Kimberly McGlonn to Speak at FMCD

Penn Charter is excited to welcome Kimberly McGlonn, the founder and CEO of the manufacturing start-up Grant Blvd and the thrift/vintage concept Blk Ivy, as the keynote speaker for the 2024 Upper School Friends Multicultural Day on Tuesday, March 5. 

Friends Multicultural Day (FMCD) is an annual event that highlights PC's commitment to promoting diversity and different cultures. The Upper School community comes together to learn about various backgrounds, identities and experiences. Thirty-eight student-led workshops are planned to be taught by upper schoolers this year, allowing students to showcase their passions and interests while celebrating inclusivity and stewardship.

In addition to speaking at FMCD, McGlonn will lead a writing workshop, “Embracing Your Story, Owning Your Voice,” and spend another full day on campus collaborating with classes and student clubs across all school divisions. Students in the two Upper School certificate programs, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice, and Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, will also have the chance to visit Grant Blvd and Blk Ivy in Philadelphia.

McGlonn is an award-winning advocate for justice and environmentalism, informing her approach to fashion industry leadership. As founder and CEO of Grant Blvd, she oversees the brand's creative direction and growth strategy to meet the company’s mission of constructing stylish, sustainably sourced fashion by creating living wage jobs for women, particularly those who are formerly incarcerated. Founded in 2017, Grant Blvd is the first Black-owned B Corp in North America in the fashion space.

McGlonn’s second company Blk Ivy tells the story of fashion as activism through the curation of garments that amplify the style of 1954 to 1972. She is also vice president of social impact for Fitler Club; the CEO of Build It Boldly, a digital community that offers online courses and mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs; and the author of Build It Boldly: How Great Leaders Can Drive Change & Save the Future. She co-hosts and co-produces School for Disruptors, a podcast featuring inspiring stories of people disrupting the status quo, and served for eight years as a councilwoman for the Borough of Jenkintown, as the police commission chair, and as liaison to the Jenkintown School District. She served for three years as a board member on the board of The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia.

McGlonn’s passion for sustainability and social justice stems from her personal experiences. She grew up as a Black girl raised Muslim in Milwaukee, where she witnessed the effects of poverty and discrimination. She became a high school teacher and later a member of the teaching faculty at Drexel University, where she continued to advocate for justice and environmentalism.

Her work has been featured by Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Essence, and has been funded by Beyonce’s BeyGood Foundation. In 2022. McGlonn received the Visa’s “She’s Next in Fashion" award and the Black Enterprise “Business Disruptor of the Year” award. In 2023, she was named one of "150 Most Influential Philadelphians."