MB011: Fashion Design and Social Entrepreneurship with Emily Núñez

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In this episode, we talk about starting a company while still serving, designing a fashion brand and the importance of teamwork with Emily Núñez.



The Pre-Brief: Emily Núñez is a current First Lieutenant in the US Army, a recent veteran of OEF, and the founder of Sword and Plough. Sword and Plough makes beautiful bags from recycled military fabrics. Their goal is to repurpose with a purpose and with a mission of EMPOWERING veteran employment, REDUCING WASTE, and STRENGTHENING the shared civil-military understanding.


  • Emily attended one university while attending ROTC at another university and what it was like to bounce between those two environments.
  • She attended an entrepreneurship program at her university and then, with her sister, applied for a social entrepreneurship program, which DELL Computers sponsored.
  • Emily shares her story of serving as a CEO and an active duty officer. To help her keep focused, she looks at each task and determining if it directly contributes to the Sword and Plough Mission.
  • Time management and understanding her limits has enabled Emily to build a team that makes running Sword and Plough possible.
  • Emily shares her experience of working in the DELL leadership lab and what it was like to go through a program like that, including working with her mom to develop the first prototype.
  • She advises designers to not be afraid to build the first, imperfect prototype. When it comes to marketing, Emily recommends that people not be afraid to make an “ask,” to reach out to those people that can help you.

Resources for this episode:

Answers for the BIG 5

  • One action to take now: Reach out to someone you trust and share your idea.
  • One thing to learn:  Time management
  • Favorite Resource: A board of advisors to bounce ideas off of and to help guide the directions
  • Favorite book: How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein
  • One thing to enjoy outside of work:  Spending time with family and friends.

How to reach Emily.


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