Sun: Self Confidence Is A Choice

Gravitas Founder & CEO, Lisa Sun: The Dressing Room

Gravitas Founder & CEO, Lisa Sun: Own Your Moment

Pivot With Purpose. When faced with the disruption of the pandemic, Lisa Sun channeled her mom’s advice to “act selflessly (not selfishly), do something (not nothing), and do the best that she can for as long as she can.” Motivated by purpose and taking stock of her resources, she pivoted her lifestyle and fashion company GRAVITAS to create and distribute PPE to frontline workers – and aims to continue to shift the brand’s focus towards providing essential items that spark joy.

In this talk, Lisa acknowledges that during an upset or challenge, the natural reaction is to experience paralysis. But shares that when each person takes advantage of their personal strengths, capabilities, and individual “superpower” – they can identify the ways to uniquely contribute and open up an entire solution-set for change. Blending insights from her own experience pivoting GRAVITAS, Lisa demonstrates that when you rethink elements of your life, your business, and your industry around an authentic purpose (not profit), everyone else will come along for the ride – raising their own hands to help and creating a long-term impact on their lives. Audiences will walk away inspired and with actionable tactics to adapt to any situation in a way that has lasting purpose.

VIRTUAL OFFERING: On the Frontline. Coronavirus has turned the retail industry upside-down. Lisa Sun’s signature brand GRAVITAS is no different with manufacturing factories in China. In this virtual session, Lisa shares first-hand what has happened to her team in China for the last few months. Blending insights from 11-year career at McKinsey managing harsh economic downturns and worldwide crises, she discusses how she made the necessary decisions—albeit, difficult—to close factories for the sake of her company, and the changes her company is implementing in their business now and in the future. Lisa demonstrates what it is like on the frontline of this pandemic from a relatable point of view.

VIRTUAL OFFERING: Managing Through Adversity with Gravitas. After a professional review left Lisa devastated, she threw herself into reversing the comment from a superior of “lacking gravitas.” Decades later, Lisa has come to understand that discovering her gravitas pushed her to survive and thrive. In this webinar, Lisa gives a gravitas guidebook to persevere through tough times and come out the other side stronger—not only to survive but thrive in adversity.

VIRTUAL OFFERING: Entrepreneurial Resilience. Entrepreneurs fail, a lot. But what makes them succeed is their resilience. In the current era of disruption, CEOs, business leaders, and managers must adapt to new ways of business. Tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit needed to stay alive in uncertainty. Lisa highlights the shifts her retail business has made to survive and thrive in the past, how she’s adapting her business right now, and shares how organizations can embrace resilience to improve upon their own businesses during uncertain times.

Choosing Self-Confidence. Within us all exists a lifelong struggle between being self-conscious and self-confident. Open, honest, and funny, Lisa Sun shares the techniques she and her many clients have used to recognize, strengthen, and use their unique gifts to shut out doubt and fear and become more confident and successful. She touches on letting go of haunting insecurities, making our unconscious gifts conscious, and learning to share them with those around us.

Finding Your Superpower. As Lisa Sun explains, we can’t be confident until we fully understand what makes us uniquely strong—our “superpower.” But how do we discover it?  In this interactive workshop, Sun explores different confidence personalities and how they connect to our superpowers. Packed with real takeaways for personal and professional advancement, this workshop will have attendees buzzing as they figure out their own confidence language and the superpowers they naturally channel, realize how their confidence language has been helping (and hurting) them, and how to ultimately use it to work through challenging situations and make positive situations even better.

Braving Innovation from Our Strengths. As Lisa Sun explains, we can’t be confident until we fully understand what makes us uniquely strong—our “superpower.” But, once you know your superpower, what’s next? With this talk, Lisa blends research from her time at McKinsey & Company with her own personal story to impart a powerful message about drawing on specific gifts to make the world a better place. Whether it be launching a revolutionary company, bringing that new idea to management, or pushing past failure to chase a big goal, Lisa inspires audiences to draw on their strengths in pursuit of innovation and success.

Make Your Mark: Growth and Market Dominance. Here, Sun draws on her McKinsey background to explore the shifts we’re seeing all around us in terms of changing consumer behavior, emerging markets, and technology. Sharing her inspiring story of creating a novel, successful brand and a rabid fanbase in a busy sector facing tremendous disruption, Sun showcases how to grow your business by paying attention to the right indicators, understanding your niche consumer, differentiating your brand, and doubling down on a positive vision. A great talk for incumbents and growing businesses alike, Lisa Sun helps audiences understand the changes that are remaking the business world around them while motivating them to remain resilient and use that knowledge to chase market dominance.

Diversity: Representation & Access. It’s widely acknowledged that the most-diverse enterprises are the most innovative and highest-performing. As an Asian-American woman, Lisa Sun shares her personal journey climbing the corporate ladder and launching her own venture, GRAVITAS. Through her story, she shares how minorities can be seen and celebrated for their differences and ideas; and how everyone can create cultures where connection, equal access to senior jobs, and equal pay are the norm. Her unique insights provide concrete tactics to unlock the secret of making diversity work.

From an Idea to a Movement: Choosing Self-Confidence + Finding Our Strengths. As Lisa Sun, founder and CEO of the lifestyle and fashion company GRAVITAS, explains, people can’t be confident until they fully understand what makes them uniquely strong. Open, honest, and funny, Lisa shares the techniques she and her many clients have used to let go of haunting insecurities, making our unconscious gifts conscious, and learning to share them with those around us. Blending research from her time at McKinsey & Company and her personal story, Lisa will impart a powerful message about drawing on specific gifts to make the world a better place. Whether it be launching a revolutionary new admissions process or convincing the Dean to recruit in a new and emerging market, you will feel inspired to draw upon your unique strength and superpower to push past your potential and transform an idea into a movement.

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