“I was prepared for everything:” Highlights from Creative Careers Week in Arts & Humanities

April 23, 2024

How does a Film degree prepare you to launch a company that became a household name? 

As part of Creative Careers week in the Division of Arts & Humanities, Jill Foley (Film ‘00) returned to campus on April 3 to speak with Dean Sara Guyer. Foley explained how the skills she learned at Cal have served her every step of the way: from her first post-college job with a North Bay theater company to co-founding and serving as VP of Apparel for Peloton.

Foley’s public speaking skills and ability to think on her feet — honed in small seminar classes and her Dramatic Arts minor at Berkeley — led her first to law school and then to a career as an attorney for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services and Sanctuary for Families. 

But her work in the public sector on behalf of vulnerable children was as heartbreaking as it was fulfilling, and in 2013 she pursued an opportunity to launch an apparel brand for Peloton, then a scrappy startup led by her husband John Foley. At Peloton, she explained, she often found herself as the only woman in a boardroom.

“They're all 60-year-old men who’ve been in business for 40 years. I was an actress, and then a lawyer, and now here I am building an apparel brand from scratch. I'm trying to show them how I'm going to take this business to a 300 million top line by 2025, and they're peppering me with questions. But in my time at Cal I learned to get prepared, so I was prepared for everything.”

Division of Arts & Humanities