Why Sundial Brands CEO Cara Sabin doesn’t like the term BIPOC

Cara Sabin, CEO of Sundial Brands (which includes SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, and Nyakio), takes our career questionnaire.

Why Sundial Brands CEO Cara Sabin doesn’t like the term BIPOC
[Illustration: James Birks]

What’s your best habit, and what’s your worst?
I’ve heard some people say my laugh is infectious, so I guess that’s a nice habit to have. My worst [is that] it’s difficult for me to stop and smell the roses.


What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?
I try to physically change my energy. If I can, I’ll go for a walk, or if I have more time, I’ll bike. That clears my mind and allows me to think more freely.

Did you have a career fork in the road?
When I decided to [let my hair] go natural, I stepped into my authentic self. I approached my career with a sharper focus, purpose, and intention. Ultimately, I believe that decision led me to this role, as the CEO of Sundial Brands.

What advice would you give your younger self?
You’re doing great, kid!


Is there a buzzword you never want to hear again?
BIPOC. No one I know who would technically be classified as “BIPOC” uses this term. It feels like a convenient way to “other” people, so I don’t care for it.

How do you unplug?
[I] disconnect from social media, email, and texts, and live in the moment.

What’s the advice you’re glad you ignored?
For a woman to feel whole, you have to have children. I love being an auntie, both real and “play,” and a stepmother.


What’s always in your bag?
My grandfather used to give me $2 bills, so I always have one in my bag.

Do you have a work uniform?
During the pandemic, I became a slipper- and comfy-shoe connoisseur. Thank goodness you can’t see feet on Zoom calls.

4 Favorite Instagram Accounts

Do you have a style icon?
Diana Ross, circa 1980, from her self-titled album, Diana. She has a confident, effortless, modern yet timeless style. I aspire to that level of coolness and longevity.


Do you have a favorite object in your office?
A double-hinged frame with pics of me and my mom from 1976 that used to sit on my grandmother’s desk.

What is your biggest indulgence?
Regular manis and pedis.

Do you have a favorite form of exercise?
I’m an avid cyclist. I have a custom Trek road bike. In terms of gear, Varlo, Rapha, and Pearl Izumi are some of my favorite brands.


What TV show are you mid-binge on?
Our Kind of People. The casting alone is brilliant.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
Questlove Supreme. I’m a real musichead, so it’s fun to hear [hosts] Ahmir, Phonte, and Laiya nerd out with an amazing array of guests.

Do you have a “get pumped” song?
The Roots’ “Rising Up.”


Is there a meeting you never miss?
Any meeting related to talent planning.

Do you have a mantra?
Be intentional with your energy.