The Mentor Files with Monica Royer and Winnie Park

Forever 21 is an iconic brand. But as the CEO who stepped into the leadership role with big shoes to fill in 2022, Winnie Park is propelling the company into the future–and that has much to do with responding to customers’ wants and interests.

“The customer’s the creator and we’re along for the ride,” Winnie tells Monica Royer in an amazing new episode of The Mentor Files.

Through her life as a Korean immigrant, career working with brands, and experience as a single mother of a daughter, Winnie knows a thing or two about agility and adaptability. As she shares with Monica, it’s a sense of curiosity that has driven her “long and winding path.” She says her guiding principles for any role are, “Am I learning? Do I feel passionate? And, finally, how am I feeling about the people I work with?

In this engaging new podcast episode, Monica and Winnie talk about raising Gen Z daughters through the teenage years, supporting loved ones struggling with mental health, and, of course, the past, present, and future of Forever 21.

And if you think you know Forever 21, it might be time to rediscover the innovative brand. Under Winnie’s helm, a key aspect of the strategy is working closely with people in the actual market. “Let's let the creators create the content,” she says. “Let's arm them with the best fashion. Let them self-express. They're actually the ones who know the trends better than us.”

Listen to this episode of The Mentor Files for more about leadership, authenticity and parenting–all of which often overlap.

You can subscribe and listen to The Mentor Files on Apple Podcasts. You can also watch their conversation on YouTube!


“I got here by actually following my passion and not necessarily putting a career path or money or kind of anything ahead of just pure curiosity.”  – Winnie Park, CEO at Forever 21