Q. I believe you must constantly be in pursuit of your best self. How have you prioritized doing so over the past year with the world being in a state of constant chaos?
I fundamentally believe that you can’t be your best self if you don’t prioritize your well being and set boundaries. In my most stressful moments, I have to actively remind myself that I will kick more butt if I take a walk, ignore social media, take a break from work, stretch, take deep breaths, eat without scrolling through my phone, etc. Someone said to me, you deserve to just stop what you’re doing and just THINK, and do nothing else, because you’ll ultimately get greater clarity.
As someone who was always regimented in working out, eating, sleeping, etc, I really struggled with feeling like I was enough during the past year because there was so much to juggle, including this new element of health and safety. I was so used to constantly pushing my limits, and feeling and seeing myself in a certain way, and that came out of intense discipline around working out, eating and sleeping.
But, with the pandemic, I’ve reassessed how I choose to balance my life a bit better. I’ve really had to practice looking in the mirror and just saying, I am beautiful, strong, smart and ENOUGH, as I am. I work hard, I put my heart forward into everything I do and with every interaction I have, and I deserve grace.
Q. Where did you first discover that women were paid less than men?
I generally always had a sense that women ultimately were not paid or treated equally, but it certainly wasn’t clear to me until after I graduated college and began my career that male employees of similar age and career experience as me would make sometimes $3000-5000 more than me, for the same starting salary and role.
Q. Tell me about one woman in your life whose impact you admire most?
My mom is the ultimate warrior. She’s a war refugee, a self taught accountant, and 2x cancer survivor. She is one of the strongest and most brilliant human beings to have ever walked this earth. She is a walking fortress. I revere her.
Q. Any advice for women that want to advocate for pay equity?
I believe that it starts with us. It starts with women not competing with one another, and working together to break these barriers. For far too long, women have had to fight against each other for the ONE seat, or the few seats at the table that is provided to us in the board room, on the management team, in any given industry. This is based on patriarchy. We are left fighting for the one plate that is supposed to feed us all.
I would encourage all women to question the moments when you feel competitive towards any other woman, whether it’s something as innocent as in the locker room at a gym, or in a social setting, or at work. Let us move away from the mindset of SCARCITY into one of ABUNDANCE. This is our time to claim our space - a space for ALL of us.
From there, we can band together and demand better pay, treatment and consideration in career advancement and mobility, or anywhere else for that matter, because we finally no longer see each other as competition.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give your 13 year old self?
Always lead with your heart and with empathy.
Q. What’s your go-to resource recommendation for learning about business and/ or leadership?
I highly recommend “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. It is the book that inspired me to start Society Nine, and helped me to understand how a person can develop an active practice of discovering, and understanding, their purpose, both in business and outside of business.
The other book is “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. Using psychological studies and data, she talks about how the probability of one’s success statistically has been shown, time and again, to be materially correlated to their sense of grit. For anyone who feels like an underdog, due to lack of resources, connections, physical strength, etc. - this book will validate any fears or concerns you have about failure.