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Dean's Advisory Council

Julie Wainwright

Julie Wainwright

Julie Wainwright is an e-commerce pioneer whose latest venture came to her as an epiphany while shopping in a brick-and-mortar consignment store, an industry she felt was ripe for reinvention. She founded The RealReal in June 2011, bringing luxury consignment online and into the modern world with a digital marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment. In that time the company has changed the way people buy and sell high-end luxury across all categories. In addition, Wainwright raised sizable venture capital funding, built a membership of millions, sold millions of items to date and took The RealReal public in 2019 as one of 20 women in history to found and lead a company to an IPO. The company is pioneering sustainability efforts in the luxury space as well. In addition to sustainability partnerships with Gucci, Burberry and Stella McCartney, it is the first luxury member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 USA and the first resale member of the UN Climate Change's Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

Wainwright has been at the helm of leading tech companies for more than 20 years, notably as CEO of in 1997 and in 1999. She has received several prestigious industry awards and accolades since launching The RealReal including: Entrepreneur’s 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs, Fast Company’s Most Creative People, CNBC’s Disruptor 50, Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders List, Retail Innovator of the Year, and Business of Fashion’s BoF 500.

Wainwright is a frequent speaker at industry events like the Forbes Women’s Summit, Code Commerce, Osservatorio Altagamma Monitor, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, New York Times Luxury Summit, Barron’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, and Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit, as well as at top universities including Stanford University and Purdue. Purdue, her alma mater, recently recognized Julie with the Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Award. She is an Advisor to Fashion Tech Lab, as well as an Advisor to the School of Management at Purdue. Wainwright actively supports dozens of local and national nonprofits focused on education, the arts, sustainability and animal welfare, including Black Girls CODE, Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin Humane Society and Cora Shelter for Women. She has funded higher education scholarships supporting diversity and sustainability, including for sustainable fashion at Parsons School of Design, women in STEM at Purdue University, and minority students at San Francisco Art Institute.