International Women's Day: Roseli Ilano

Roseli Ilano, First Republic Client
March 4, 2014

Since the early 1900’s, International Women’s Day has been observed throughout the world, inspiring women and celebrating their achievements. This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring Change’, and it encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere, in every way. In honor of this, First Republic Bank would like to share the perspectives of some of our exceptional women clients.

Client Roseli Ilano is the Owner and Designer of ILANO, a line of artisan-made luxury textile handbags. ILANO partners with indigenous women weavers from around the globe, to create one-of-a-kind products, sustainable jobs, and a multiplying effect in local communities. Ilano started her business with a decade of experience developing marketing and outreach campaigns for human rights and social justice. Her company is the result of her desire to take her expertise in this area and blend them with her passion for fashion.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of launching my business, without ever having to sacrifice my mission and core values. It was months of work behind the scenes, many sleepless nights, and I continue to work around the clock, but it feels so rewarding to be living my dream, and of course, to be my own boss!

If you could turn the clock back to when you were starting your career, what advice would you give yourself?

Be gentle with yourself, put your health and well-being first, and make sure to reserve time (even just for a few minutes) for yourself to do something that gives you joy. No matter how hard you try, there will always be setbacks. Don't be so hard on yourself and don't work yourself into a situation that compromises your health. I always say: The business isn't healthy if you aren't healthy.

Who has been a role model to you in your life/career and why? 

My biggest role model has been my mom, Gilda. She raised me as a single parent. She taught me the importance of perseverance and integrity. I also like to think my fashion sense comes from her!

This year's theme for International Women's Day is 'Inspiring Change'. If you could impact change, how would women's lives look 50 years from now? 

Research shows that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, for identical work. Fifty years from now, I imagine a world where we've reached wage parity and equal pay for equal work.

What would you like your legacy to be? 

I would like my legacy to be judged through my relationships with others. I have mentored many teens and young women who are now the first in their family to go to college. It's so exciting to think of the kind of leaders and change makers they will be, and to know I helped in some small way.

The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.