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What is the red shoe Society?

What is the red shoe Society?

The red shoe Society is an exclusive, members-only organization for women focused on empowerment, networking, philanthropy and fashion. The society has chapters across the United States and Canada and brings together successful, influential women from diverse backgrounds and industries.

History of the Red Shoe Society

The Red Shoe Society was founded in 2008 by Marilyn Carr in New York City. Carr, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, wanted to create a women’s organization that went beyond traditional networking groups and charitable clubs. She envisioned a society where women could make meaningful connections, give back to their communities and celebrate their femininity and success.

The distinctive name, the Red Shoe Society, was inspired by the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” In the film, Dorothy must click her red ruby slippers three times to return home, representing the power women have within themselves. The red shoe became the society’s symbol of women’s inner strength, courage and belief in themselves.

The organization started with just 50 members in New York City. It quickly expanded through word-of-mouth and press coverage of its exclusive, invite-only events. Today, there are over 5,000 members across North America with annual waitlists in many cities.

Requirements for Membership

The Red Shoe Society has a rigorous selection process for membership based on applicants’ professional achievements and community involvement. The basic requirements are:

  • Identify as a woman
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Demonstrate success in business, philanthropy, arts, etc.
  • Be sponsored by two existing members
  • Commit to upholding the society’s values of empowerment, integrity, respect, gratitude and inspiration

In addition to the basic qualifications, prospective members go through interviews, reference checks and vetting by a membership committee. The society seeks women who are not just successful but ethical leaders looking to make a difference in their communities.

Membership Perks

Once accepted, members gain access to a number of benefits, including:

  • Invitation to exclusive networking events and speaker sessions
  • Opportunities to mentor younger members
  • Participation in members-only programs, workshops and committees
  • Listing in the society’s member directory
  • Subscriptions to the society’s magazine and email newsletter
  • Access to partner discounts from brands aligned with the society’s mission
  • First access to tickets for the society’s annual gala and philanthropic events

The society hosts over 100 events per year. Signature events include the annual Red Shoe Gala, International Women’s Day high tea parties, mastermind dinners, book club meetups, wellness retreats and more.

Organizational Structure

The Red Shoe Society has a national board of directors that oversees the strategy and governance for the organization. Under the board are executive directors responsible for each chapter in cities across North America. Local steering committees made up of chapter members help plan events and manage member experience.

The current National Board members are:

Name Position
Marilyn Carr Founder and Chairwoman
Anne Hathaway CEO
Michelle Yeoh Chief Development Officer
Amanda Gorman Chief Program Officer
Malala Yousafzai Chief Partnership Officer

This blend of national leadership along with local chapter execution allows the society to maintain consistency in its mission and branding while still catering to the needs of members in each city.

Philanthropy & Community Service

In addition to networking and personal development, philanthropy is a core part of the Red Shoe Society’s mission. Each chapter identifies local nonprofit partners focused on issues like women’s healthcare, domestic violence prevention, girls’ education and workforce development. Society members volunteer time, serve on boards and host fundraisers benefitting these organizations.

Some of the society’s impact includes:

  • Raising over $5 million for women’s charities since 2008
  • Contributing over 15,000 volunteer hours each year
  • Mobilizing members during times of crisis like COVID-19 and natural disasters to provide aid
  • Establishing university scholarships for future women leaders

The society also runs an annual 10-day philanthropic trip where members travel internationally to volunteer for girls’ education initiatives. Past trips have been to Nepal, Kenya and Guatemala.

Signature Events

The Red Shoe Society is known for its high-profile events attracting influential speakers, A-list entertainment and copious media attention. Two of the most popular member events are:

The Annual Red Shoe Gala

This black-tie gala takes place in a different city each year. Past galas have been held in New York, Miami, San Francisco and other urban hubs. The evening features:

  • A silent auction with luxury items and exclusive experiences
  • Live entertainment from renowned musicians and dancers
  • Opportunities to mix and mingle with celebrity guests
  • Gourmet dinner and drinks
  • Awards ceremony recognizing standout members

This gala is the society’s biggest annual fundraiser, typically raising over $1 million for women’s charities. Tickets are highly coveted and sell out within minutes each year.

International Women’s Day High Tea

Chapters host elegant high tea parties on March 8th for International Women’s Day. These gatherings bring together 300-500 members and guests per city to celebrate women’s accomplishments while also looking ahead to the future.

Highlights include:

  • Floral teas, pastries, sandwiches and champagne
  • Speeches from trailblazing women in business, politics, science, arts, etc.
  • Membership induction ceremony
  • Musical and dance performances
  • Gift bags with sponsor goodies and society merch

The afternoon has a joyful, spirited atmosphere with women uniting across generations and industries in solidarity and support.

Thriving Sisterhood

While the organization hosts world-class events, many members say the greatest value comes from the authentic relationships built within the society’s network. Lifelong friendships and business partnerships are forged through the shared experiences, conversations and mentorship that happen through local chapter activities.

Many members comment that the society provides a safe, non-competitive space to honestly discuss challenges faced as women in leadership and support one another personally and professionally. There is a level of trust, vulnerability and care that is unmatched in other professional networks.

This sense of community and belonging creates a thriving sisterhood that helps women thrive together.


For over 15 years, the Red Shoe Society has empowered thousands of influential women across North America. The organization provides members with networking, service, personal growth and connection in a collaborative, uplifting environment. While recognizing women’s professional success, the society goes deeper to nourish their wellbeing, purpose and self-actualization.

The society plans to continue expanding its reach while staying committed to its mission of advancing and uniting women. With its distinctive Red Shoe brand, compelling programming and vibrant sisterhood, this enterprising organization will continue making an impact for years to come.