If you’re anything like me, spending a Friday night with good friends and a glass (or two!) of wine watching fun reality programs like TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” is a bit like heaven. That’s why I was so excited when I learned that Jennifer DiPasquale, president of our sister brand, Women in Retail Leadership Circle, recently interviewed Lori Allen, one of the world’s foremost experts on bridal couture, founder of Bridals by Lori, and yes, star of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” and “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids.”

In their interview during Women in Retail’s Summer Soirée virtual event last month, Allen spoke about many topics, including her career journey and how she ended up on a reality TV show; how post-pandemic brides differ from pre-pandemic ones; how she overcame personal challenges, including beating breast cancer; and her new book, Say Yes to What’s Next: How to Age With Elegance and Class While Never Losing Your Beauty and Sass!

In addition, Allen discussed how leaders are more effective when they practice self-care, and stressed the importance of filling your cup first.

“When I started taking care of me personally, I was better in every aspect,” Allen said. “Because women, we can give, give, give, give, give, and then we’re feeling like we’re not really good at anything. When you feel good personally, the other [things] just kind of falls into place.”

Allen also detailed her leadership style, which she described as one of example. “Everybody here knows I would never ask them to do anything that I would not do personally,” she said. “I may have things that are driving me crazy, but when I walk in that door, I’m focused. I’m here and they know it.”

Finally, when asked what she’s most proud of, Allen cited her family first and her business second. “Good things happen to those who wait and to those who work hard.”

Allen was was fun, warm, smart and authentic; just as I hoped she would be!