Vivian Weyll: Founder & CEO, Viv Storms Fine Jewelry & Joie de Viv

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My Admission Statement: I’m Vivian Weyll (formerly known as Vivian Storms), I’m the CEO and Founder of Viv Storms Fine Jewelry and upcoming fine jewelry line Joie de Viv. Like so many women today, I’ve worn many hats and held many roles including founder, designer, serial entrepreneur, explorer, risk taker, cinephile, foodie, art aficionado, divorcee, and proud mother. These life experiences have all contributed to my discovery of new loves, passions, some heartaches, but always a unique joie de vivre completely my own. 32 years old and inspired by life’s many unique journeys and joys, I was inspired to create a sustainable fine jewelry brand for the modern woman who is sexy, desirable, and complex. More than simply jewelry, Joie De Viv is a deeply personal labor of love meant to inspire, uplift, empower, and transform the world for the better while making it a more beautiful place.

How did you get into the industry?

I was a successful executive in the art world for over 10 years. When I decided to become involved with jewelry, I was married to an artist who was also the main artist I was publishing. So, fascinated by his artwork and its potential, I challenged myself to find a way to turn his sculptures into wearable art and set out to accomplish this feat despite the countless individuals who thought it impossible. After 3 years of development and countless trial and error, I was able to create an extremely unique type of fine art jewelry never before seen by transforming his large crystal sculptures into pieces of wearable fine art. It was at that moment that I knew I was on the right path. Ultimately however, I decided to leave my old jewelry brand behind to forge a new path and brand for myself following our divorce.

Any emerging industry trends?

Value and innovation are at the forefront of today’s jewelry business. Direct-to-consumer brands are coming out on top in terms of value since their approach involves the exclusion of middlemen and cost-effective models which ultimately save money while buying beautiful, high-quality and luxurious jewelry. For my brand, Joie De Viv, we also implement innovation that focuses on lab-created diamonds using the most advanced technology and ethically sourced materials at great prices.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The world is filled with unethically sourced, poorly made jewelry. The diamond industry is as dirty as it gets. It’s time we make a change and technology is now allowing us to do so with lab created diamonds. We aim to make a powerful shift in the industry by offering traceable, ethical, sustainable, chic, and beautiful everyday jewelry that is accessible and affordable to everyone.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Joie de Viv was actually born from the most amazing moment of liberation. I was going thru a very difficult divorce and trying to put my life back together when I realized I was doing it all wrong. Sometimes the best thing to do is to accept that something is over, start again and do it better! When I decided to close Viv Storms Fine Jewelry and create a completely new jewelry line, which would now be focused and based on my personal values and experiences, I felt truly free and powerful. I felt I was actually doing what I was meant to be doing and that type of empowerment is my biggest inspiration. Joie de Viv is the embodiment of this reality; the life of adventure, of new beginnings, of discovered landscapes, terrains, and new loves. Inside the DNA of Joie De Viv also lies a deep love for the history, culture, and style of Parisienne splendor. The entire brand will move forward always keeping in mind this inspiration and raison d’être.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We will be launching 6 collections representing 6 journeys inspired by my constant search of self-discovery and new beginnings. Each collection is meant to be a part of the everyday and is drawn directly from life experiences as a citizen of the world, lover of fashion and culture, and my own personal liberation. We’ll also be launching an incredible bridal collection featuring 15 engagement ring and wedding band designs, all made with 100% traceable and ethically sourced lab created diamonds.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

With my previous company, I always wanted to create something with my ex-husband’s artwork that more people would be able to afford so I worked very hard for 3 years to create Viv Storms Fine Jewelry, which was the very first Jewelry line of its kind. We launched on August 2nd, 2018 and within 7 hours, we had over 400 orders. During the first year of the line we sold over 3000 items and we were constantly backordered because we couldn’t produce the products fast enough to satisfy the demand.

By having a strong executive background with a degree in communications and forte in marketing, I work very closely with my marketing team to insure the success of the business. I’m aware however, that a successful business takes a lot more than just good marketing. It’s about the product first and foremost, the customer journey and experience and the team working every day to bring it all together.

Furthermore, I believe in going above and beyond the industry standards when it comes to sourcing our materials ethically and responsibly. Our exceptional selection of certified lab created diamonds, precious stones, and top-grade metals are free of harm and full of charm. We've gone to great lengths to guarantee that they're not only conflict-free, but that our suppliers adhere to internationally recognized labor, trade, and environmental standards. These practices cannot be overlooked in today’s market as more and more individuals are taking environmental and ethical best-practices to heart.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I believe jewelry should be luxurious, fun, ethical, and a part of your everyday. That’s what we want our customers to experience. Our inspiration is drawn from the joyous moments in life that transcend the mundane. We create timeless pieces using only the finest materials, and pair that with ethical, environmentally conscious practices that we can proudly stand beside. We aren't just producing essentials, we're producing elegant necessities for the modern woman. We empower women to create beautiful collections that echo their individual journeys, each unique piece reflecting a moment to remember and a moment to cherish.

Career advice to those in your industry?

My advice would be to embrace your personal journey and draw inspiration from your life experiences & passions. I’ve learned that it is important to find joy in everything you do. Life can be challenging sometimes, but those challenges make you stronger and help you grow if you can see the opportunity in them. Look at the bright side of things and don’t ever give up. If you believe in something, allow it to happen. You are in control of your own reality and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!

What do I do best?

I can dream up and envision new ventures at the blink of an eye! Imagining where I would like to be and then moving towards manifesting that vision is my strongest attribute.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Perseverance and vision has allowed me to continuously move in the direction of my desires.

What are my aspirations?

On a personal level, I would like to reach an even greater state of ease and inner-peace in every aspect of my existence. In business, I am looking to become the world-wide leader in direct to consumer fine jewelry.

My Biggest Success?

My biggest success was rediscovering my sense of self and reinvesting in myself first and foremost. Investing all of my time and effort in caring and tending to others, in wanting to please them, led me to lose my focus and drive in life and had me heading in a direction opposite to what I desired. I remembered that if I wasn’t taking care of myself and putting myself ahead of others, then I really didn’t have much to offer them or myself.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I moved to the US at age 21 to attend film school when I met my ex-husband who at the time was a starving artist filled with potential. I was a successful actress in Brazil at that time and my plan was to go to school and head back to Brazil to keep acting and eventually direct. I became pregnant and gave up on my actress/director career to do everything in my power to build-up my ex-husband’s artwork and status as an artist to the level that in my eyes, he was supposed to be at. Pregnant, struggling to pay $700 in rent and working 24/7, I took over managing his career and started working towards building his exposure through social media, and every all possible marketing channel available including placing his work in fine art galleries world-wide.

My Motto?

Be true to yourself.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Oprah Winfrey

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Miami, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My Dyson hairdryer! Nothing blows hot air like this thing! Rocket power in the palm of my hand! (And great hair drying ability as well!).

My Current Passions?

Learning to cook homemade pasta albeit at the scrutiny of my Italian-Canadian significant other! I purchased multiple pasta making books and went straight for the one entitled “Mastering Pasta”. He didn’t approve but that’s me! Aim for the top and believe I can do it!

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Create something new.

Thought of the Day: How can I take this to the next level?

Action of the Day: Get up and get the blood flowing!

Deed of the Day: Hold the door open for someone.

Tip of the Day: Appreciate everything you have, always.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Going to the beach.

Favorite breakfast restaurant?

Morgan’s

Favorite Breakfast meal – White Mocha & Butter Croissant

Favorite Restaurant – Pummarola Pizzeria Napoletana

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Waking up

10:00 AM – Arriving at the office

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Heading to lunch – Beaker and Gray Wynwood

7:00 PM - Cooking Dinner

11:00 PM – Sipping tea before bed

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

To get thru the day – Water (8 glasses)

At the end of the day – Wine (1 or 2 glasses)

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Whatsapp/@jayshetty

What should everyone try at least once?

Skydiving

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Italy

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Patrick Cahill: Founder, #twiceasnice Recruiting

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My Admission Statement: I am an Entrepreneur. I have a passion for creating value while overcoming the resulting growth challenges. I am an idea generator (sometimes to a fault) and purposely surround myself with focused colleagues that help channel my energy. I’ve started three businesses since college and have sold the first two. I’m ‘all in’ with the third, #twiceasnice Recruiting, and have never been more excited about the potential of one of my businesses.

How did you get into the industry?

Before I sold my last business, beep! Directed Voicemail, my work allowed me to spend years as a marketing and sales advisor across many recruiting firms, including several of the largest in the country, and I was fascinated by both how highly fragmented the space is and how standardized the contracting model had become. I eventually could not shake the need to make a dent by doing recruiting twice as nice... or, at least a little different. My first day of truly being in ‘the industry’ was the day #twiceasnice recruiting launched.

Any emerging industry trends?

The industry is changing and it’s not. There are over 20,000 recruiting and staffing agencies in the United States – the old model continues to work for many. At the same time, there’s consolidation occurring around a lot of the technology that supports, and at times, competes with the historical model. #twiceasnice is a hybrid that leverages the best of both worlds – a service firm focused on utilizing our process and technology to find exact fit.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

There is tremendous opportunity in showing companies there is a better, less expensive way to work with a recruiting firm. The challenge is getting in front of busy professionals, establish trust, and get buy-in before they move on to hearing out a competitor that works in a more standard manner.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I have always disliked inefficiency. #twiceasnice Recruiting is a perfect example of how much I strive to improve process and generate value for all parties. We’re a growing organization, currently a team of 30, with a vision of continued growth to provide value to more clients, team members, and candidates.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Growth. Lot’s of growth.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

Our success is the result of a compelling, succinct value proposition, our ability to execute the claim, and our experience in being able to deliver it over the phone, at scale. These factors will continue to be the primary driver of growth for the foreseeable future.

Your most difficult moment at the Business?

As a small, growing services firm, I have a new ‘most difficult’ moment monthly. We are purposely pushing ourselves in almost all areas at all times. We work to uncover difficult moments as they can be breakthroughs to greater success.

The moments when we bump up against capacity issues or have to slow our investment in growth activities to allow cash flow to catch up are particularly challenging for me to process as they are examples of growth limiting growth (in a way) and reminders that I have room to improve as a planner. Frustrating!

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I always love seeing our post-search surveys come back with feedback of how impressed the client was with the thoroughness of our research, quality of our submittals, and speed in which we were able to complete the search. That’s the ideal experience and what we strive for with every search across our hundreds of clients.

How do you motivate others?

The team does more motivating of each other than I can claim to do. I have the luxury of getting to work with a diverse set of dedicated, ethical colleagues that I genuinely believe work hard to help each other succeed – not because I’ve motivated them to do so. My job is to keep finding more great colleagues!

Career advice to those in your industry?

Your time is limited. Focus your energy on clients that respect the hard work you do and with firms that invest in the tools and processes that set you up for success. Unfortunately, in the recruiting industry, this combination can feel difficult to find at times. It does exist.

What do I do best?

Multiplayer Goldeneye on Nintendo 64. I have not been beat since 1998. Bring it.

What makes me the best version of myself?

My wife.

What are my aspirations?

I love the challenge and excitement of growing a business. I hope to continue doing so for a long time.

My Biggest Success?

I’m optimistic that I’ve yet to see my biggest success and when I do, I’ll also recognize it as the culmination of so many successes and failures along the way and only possible by the friends, family, and colleagues that have supported me.

My Most Challenging Moment?

What I’ve learned from the most challenging moments to date is that if you’re not willing to advocate for yourself, no one else will. I’ve also learned, sometimes it’s better to keep the big picture in mind and move on. I’m still learning the balance.

My Motto?

“Don’t live by a motto”

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I have many role models. My parents were the originals and still are – shining examples of the American Dream while always being there for me.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

If I didn’t enjoy my work as much as I did, then the desire to travel would be motivation enough to keep me at it. My wife teases that every place I go is my new favorite. Paris and Tokyo keep pulling me back. At the same time, I can’t get enough of RVing from one National Park to the next.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist from Spotify. Beyond that, I’m not a big object/product kind of guy.

My Current Passions?

Talking about business. Travel. Comedy. Music. Squash. Sailing. Growing #twiceasnice Recruiting.

Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Boston: It’s walkability.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Making my daughters pancakes on Sunday morning at home. New England sourced maple syrup required.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Heading to play squash.

10:00 AM – My third sales appointment of the day.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

I usually eat a homemade salad looking out at Boston’s skyline from our office at 1 Bacon Street.

7:00 PM - Negotiating bedtime terms with a 2 year old.

11:00 PM – I sleep now. Zzzz.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I’m not sure how I’m physically able to drink as much water as I do, but I drink a LOT of ice cold water all day long. Like, a weird amount.

What should everyone try at least once?

Adventure.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In a new city.

My Pic of the Day: In Patagonia, this photo was at the end of one the most exciting, scenic, and scary rides of my life. It also served as an amazing reminder of how impressive my wife is!

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What Else to Know?

Learn about #twiceasnice Recruiting.

Some self-reported details on the entrepreneurial journey Patrick Cahill has taken

Skip Rozin: Journalist & Author

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My Admission Statement: As neither a baby boomer nor a member of the greatest generation, I fit into no neat package. I have written about travel, sports, business, and the environment for publications including Audubon, Harper’s and Time magazines, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, but am not a sports writer, travel writer or environmentalist. For nearly fifty years I have sought good themes to turn into readable articles, stories and books. I honed my skills on local papers that have been sold to large chains or just plain vanished. In today’s radically different news landscape the work that journalists do is as important as ever and yet is deeply undervalued, mixed in with flashes of rumor and opinion on social media. One can only hope that the Internet will spawn more sources of strong, independent reporting, inviting the work of responsible, freelance writers. - www.skiprozin.com.

How did you get into the industry? 

My early teens were so devoid of interests that I sought a radical change upon entering the University of Miami. I presented myself to the freshman football coach though I had never played any sport; naiveté suggested that pushing people around a football field was something anyone could do. The coach assessed my 144-pound frame and pointed me to the cheerleading squad…or the school newspaper. I opted for the latter, liked it and have worked as a reporter ever since.

Inspiration for becoming a journalist, and your vision for your future writing endeavors?

Early inspiration came from movies like “Deadline—USA” with Humphrey Bogart, but the real hook occurred years later when I joined the Miami Herald. That city room was redolent of newspaper authenticity. We had a slot man who issued commentaries on the staff’s work from the hub of the copy desk with the vigor of a carnival barker, a one-armed-columnist and war hero, a police reporter whose friendship with judges reduced staff speeding tickets 10-to-20-miles-an-hour, and award-winning journalists who always had time to assist a struggling “subcub,” as I at 20 was known. Our daily task—collecting facts to produce articles that would magically appear within hours in a newspaper warm from the presses—so thrilled me that I have aimed to repeat it ever since, and shall continue to in whatever venue exists for contemporary reporting.

Your most difficult moment during your career? (and what did you learn?)

It took me three years to research and write my first commissioned book; I remember my pride when I turned in those 390 finished pages. Then came the publisher’s reaction: my manuscript marked with valuable and supportive edits, but also a letter ridiculing my effort. They seemed at odds, but I could focus only on that letter; I was crushed. Weeks later, meeting with my agent, he advised me to ignore the letter and follow the line-edit to produce the best book I could. I did, and months later the book was published to largely positive reviews. My lesson from that experience was to act on useable criticism and ignore the rest on the way to producing good work.

Career advice to those just starting out as a writer and/or journalist? 

Much as the world of journalism has changed since I earned my first byline in 1961, the fundamental rules have not: conduct thorough research and double-check all facts. What has changed most is the nature of venues to practice the trade, especially for those who wish to cover a broad spectrum of stories rather than becoming specialists. I preferred the former, took pride in being a general-assignment reporter, but that’s harder today. I advise those starting out to pick a specific field and learn to cover it as thoroughly as possible, and keep facts separate from opinions.

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My Biggest Success? 

I moved to New York in 1964 to establish myself as a writer with enough savings to last a year, the time I assumed it would take to start selling what I wrote. After seven years of my fiction and non-fiction being rejected, I sold my first article to Audubon magazine, followed by my first commissioned assignment.

In December of 1971, aboard a flight heading for Alaska to cover the Coast Guard’s automating its lighthouses, I had this immense feeling of success: not only had I sold my first article, but a national magazine was paying me to fly cross-country to research an article. It was the beginning of forty-eight years of writing books, stories and articles, but I look back fondly on that as the first time I felt like a professional writer, and I loved it.

My Most Challenging Moment?  

On a March morning in 1988 I sat in the waiting room of a sonogram clinic near New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital while my wife was being examined to insure that all was right with our second child. I was 46 years old, and had embraced parenthood hesitantly; as a freelance writer, finances were a constant concern. But one child proved to be really good, permitting me to inch forward in expanding our little family. That morning I leaned that our second child would be triplets, and I panicked. On the bus back to our West Side apartment I abruptly got off. I do not recall my excuse and it doesn’t matter; I had to be alone.

To what end, I do not know. Fleeing was not a realistic option, yet somewhere in my consciousness that loomed as incredibly attractive; I was that close to panic. Get me out of here rang in my head. Now! At some point—it seemed like hours but was closer to 20 minutes—I took control of my fears and headed back to our apartment, to try and cope with our family doubling in size. That November my wife gave birth to three healthy babies who are now three smart young adults, dispensing love, good company and often sound advice.

How close did I come to running away that March morning? Honestly, I’m not so sure. I’m just glad I overcame the urge.

My Motto? 

First there's write, then rewrite. As good as you make the first. make the second effort better, an attitude that also works in life.

 My Favorite People/Role Models? 

I value writers who seize on universal themes and turn them into good fiction and nonfiction. Notable among them are John Hersey and Nevil Shute, literary craftsmen largely forgotten in today’s infatuation with fashion and glitz.

What Else to Know? 

I recently published my fourth book, The View from Apartment Four: On Loving and Leaving New York. It is by far the most personal and takes me from the streets of Miami and New York City to the shores of Cape Cod. Like so many writers before me, I have written it as a love letter to living and leaving New York, and the sweeping changes of America as reflected in the evolution of one family's life.

Bio: Skip Rozin is a journalist with 50 years of experience, on staff and as a freelance reporter, in wide-ranging roles. Along the way he has written four books, including One Step from Glory about athletes on the fringe of professional sports (1979; Simon & Schuster) and The Name of the Game; The Business of Sports (1994; John Wiley & Sons). From 1986 until 1990 he edited The Hunter’s Whistle, a newspaper about gun dogs for The American Kennel Club; from 1997 until 2000 he worked as a writer and television producer for ESPN’s SportsCentury series.

Rozin’s travel articles ran in The New York Times from 1976 through 1985 and the Washington Post from 1984 through 1990. He has also worked as a reporter in the field for Time Magazine. His general readership articles, covering such subjects as the use of anabolic steroids, strip mining in Eastern Kentucky, the devilish behavior of coffee vending machines and raising triplets have appeared in the Wall Street JournalHarpers, ParentsAudubon, BusinessWeek and more than a dozen anthologies.

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Neeti Mehta: Co-founder & SVP, Brand Strategy & Culture Architect, Automation Anywhere

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My Native Admission Statement: I believe in technology that liberates people from the constraints of monotonous work – and I helped pioneer an intelligent digital workforce that can automate repetitive, mundane tasks, freeing up workers and unleashing human creativity. I’m passionate about making work more human.

Bio: Neeti is a co-founder and senior vice president, leading global brand and culture initiatives across Automation Anywhere—pioneer of the intelligent Digital Workforce and the world’s leading Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform. She is one of only 5 women globally who have founded companies worth over 2 billion dollars. An avid strategist, she brings over 20 years of business management, technology marketing and entrepreneurial experience from a wide variety of industries. Neeti is a visionary and a vocal advocate of “bot ethics” in a world moving decisively towards artificial intelligence (AI) based and disruptive technologies.

How did you get into the industry?

When Automation Anywhere was founded 16 years ago, robotic process automation (RPA) did not exist as it does today. However, at that time, our company introduced automation technology in the form of software bots that could work alongside humans in a symbiotic relationship within an organization. Manually processing data requires painstaking attention to detail, and can still result in human error. By deploying bots to automate processes, there are near-zero errors and employees are freed up to focus on tasks that highlight their strengths and creativity, something only humans are able to do.

I believe that monotonous, data-intensive tasks are not even well-suited for human workers. Machines are built on logic and can handle complex data processing without a second thought or the need for sleep. Humans, on the other hand, require more stimulating work, or they get bored and can quickly lose focus. We discovered that by utilizing software to shoulder some of this workload, employees could focus on higher-value tasks while increasing productivity and reducing costs for enterprises.

Now, 16 years later, we’re seeing incredible demand for this technology as every facet of our lives becomes digitized – from virtual assistants to intelligent vehicles and productivity apps. New data from Gartner reveals that the RPA market grew more than 63 percent in 2018 and has forecasted that RPA software revenue will reach $1.3 billion in 2019, making it the fastest-growing enterprise software category. RPA has made automation accessible, easy to use and commercially viable and today, businesses are realizing the potential of RPA to drive productivity, increase innovation and transform the future of work.

What opportunities are you seeing in your industry?

The accelerated growth of RPA is driven by higher levels of efficiency and productivity that can now be achieved from intelligent automation, which combines advanced RPA, artificial intelligence (AI) and embedded analytics.  The demand for RPA solutions has seen an extraordinary upward trajectory across all industries, including financial services, insurance, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, telecom, and logistics.

With RPA, higher levels of productivity and customer service can be achieved for a generation of “I-want-it-now” customers. At the same time, automation can provide advantages to organizations facing a rapidly aging global workforce and a shortage of skilled labor in many markets, with many organizations struggling to fill key job functions.

Today, we are already seeing a world in which as RPA becomes faster and easier to scale, and the ROI on becomes greater and quicker to achieve, disrupting traditional technologies, which are increasingly viewed as expensive and complex.

What's next for the Automation Anywhere in the near future?

For automation technology to reach its full potential and usher in the next era of work, it must work for anyone, on any device, at any company – from the largest to the smallest. To provide this scale and ease of access we’re looking to democratize access to RPA, making it easier for teams to collaborate regardless of device, location -  on-premises or in the cloud. Automation delivered to anyone, anywhere – this is the future.

What are you most passionate about?

Having co-founded a company that pioneered the intelligent digital workforce, I’m passionate about the legacy of this technology and continue to help to ensure that RPA is deployed for the benefit of humanity in an ethical manner. My vision for automation technology is one that augments the human enterprise, allowing workers to focus on tasks that they are most passionate about, and ultimately making the combined digital and human workforce greater, together. Every human should be enabled by technology to #gobegreat.

Can you tell me about the most difficult time for Automation Anywhere?

When we launched the company, we knew the potential of the technology was there and believed we had the right vision.  However, early on, the industry was just starting to evolve and we needed to evangelize the advantages of RPA and help create RPA as a separate category. Today, RPA is one of the fastest-growing technology sectors.

What career advice do you have for others in your industry?

Success requires unwavering faith in your vision and terrific leadership. We are just now seeing explosive growth in the RPA industry. What people don’t realize is that we spent more than a decade building up to this point, and in that time, we dealt with countless skeptics who did not understand or believe in our vision of implementing software bots to automate tasks and enhance human workers.

Eric Dezenhall: CEO, Dezenhall Resources

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My Native Admission Statement: I have run a crisis management firm for thirty-two years. My job is to make terrible problems merely bad. My clients are under attack, sometimes rightly, sometimes not – and I am a psychiatrist of sorts who has to navigate them through controversy and scandal. I’m also an author, which keeps me sane because it allows me to control stories in a world where I feel we have such limited control and make sense of a world that isn’t always what it appears. To that end, my most recent book (with Gus Russo), Best of Enemies, is about a CIA officer and KGB agent who were assigned with “turning” each other but they became best friends and ended up bringing down the worst spy in American history, the FBI’s Robert Hanssen. - https://dezenhall.com/

How did you get into the industry?

There really wasn’t an industry when I got into it. I saw that the crisis management discipline had ended up in the public relations industry which is not where it belongs. PR people are essentially publicists who treat crises as communications problems when, in fact, they are conflicts. The damage control field belongs in some combination of management consulting, journalism and psychiatry. The best quote that I’ve come across that I think applies to crisis management is one from Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry: "This is like dogs chasing a rabbit.  When the rabbit wins, he doesn't get to kill the dogs and eat them.  He doesn't get to be a dog.  He just gets to keep being a rabbit."

Any emerging industry trends?

The internet has changed everything because it has shifted the power from the few to the many. There are no referees anymore. Under certain circumstances a band of disorganized aggrieved parties can take down a conglomerate or a government and, contrary to what the PR industry preaches, we are still trying to figure out how to manage it because we certainly can’t control it.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I was a young aide in Reagan’s White House where the press corps hated the president. The office I worked for decided that this hostility was largely intractable and looked for ways to talk over and around the Washington press corps. Prior to that the ethic was that you needed to simply explain your point of view to them and things would work out. A lot of what my firm did was bring that approach from politics into the corporate realm where we were dealing with motivated adversaries not blank slates.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

The current challenge is bringing along a new generation of colleagues who can determine how to exploit new technologies in a practical way that can actually help clients in crisis. The internet certainly plays a role in damage control, but it is both overrated and under-explored at the same time. Social media almost always makes crises worse, not better but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. We have to keep experimenting. I’m also looking for young people who understand the sacrifices and long-term nature of running a very volatile business.

Your most difficult moment at the Business?

My mistakes have fallen into two categories. First, putting trust in the wrong people and thinking that because I’m such a nice and smart guy that my good nature would be rewarded. With a few people that worked out well but with others I think I was naïve and self-deluded. Second, I didn’t fully appreciate how I could become a target for simply taking on controversial clients. I believed so much in what I was doing that I didn’t fully recognize that a lot of people don’t think there is any reason to advocate on behalf of a controversial party; that they should just be burned at the stake and get it over with.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Our best client is a large, publicly-traded company with a clear decision-maker at the helm. When we are relegated to bureaucrats and meetings, we’re in trouble.

How do you motivate others?

I write books and articles and do media interviews where I establish an intellectual basis for what I believe and why I believe it. It’s all out there.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Stop preaching ancient crisis management dogma from nearly forty years ago. I’m tired of hearing about the irrelevant Tylenol tampering case that everybody lies about not to mention meaningless clichés like “change the conversation,” “a crisis is an opportunity,” and “get ahead of the story.”

What do I do best?

I’m best at assessing human behavior as it is, not as I want it to be.

What are my aspirations?

I want to remain active in my business mostly as a counselor and thinker and get away from day to day management where I’m not especially gifted. I’d like to do even more writing and spend more time doing things that are not soul-crushingly stressful.

My Biggest Success?

My family.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Larry David. He says what he thinks and does what he wants.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

The Delaware beach.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I like anything that has the least technology possible.

My Current Passions?

Writing. I’m fooling with my seventh novel and eleventh book. It deals with what happens to a person who is always getting away with things when they are on the receiving end of another person who is always getting away with things.

What do you love most about Your City?

Seeing a presidential motorcade never gets old. If I ever run for president, it will be solely to get through Washington traffic quickly.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Any app involving maps. I like to be sure I know where I am.

What should everyone try at least once?

When asked to apologize for something you said, responding, “I said it and I meant it.”

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

I don’t like getting lost. I like my routines. I’ve had enough uncertainty in life.

My Pic of the Day: This is me with one of my daughter’s alpacas, Twombly. When you spend as much time around tough characters as I do it’s important to hang with some fluffy creatures, too.

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Saarah Samadani: CEO, New Bloom Media

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My Native Admission Statement: My name is Saarah Samadani and I am a digital influencer on my platform @BeautyMomme and I’m also CEO/Founder of my digital media company, New Bloom Media. I’m dedicated to educating and empowering women about what they put on and in their bodies.  I’m very passionate about natural beauty and clean eating using immune-supporting recipes. I take a natural and holistic approach to help them achieve the quality of life that women (and men!) deserve and the joy that comes with it. My passion for wellness stems from my own experiences in ensuring that self-care is made a priority in my life after struggling with an autoimmune disease, the failures of traditional medicine, postpartum anxiety and a drastic need to change my beauty routine to eliminate harsh toxic ingredients.

How did you get into the industry?

It’s interesting how I got into the industry. I’m by trade a computer engineer. After 10 years of being in the industry, I really craved more social interaction, so I started taking classes and got certified in marketing and social media at UCLA. From there, I left engineering and started doing social media for companies in the parenting and wellness spaces (my two favorite things to talk about). From there, I started hosting celebrity, influencer and consumer events in the wellness and parenting spaces as well. I then decided to open my own business, founded New Bloom Media and personally started communicating my passions regarding wellness, clean beauty and parenting on my digital influencer platform Beauty Momme.

Any emerging industry trends?

There are two industry trends I see in both my digital influencer and company platforms. The first one is transparency. The followers on my digital influencer platform, as well as the people who attend my events (whether they are celebrities, influencers, or consumers), they all want transparency. I have to say I’m SUCH a big fan and I truly believe it’s the way brands should be headed. Transparency from ingredient sources, are the claims for the products truly doing what they promise, do they taste good, and if they truly fulfill the needs of the consumers.

The second trend I see is self-care. Oh, gosh I’m so big on self-care and truly believe it is needed for everyone. Self-care used to be looked at as a “spa day” or a “Mani Pedi”. While these two are definitely considered self-care, there are so many ways that individuals can care for themselves. They can be as simple as taking a walk, joining a fitness studio, swapping out that high-sugar breakfast for a high-protein /low sugar one. It’s also going to the doctor to find out the state your body is in. “Listening” to what your mind and body are trying to tell you. Therapy. Life-coaching.  

The list goes on and on. Brands that align themselves in self-care will have a head-start as that is where the industry is headed (especially for women).

Your most difficult moment at the Business?

Learning about the people you should/can work with and who you should not work with. Every business deals with it, and my experience hasn’t been any different. Your team or individuals you choose to partner with have to be mutually beneficial. If they are not, then it can be detrimental to the respective businesses. Collaborations and partnerships should be built on a foundation of trust, and so often I see that trust being demolished. Find the partners and/or team members that lift you up and only want the best for the common goal.

How do you motivate others?

With everything I do… whether it’s my digital influencer platform, my events, or social media, I always try to motivate others by becoming relatable. Relating to others enhances the human experience, and the human relationships you have with others. It can be a vulnerable thing to do at times, because you risk scrutiny and judgement (i.e. unwanted internet trolls). However, I have found that by being relatable to others, I’m able to connect with people and convey my authentic messages that include health, wellness, and clean beauty.

Career advice to those in your industry?

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give someone in any industry is to make sure you read any contracts you sign, and make sure that contracts/agreements are set between you and a respective party before you engage in ANY business relationship. Too often I see ambiguity between people in business, and it’s either because a contract was not read correctly, or because there hasn’t been a contract set in place.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Gratitude. I practice daily journaling of gratitude. I feel like gratitude really helps put things in perspective. Everyone (myself included) has those days where they feel like the world is not on their side, or that things are just horrible because they don’t seem to go your way. I sit down, and remind myself to look at the things I should be grateful for, and it helps me be the best version of myself. It helps me appreciate even more the people that surround me, the things I have, and anything that I’ve experienced that has brought a smile to my face.

My Motto?

One of my favorite people, Maya Angelou wrote “When you know better…you do better”, and that’s something I live by. As people, we’re constantly learning, growing, evolving, and experiencing so many different things. It’s through these that we learn hidden gems about ourselves and the wisdom to navigate through life. I feel that it’s important that when we know something that is better, and it doesn’t matter what it is, then it’s SO important that we act on it and do better.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My favorite products seem to revolve around my passions (that’s a good thing, right). I’m currently obsessed with a few things. For my beauty routine, I’m in love with all of Derma E’s products. They are a clean skincare brand, and from start to finish their products are truly one of a kind. I also am loving Tarte Camera Lights and Action mascara. It’s been a staple in my makeup routine for as long as I can remember. I get tons of compliments on my lashes – and yes they’re mine. As for food, I’m pretty obsessed at the moment with making my own Acai bowls as acai bowls outside the home have a tendency to be loaded with sugars and ingredients I’d like to stay away from. OH! AND something that has changed my health recently are DIM supplements from NOW Brands. DIM is a supplement that helps your body synthesize and metabolize hormones (which is SO important for women).

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

That it is right next to the ocean.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I’m currently loving Acai bowls. But if I wanted to venture out and eat breakfast at a restaurant, I’d have to say Source Café’s avocado toast on flax gluten-free bread.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Just waking up. Depending on the day of the week I could be on a bike at SoulCycle.

10:00 AM – Enjoying email conversations with brands I love.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Favorite lunch spot would have to be my kitchen! I know it sounds corny, but I really love the meals I make. Lunch time is typically the time I get to enjoy some of my left-overs from the night before.

7:00 PM - We are typically finishing up dinner and getting ready to get the kiddos to bed.

11:00 PM - Sometimes I’m asleep in bed, and other nights I’m up finishing emails, or prepping for events I may have coming up.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Water. I always have to have water on me or near me to drink.

What should everyone try at least once?

To do something that they’re afraid of.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

I enjoy getting lost in my thoughts during fitness classes. Someone once told me that meditating doesn’t have to necessarily be you in a room in silence. Meditation can be allowing your mind to wander and come back during times of intense physical fitness, travelling, and so many other things.

What Else to Know?

I host two big events every year. One is called Bloom Summit, and the second is called the Celebrity Red CARpet Event.

Bloom Summit is a day retreat for celebrities, influencers and consumers to immerse themselves in self-care, health, fitness, and beauty. The event supports the importance of self-care and provides guests with the opportunity to recharge in a fun relaxed environment.

The Celebrity Red CARpet Event is a day event for celebrities, influencers and consumers to come out for a day of fun with their family and enjoy meeting new brands and learning about the latest and greatest baby and child items on the market today.

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Jay Klauminzer: CEO, Raise

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My Native Admission Statement: Hi there, I’m Jay Klauminzer, the CEO of Raise, a technology and mobile payments platform that saves you money on every purchase. I’m obsessed with building experiences that make consumers’ lives easier. Before Raise, I held top leadership roles at DoorDash and Groupon, where I helped grow both businesses to make seamless food delivery and online shopping deals something that all people have access to, no matter where you live. I currently reside in Chicago where I’m on the never-lasting quest to find the best deep dish pizza.

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always had a passion for consumer services, previously leading sales and operations teams at Groupon, then serving as Vice President at DoorDash. What really intrigued me about Raise is how it is transforming the gift card marketplace into a money saving mechanism, while  also creating opportunities for merchants to engage with new and existing customers. Gift cards aren’t simply for gifting anymore. They have traditionally been pieces of plastic you give to a loved one when you don’t know what to get them. Now, Raise has changed that experience so shoppers can also purchase gift cards for their own use, really just as a payment mechanism, saving money or earning cash back along the way. It’s similar to being able to load multiple offers directly on your credit card. But with Raise, you have access to savings from hundreds of retailers, accessed directly from your mobile phone.

Any emerging industry trends?

Consumers more often than ever before are looking for convenience and a single place to shop, so a unified wallet that allows one-tap access to many brands will be where consumers migrate. That’s definitely part of the reason why our members come back to Raise on a regular basis — they’re checking our app for instant discounts at places they already shop.

The changing face of loyalty is a big trend in retail, too, particularly as it relates to mobile payments. Similar to what Starbucks is doing with its mobile payments and loyalty reward program through its app, Raise is helping brands drive foot traffic by integrating technology that’s already in place. We’re really inspired to see the recent growth in popularity of mobile payments, like the fact that Alipay has more than a billion global users, and we think that trend will continue. 

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The retail apocalypse is heating up and major legacy retailers are on death watch. Their original consumer promise of convenience, selection, and price has been completely underpinned by online retailers. In recent months, we’ve read about Dress Barn, Diesel, Charlotte Russe and Gymboree all filing for bankruptcy, struggling to stay afloat. In an age where Amazon is increasing its market foothold for everyday purchases, retailers need to find ways to integrate with innovative technology to attract and retain new customers, so they don’t become the next victim of retail shutdowns.

Raise’s in-house technology offers our partner brands unprecedented insights into shopping behavior, both online and offline — which helps prevent them from being another victim of the retail apocalypse. By helping retailers build brand loyalty through rewards, we’re enabling them to easily track performance across channels.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

About $1 billion in gift cards go unused every year, so Raise was launched to help those who have unwanted gift cards take control and get cash back for their cards. Since then, the company has evolved from a gift card marketplace into a mobile payments company, saving its 2.5 million plus members $150 million to date at over 4,000 brands.

My goal for Raise is to continue helping the company transform the traditional gift card experience into a daily-use mobile payments platform, where shoppers can purchase gift cards for their own use, saving money or earning cash back along the way.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

For our consumers, Raise will continue to become a daily use digital wallet. We'll be adding even more of the best retailers to our platform and giving users even more convenient access to discounts on things they buy every day. For retailers, that means access to a large audience of consumers looking to spend their money wisely. We'll continue adding more tools to engage with users in a way that lets retailers track their promotion performance.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

We have a new feature on Raise called Exact Pay, where users can enter the exact amount they’d like to spend on a gift card and earn cash back. For example, when you’re waiting in the checkout line or about to make a purchase online, you can buy a gift card for the exact amount you need on your phone right on the spot, instantly earning cash back for your next purchase. Our goal is to continue to obsess over the checkout and payment process to make it easier for our users to transact while saving money.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

As it relates to difficult moments leading businesses, I’ve learned that the highest performing companies are the ones that aren’t afraid to be bold and make mistakes. This holds true for both multinational companies I’ve worked for, as well as startups working on scaling. I joke often that I used to think 80/20 (the idea that you should make a decision after gathering 80% of the information about it) was the golden rule for making decisions quickly. In a startup that’s trying to change the industry, we have to be comfortable with 60 or 70% of an answer with 10% of the work. That way, you move quickly and get most decisions right. For the mistakes you do make, you can quickly pivot if the data doesn’t prove out. Even if you make a few more mistakes, you end up getting so much more done at a much quicker pace.

From past experience, I’ve found that it’s super important to A/B test everything, even if it’s just for a few days. We’re constantly testing and iterating to optimize the experience for both our consumers and retailers.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Ideally, our members are using Raise to save money every day, checking the app for discounted gift cards before making any purchase — almost like second nature. Along with using our discounted gift cards, members have the opportunity to earn cash back on their purchases using our new Exact Pay feature. They simply enter the exact amount they want to spend on Raise, then we generate a barcode that can be used both in-store and online, and once a purchase is made, they instantly earn cash back towards future purchases. With Exact Pay, members no longer need to buy gift cards in a preset amount, creating a frictionless process for our users while helping them earn cash back rewards.

We want to make the customer experience is as smooth as possible for our members. With Raise, our members never have to worry about forgetting their gift cards at home, since they’re all accessible through the Raise Mobile Wallet app. Also, if our members receive a gift card they don’t particularly want, they can sell it on our marketplace and get something they really want instead.

How do you motivate others?

I strive to create a culture where employees can share their insights without holding back. Early in my career, I definitely tended to micromanage more than I should have. However, I’ve learned along the way that giving people space not only develops employees faster but they often come up with better answers after being given the flexibility to think deeper with that given autonomy. I think my job as CEO is to give guidance and help with strategy, then get out of the way.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Integrity and humbleness are two of the most under-tested skills in an employee. Doing the right thing, being open when you make mistakes, asking for help early are essential skills in employees working for a company that has to move fast in a constantly changing industry. In addition, push yourself to always have a growth mindset. A piece of advice I often give is that, once you stop learning in your role, you either need more responsibility or a new job. Continuously building on skills is not only assuring you of career growth, but is also incredibly fulfilling.

What do I do best?

I take fragmented pieces of information and put them together to tell a story - this helps in both solving problems (with friends/family as well as in business) and articulating a vision.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I think being humble and taking feedback to heart has gotten me here. Combined with having a growth mindset, this has enabled me, both personally and professionally, to become a better version of myself. To be clear, I’m still a work in progress.

What are my aspirations?

Personally, I want to continue to become a better dad for my two girls. It’s so important to me tohelp them become great people and leaders in this world.

In business, I want to continue working at places and leading teams that are creating or changing industries. I find it incredibly rewarding to challenge the status quo and do great things.

My Biggest Success?

I helped bring two amazing young women into this world.

My Motto?

In life and in business, you have an obligation to dissent. It’s not just a “nice to have” - it’s an obligation. If something doesn’t look, feel, or smell right, stand up and yell. This helps build deeper and more honest relationships and can help companies move faster.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

In business, it still is Steve Jobs for his insatiable growth and disruptive mindset. Pushing myself to “think different” and push the status quo is challenging but rewarding.

Personally, my mother is always my goalpost for being a better person. She raised 2 children while running a company, yet taught us to always be good, take care of those you love, and love the world around you. I got my “assume good intent” mindset from my mom.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

My favorite tourist spot in the entire world is Lake Como in Italy. It’s a literal postcard of beauty… and the food is great too.

My ideal place to live in still London. I spent 2 years there and met some of my best friends there, plus it is a great place to raise children. There’s so much to do and they really are kid friendly.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I also use my Echo Show daily. I have it in the kitchen, so I listen to music while cooking and constantly refill my Amazon Fresh cart when I am running low on something.

My Current Passions?

I am an avid reader, vacillating between fiction and business reading. Scott Galloway is my current favorite business author and I’m a sucker for James Patterson books as easy reads on a rainy day.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Be better than I was yesterday. Getting 1% better daily compounds quickly.

Thought of the Day: If you have a negative outlook, you will lead a negative life. Find the good in things.

Action of the Day: Force time to think. It’s too easy to get bogged down in meeting after meeting and leaders need time to decompress, make sense of everything that’s happened, and plan for the future.

Deed of the Day: Smile at strangers

Tip of the Day: Assume positive intent in all situations

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Chicago is an amazing town in the summer. Beyond the obvious beaches and Lake Michigan, there are festivals every weekend with great live music and food.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

My morning routine is a Soylent Cafe Mocha shake - it’s fast, fulfilling, and has the equivalent of a cup of coffee in caffeine. What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Waking up, checking emails and the overnight news and sports scores.

10:00 AM - Already buried in meetings, either 1:1s or business updates.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Chicago Athletic Association’s Cherry Circle Room is right down the street, is quiet enough for working meetings, and has a killer burger.

7:00 PM - Just finishing at the gym, starting to cook dinner.

11:00 PM - Hopefully sleeping

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I have about 2 cups of coffee throughout the morning, then guzzle water the rest of the work day. To unwind, I may have a cocktail, either bourbon or vodka soda.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Twitter is my go-to for news. I follow accounts ranging the spectrum of political bias so I stay well informed. On Instagram, ESPN is probably the account I engage most with.

What should everyone try at least once?

Visit a country that speaks a language of which you don’t know a word. You’ll be amazed at how lonely it feels at first but then fulfilled when you make it work.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In any new city. My favorite travel experiences have been unplanned trips down roads in foreign cities.

My Pic of the Day: These two lovely ladies brighten all my days. They just entered the 2nd and 3rd grades, respectively.

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Dawn Fable: Co-Founder, Press Pause

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My Native Admission Statement: With 3 healthy children, a wonderful husband, and full time career, Dawn is blessed and so busy. And she knows how important it is to press pause. “For over 10 years, I suffered from generalized anxiety disorder and I recognized it was starting to take away from being present. I started incorporating a daily CBD regimen into my life and immediately noticed a difference.” She recognized that she wanted to be a part of the CBD movement. From there, Dawn set out as her own personal passion project to deliver a quality product.

In 2011, a group of wonderfully authentic women was assembled for a series of evenings to be recognized as the “one little word club”. Each woman was to choose a word- a word to focus on, internalize, reflect upon and be accountable for as we all went about the daily lives we were uniquely drowning in. Whether it was our careers, marriages, children or the need to keep up with our social media image, we were all overwhelmed and in search of something to hold onto. For one woman, the word was “PAUSE.” It was that word that stood out to this tribe of brave women. We all need a moment of Pause when life starts to spin wildly out of control and so The Press Pause Project was born. - https://www.presspauseproject.com/

How did you get into the industry?

My husband and I had invested in a CBD company that sells raw product and provides manufacturing of CBD products. At the time, this was merely an opportunistic play and knew nothing about CBD. As time went on and I got more involved with the company I was hearing more and more first hand stories of how CBD had changed the lives of others. I had struggled and was medicated with generalized anxiety for 20+ years and someone recommended I try CBD to help. I did and it changed my life. I felt it was my calling to share my story with others and provide education and a quality product to Moms and women around CBD.

Any emerging industry trends?

Everywhere you turn, someone new is trying to get into the CBD space. We’re seeing CBD everywhere… Fortune 500 companies, major retailers, CBD In food & beverage, and in so many different industries. The demand for CBD is high and the industry has become more sophisticated in it’s extraction technology, lab testing, medical studies around cannabinoids and emerging businesses in every corner to support the space. Our hope is that there is more education and regulation in ensuring the many CBD brands popping up everywhere are producing quality and safe product to the end user.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Yes, this is very challenging and unregulated industry! There is no barrier to entry which is causing so many unqualified parties to get into the space and capitalize on the demand. There is no governing body to regulate the quality or safety around CBD products. It is very concerning as consumers truly NOT what they are getting. CBD is also being positioned as a miracle ingredient with so many brands making claims and causing a bit of skepticism in the industry as a whole. In addition, there are a number of companies merely trying to capitalize on the demand of CBD and not producing quality product giving the industry a bad rap. Oh, and then there’s the government and big pharma trying to get involved. That’s a whole different subject matter.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Several years ago, a group of my very dear friends was assembled for something to be named “The One Little Word Club.” Very similar to a book club where a group of women could escape the craziness of day to day life and drink copious amounts of wine. We were each to choose 1 word. A word that spoke to us, a word we wanted more of in our lives. Interestingly, in looking around that room of my dear friends, I noticed we all had something in common. From the exterior of beauty, we presented ourselves as graceful and to have our “SH*97%” together. In actuality, we were all drowning if our lives. As moms, as business owners, trying to climb the corporate ladder. With our children, in our marriages, navigating thru health challenges of friends and family as we got older, trying to master the art of parenthood. For one women, the word was PAUSE. It was that moment, the Press Pause Project was born.

What’s next for the Business in the near future?

We have just launched a CBD tea line and hope to gain some traction there as it’s a fabulous and delicious product. We are also focusing on expanding our retail footprint to like minded brick and mortar locations that attract a female audience. We hope to continue to align our selves with intelligent women who attract our vision of self care. We hope to stay true to our mission of giving women Permission to Press Pause. We’re always open for conversations around growth opportunities as long as it’s true to our vision.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

Going after the Mom audience was the best thing we could’ve done. We get Mom’s because we are Moms. Sharing our real, authentic and very raw (not so pretty) struggles in our daily lives has been scary but so rewarding to be relatable to other women.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Torrey and I went into this business as Best Friends and our friendship has evolved with the complication of being business partners. It has not been easy, but we are deeply committed to prioritizing our friendship and mission above all else.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I can’t tell you how many women have reached out to share how much Press Pause CBD has helped them with their daily struggles of anxiety. This is the most rewarding thing we could ask for and makes all the blood sweat and tears worth it. I have been very transparent with my struggles with anxiety which has not been easy. I find so many women are ashamed or still whispering around anxiety as if it’s something they will be judged for. If I can help 1 women by sharing my experiences, struggles our educate around the healing benefits of CBD, it’s all worth it! That’s what I think our customers most appreciate. We get you because we are you!

How do you motivate others?

Sharing our truths- the good, the bad and the ugly!

Career advice to those in your industry?

Surround yourself with an incredible tribe. We are so blessed in our friendships, our networks, our communities who have embraced our successes helped us thru our challenges and been by our side thru thick and thin.

What do I do best?

I have an uncanny ability to laugh at myself and find a sense of humor in most things. This allows me the ability to get others to open up to me by sharing and laughing at my vulnerabilities.

What makes me the best version of myself?

CBD, lots of CBD My sense of humor.

What are my aspirations?

To Press Pause each day to be more present with my family. To continue to help others and spread the movement and mission of self care around women and Moms who try to balance it all.

My Biggest Success?

Motherhood, Marriage and Surviving life this far with 3 kids

My Most Challenging Moment?

A falling out with a business partnership. At that moment, I knew I should’ve listened to my gut, fought for what I believed to be true and for once, looked out for myself. I will do that moving forward I can promise you that.

My Motto?

Every Day is a Gift or one of my faves from my Mom- “You can’t go lower than whale shit”

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My Mom in both personal and business.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

The beach. Any beach anywhere.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Does Botox count?

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end?

Press Pause CBD tea of course!

Current Passions?

I love wine. I love to love. I love to inspire and connect.

My Daily Thoughts: Press Pause.

Goal of the Day: Press Pause.

Thought of the Day: Press Pause.

Action of the Day: Press Pause.

Deed of the Day: Be Kind.

Tip of the Day: Take CBD.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The people!

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Vert Café

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – sleeping.

10:00 AM – pouring myself another coffee.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Vert.

7:00 PM – Snuggling with my kiddos.

11:00 PM – Sleeping.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end

Press Pause CBD tea of course!

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Lauren Simonelli: Co-Founder, ThreeMain

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m Lauren Simonelli, Co-Founder of ThreeMain, an emerging brand of sustainable household cleaning supplies. I’m a tech entrepreneur turned eco-advocate, and an innovation-obsessed problem solver. I’m passionate about living a healthy but balanced lifestyle and giving back to my community. Through my work at ThreeMain, I’m on a mission to make an impact on this world of ours.

How did you get into the industry?

I have worked with my current business partner and ThreeMain CEO, Joe Budzienski, since 2012. In late 2017, we both decided it was time to leave behind the tech space and take on a new challenge. When he approached me with his idea for ThreeMain, I was horrified to learn about the toxic chemicals in the products I used regularly, and how my efforts to recycle were simply not good enough. I am very health conscious, so I was intrigued and inspired to join him in making a greater impact on our planet.

I love developing products and solving problems and with ThreeMain, I’ve been able to do just that -- develop an innovative solution for green cleaning, while making an impact on the ever-growing plastic-waste problem our world faces.   

Any emerging industry trends?

Similarly to the personal care and beauty industries, the household cleaning industry is moving away from toxic chemicals and plastic packaging. While we see effort and progress being made across our space, there is definitely a lot more to be done, and ThreeMain is at the forefront of making those improvements.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The cleaning products industry as a whole has the opportunity to make an impact on the plastic pollution problem by using alternative materials to package. At ThreeMain, we do this through using refillable and reusable aluminum bottles for all our products.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

It was 2017 when we realized the severity of the plastic crisis, and that the cleaning products we used daily were contributing to the problem. With a little research, we also realized that the toxins found in most of those same products were unsafe and harmful to our health, and safer alternatives just didn’t work as well as the toxic stuff. This is what inspired us to found ThreeMain. We did so with three guiding principles in mind – simplicity, sustainability, and effectiveness. All aspects from our formulas to our packaging reflect those three main principles. Our mission is to eliminate the toxins and the plastic in the household cleaning space.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We are ramping up to launch our hand soap in the next ~30 days! Like all our products, our hand soap will be packaged in a refillable, reusable aluminum bottle, and contain absolutely no unsafe or toxic ingredients.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

The most challenging parts of my experience at ThreeMain have been navigating the supply chain and eliminating plastic as much as possible.

As a former tech-entrepreneur, learning the ins and outs of supply chain management and logistics was an entirely new concept.

From a packaging perspective, there were also a lot of challenges as we wanted to be as sustainable and plastic-free as possible. We initially explored using recycled ocean-bound plastic for our bottles but quickly realized that while this approach saves money and takes plastic out of or away from our oceans, it doesn’t prevent it from going right back to where it came from after its single-use.

After several hours and dollars were spent on exploring this, we had to pivot, and thankfully, found our answer with aluminum – it’s refillable AND reusable.

Another challenge we faced was shipping our products safely, while keeping our packaging sustainable. Because eliminating plastic is at the forefront of our mission, bubble wrap or plastic packaging was simply not an option. So, we developed custom boxes for our bottles that eliminate the need for any additional packaging.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Our customers can clean confidently with ingredients they can trust, and without contributing to the plastic crisis.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Stay true to what you believe in and take risks. I realize the saying “no risk no reward” is somewhat cliché, but it’s still so true. If you don’t step outside your comfort zone to go after what you believe in, you will never know what could have been.

What do I do best?

Balance. I balance my role at ThreeMain wearing a lot of hats – product, supply chain & logistics, packaging, marketing, and more. I balance my schedule so I can find time for the people I love and the things I am passionate about. I balance my life, so I have the perfect mix of living healthy and living happy.

My Biggest Success?

In my personal life, my biggest success was running the Boston Marathon in 2017. Professionally, my biggest successes were the acquisition of our first tech-startup, Gozaik, and the start of ThreeMain!

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I am very lucky to have so many amazing people in my life who support and inspire me every day. My parents Bob and Mary Ann, my brothers Joe, John and Daniel, my boyfriend Ben, my business partner Joe, and my friends and extended family members. Though I don’t know her personally, I am also inspired by Spanx founder Sara Blakely – her story of starting her business from the ground up, supporting women (both literally, and figuratively, ha!), give back to the community, and balance her life is truly inspiring.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, so this is a hard one! There are so many places in the world that I love for different reasons. Newport RI and Cape Cod for summer weekend getaways, Candlewood Lake near my hometown in CT, Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, Zermatt in Switzerland, and Italy, to name a few!

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I don’t go anywhere without my reusable water bottle, my phone, or my apple watch. I also have a weird obsession with kitchen appliances (lol) – my current favorites are the Inspiralizer (made by female entrepreneur Ali Maffucci), and my air fryer!

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Boston has the “big city” feel, while still being clean, close to the water, and small enough to get from one side to the other. Plus, there is never a shortage of concerts, sports games, or new restaurants to try.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I am not big on breakfast, but I do try to have something each morning to refuel after my workouts. My favorites are sprouted grain avocado toast, a banana with nut butter, or a smoothie packed with fruits and veggies.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Heading out for a run, to a workout class or to the gym!

10:00 AM – Crossing as much as possible off my ThreeMain to-do list.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

A salad from Sweetgreen, Honeygrow, Energize, or Dash Cafe

7:00 PM - Working, cooking dinner, or spending time with my favorite people.

11:00 PM –I rarely make it to 11pm on the weeknights, so most likely sleeping!What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)? I like to have one cup of black coffee or an almond milk latte in the morning, and then it’s water ALL day. If I’m having dinner out with friends, I’ll go for a glass of wine, or a Tito’s with club soda and a lemon (no limes, please).

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I spend the most time on Instagram and Spotify, but I’ve really been loving the app Think Dirty to help me identify unsafe personal care products!

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Out for a run in a new place – it’s the best way to explore a new city!

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Lynette Pettinicchi: Founder, Lynette Nicole PR + Pilates and PR

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m Lynette, the founder of Lynette Nicole PR and the networking series Pilates and PR. A lover of science who changed her major 4 times in college, I focus on helping founder-led start-ups and small businesses in the health, wellness and food industries stand out amongst larger brands. Being able to incorporate all of the things I enjoy into my own business and networking series is something I don’t take for granted and that makes going to work everyday worth it. Clients enjoy the open, honest conversations we have with them as well as the fact we are professionally and personally immersed in their industries.

How did you get into the industry?

After changing my major from biology education to nutrition and to music, I ended up graduating (on time!) with a BA in PR/Advertising from SUNY Plattsburgh in New York. Though I didn’t do any internships in college, I immediately sought out opportunities in NYC when I arrived back home on Long Island. I tried a few different things before finding my niche.

I didn’t really know it at the time, but my experience in retail, “pitching” my parents for something new at the store or money, being a camp counselor at the East Hampton YMCA, etc, really primed me for a career in PR.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

In the 10 years I’ve been doing PR, I’ve seen the media industry change rapidly. My clients still value traditional media relations so I’m enjoying finding new opportunities and ways to get eyes on my clients. One of those ways has been taking advantage of brands that introduced their own editorial verticals.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I really love helping the underdogs. I’ve always had a soft spot for start-ups and small businesses, especially those founder-led who were wearing many hats but didn’t have a PR background and were struggling to garner attention. Especially when I so truly believed in their mission and wanted them to succeed.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

Pilates and PR is Lynette Nicole PR’s newest venture, launched in March 2019. Connecting with new editors, freelancers, bloggers, influencers and PR pros have opened the doors to new collaborations, new outlets and more.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I’m not deterred by a client who needs a little hand holding. Because I work with start-ups and small businesses, I’m usually the first, if not one of the first, experiences they have in PR. Every client has access to me for helping them navigate the waters of how PR works, what to expect and how we can collaborate on their campaign. Working with Lynette Nicole PR feels like an extension of your brand versus a third party vendor. Lynette Nicole PR has received a lot of praise from clients about my personal involvement in the industries that clients are in. They like they we are their target consumer and can pivot strategies accordingly.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Take it all in.

Take notes. Ask questions. Learn everything you can. Be involved. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Immerse yourself in everything you do.

My Biggest Success?

I trained for my first marathon while getting Lynette Nicole PR off the ground. It was financially, emotionally and physically draining but I finished that marathon and LNPR started to bloom right after.

That’s also my biggest piece of business advice – If you really want to see what you’re made of, not training for your first marathon and start a business simultaneously.

My Motto?

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.”

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

There is always something going on in NYC and new people to meet and learn from.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day, I love eggs.

I’m also a big fan of the salmon dish at Off The Hook in Astoria.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Working out (or getting ready to)/running or in the shower. I’m typically an early riser and love a good morning run. My new co-working space has showers sometimes I run TO work, or stop at the office before going for a run.

10:00 AM – I’m usually answering emails by now. I try to spend the first part of my day in the office getting settled, reading newsletters, news from the night before and getting ahead of anything urgent.

12:00 PM – I try to bring lunch as much as I can but sometimes Sweetgreen wins.

7:00 PM - I’m either finishing up a workout or almost home, ready for dinner. I try to keep my work schedule in the 8/8:30 AM to 6 PM range. My firm values health, wellness, balance and outside hobbies so I try to set an example.

11:00 PM – Hopefully sleeping! On a normal day with no post-work events or meetings, I’m in bed by 9:30/10 PM.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I switch it up every so often. It used to be 2 regular coffees (finished before noon!) every day but during the week I get a large oat latte from Gregory’s and that usually does the trick.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Instagram is definitely my most used app. My favorite accounts are the ones that remind me to keep going when things get tough.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In general I love getting lost in a new town or city. You get to discover things that may not be in a “must-do” roundup and see where the locals hang out.

What Else to Know?

Lynette Pettinicchi is the owner and powerhouse behind food, health and wellness public relations and digital marketing firm, Lynette Nicole PR (est 2016). In her 10 years of experience in the consumer lifestyle industry, she has executed PR and digital marketing strategies for global, national, regional and local clients, including countless product and service launches, and an abundance of collaborations and partnerships. 

In the industry, she’s known for being a forward-thinker and is always showcasing how to develop successful campaigns and events with limited resources and budget. She is a firm believer in developing personal connections and pivoting strategies. She’s not afraid to take risks or go against the grain. Lynette isn’t afraid to learn new skills to stay competitive in the market.

A lover of science and fitness, Lynette started her own fitness blog in 2012, received her nutrition certification through Keri Glassman’s Nutritious Life in 2015, and in 2016 completed her Pilates training with CORE Pilates NYC. Her experience, knowledge and contacts in those categories expand beyond public relations and digital marketing allowing her to help grow varying aspects of clients businesses.

Aside from running Lynette Nicole PR and teaching Pilates, Lynette is a runner who has completed the NYC Marathon and is currently training for Chicago. She also mentors young entrepreneurs through the organization, NFTE. 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dont-forget-budget-pr-lynette-pettinicchi/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-brand-goes-editorial-pr-professionals-vs-lynette-pettinicchi/

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula: Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Psychology & Author

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My Native Admission Statement: Narcissism, entitlement and incivility are the new normal, and I guarantee you have at least one narcissist in your life. The beauty of a narcissist, whether it is a world leader, movie star, parent, or partner – is that they are so damn formulaic. Once you know the formula, you can dodge their toxic influence. It’s time everyone learned to recognize them, stop giving them second chances, and distance ourselves from these toxic relationships. - http://doctor-ramani.com/

Bio: I am a licensed clinical psychologist and practice in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks, CA. I am also a professor of psychology at California State University Los Angeles. I am the author of 3 books, and a frequent media commentator on all things mental health, especially narcissism. I completed my MA and Ph.D. at UCLA, and have been an LA resident for 28 years. My career is a bit of a messy canvas taking in teaching, research, speaking, media, YouTube, writing, healing, and opining.

How did you get into the industry?

Determination, luck, persistence, and frustration. I felt that everyone could benefit from information about psychology, but not everyone could access it. I couldn’t get arrested in this town or this industry, and then one day I got lucky, and Bravo booked me on a job. It was luck. And then I was able to do it, so I was able to persist. That luck popped up again on YouTube, which turned into more digital media exposure and platform. But at the end of the day, write about, talk about, draw about, what you are passionate above. Then it doesn’t matter – the process of creating  is the prize. If someone tunes in – then that is a bonus.

Any emerging industry trends?

Digital media is changing the game. With patience and persistence, people who want to create content, can slowly create a following. It is possible to become a mini-mental health-media mogul – podcasts, videos, blogs, active and engaged social media, books, live online seminars. YouTube has become a global go-to for mental health information.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Quick, usable and sensible information on how to survive narcissistic abuse. Easy 3 step plan that works forever. It’s like kryptonite for narcissists.

You can benefit from my services at a wide range of price points – ranging from free – (my YouTube series, Instagram live, some of my videos on MedCircle,) low cost ($50 bucks or less) (my books, a MedCircle subscription, my local seminars), or higher priced – one on one consultation starting at $320 per hour. In one hour, I can actually turn people around who are stuck in toxic relationships or at least awaken them to the dynamics of the narcissistic relationships in their lives, and help them steer their ship in a new direction.

How do you motivate others?

I keep it simple. So I use focused, no-BS psychoeducation on what these high conflict, antagonistic patterns look like and feel like, and give people very pointed feedback on what to expect. I don’t give them unrealistic expectations, and I give them an honest roadmap instead of sugarcoated hope that can do more harm than good.

Career advice to those in your industry?

No gig is too small. If you want to work at the nexus of media, mental health, and psychology in the public interest, you may sometimes do someone’s podcast that has 5 subscribers, have YouTube videos that only 10 people have watched, or spoken at a lecture that 7 people show up to. You never know who you will impact with your words, who you will meet, what you may learn, and that sometimes that small gig can be a gamechanger. Don’t be a diva and only hold out for the “marquee” experiences, take some chances.

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What are my aspirations?

Personally, I want finally, for the first time in my life, to exhale. To gently remove the chip on my shoulder, and kick it to the curb. I want to silence the voices of others that I have allowed to set my reality and trust my own. I want to plant a garden, learn to bake bread, start getting into shape again, be more present with the people I love, and stop being scared of taking the big leap and finally going for it. I want to show my daughters what a strong woman looks like, and let them teach me how to be one as well. I want to enjoy my partner and my sister.

On the business side. As narcissism, entitlement, and incivility overtake our world, I want to give everyone being hurt by these patterns, the tools they need to thrive despite these trends. I want to expand my work to create a series of web-based video training programs for practitioners who are working with narcissistic clients and with survivors of narcissistic abuse AND for clients who are struggling with narcissistic abuse. I also intend to continue building my YouTube series, designed to educate people about narcissism and narcissistic abuse so we can push back the pain engendered by these relationships in our lives and in the world at large. My third book releases in October 2019 (Don’t You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility). I hope to expand into the realm of retreats to help people heal from narcissistic abuse and get the tools they need to not repeat these intergenerational cycles. Finally, my longest term hope is to garnerfunding through Fulbright or some other mechanism, to explore and describe the phenomenology of narcissism cross-culturally and transnationally, so as to inform practitioners, advocates, and vulnerable people around the world about these patterns, and the damage they wreak.

My Biggest Success?

Writing three books while raising 2 empathic albeit headstrong girls.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Moving to Los Angeles. I felt an allegiance to my family, especially my mother, and felt I was “abandoning them” by moving across the country from Connecticut. UCLA, which had a PREMIER clinical psychology program admitted me to their doctoral program with full funding, and I had always wanted to live in LA since I was a little girl. I even put the decision off for a year because I felt guilty and that I would fail if I left, and I was also putting a relationship in jeopardy. It was the smartest thing I ever did, I KNEW it was right for me, my family has adjusted to me being away, my beloved sister moved out to So Cal herself, and my parents were just fine. EVERY time in my life when I made the wrong big ticket decision then and since, it was because I did not trust my instincts.

My Motto?

…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Nelson Mandela)

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks Nelson Mandela

Maya Angelou

My sister Padma Durvasula - for her resilience

My mother Sai Durvasula – for her grace

Kelly Ebeling and Irene Hernandez – for their work ethic and grit

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Get through it

Thought of the Day: What you think is how you feel.

Action of the Day: Make a full stop at every stop sign.

Deed of the Day: Teach people to trust and value themselves.

Tip of the Day: Don’t ask people “what’s wrong with you?” ask them “what happened to you?”

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The 2 weeks in May when the jacaranda trees turn bright purple, and the weeks in Spring when the orange blossoms fill the evenings with their fragrance and the warmth in the air sticks around.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Crunchy French Toast – Blu Jam Cafe

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Rushing out the door or driving

10:00 AM – Teaching or doing therapy

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

I eat lunch maybe 3 times a year. If I take my mother’s cooking to work as leftovers between meetings, classes or clients – it’s a good day.

7:00 PM - Doing therapy, teaching, or on the best days, I might be home and washing dinner dishes.

11:00 PM - Sleeping

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Diet coke. 3. Not proud of it.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

NY Times and LA Times.

What should everyone try at least once?

Climb Mt Fuji to see the sunrise.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Hawaii or India

My Pic of the Day: I love this picture – it is of my mother. She had always wanted to see the birthplace of Hanuman, a Hindu deity, but it was at the top of a steep hill in a place called Hampi – hundreds of steps up. She has chronic pain and an injured back, and was not confident of her physical ability to get up, but believed that she had to see through her intention. I was traveling with a group of my students, and I was deeply touched when they recognized her spiritual devotion to her pilgrimage, and walked side by side with her, as she labored step by step to get to the top of the hill to the monument (these students were young and in shape and could have run up if they wanted to). Many on the walk cheered her determination as she leaned on a cane after each step. I was touched by the students’ compassion and my mother’s determination. She had never been to this place her entire life, and likely wouldn’t get there again. It was a good day.

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What Else to Know? (Events, Shared recent articles, Questions you devise etc)

My new book Don’t You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility releases on October 1, 2019

On September 17, 2019 I will be delivering a lecture in South Africa (at the University of Johannesburg) entitled “Narcissism and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

My second book – Should I Stay or Should I Go? Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist – hit number one on Amazon’s list of divorce books

Dorothy Kosinski: Vradenburg Director and CEO, The Phillips Collection

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My Native Admission Statement: Dr. Dorothy Kosinski is the Vradenburg Director & CEO of The Phillips Collection, where she oversees a staff of 190 and a collection of over 4,000 works of art, ranging from masterpieces of French impressionism and American modernism to contemporary art. Before taking up her post as Director of The Phillips Collection in April 2008, Dr. Kosinski was Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Dallas Museum of Art. She was also the museum’s Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. Over the course of 30 years in museum work, Kosinski has earned a reputation internationally as an accomplished curator and scholar of 19th and 20th century art, as well as a seasoned professional with broad experience and leadership acumen.

For over 12 years, Dr. Kosinski was based in Basel, Switzerland, where she was a curator, scholar, and university instructor. As curator and administrator of the Douglas Cooper Collection, her scholarly engagement resulted in exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Tate Gallery London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her versatile scholarship furthermore occasioned major commissions to curate other exhibitions in Basel, Wolfsburg, London, and Prague. During her eight years at the Dallas Museum of Art, her energetic work resulted in over 17 exhibitions, many of which circulated internationally and were accompanied by scholarly catalogues.

In August 2013, Dr. Kosinski was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Council on the Humanities. In December 2017, she was recognized by the Ambassador of Italy with the Order of the Italian Star, a distinction recognizing her outstanding contributions to the arts and promotion of Italian culture. She currently serves on the Board of the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and the Gwendolyn Morris Cafritz Foundation. Previously, she served on the Board of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Advisory Board of The Musée Rodin, Paris. Dr. Kosinski, who received a BA from Yale University and an MA and PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, continues to balance her administrative responsibilities with an ambitious program of exhibitions, as well as an energetic schedule as author and lecturer.

Any emerging museum industry trends?
Partnerships and growing relationships with our immediate community are trends that museum’s everywhere are taking notice of. We have so many opportunities to work with incredible organizations in Washington, DC. We have several ongoing partnerships with community organizations like DC Pride, The Anacostia River Festival, Step! Afrika, Wolf Trap, the 11th Street Bridge project, and the robust diplomatic community to name a few.

Over a year ago we opened Phillips@THEARC, an art and wellness space in SouthEast DC at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) that allows us to engage with communities East of the River. This is just the latest example of the Phillips’s efforts to serve all of Washington’s residents, not just those in our immediate vicinity.

We also recently launched a diversity and inclusion initiative, in 2018 we hired our first Chief Diversity Officer, Makeba Clay. Our CDO is working to ensure that everything we do, from our exhibitions, to our programs and staff, are inclusive, accessible, and diverse, and represent the communities that surround us and every single one of our visitors. Museums across the nation are working to strengthen diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion into everything that they do.

What's next for the Phillips in the near future?
We are looking ahead and in 2021 we will celebrate 100 years since the museum’s founding. Obviously the centennial is a tremendous milestone for us. In the next 100 years we would like to continue to be part of relevant, timely, and critical conversations that are happening surrounding arts and culture in our country.

My role is to ensure that we thrive and excel in a new 100-year period and to make sure that we have the financial support to do that. That is just an existential reality of our stewardship, of a museum of this stature. We like to say “The Phillips Collects.” That’s an expression we use to underscore that as much as our limited resources and gifts and bequests allow, the collection continues to grow. We look forward to highlighting new acquisitions during our 100-year celebrations.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Phillips?

Although we lack the resources of our federally funded colleagues, this enables us to be much more nimble. We are able to take part in projects, programs, and exhibitions that discuss difficult and potentially controversial topics. One recent example, our current exhibition, The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement, addresses themes of immigration and migration.


Damur Huang: Founder, DAMUR GmbH

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My Native Admission Statement: We distinguish ourselves as Berlin based HIGH-end streetwear label. With each collection, we challenge the labels society wants to put upon us and therefore created our own voice through our hashtag logo. The # is today’s mean of expression. With the # we distinguish and we belong, we identify and assemble, we express our opinion, a Berliner attitude. https://damur.fashion/

How did you get into the industry?

After I finished the studies from Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Art and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre, I wanted to explore all possibilities in fashion.  I worked with different designers including JAMEI CHEN, Tim Hamilton, McQ Alexander McQueen, Tim Van Steenbergen, Dawid Tomaszewski, and Marcell von Berlin brands.

Since I was first starting out, I wanted to explore all possibilities in fashion. The internship exposures were a learning phase for me and helped shape me as a designer today but it took some time to figure out the business side of fashion which made it quite challenging but I think I passed it well.

Any emerging industry trends?

Digital trends are an ever-growing emerging trend, not only in the fashion industry. Social media has a huge impact on the fashion brands as well. Anyone can be a part of the fashion weeks just sitting with their phones. What creates a difference is when the brands know how to digitalize their business.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Designer from a business perspective have to find a unique and provocative way to communicate with the customers. The challenge is not just to make the garments but to find a core value or message for the customers to give them a reason to relate to the brand. Of course 10 years ago, the job of a designer was to just make garments, but today its different. You need to have social responsibility, sustainable approach and try make the business of fashion more practical in a way.

What is the concept of #DAMUR?

The essence of #DAMUR is ‘naughty elegance’ which is expressed by an unapologetic Berliner attitude mixed with nuances from the designers far eastern heritage. Each collection is designed to be thought provoking, bold and provocative.  We are more than just a fashion label, we aim to involve public in our designing and business process.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

After our first successful 006 collection runway show at the Berlin Fashion Week, we are now set to take over Taipei Fashion Week. Our most recent 006 collection; #YOUARENOTBLACKENOUGH is going to be displayed in the DACH showroom and The Doors showroom during Paris Fashion Week as well. We are also looking forward to other future collaborations with various companies from different industries and keeping our portfolio diverse and international. We are having a lot of fun together seeing the company grow and we want to share this joy with the public.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

We are a young brand always open to creative ideas and opportunities. To keep our profile diverse, we make collaborations not just in fashion but even outside. For example, our cross over with BVG to scout models in the subway stations for the Berlin Fashion Week MBFW SS20 was very successful and brought us even closer to be recognized as a Berlin-based brand. We invite public to participate in the so-called closed community fashion week.

Where do you find your inspiration?

The city of Berlin always have a very strong impact to influence our research. We want to be connected with real people, not the digital celebrities or someone you never meet in real life. To come up with a new collection, we choose the most non-discussed topic at the moment and try to bring it to people’s attention.

How do you motivate others?

We take care of each other in #DAMUR. Every member of the #DAMUR family comes from different backgrounds and nationalities. We create an open space to share our ideas and welcome every suggestion to work together with a common aim. We all love challenges and love to grow together.

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What do I do best?

I really enjoy to cook for my team when we have lunch together. And I think I do it pretty well.

What makes me the best version of myself?

When all the job is done for the day and I can go home and relax.

What are my aspirations?

To have a building called ‘#DAMUR’

My Biggest Success?

I don’t have my biggest success yet. I always want more and that’s what keeps me motivated to work hard.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Someone creating a mess and I have to clean it.

My Motto?

Do it with love!

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My mom

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Surfing in Sri Lanka or have a delicious meal in Taipei.

My Current Passions?

To be a great businessman

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Berlin has an unmistakable character and a unique culture. The open-mindedness and free-spirited culture make room for creativity and new ideas limitless.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Air

What should everyone try at least once?

#DAMUR Clothes, of course.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Nowhere but in my mind.

My Pic of the Day:

Supermax! He is not with us anymore but i love this dog.

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Alexis Ring: Founder, Lexi Miller

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My Native Admission Statement: Lexi Miller is a technical women’s cycling apparel brand: streamlined, feminine style inspired by fashion, but dictated by function. Beautiful, modern, and sophisticated.  Designed by women, for women and made in California using only the best textiles and trims.   

How did you get into the industry? 

In 2009, I was working at my dream job as an interior designer.  The economy collapsed and my career got derailed. Around the same time, a back injury thwarted my plan to run the San Francisco marathon.  With a little extra time on my hands, and missing my time outdoors, I took up cycling. One day, I was riding with a fellow designer, complaining about the hideous getup I was wearing.  And she said, “Why don’t you design your own clothes?” She mentioned that her friend, Jen Hinton (Carve Designs) had made the switch from interior design to apparel design after not being able to find board shorts for a surf trip.      

A conversation with Jen equipped me with enough knowledge to dig in to the process.  Little by little, and over the course of a few years, I assembled my ecosystem of vendors: a pattern maker, textile mills, web and graphic designers, a factory.

Any emerging industry trends?

The women’s cycling apparel category is only getting bigger as more women enter the sport.  Ten years ago, I felt like such an anomaly. It is exciting and heartening to see this shift.  More and more women are realizing that cycling apparel and equipment cannot and should not be gender neutral.  For example, we need different saddles to support our wider hip bones. We need a female-specific chamois. We need better tailoring than the “pink-it-and-shrink-it” hack of days gone by.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Visibility and distribution are challenging.  We represent a niche within a niche. Big box stores are not the place for us.  A google search will reveal a ton of cheaper options, so to some, our products seem outlandishly expensive.  Producing high quality cycling apparel is expensive and the price point is a direct reflection of that. We produce ethically, in small batches, in California.  Making our mark in a saturated, noisy, global economy is a challenge, but one I am up for.  

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I am often mistaken for being ‘Lexi Miller’ but I didn’t want an eponymous label.  I never wanted this to be about me. Lexi Miller, to me, is an avatar.  She represents a part of me: that part that rides a bike, the strongest part of myself, the most inspired part of myself, and I want her to pass that inspiration forward.

Lexi Miller represents that common thread in all of us who choose to ride a bike: that brave, daring, independent part of ourselves that doesn’t settle for the status quo.  

My vision for Lexi Miller was cycling apparel that actually resembled what we wear off the bike, something that wasn’t such a stylistic departure from our everyday wardrobe.  When I used to shop for cycling apparel, I was appalled and confused: why would I ever want to wear that? Things fit terribly, and felt even worse. For months, the lack of good options delayed my bike purchase.  And then for months post-purchase, I felt out of place, like I was being forced to wear sub-par gear that felt sloppy and soul-less, that was just not ‘me’.

I want women to feel like themselves, and to feel like they belong.  We’re calling the shots and making our own lane on the road.

Your most difficult moment at the Business?

I think hearing “no” from retailers, being passed over by editors and industry tastemakers.  What I design is a little out of the box. I like to say we’re not reinventing the wheel--just making it look better.  We’re shifting the paradigm. Some of our ideas, like a jersey inspired by the Diane von Furstenburg Wrap dress, or our insistence that our shorts feel better than, and function just as well as bib shorts are seen as “novice” and thus not “legit” in a very bro-centric industry.  At those moments it is tempting to throw in the towel or to design for the masses. But what turns me around is getting an incredible email from a customer with whom our product resonates.

Ideal experience for a customer/client? 

Lexi Miller is for the women who look around at the athletic apparel market and think, “Why hasn’t cycling apparel caught up”?  Lexi Miller is for the women who appreciate the hand of high quality, technical textiles, who want to depend on their kit to last for thousands of miles, and who want to look good while working up a sweat.  They appreciate comfort, function, and style.  

They’ll notice details, like shorts that don’t pinch your thighs in all the wrong places, and jerseys with pockets big enough to hold everything they need.  

Career advice to those in your industry?

Don’t just focus on the product.  Focus on the message and figure out early on how you are going to reach your customer.

What do I do best?

I think beyond the product, I tap into the feels, and I tell stories.  I’m always curious about our customers: who they are, how they found us, and why they ride a bike.  About a year ago, I began reaching out to them, and giving them a platform to tell their stories on our blog.  They are Lexi Miller.  Their stories take this whole thing way beyond spandex shorts.  Their stories are the soul of Lexi Miller.

My Biggest Success?

Getting this far: from broad concepts to a brand and tangible product.

My Motto?

Never forget why you started.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I always say that I do not know how I would have made the transition to apparel design, had I not had a firm foundation in interior design.  And by that I mean, the nitty gritty, behind the scenes part of design, which is not creative at all. It’s about execution, being organized, holding vendors accountable, double and triple checking your work.  I was fortunate to work for Kelly Hohla (Kelly Hohla Interiors) and she taught me this.  It doesn’t matter how great your vision is if you can’t execute it.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Anywhere in the mountains.  Favorites: Chamonix, France.  Queenstown, New Zealand. Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Lake Tahoe, California.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Well, as it relates to cycling, we actually sell my favorite products (Stuff we Love): Osmo nutrition for women (who knew we need different hydration powder?), Supacaz bar tape (so cool!), Jojé Bars (delicious!), Sumbum suncreen (that scent!)  

My Current Passions?

A few years ago, I got into swimming.  I find that it provides a nice compliment to cycling.  In the water I feel stretched out and weightless. The cadence of swimming seems to suit me as well: on the bike I’m all about climbing and endurance.  There’s nothing punchy or fast-twitch about me! I swim with a Masters group three times a week, and my one and only competitive event is the Trans Tahoe Relay every July: a team of six swims eleven miles as a relay in 60 degree water - no wetsuits allowed!

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The access to the great outdoors.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Eggs, spinach, avocado, gluten free english muffin.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – I’m in the pool or on the bike.

10:00 AM - In the thick of my creative buzz, dreaming up content.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? 

Salad packed with veggies, lean protein and avocado (it’s a food group for me)

7:00 PM -  Watching Jeopardy!

11:00 PM - Asleep.  Up at 5!

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)? 

2 cups of coffee (one before, one post workout), lots of water.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account? 

Headspace

What should everyone try at least once? 

Something that will bruise your ego. Something that you’ll be terrible at, or at least risk being a beginner.  I got into cycling at 30, which is kind of late to start as an athlete. I was terribly nervous and so afraid of feeling like I did not belong.  I did it anyway, and I’m so glad I did.

Where do you enjoy getting lost? 

In the mountains (but not actually lost).

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Brooke Mason: Founder, Brooke Mason Creative

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My Native Admission Statement: Is to elevate individuals and businesses to become successful and reach their full potential! Known as a celebrity photographer, I now help others through marketing and brand development make their dreams come true. It’s so rewarding. Originally from Australia, I now live in Los Angeles by way of NYC. I wake up with excitement on how I can help my clients.

How did you get into the industry?

As a celebrity photographer my team and I did more than just take photos, we got into the guts of why these photos were needed, who was seeing them, what’s the message – with my schooling background marketing was a natural transition. Though I still do photography, I now have this amazing team who make amazing projects daily.

Any emerging industry trends?

People are catching on fast these days, you can’t fool your audience or fake it like we once used to be able to do. You are the real thing or you ain’t. Therefore an agency like mine is even more important to give your public identity a backbone, make it authentic. Understanding that social media is now an amazing business tool is something everyone should know.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

This industry is always changing, so you have to have your finger on the pulse of everything that’s happening. One thing that is clear, social media is now a business and not a personal platform as we all once thought. Huge opportunities lay right there for us to snap up. Many of my clients are moving away from brick and mortar retail and only using social successfully to sell their products. This will change the landscape for retail and leasing. Millennial’s are not shopping like their parents would, they are looking for trends recommended by their influencers, not what’s in vogue.

How do you motivate others?

Positivity is important. Then encouraging creativity, inspiration and that there is never a bad idea. My team and I brainstorm as a group often, it’s really fun! I think it’s important to keep things light, be able to make fun of yourself and make sure humor is a big part of the office, laughter is vital.

Career advice to those in your industry?

The most important thing in this business is experience. Learning from others your admire, understanding you have a long way to go and that there will always be someone better than you around the corner. Stay humble! Stay inspired! And don’t let discouragement get in your way.

What do I do best?

Coming from a commercial advertising background in my photography gives me a different perspective on this visual arena of branding. I feel my best assets are making something better, I’ve always had a natural talent for it, doesn’t mean I invent the wheel but I’m really good at making that wheel go faster, look better and be more efficient to get to where it needs to go.

What are my aspirations?

I’m excited to be growing my company, growing my team and my clients over the next few years. We have amazing projects coming our way and we are all excited about working on them all.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Realizing that I have to live the life I envision it to be, not one that family or anyone else thinks it should be. Perhaps it’s not as conventional as most people see it to be, but it’s the most happiest for me.

My Motto?

I focus on my clients, I stay out of my own way and put my attention on what needs to be done. Do the best I can possibly do, regardless of what that takes and how many hours or late nights it may take.

My Current Passions?

I’ve discovered how much I love table tennis! It’s a way to slow your mind, focus on only one thing… hit that ball. I plan on getting much better, who’s up for a game?

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Finish everything on my checklist – rarely happens since it’s ridiculously long ;)

Thought of the Day: Be kind!

Action of the Day: Walk as much as I can and take my vitamins.

Deed of the Day: Smile and ask someone how their day is going.

Tip of the Day: Tell someone how much you appreciate one thing they did. It’ll be worth it!

What do you love most about Your City?

I love the walkability of West Hollywood. I rarely take my car our of my driveway.

What should everyone try at least once?

Scootering – is that a verb? If not it should be.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Anywhere in nature! I love the ocean, the mountains and being in and around nature.

My Pic of the Day:

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What Else to Know?

I try to get up to date blogs and speaking engagements I’ll be at on my Website BrookeMasonCreative.com and my personal Instagram @brookemasonpoto

I encourage people to reach out to me directly and stay in touch.

Marissa Mills: Co-Founder, Style Firm Events & Style Firm Los Angeles

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My Native Admission Statement: My name is Marissa Mills and I’m the co-founder of two companies - a global events production agency called Style Firm Events, as well as an activewear clothing line named Style Firm Los Angeles. Style Firm Events started in 2006 - we produce large scale sample sales, awards dinners, fashion shows, beauty product and store retail launches across the country with clients ranging from Chanel, Neiman Marcus, KatVonD Beauty to Project Angel Food. We have produced shows for just about every major fashion brand including: Hermès, Dior, Rodarte and Louis Vuitton. It’s always a wild ride in event production. No day is ever the same, that’s for sure, which is exactly why I love it.

In 2012, we launched Style Firm Los Angeles, a five piece all black collection of shaping activewear coined “The Little Black Dress of Activewear”™️ What sets our fitness line apart from others is that our line lifts the rear, slims the hips and flattens the tummy. It the perfect melding of  stylish, yet functional, activewear. It’s truly revolutionary. 

How did you get into the industry? 

My business partner, Lisa Present, and I both started in our early 20s in the Public Relations department at Macy’s West—we handled events, advertising and press relations for 30 plus stores in Southern California. We were similar to a PR agency within a department store and had the freedom to cultivate an event marketing program that included 100 plus events for all the stores in our region. Macy’s West was a great training ground for starting our own agency and allowed us to gain corporate experience before going out on our own.

Best decision we ever made was leaving corporate life and starting Style Firm. Macy’s is still a client to this day.

Lisa and I started Style Firm Los Angeles because we saw a void; the activewear offerings were limited (way back then!) for women who wanted to look better in their activewear. Our vision was to create a magic pant that would seamlessly take you from barre class to brunch. When I began wearing our very first prototypes on the streets of New York, I would get weird, somewhat aggressive, looks from other women. Their attitude seemed to say you can’t wear that here & now - and I felt as though I was wearing dirty SpongeBob pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Anyway, that’s a whole other story. The collection is the foundation for all the activewear out there now. Style Firm Los Angeles molds your body in all the right places with just the right amount of compression for a comfortable, second skin feel.

When we launched, we produced fitness pop ups (that were unheard of at the time) —all at clever locations like Malibu Wines, SoHo House and Mr. C Hotels! Through those pop ups, we created an organic fitness following that continues to generate monthly fitness events around town. 

Any industry opportunities or challenges? 

Being a business owner is a journey. There will be some amazing wins and some great losses. It’s all part of the the ride. 

The most important part is to keep pushing  boundaries and trying new ideas constantly while believing that it’s alright if the idea doesn’t work—-the cliche, when one door closes, another door opens is absolutely correct in business, but patience and tequila help too.   

What's next for the business in the near future?

Style Firm Los Angeles is happily looking forward to an upcoming collaboration residency with an established snowboard brand this winter. 

It’s never been done before in this format - so we are incredibly excited to announce that partnership next month!

How do you motivate others?

I love connecting with people - it’s my strength, for sure. Brainstorm meetings get me moving with inspiration, but that’s not possible without at least five shots of espresso - seriously. It’s mutual motivating factors with all my partners, whether it’s a client, vendor, sponsor or a bulldog out for a walk.  

What are my aspirations?  

The goal is to sell both companies at some point, when we’re ready.

Both businesses are my babies, so I need to be ready to let them go when the time is right.

My Motto?

This life is more than just a read through.

-Can’t Stop by “Red Hot Chili Peppers” 

My Favorite Places/Destinations? 

Copenhagen is my favorite city to date.

The vibe, the people and the endless biking all resonate with me.  

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Currently obsessed with LED light for the face -it’s detoxifying, relaxing and helps with collagen production. 

My Current Passions? 

Fitness classes is what I most look forward to in my daily routine. It’s the 1 hour where the phone is away, and I can focus on preparing for the day ahead. I’m currently doing a mix of fitness: hot yoga, Pilates and barre classes. 

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The beach — bike rides or walks along the strand from Manhattan to Hermosa. 

Favorite restaurant?

I hate dining, but I love love Craig’s on Melrose.

I also love Sweetgreen, Erewhon and Earthbar.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Sleeping -I am not a morning person!

 10:00 AM - workout class or a client call

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? 

Custom smoothie at EarthBar

Includes spinach, banana, lemon and ice—my go to daily green drink!

7:00 PM -  sound bath or client dinner 

11:00 PM - answering work emails - I’m a night owl!

What should everyone try at least once?

Let me be realistic but slightly bleak. There’s a hole in the ground where we will all end up one day. Remember that hole and do great, innovative, interesting & unusual stuff before you get there. I don’t want to leave this earth with a list of things I should have done.

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Juliet Cutler: Activist, Educator, Award Winning Designer & Author, "Among the Maasai"

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My Native Admission Statement: In the late 1990s, I spent two years teaching at the first school for Maasai girls in East Africa. Historically, the Maasai have herded cattle and goats in Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley, but changes to land and water rights, as well as globalization, have brought many challenges to the Maasai. For the last 20 years, I’ve supported education for at-risk girls in Tanzania, many of whom face staggering poverty, early forced marriages, female genital cutting, and other forms of gender-based violence. I’ve witnessed the transformative power of education for women and girls who live on the margins. Education is improving not just their lives, but the lives of entire families and communities. My book, “Among the Maasai,” tells this story and also reveals the value I’ve found in engaging in community across culture.

Bio: Juliet Cutler is a writer, an educator, and a designer of award-winning exhibits for museums, parks, and cultural centers throughout the world. Her teaching career began in Tanzania in 1999, and since that time she has been an activist for girls’ education worldwide. Cutler’s literary and professional publications now number more than two dozen, and she has taught writing in many settings including as adjunct faculty for the College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota. Selections from her memoir, Among the Maasai, have appeared in English and in Dutch translation in the Netherlands. In 2009, she was selected by Orion Magazine to participate in their annual writing workshop, and in 2013, she participated in a writer’s residency at La Muse in Labastide-Esparbairenque, France. In 2019, The Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture, and the Environment will honor Cutler as a Serenbe Fellow—a distinction given to nationally recognized thought leaders, scholars, and artists. Cutler holds an MA in English from Colorado State University and a BS in education from the University of North Dakota. She currently lives near Atlanta.

How did you get into the industry?

In 1996, I heard about the Maasai Secondary School for Girls while working as a camp counselor and backpack guide in Montana. I was intrigued and moved by the stories of girls who so desperately wanted to go to school that they would run away from home, walk vast distance, and beg for one of only a few places at a school they knew could transform their lives. At the time, I had to finish my student teaching, and then I’d be a certified teacher. I inquired about a volunteer teaching position at the school and was invited to take a two-year post after I finished my last semester. I’d always wanted to study abroad in college but had never done it. This seemed like an amazing opportunity to experience the world and also to help girls in need. Little did I know this would begin a life-long commitment to empowering girls through education.

Any emerging industry trends?

The school has operated long enough now that its graduates are taking on leadership roles not only in the education field, but also across many fields in Tanzania. Twenty-five years ago, the school was founded by a few forward-thinking Maasai men who saw that their people would face many challenges in the 21st century. They knew meeting these challenges would require a different kind of leadership from both men and women, so they started this school for girls. Before that time, there really was no place for Maasai girls to go to school. Now, several staff members at the school are former graduates. Some have started their own schools. Graduates are also doctors, nurses, lawyers, nonprofit leaders, business women, and accountants, as well as mothers, wives, and community leaders. Really, Maasai women are entering every field. They are shaping their communities and redefining what it means to be a Maasai woman. Their leadership is exciting to watch.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

When I lived in Tanzania 20 years ago, we did not have telephone service and electricity was intermittent. Today, mobile phones and the internet have fully arrived. There are exciting opportunities for media and technology to improve education, which remains largely based on rote learning and inherited post-colonial curricula. Efforts to implement technology-based learning will require investments in infrastructure, coupled with measures to expand teacher competencies, which is no small task. However, technology is here to stay, and Tanzanian kids should benefit from it and gain the skills to effectively use it.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I’ve witnessed firsthand the ways violence can cut short a young woman’s education. Safety remains a huge issue for Maasai girls, who are frequently married at that age of 12-14 to men significantly older than them. Estimates for the rate of female genital cutting among the Maasai remain high at between 60 to nearly 100 percent. The number is difficult to capture as Maasai women rarely report what has happened to them. On top of this, rape is not uncommon, and domestic violence remains a problem. To address issues of safety, I’ve partnered with local leaders on The Safe Initiative, which aims to address the root causes of disempowerment for Maasai girls, while also providing much needed immediate support to at-risk girls. The initiative provides:

Teacher training on the safety issues many students face, child protection measures, and student counseling techniques

Community-based training with mothers and daughters to foster discussions about the problems that most affect women and girls and potential solutions to these problems

Direct assistance to at-risk girls who face imminent danger of sexual violence, genital cutting, and early marriage. The initiative provides housing, incidentals, counseling, formal education, and/or technical training to these girls.

We know that if girls don’t feel safe, they are less like to go to school and even less likely to succeed there. The Safe Initiative is working to create safe spaces for girls at schools across Tanzania. All proceeds from the sale of my book, “Among the Maasai,” will go to support this initiative, as well as scholarships for Maasai girls.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We are looking to expand The Safe Initiative to more schools and to provide scholarships for more Maasai girls to attend school.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

It has been important to me to support local, grassroots efforts in Tanzania. I always seek to partner with the vast and deep network of Maasai leaders and Tanzanian educators already working on the front lines to improve conditions for their own children. These leaders, who now include some of my former students, understand the complex constellation of issues behind their problems, and they are already working to address them. I seek their guidance, listen to their wisdom, and then follow their lead, support their work, and help them find the resources they need to solve their own problems. I’ve learned that effective and sustainable development comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out—in other words, sustainable change is only possible if it comes from within the community. For this reason, my work has always been in partnership with local nongovernmental organizations in Tanzania that drive the work from there.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

In Tanzania, there is a government policy that requires schools to permanently expels pregnant girls. I am deeply opposed to this policy, which penalizes girls that often have little control over their own reproductive health and fails to account for all-too-frequent instances of violence against women. I’ve faced the difficult task of walking the path with girls who want nothing more than to go to school, but find themselves pregnant and unable to continue. The Safe Initiative aims to help these girls find other forms of training, and some secondary schools will quietly re-admit these girls, but there are many instances of girls with no options being forced to return to places of violence because of a discriminatory government policy.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

It is difficult for me to adequately convey the genuine and heartfelt appreciation my Tanzanian colleagues have for the partnership of donors in the United States and elsewhere. In Swahili, we talk about working “bega kwa bega,” or shoulder to shoulder. There is a recognition on both sides that the work isn’t possible without partnership, which isn’t always easy. Working together is complex, and it’s shaped by a long legacy of colonialism and western aid, but it’s worth it. These girls would have few opportunities without everyone working bega kwa bega—rolling up our sleeves, getting to work, transcending our differences, and listening to and learning from each other.

How do you motivate others?

I hope that readers will find my book inspiring. I wrote it because I firmly believe in the power of storytelling to shape who we are individually and who we are becoming collectively. All of my work in Tanzania is done in my spare time, on a volunteer basis. My more formal career is still in education, but no longer in a traditional classroom. I develop educational exhibits for museums, visitor centers, and other cultural destinations around the world. This work has taught me that storytelling can profoundly shape people’s perceptions, ideas, and even actions. Most of the exhibits I develop are aimed at conserving beautiful natural landscapes, teaching important historical lessons, and revealing the meaning in culture. Research tells us that visitors remember stories long after they’ve forgotten facts, so I always seek to create exhibits that tell stories in three dimensions. This is true when I talk about empowering girls in Tanzania too. Stories matter. As humans, we’ve always told stories to convey meaning, teach lessons, rally support, and define who we are.

Career advice to those in your industry?

“Voluntourism” is a growing industry and “gap years” are popular among young people as well as mid-career professionals. Many people are interested in traveling and doing good in the world, which is a noble and necessary thing. That said, I believe it is critically important that those of us working across cultural and economic boundaries understand the contexts in which we seek to help. Our work in communities outside our own really needs to be directed and led by local leaders. When we come in with our own agendas and fail to listen to local people, we can do more harm than good. I think it’s important to honestly assess the degree to which our intentions are altruistic and the degree to which they are self-serving, as we consider if and how our help is needed. I also know from experience that truly sustainable work takes time and deep engagement, which rarely comes from a quick week or two in a foreign place. That is why empowering local leaders is essential. They will be there long after we’ve left. If our work can help them in some way, then it’s always worth it.

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What do I do best?

I’m a good writer and communicator. I also have the ability to see connections and partnerships that frequently represent big picture, outside-of-the-box thinking.

What makes me the best version of myself?

My empathy and compassion drive almost everything I do. It is both my strength and sometimes my weakness. I feel the emotional reverberations of things more than most people.

What are my aspirations?

I’d like to raise so much money that every Maasai girl who wants to go to school can do it. As part of this, I’d like to create The Safe Initiative as a regional center for addressing the safety issues that most affect Maasai girls.

My Biggest Success?

I’ve lived outside the United States for eight years—two years in Tanzania and six years in The Netherlands. I’ve also lived in seven U.S. states from Montana to Minnesota, and Louisiana to Georgia. I’m proud that I’ve been able to successfully navigate all of these diverse places and find something of value and to love about each of them. I also started my own exhibit design consulting business while living in Amsterdam. Starting a business is always challenge and especially so in a foreign country.

My Most Challenging Moment?

In my book, I write about finding a boy on the side of the road in Tanzania who had been hit by a car. As someone who names empathy and compassion as a core strength, this experience is one that will never leave me. I won’t tell the whole story here. Instead, I invite you to read about it in my book.

My Motto?

Strive for Excellence, Not Perfection

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I write about Dr. Seth Msinjili in my book. He is the founder of The Safe Initiative and a man for whom I have a deep and abiding respect. He has mentored hundreds of young men and women, including me and is one of the wisest, humblest people I know.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

This is a tough question for me as I have traveled all over the world. However, I would name south-central Montana as the place I will always know as home, which has been a somewhat elusive concept for me. The landscape of my childhood always calls me back—Montana, with its wildflower meadows, bubbling mountain creeks, big sky, and sweeping rugged views, will always be home.

My favorite destination is probably Tarangire National Park. I could watch the elephants in this park for a lifetime—the ways they relate to one another displaying complex social and emotional behaviors. I love elephants, and Tarangire is one of the best places in the world to see them in the wild.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love good coffee, and while I can live without my Nespresso machine, it is difficult.

My Current Passions?

This year I read Ryder Carroll’s book, “The Bullet Journal Method.” I’ve become fanatical about the approach, and truly, it has transformed my life from a series of disparate sticky notes, to an organized and focused set of goal-oriented “to do” lists.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Be grateful

Thought of the Day: Finished is better than perfect.

Action of the Day: Get outside, drink more water

Deed of the Day: Do something kind

Tip of the Day: Focus on the present

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

I live in Serenbe, a small community just outside Atlanta focused on arts, culture, and the environment. We live in a forest adjacent to an organic farm. We host artists in residence and have our own outdoor playhouse. Best of all, Serenbe is all about intentional community, so I know all my neighbors and have made some wonderful friends where I live.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I love a traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs with hash browns and good coffee. There is a cool breakfast joint in Amsterdam not far from where I used to live called Staring at Jacob. They have the best brunch IN THE WORLD, at least according to me.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Waking up

10:00 AM – Working . . . probably writing exhibit text for a museum somewhere.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Halsa, a Scandinavian-inspired vegetable-forward restaurant, right in my neighborhood

7:00 PM - Drinking a glass of wine and cooking dinner

11:00 PM - Sleeping

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Two cups of STRONG coffee in the AM, and a glass or two of wine in the PM

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I love Paprika. It allows me to organize my recipes, menus, and grocery list.

What should everyone try at least once?

Traveling to a place completely out of their comfort zone.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In a foreign city with charming restaurants and shops

My Pic of the Day:

These two pictures—one of Grace as a baby and one of her graduation—capture the lifespan of a young woman who was born when I lived in Tanzania in 2000. Last October, she graduated from the Maasai Secondary School for Girls becoming the first in her family to complete secondary school. She is currently continuing her studies and hopes to become a nurse. Her father works as a guard and has become a good friend over the years.

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What Else to Know?

Upcoming Events

SERENBE FELLOWS PROGRAM

Date: September 14, 2019

Time: 4 PM

Location: The Inn at Serenbe, Oak Room, Chattahoochee Hills, GA

READING: BILLINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY

Date: September 26, 2019

Time: 7 PM

Location: 510 N Broadway, Billings, MT

READING: COUNTRY BOOKSHELF

Date: September 29, 2019

Time: 4:00 PM

Location: 28 W Main St, Bozeman, MT

HEALING VOICES SPEAKER SERIES

Date: October 20, 2019

Location: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Newnan, GA

POVERTY & THE POWER OF EDUCATION

Date: October 27, 2019

Time: 10 AM

Location: Dunwoody United Methodist, Atlanta

WOMEN’S VOICES BOOK CLUB

Date: November 13, 2019

Time: 7 PM

Location: Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA

Christianna Carmine: Director/Writer & Membership Chair, Alliance of Women Directors

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My Native Admission Statement: Hi there! I am a film director and commercial actor living in Los Angeles. Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and Television, I obtained a Masters’ Degree in Psychology with a focus on Criminal Sociopathy, with the intention of becoming a profiler for the FBI. I abandoned that idea shortly after graduation and returned to my first love, performing. I have appeared in dozens of national commercials from Tide to Kia and have directed 7 projects to date. I am a proud Board member of the Alliance of Women Directors, one of the largest organizations that focus on the elevation and support of female filmmakers. - https://christiannacarminedirector.com/

Bio: Born and raised in New York, Christianna Carmine spent much of her early life as a stage actor who harbored a strong interest in the human condition. As she began to amass a body of stage credits, her fascination with human nature continued to grow, influencing her work as a performer, and leading her to study psychology at the graduate level. After completing her Masters’ Degree in Psychology with a focus on criminal sociopathy, Christianna continued to pursue a career in film. While working in film and as an actor, her attention became drawn towards the art of filmmaking and in 2011 produced and directed her first short, To Live and Try in LA. Christianna went on to direct several more, short films winning multiple awards for Best Director, among others. Christianna is presently in pre-production on her eighth project Enough Room a short about tolerance, written by Lauren Chavez-Meyers and based on a short story by author Bobbie Becerra.

When not working behind the camera, Christianna is passionate about human rights and environmental issues. She is on the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Women and also serves as the organizations’ Membership Chair. She also enjoys creating socially relevant content and making people laugh.

How did you get into the industry?

I distinctly recall a moment at age seven when my father heard me singing along with Julie Andrews as I watched The Sound of Music. He came running into the living room asking me who was singing! He took me to audition for my first musical not long after and thus began my long love affair with the stage and performing.

It wasn’t until I began working in film and television as an actor that my curiosity piqued with regards to directing. I would pester any director who would allow me to ask questions about what he was doing. I found myself inexplicably drawn towards making the career change to directing and threw myself into educating myself by any means I could. I read books, watched documentaries and attended every class, panel and workshop that pertained to the craft. I directed my first film in 2011 and haven’t looked back.

Any emerging industry trends?

There most definitely are emerging trends. At the moment, the journey towards gender parity in Hollywood, as well as increasing opportunities for people of color is being paved by incredible women (and some men!). Regina King’s impassioned speech at this years’ Golden Globes challenged those with the power to do so to hire more women. Geena Davis is making great strides through the Geena Davis Institute along with organizations like Alliance of Women Directors and Glass Ceiling which serve to support and elevate female directors through networking, education and mentorship. There are dozens of programs that support underrepresented populations that serve to assist participants in reaching the next level in their directing careers, particularly with regards to television. But it’s not enough. Women shouldn’t have to attend programs to increase the trust studios and networks will have in their ability; but it’s a start. The movement has started, but we have much much more to do before we see true change.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

It is no secret that Hollywood’s representation of women has been abysmal for decades. Simply watch the incredible documentary “This Changes Everything” directed by Tom Donahue and one will gain the understanding that women, whether working behind or in front of the camera, are treated as second class citizens. Throw in being a person of color or a member of another underrepresented community and you’re literally pushing multiple boulders uphill to get a single shot at opportunity.

When looking at statistics, the numbers don’t lie. For example, of the top 100 grossing films of 2018, women represented only 4% of directors (that equates to 22 male directors hired for every female) and in the 2016-2017 broadcast network TV season, 86% of all Television shows failed to hire one female director (WomenandHollywood.com). Those are frightening statistics that are unfortunately failing to change with any significance.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Clearly the desired future of my business would be for women to have the same opportunity to direct studio film, television and commercials as men do without having to jump through countless hoops to get there. Period.

How do you motivate others?

I keep things light on my sets. I make sure my cast and crew are well fed and feel appreciated and heard. I may be the captain of the ship when shooting, but it is imperative that everyone who works with me knows they are valued and that I trust and respect them and their decisions and/or choices.

Career advice to those in your industry?

My advice to women just starting out their journey would be to surround yourself with positive people who support you. Don’t engage in hours-long discussions about “how hard it is”. Forget that. Create and keep creating. Join organizations that can support you and that you can support as well. Find your community, or as filmmaker Alex Ferrari says, “Find your Tribe”.

WORK HARD. Yes, we have to work harder than our male counterparts. At the moment, that is our reality. BE OPEN to learning constantly. Take a cinematography class (or ten classes for that matter). Take an acting class. Keep learning and expanding as it will only make you a better director. Don’t take no for an answer and ask for feedback – how can you improve?  

Take up a hobby that you love so that you have something to engage in that is outside the world of film. Practice gratitude (I’m getting a little woo woo here) even when you’re not sure how you’re going to pay the mortgage or buy groceries, because there are millions of people in the world who are facing challenges that we cannot even fathom. Being grateful for what you do have can really shift your perspective. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Ever. Your journey is yours and yours alone. Where anyone else is in their life and career is irrelevant to where you are. Be kind to yourself and finally, don’t be a d*ck. Send the elevator back down when you get to the top and help others elevate to where you are. There is definitely enough pie to go around!

What do I do best?

I listen. I love being present for others. I do believe that it is my strongest quality. I show people that I care by showing up when needed.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I’m scrappy! I am always thinking about strategy and the next step. If one door or avenue is closed, I will find another way. I also don’t leave a lot of room for negative thinking. I don’t deny that circumstances are what they are at any given time, but I don’t ruminate on the negative. I look to the horizon and envision the positive. Or to quote Dory I “just keep swimming”!

What are my aspirations?

I aspire to become more involved in activism pertaining to human rights and environmental issues. It’s one thing to attend marches and donate money. It’s something entirely different to throw oneself behind a cause with time and energy. I hope that as I grow in my career, I can use my influence for good.

With regards to my career, I look forward to directing smart, engaging television, especially programs that feature a strong female lead.

My Motto?

If I shift my perspective, what will I see that I am not seeing now?

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Frans Lanting is a National Geographic photographer, author and speaker who uses his talents to "inspire wonder and concern about our living planet".

I find myself humbled by the moments he captures in the wild, using them to bring awareness to serious circumstances that wildlife of the world face, occasionally putting himself in danger so that we may be awed and educated.

Geena Davis, Laverne Cox and Oprah Winfrey are women whom I truly admire for putting their names, energy and passion behind creating change for good.

I truly admire people like my husband, who is a superstar in his profession, possessing an unrivaled work ethic and sense of humility that many individuals would find enviable.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

The Southwest of England. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world that no-one ever tells you about!

Costa Rica and Prague.

I also love Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. It’s a little oasis in the craziness of Los Angeles where one can lose themselves for hours in the quiet beauty of the landscaped gardens, ponds and sculptures.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

What would I do without my French Press?!

My Current Passions?

Life.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Do one thing that keeps my creative energy flowing.

Thought of the Day: Be kind

Action of the Day: Enjoy the outdoors

Deed of the Day: Smile at a stranger

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

At least one Iced Green tea with a splash of lemonade

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

@bossladyent @mrsejspeaks

What should everyone try at least once?

Travel to another country that isn’t on your “bucket list” -you may be surprised!

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In a good Book

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Stacey Marcellus: Founder, Cappello's

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My Native Admission Statement: Diversity is as key to the health of a business as it is critical to a natural ecosystem. Sometimes you have to move to a farm in Argentina for a year and grow your own potatoes to figure out what you want out of life. The experience of feeding myself and others from seed to gnocchi helped shape my current mission with my company, Cappello’s. To craft delicious, nutritionally relevant foods using only simple, real food ingredients that all people can enjoy. I hope to empower other women through my brand and my work because sexism is not dead. It’s far from dead, and it needs to die. https://cappellos.com/

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always had a passion for food and for feeding people but it wasn’t until I gave up my first career for a life that I thought could add a different kind of value to the world that my passion truly began to flourish. Working on an organic farm in Argentina, I was able to cultivate not only fresh produce but also a spiritual closeness to nature. I gained a unique perspective on the joy that one can gain from feeding yourself and others naturally and directly from the earth. Drawing from my experiences in Argentina and my journey to better health, I realized the need for accessibility to nutritionally relevant foods. Upon my return, Ben and I brought Cappello’s to life to serve that purpose.

Any emerging industry trends?

We are seeing a distinct change in the way that people talk about grain-free foods. Most who embrace a grain-free lifestyle are looking to ease digestive issues, relieve inflammation and balance gut health. Going grain-free means going that extra step beyond gluten-free and eliminating ALL grains, including corn, rice and quinoa. 

People are shifting the way they perceive frozen foods. Not so long ago, you only visited the frozen section of your grocery store if you were looking for a tv dinner that was packed with fillers. Now, brands like Cappello’s are changing the set by taking advantage of the freezer to capture food in it’s freshest moment without the use of preservatives.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

As of now, frozen pizza is experiencing an immense amount of growth in our industry. The frozen pizza category is a $3.4B category up 4.4% vs last year. Frozen Pizza Crusts, while only a $32M category, is up 69.8%, driven by natural/organic brands.

Our core consumer is Paleo and Paleo positioned products are up 41.5% in Natural Channel dollars and up 51.3% in Conventional Channel dollars vs YAGO

Another challenge that we face in the industry is educating consumers on the benefits of grain-free living and the differences between grain-free vs. gluten-free. Most who embrace a grain-free lifestyle are looking to ease digestive issues, relieve inflammation and balance gut health. Going grain-free means going that extra step beyond gluten-free and eliminating ALL grains, including corn, rice and quinoa. 

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

One of the founding ideas for Cappello’s was to shift the prepackaged food paradigm in a nutritionally relevant and sustainable direction. Almonds are our magic ingredient. They offer a taste profile that rivals traditional wheat-based products, but with a far superior nutritional profile. This diverse ingredient is nutritionally dense, and filled with protein, fiber and healthy fats. We want Cappello’s to continue to be a source of uncompromised delight for the body and spirit. To bring good and creativity into the world in the most deliciously unique paleo-friendly, grain, gluten and guilt-free ways. Our consumers are a huge driver in our pursuit of growth and one of our biggest goals is to become more available to them by focusing on distribution. We know consumers are looking for healthier alternatives to their favorite foods and we are the perfect solution for household staples like pizza, pasta and cookie dough.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We are passionate about building awareness on what it means to be grain-free. Eight years ago, we were one of the first full grain-free brands and we want our consumers to know that we will not deviate from using nutrient dense, simple ingredients. As we expand our portfolio, we will always be that North Star for people starting on a new food journey (like Paleo or Keto) to help them navigate that space.

We have some awesome new food innovations coming in the next year and can’t wait to unveil them once they’re ready for our eaters to enjoy. With our plans for expanded distribution, we hope that more patrons than ever will be able to eat Cappello’s to their hearts content. 

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

To match our newest flavorsome, epicurean creations, Cappello’s itself has gone through an evolution of its own. With the intention of transforming the world’s perception of frozen food, we have reimagined and innovated our packaging to incorporate mouthwatering photography on the box and in doing so, we hope to create a relationship with shoppers through visual storytelling that brings our consumers closer to good food. 

Staying focused on our collection of high performing items has been one of the keys to success. When we innovate, we want to be really thoughtful that each and every item has an incremental impact on the business and that we’re not innovating just to innovate creating harmfulful distractions. 

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

The most challenging and rewarding part of leading a rapidly growing business is how quickly you have to reinvent yourself and the role your playing in the company. In the beginning, Ben and I were responsible for every function of the business from the creation of each and every strand of pasta to maintaining the books to the higher level strategic and vision driven decisions. As we’ve grown and talented folks have come into the organization we need to always question where we can bring the most value and how we can best support our Crew. Sometimes it’s best when we get out of the way. We are constantly working on how to give individuals autonomy so they can thrive while still providing structure and vision.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that when you hire right it is much easier to delegate and let people run. Cultural fit, the right set of skills, experience and drive is absolutely critical to having a thriving working environment that charges forward and protects company culture. 

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

We were inspired to create dishes that could be enjoyed by all regardless of dietary restriction as we saw a need for simple, real ingredients in the gluten-free category. The quality of gluten-free alternatives are most often still nutritionally inferior to gluten-containing products and we felt that we had found a way to change that by choosing to produce grain-free foods, leaving less room for altered components.  We want all of our customers to feel that they have access to delicious offerings that are better-for-you without ever having to compromise on taste. 

How do you motivate others?

I try to motivate others by leaning into people’s strengths and encouraging people to think big. I  also try to remind people that what they’re doing makes a difference in people’s lives.  

Career advice to those in your industry?

Remember that we can use our minds as a tool for transformation. Our perception of the world and how we approach challenging situations can unlock incredible opportunities. There is almost always a silver lining in disappointment. Remain patient and persistent. 

Also, remember that creativity and having fun is extremely important. The more you exercise that muscle the more it will positively bleed into the work you do.

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What do I do best?

Trial and error. I am pretty comfortable failing and am not afraid to try things that I’ve never done before. I have a level of persistence that has helped to make things possible that could have easily been deemed too hard.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I have a strong intuition, one that I cannot ignore. The more time I put into raising my awareness through things like meditation, continuous education and spending time in nature, the stronger and more balanced I am. I have a deep curiosity and belief that we can do incredible things when we shift the way we think and align our attention with the outcomes we desire.

What are my aspirations?

Professionally, I want to create meaningful accessibility to Cappello’s products and keep an emphasis on the type of culture we are building and fostering. I want our employees to be thrilled with where they work and the type of impact we are having in the world. I want Cappello’s to continue to take corporate responsibility seriously and do more and more for people and the planet as we grow.

Personally, I’m dedicated to creativity and a personal sense of joy. Someday soon, I’d like to have a compound where friends and family can have a place to escape and connect.

My Biggest Success?

Becoming aware of food and the effect it has on everything. Nothing has been more life changing than becoming intune with my body and how all the inputs affect the output. 

My Most Challenging Moment?

Leaving my previous career to explore the unknown. When I moved to Argentina, I didn’t have a plan other than to learn Spanish, to see a new part of the world and to simply see what might happen. I was leaving an abundant career not knowing what I would ultimately do next. Stepping into not knowing what my next day or week or year would look like, without attachment to the past, was challenging but was extremely rewarding in ways I could have never imagined.

My Motto?

A permaculture principle -  The problem is the solution

My Favorite People/Role Models?

In business - Brian Camastral (former president of Mars Corp) & Phil Anson founder of Evol Foods

Authors - Alan Watts & Yuval Noah Harari. 

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Telluride/Ridgeway Colorado… And anywhere that I can snowboard. I love Argentina and Mexico… But so much of the world is enchanted and there are so many places I still want to experience. 

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My vitamix

My Current Passions?

Making chandeliers out of repurposed glass

My Pic of the Day:

This is a picture of my mom from when we visited the Denver Art Museum this weekend. I’m titling it Infinite Mumzie - we call her Mumzie. She is the most loyal, real and beautiful woman you’ll ever meet…. And guess what? her last name is Cappello.

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My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Stay present - don’t be stressed.

Thought of the Day: Time heals 

Action of the Day: Listen more than talk

Deed of the Day: Helping to sauder my friends gas tank

Tip of the Day: Try to think about what you can do for others more than you think about yourself

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

It’s access to the great outdoors

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Favorite restaurant - Arcana in Boulder

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – On the weekend - sleeping - during the week meditating 

10:00 AM - Checking things off the list

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? 

I’m guilty of not eating lunch much of the time… Yes, I am one of those horrible people who ruined lunch breaks.

7:00 PM -  Making dinner listening to music or podcasts

11:00 PM - Time for bed… Unless I get manic and decide to paint or do something creative and let time slip away. 

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

1 - Butter coffee (coffee, MCT oil, butter) - this is my breakfast and often gets me through lunch too. 

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

For biz - Slack

For the soul - Spotify

What should everyone try at least once?

Sea urchin - but don’t just try it once… keep eating it until you finally love it and never look back. 

Where do you enjoy getting lost? 

In the woods in consciousness

What Else to Know?

The permaculture principles and ethics - I’d like to live into these with everything I do. From building to gardening to business.

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Paul Barmes: Designer & Founder, Barmes

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m Paul Barmes, designer and founder of Barmes, the world’s first patented carry-on travel case with three separate hinging compartments. I created the lifestyle brand in 2012 to redefine the way people live, work and move. I’m an eclectic artist and entrepreneur, bringing extensive business leadership to my position, where I oversee the brand’s design and vision. When I’m not working to optimize the travel experience, I enjoy engaging in local charities and connecting with people from many walks of life

How did you get into the industry?

I have always been interested in people and how they live, work, and move. So I wanted to create a lifestyle brand for a better every day through thoughtful design.

Inspiration for the business idea and your vision for the business.

With the rise of the gig economy, people now have the ability to Live and Work from almost anywhere and at any time. This requires one to be more organized and focused on what is required. Our mission is to make moving more seamless and help people optimize their opportunities. 

What's next for the Business in the near future?

To establish our brand as an innovator of stylish, thoughtful design.

We see technology as the ultimate creative tool. We will only move on new ideas when we add value people. I am not short of ideas, but we will remain focused to evolve every offering to be the best it can.

Your most difficult moment at the Business?

After three years of development, we had quickly realized our manufacturers were the key to achieve the level of quality required. The Barmes case is a unique design with tight tolerances and we actively push the boundaries of every step in our process. With any new innovation, it requires partners to firstly believe and are prepared to work outside of the ordinary. Our design now has patents granted to validate the belief, time, and efforts of many.

Career advice to those in your industry?

My advice is to anyone from any industry or service: Always challenge what is the accepted standard or deemed normal and push the boundaries. How people live and work will continue to evolve, and new solutions are required. 

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What do I do best?

I think it is that I relate to many people. I have a wide variety of interests and passions and I can, in most instances, find common ground. I travel well, as I enjoy people and living amongst their cultures.

What makes me the best version of myself?

To get up every day and challenge myself.

What are my aspirations?

Business-wise, it’s to bring on-board young talented people to design and develop new and interesting solutions for the next generations. Personally, for me life is about experiences, which requires more travel to new places.

My Biggest Success?

I haven’t reached it yet. I will let you know when I get there.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I have had many, but meeting my In-Laws was certainly one of them.

My Motto?

I have a few:

"Carpe Diem" (Seize the Day)

"RCA" -- Recognize, Choose and Act.

"Give more than you take."

"You are only responsible for your own actions."

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors and role models at various, and important, stages of my journey to date. It does not matter whether the person is older or younger, people who have wisdom should be listened to and learned from. They don’t have to be famous; they just require good values. I have enjoyed sharing some of the wisdom I have gained with others, and to see others grow on their paths has been very rewarding.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

There are many for various reasons, but to mention a few:

My home of New Zealand, I think our South Island is very beautiful. Italy, for the people who embrace family, food, wine and life. Israel and Jordan, for its history and culture. New York because it is New York. That being said, I still have many countries, places, and cultures to experience.

My Favorite Products/Objects? 

I have an appreciation for architecture and design so there are too many to name. 

My Current Passions?

My family and friends. This Barmes case is a close second.

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My Daily Thoughts:

The goal of the Day:  Challenge myself.

Thought of the Day: There are many and they vary.

Action of the Day: To do as much as possible.

Deed of the Day: Give more than I take.

Tip of the Day: Enjoy every day. It is not a dress rehearsal.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

No matter where you are in my city, there is a beautiful beach very close.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant? 

I frequently enjoy Bircher Muesli with fruit for breakfast. As for my favorite restaurant, right now there's a great Italian restaurant near my house in New Zealand

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – wake up

10:00 AM - make myself a quick breakfast and a flat white

12:00 PM - Go down to a local Lunch spot near my home.

7:00 PM - Usually I'm either walking the dogs on the beach, at my son's sporting event or preparing dinner with the family.

11:00 PM - Thinking about what's next when I should be going to sleep.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I am not really a creature of habit, so this varies according to where I am and with whom. But usually either water or wine.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account? 

As a keen sportsman, my sports apps. My favorite Instagram Account right now is undoubtedly @barmesdesign

What should everyone try at least once?

An activity that puts them outside their comfort zone.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

At the beach, or a new city

My Pic of the Day: The view from our house, I never get tired of it.

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