I was recently chosen by one of my favorite magazines to be interviewed for a special series on “San Diego’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs” (omg!).
I really enjoyed reading the full transcript of the interview, because it brought out many painful moments that I have experienced on my career path, moments that I had not shared publicly before.
Looking back on the last few years, all I can say is IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY.
We are all in this together, so let’s share the stories.
QUESTION 1: Can you walk us through your story? How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
“I have always been a big dreamer, and because I am naturally curious and a little restless, I have travelled and lived in many different places. I also explored many different industries in my career and have experienced all facets of business development while guided by a deep commitment to always follow my intuition and turn my heart’s dreaming into a reality.
I’m a process girl, so while I’m highly intuitive, I also love systems and am very logical. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so salt-of-the-earth sensibilities a strong work ethic were ingrained in my DNA early on, and I graduated from UW-Madison with a double major in Education & Spanish.
After graduation, I worked and played in South America for a year before making my way to New York City, where I lived for the next ten and very formative years of my career, and where I discovered that I also loved the process of dream-weaving in business.. As it turned out, I was quite adept in the areas of logistics, operations, and project management and I loved to execute on the visions of those who hired me.
My first job in NYC was on the startup team for Bluefly.com. I was one of eight original employees who helped to transition a $10 million golf apparel wholesaler into one of the very first online fashion retail stores. Bluefly is still a growing company, and I am very grateful for everything that I learned there, most importantly the value of a positive and supportive work culture.
When I started at Bluefly, it was 1998 and the internet was just about to explode. I was only 22, and I advanced quickly over the next three years there because I basically did and learned anything that was needed; I plugged numbers into spreadsheets, used my Spanish to manage staff in our warehouses, learned photography and graphic design to assist our marketing team, and eventually became manager of our in‐house, digital photography studio.
I celebrated three years of around-the-clock work with a three month summer hiatus in Barcelona. I returned to New York City in the fall of 2001, and one week later, September 11th happened.
That day in New York City changed everything for me, and I decided to do something more service‐oriented in my career. I traded a good salary in the fashion district to develop and direct an education program for immigrants at a non-profit organization in Washington Heights, infamously known at the time as the murder capital of NYC.
To this day I am still very proud of the program that I developed there, but it was at this non-profit where I had my first disappointing wake-up call about the world of work.
I found out that although I had made the switch to a philanthropic work environment, the women in my office were cruel and engaged in acts of catty competition and sabotage. I would encounter this unconscious behavior many more times throughout my career and within a wide variety of industries and geographical areas. I came to learn that a woman like me, one who is passionate about creating positive change, would oftentimes be resented, if not harassed, by her female colleagues, especially if she is in management. I also found that if this same woman is attractive, the resentment will be more extreme, and she would also experience a different type of harassment from the men in her world of work.
These negative experiences, although I didn’t realize it at the time, caused me to feel quite inadequate and disconnected from others despite my high-level performance in business.
Fast forward to 2014… I was at the top of my career and living the dream in coastal north county San Diego, where I had always wanted to settle down. But instead of settling down, I had become a full-blown workaholic and had spent the last two years launching and building a very leading-edge and profitable aesthetic medical practice. My employer also happened to be one of my best friends, and the women who I had trained and nurtured at my company were like sisters to me.
But in early 2014 I began to know intuitively that something was wrong at work.
In May of that year, my worst nightmare became a reality. One day, while I was out sick with strep throat, I was terminated without warning, and in a very hostile way. In short, it was a very ugly experience, and I was devastated for a long time, but I am grateful for what happened because it ignited my passion to create a world of work in which leaders are applauded by their ethics and heart. This experience was the push that I needed to launch my own conscious consulting company.”
QUESTION 2: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Please see upcoming post.