Business owner, fashion designer and social entrepreneur Rachel Roy is a household name in the retail space. Her contemporary clothing fills the racks at department store giants like Nordstrom's and Macy's, with 250 points of sale as of 2017. She's also a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and penned the book, "Design Your Life."
But the entrepreneur is now taking on a different role — Roy has been tapped for a two-year ambassador position, dubbed Champion of Innovation, by UN Women. Roy will use her experience as a successful female entrepreneur to help with programs aimed at achieving gender equality and supporting female innovation and entrepreneurship.
"The more we empower women, the more women will empower women," Roy tells CNBC Make It. "My company is at least 95 percent female, and it always has been. And I'm a brown woman. There are examples of how it can work — I've had my business since 2004 — so it can work for a long time.
Through UN Women she will use her voice, her platform and her network to educate, she says.
"I don't think anything happens by chance, and I don't think that anything happens alone, no matter how hard you work," Roy says. "You could be very intelligent and very prepared for the opportunity, but unfortunately opportunities don't happen and aren't given for the majority of people."
Today, Roy is speaking at the UN in New York City for International Women's Day. The theme is "Invest in Her," and Roy will be accompanied by Shadi Mehraein, a co-founder of Rivet Ventures, a firm which invests in companies in women-led markets and female-owned businesses.
"I thought instead of standing up there and telling my story and talking, I want to bring someone that does this day in and day out, that is an expert in her field," Roy explains. "Why not have her really share with my audience tips on what she looks for, what my audience could do differently to be attractive to people like Rivet Ventures."