Reformation CEO Hali Borenstein MBA ’13 speaks with students about business journey, sustainable practices

Jan. 25, 2023, 12:53 a.m.

Reformation CEO and Stanford alumna Hali Borenstein MBA ’13 spoke with the Stanford TAMID Group about her personal and career development, from consulting at Bain & Company to her graduate years at Stanford to her current position at Reformation, a popular sustainable apparel store.

TAMID Group is a series of chapters on college campuses in the United States and around the world that trains students and alumni to consult and advise Israeli companies. The Daily spoke with Julia Brand ’25, club president, and marketing director Stella Rose Meier ’25 about why they chose to invite Borenstein to speak at Stanford. They said that in addition to being fans of the brand, they felt that Borenstein was a great model of ethical entrepreneurship.

“Not only does [Reformation] strive to make a profit, but it also has socially beneficial goals,” Brand said. “It’s a really admirable company, because I think students, including me, want to make an impact on the world through business in a positive way. And I think Reformation is truly an amazing example of a company that does that.”

Brand added that Reformation’s success as a “leader in sustainability and fashion” is proof that sustainable methods can result in business success.

Meier echoed Brand, referencing the Hebrew saying “Tikkun Olam,” which means “repair of the world.” “[Borenstein] really keeps that core to her business model,” Meier said. “She repeatedly mentioned throughout the conversation today how she’s not willing to compromise on sustainability.”

Borenstein discussed her experience consulting and her time at Stanford. While she was a political science major as an undergraduate, she chose to pursue an MBA at Stanford) to find connections in order to enter the consulting industry.

Borenstein encouraged students to focus on potential networking opportunities and extracurricular activities. She encouraged them to take opportunities to travel, referencing a trip she took with friends to Russia, as adventures and the people they meet at Stanford will be with them for the rest of their lives. Studying “should not be at the expense of trying new things,” said Borenstein. 

Borenstein answered students’ questions, including those addressing potential conflicts between profit and regulating overproduction. Borenstein said regulation is needed in the apparel industry to prevent overproduction and create a circulating campaign for new frontiers of fashion. 

According to Borenstein, Reformation as a brand has prioritized sustainable practices as a baseline for their business model, researching various approaches to remaining environmentally friendly.

“I also liked hearing her perspectives on how business can drive the transition to a circular economy, but how regulation also may be necessary,” Brand said. “I thought her points on leading with integrity, while also striving for excellence, really resonated with me.”

Borenstein pointed to the brand’s active wear collection as an example. They launched their collection in 2021 after months of delays, since they found a more eco-friendly and better quality material. While that was not a popular choice for investors, it allowed Reformation to remain consistent with their values, Borenstein said.

She left students with the following words as they continue to embark on their academic journeys: “keep asking questions and enjoy this time.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Stella Rose Meier’s last name. The Daily regrets this error.

Kyla Figueroa ‘24 is the former Vol. 260–262 Managing Editor for The Grind, the 263 Screen DE for Arts & Life, and a staff writer for News. Throw pitches and questions her way — kfigueroa ‘at’

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