Trent Blodgett

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How I Met (Your Brand) is a Q&A series designed to connect people and ideas. HIMYB spotlights diverse perspectives, using the power of stories to inspire and build inclusive communities.

Trent Blodgett

Chef and Founder of Spice Tribe

When did you decide to become a chef? 

I have always loved cooking and my dad really instilled that love in me at an early age, but working in a professional kitchen was never really a thought. I dropped out of college and was super lost and confused about what I wanted to do with my life. I first started working as a busboy at PF Changs which then led to a support server/prep cook position at Coqueta in SF. I did not go to culinary school, but my culinary training started hard and fast at Coqueta under some great chefs. My passion for cooking continued to grow day by day as I learned the ins and outs of the professional kitchen. After work, I would read The Culinary Institute of America and On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, along with lots of research about different cultures and how cuisine tells people stories of resilience. 

Describe your food style in 5 words.

Rustic. Seasonal. Conscious. Story-driven. Spice-laden.

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What are your favorite ingredients to work with and why?

Chiles are by far my favorite ingredients because they remind me of my childhood. Mostly in the form of dried red chile sauces. I love spices because they can help elevate even the simplest of ingredients and completely alter the story or direction of a dish. A simple barbecue chicken can taste like it was made on completely opposite sides of the earth simply by changing a couple of spices.

From our sourcing practices helping farmers, to our products helping cooks eat healthy to giving back to our communities. I strive to be an example for my son and teach him that strength and happiness is born from compassion. 

What does “home cooking” mean to you?

Home cooking is a way to celebrate and be grateful for your friends, family, and food. I believe cooking at home is crucial for your physical and mental health. Not everyone is so lucky to have home cooked meals on the table so it is truly a thing to cherish and celebrate. My favorite home cooked meals are barbecue, rice and beans, and a seasonal salad, or a risotto.

Who were your mentors, and how did they help you?

I have been very fortunate to have quite a few mentors in my life. My ceramic teacher in high school, Mark Jaeger, was my first mentor who really helped me see the beauty and importance of self-expression through art. I wanted to pursue art through college, but after I dropped out of college I realized that food was my form of art and self-expression. From there I have had many great chef mentors like Michael Chiarello, Patricio Dufoo, and Richard Visconte, just to name a few. They taught me everything from discipline, how to run a successful operation, to cooking over open fire. 

Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?

Jose Andres has always been my huge role model. He is an incredible chef who has dedicated his life to feeding those who are less fortunate. He is a hero. 

[Tearing my pec major tendon and needing to get surgery] ended up being a blessing in disguise  because it gave me some time to reflect on what is important in life and how I can pivot my love for food to really help people and make a difference. This self-reflection planted the seed for Spice Tribe.

What’s been the most transformational part of your career so far?

I was working as a grill station line cook at Coqueta. Dinner shifts were brutal and fast paced. I was stressed, drained and simply unhealthy but I loved every second of it. I ended up tearing my pec major tendon and needing to get surgery. This ended up being a blessing in disguise  because it gave me some time to reflect on what is important in life and how I can pivot my love for food to really help people and make a difference. This self-reflection planted the seed for Spice Tribe.

Tell us about Spice Tribe. What’s the idea or concept behind it? 

Spice Tribe‘s deeper meaning is all about celebrating humanity’s interconnected nature through our food. Spice Tribe started as a way to express my love for food and travel in the form of spice blends that tell stories in a unique way. I use these spice blends to create healthy recipes that help empower people in the kitchen to cook nutritious and delicious meals. I wanted to create a brand that benefits people and the Earth from the ground up. I began sourcing ingredients from small farms around the world to ensure the farmers are being paid fairly and the customers get a much fresher product. Now we sell single-origin spices that are sourced directly from these small farms to highlight the unique terroir of each spice while improving the livelihood of the communities that grow them.

Spice Tribe‘s deeper meaning is all about celebrating humanity’s interconnected nature through our food. Spice Tribe started as a way to express my love for food and travel in the form of spice blends that tell stories in a unique way.

Are you involved in any community organizations?

We created an initiative in partnership with The City Eats called Tribe For Change where we cook 600- 1,000 meals a month for people in need. 

You mentioned earlier that you draw much of your inspiration for new recipes and food combinations from your travels. How do you incorporate different cultures in your recipes?

Travel has played a huge role in my love for culture and food. Traveling has humbled me and taught me so much about the world and other people and how much we have in common. There is no better way to learn about people and culture than to go to a new place and share a meal with locals. I believe all people are incredibly connected and my favorite way to celebrate our similarities and differences is through food. I tell the stories of my travels with my spice blends. They are all very unique and are a homage to the amazing and inspiring people I have met on my travels who have shown me a piece of their culture. 

There is no better way to learn about people and culture than to go to a new place and share a meal with locals. I believe all people are incredibly connected and my favorite way to celebrate our similarities and differences is through food. 

What do you do to stay current on new trends in the food industry?

The past few years I have attended the Fancy Food Show which is a great way to see upcoming and current trends. Social media is another way to see current trends, but I recommend trade shows and their resources. I think SFA (Specialty Food Association) is a great one. 

How are you navigating business challenges due to the current state of our economy?

I feel very fortunate that Spice Tribe was up and running before COVID. Our pop up and catering events were all cancelled and we would have been completely out of work like so many others if it wasn’t for Spice Tribe. We have had to deal with constant issues with our supply chain as it was very difficult to get our shipments from overseas while everything was shut down. We had to pivot our business away from wholesale to restaurants to really focus on direct to consumer. Fortunately many people are at home cooking and keeping us in business. We are doing everything we can to keep our community fed during these times because we know so many are not as fortunate. 

I wanted to create a brand that benefits people and the Earth from the ground up. I began sourcing ingredients from small farms around the world to ensure the farmers are being paid fairly and the customers get a much fresher product.

What can we expect from Spice Tribe in the next couple of years?

We are looking forward to some collaborations we are working on where we will tell the stories of some amazing individuals in the form of spices. Also we will continue to add more exciting products (whole chiles coming soon!!).

When do you feel most inspired?

I feel most inspired while I am outdoors or traveling. I love getting out of my comfort zone and going to new places and learning about other cultures. There is so much to learn about the world. I am like a sponge and every person I meet or place I go becomes part of my story. My perspective is constantly evolving as I meet more people and learn from their point of view. There is so much truth to the quote by Albert Einstein, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” 

From our sourcing practices helping farmers, to our products helping cooks eat healthy to giving back to our communities. I strive to be an example for my son and teach him that strength and happiness is born from compassion. 

What’s your definition of success?

Success to me is all about finding your purpose and helping others. I want to create a sustainable business that truly helps make a difference in lives in every step of the business. From our sourcing practices helping farmers, to our products helping cooks eat healthy to giving back to our communities. I strive to be an example for my son and teach him that strength and happiness is born from compassion. 

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This year has shown us how important it is to be able to evolve and adapt without any warning. So many restaurants and small businesses have been completely turned upside down this year. It has been incredibly inspiring to see how some of these businesses were able to pivot and adapt to their advantage

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time and Buddhist mindfulness practice really helped turn my life around. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, peace activist and author and I have read all of his books. One of his quotes that really stuck with me was this:

“When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting, or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, it also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water.”

This mindset has helped me see that we are all waves and no two waves are the same but we are all made up of water. This concept is what the SpiceTribe is rooted in. 

What advice would you give to aspiring chefs or small business owners?

This year has been devastating for the restaurant industry and small businesses. The storm will pass. Stay true to what you love to do and don’t give up on your dreams. This year has shown us how important it is to be able to evolve and adapt without any warning. So many restaurants and small businesses have been completely turned upside down this year. It has been incredibly inspiring to see how some of these businesses were able to pivot and adapt to their advantage

Connect with Trent Blodgett at SpiceTribe.com and @SpiceTribe!

Interviewed by: Maria Mayoralgo

Jennifer Redondo-Marquez and Rose Buado

Photo Credit: Ed Pingol (Jennifer Redondo-Marquez and Rose Buado)

How I Met (Your Brand) is designed to connect people and ideas; spotlighting diverse perspectives, using the power of stories to fuel innovation and bring communities together.

Meet Jennifer Redondo-Marquez and Rose Buado

Entrepreneurs and Authors of In Her Purpose: 40 Principles of Asian Women Redefining Success on Their Own Terms

Tell us about yourself.


Jenn: Upon graduating from the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!), I started my corporate career in management consulting and eventually made my way into Silicon Valley’s tech industry. I have spent over a decade working in Operations/Supply Chain and R&D/Hardware Engineering. I have a passion for solving complex problems, bridging the gap between strategy and execution, and turning ideas into action and results. I am also excited about empowering women and the future generation, which is where co-founding In Her Purpose comes in.  I also love traveling and basketball, especially the Los Angeles Lakers!  


Rose: I am a multipreneur: I am a start-up mentor and success coach for high-performing women entrepreneurs, CEO of RVNB, an artist management agency, managing popular Fil-Am a cappella group, The Filharmonic, and I am also a co-partner of Cassidy’s Corner Cafe. Although I’ve held titles such as Vice President of Media, Marketing Strategist and Ad Executive, my most rewarding job is being a mom of two, wife, and co-founder of In Her Purpose

“I often found myself to be the only woman or person of color in the room. As I matured in my career, I was searching for someone that looked like me, someone I could relate to.”

What is the concept behind In Her Purpose, and tell us how it all started? What sparked the idea?

Jenn: It stemmed from my search for a mentor. I have been in the corporate world for over 15 years, a decade of that spent in Silicon Valley. I often found myself to be the only woman or person of color in the room. As I matured in my career, I was searching for someone that looked like me, someone I could relate to. That’s when I turned to Rose, my older cousin, who was working as a Vice President at an advertising agency. We are part of the few in our family to venture outside the medical field or military. Rose was someone that I could turn to. At the time she was also managing The Filharmonic. Touring with the band gave her the opportunity to meet women in high positions of influence, who happen to look like us. That’s how she was able to introduce me to Sheila Marcelo, the founder and former CEO of Care.com. 

Rose: After meeting these women, I wanted to learn even more about them. Of course, I googled them and found nothing! So I started to search more broad keywords like “successful Asian women” and all I could find was a book on “How to Date or Marry an Asian Woman”. That was my aha moment! I wanted to fix this problem by writing a book on successful Asian women! That’s when I approached Jenn about my idea and she encouraged me to do it now!

“The mission of IHP is to provide a space for individuals to share their stories, inspire, collaborate, connect, and innovate. We offer career guidance and professional growth programs to help people reimagine how they look at their career, business, and life purpose.”

In Her Purpose (IHP) was born out of our curiosity and yearning to find successful women —  other Asians who looked like us. IHP started out as a book, to inspire others to live in their purpose. But…. it has become so much more than that. It’s our foundation. We are lifting the content off the pages for real-life applications. It’s ideal, not just an idea.   

The mission of IHP is to provide a space for individuals to share their stories, inspire, collaborate, connect, and innovate. We offer career guidance and professional growth programs to help people reimagine how they look at their career, business, and life purpose.

“We started with our own network, which is why you find a majority of the IHP women are Filipina.”

Photo Credit: Jennifer Redondo-Marquez and Rose Buado

There are 40 stories of strong Asian women who are redefining success on their own terms. What was the selection process like?

We started with our own network, which is why you find a majority of the IHP women are Filipina. Once we started to tell people about our project, we were being introduced to women left and right. Our initial goal was 20 and we doubled our lofty goal! We also did some research via Instagram! We slid through their DMs!

We chose women of Asian descent who were living in the United States. We also picked women working in non-traditional roles within the Asian culture. Surprisingly, we only have one nurse in the book! Most important, we chose women who were thriving in their chosen industries. We wanted bosses, movers, shakers. Hence, the subtitle of our book: 40 Asian Women Redefining Success on Their Own Terms.

What was your favorite part about putting this book together?

Working together to achieve #1 Best Seller and #1 New Release on Amazon and being able to share this labor of love with everyone has been the most rewarding part of this journey! We are especially grateful for all of the messages we are receiving about the positive impact that the book has had on them! Being able to expand our family by 38 amazing women has also been pretty amazing. It is an honor to be surrounded by these women doing amazing things. Not to mention, we have 38 women supporting us and cheering us on. We have learned so much from each of them. Throughout the year and a half, we definitely experienced major growth! We had to figure out how to write a book, which is something neither of us knew how to do. We also had to learn how to operate in this “new normal” and even launched a company during Covid! 

“Working together to achieve #1 Best Seller and #1 New Release on Amazon and being able to share this labor of love with everyone has been the most rewarding part of this journey!”

Are you involved in any community organizations? What’s the most fulfilling part about it?

Jenn:  I serve as a mentor for Filipino Americans in Silicon Valley Tech (FASTER) and Kollective Hustle. I am also the former Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for the Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation. The most fulfilling part about my involvement is being able to give back to the community and to be able to help other women. Mentors play a critical role in one’s success. I wish I had access to mentors and resources when I was their age, which is why I make it a point to give back and serve. 

Rose: I serve on the Board of Directors for Cassidy’s Corner Cafe and I am part of the  International Association of Women (IAW) which is a community that provides a personal forum for women to grow their career, promote their business, product or service, share ideas and expand their network. IAW’s in-person and virtual events allow members to learn from and share experiences with other women around the world and the community who are recognized experts in their fields.

“The most fulfilling part about my involvement is being able to give back to the community and to be able to help other women. Mentors play a critical role in one’s success. I wish I had access to mentors and resources when I was their age, which is why I make it a point to give back and serve.”

Tell us about your career journey, and how does it reflect your personal values?

Jenn: I was raised by a U.S. military officer and a registered nurse, but I later learned that entrepreneurship is in my family’s blood. Both sets of my grandparents started businesses from nothing in the Philippines. So it makes sense that I was attracted to the business world. Growing up, I was obsessed with Monopoly and even found rolling coins to be therapeutic. Despite my parents wishes, I entered corporate America. I started out my career at Accenture’s Management Consulting group where I worked on global projects for clients such as Chevron, Gap Inc., Aetna and more. Eventually, I moved into Silicon Valley’s tech industry, where I’ve spent over a decade in Operations/Supply Chain and R&D/Hardware Engineering.

Money is something that I have always valued, though, I quickly learned that money isn’t everything. I left a job for more money and a higher title, but I was even more miserable! That’s when it became very clear to me that I value money for what it allows me to do in life, which is to spend time with my family and friends. It gives me the ability to travel to new places and experiences. I also learned the importance of working on a product that will help or change others’ lives in a positive way. What I work on has to be aligned with my values: don’t settle for less than excellence, have self-honesty to admit when I am wrong and the courage to change, and to create innovative products that are truly important and meaningful.   

“Money is something that I have always valued, though, I quickly learned that money isn’t everything. I left a job for more money and a higher title, but I was even more miserable! That’s when it became very clear to me that I value money for what it allows me to do in life, which is to spend time with my family and friends.”

Rose: I am a wife, a mother, a serial entrepreneur and a certified professional life coach. I started my first business while in college teaching social dance which eventually grew into a full blown events company. However, I didn’t know what I had, I only created a company for extra income during school. I ended up pursuing the corporate life after obtaining a Bachelor of the Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach. I found myself in advertising, selling infomercial ad space to corporate brands in Los Angeles. I wasn’t satisfied and felt that I was missing something. I wanted to move up in the ad world, earn a higher paycheck, and what most ad executives want: a better title. I stayed in the media business for 15 years, eventually earning a Vice President role. I thought I would be fulfilled once I achieved all the things I wanted, but unfortunately, I still felt empty and drained. 

Outside of my day job, I did side projects to balance out my boredom. I filled my weekends with event planning and helping other people turn their business ideas into reality. People started hearing about how I started my own company and that’s when they came to me with questions on how to start theirs.

Then something happened, I had this amazing opportunity to use all my experience to launch musicians into the entertainment industry, releasing their albums, booking their gigs and building their media presence. I finally enjoyed working and the best part was it didn’t even feel like work!

Looking back at every business or person I helped, I devoted myself to supporting them by figuring out a pathway to achieve their dream! It’s what I value, being able to help, serve and support others find and follow their true purpose.

“I stayed in the media business for 15 years, eventually earning a Vice President role. I thought I would be fulfilled once I achieved all the things I wanted, but unfortunately, I still felt empty and drained.”

Who were your mentors, and how did they help you?

Jenn: While in college, I relied heavily on David Boyd and Jenn Clarin Desai. They both studied business and were working in corporate America, which is what I wanted to do. They encouraged me to get involved in professional organizations and taught me the importance of obtaining internships (even if they were unpaid to start). Once I landed a full-time position, David advised me to spend money as if I were still a college student. Just because I was earning more money than I’ve ever had in my life, that was not an excuse to splurge and go on a shopping spree. Jenn also gave me my first opportunity to start and run my first business in 2006.   

I also received a lot of guidance from John and Jessielyn Balidio. They taught me the importance of paying off my school loans, investing in myself, 401K, and real estate. They all taught me personal finance and how to create generational wealth, which no one teaches us in school or at home!

Rose: My mother was a great mentor. She taught me how to respect myself, how to get things done and how to keep moving when life got challenging. My Aunt Carmen inspired me to own my own business. She hired me when she started her first business and I saw how hard she worked to grow it. I think through both of their actions, I was able to watch and learn.  I’ll continue to honor both of them as I move through my entrepreneurial journey.

“The day I finally decided to leave my corporate job and go full force entrepreneur in 2017. I remember nervously walking into my CEO’s office and telling him that I loved working for him, with the team and thanked him for the opportunity but it was time for me to pursue my own company. It took me 7 years to work up the confidence to do that!”

What has been the most transformational part of your career so far?

Jenn: Leaving my comfort zone to try a startup and quickly learning that the grass is not always greener has been the most transformational part of my career. It was a really tough time for me, but I found solace in writing In Her Purpose. The interviews and writing about these phenomenal women really helped me push through. I also believe I was meant to join the start up to meet Marissa Yao (Vice President of Sustainability). She coached me through some really difficult times and pushed me to grow past my frustrations and emotions. She’s definitely a mentor that I will forever be grateful for. I continue to nurture that relationship even though we are both no longer with the company. 

Rose: The day I finally decided to leave my corporate job and go full force entrepreneur in 2017. I remember nervously walking into my CEO’s office and telling him that I loved working for him, with the team and thanked him for the opportunity but it was time for me to pursue my own company. It took me 7 years to work up the confidence to do that!      

If you could meet your 20-year old self, how would you describe who you are today?

Jenn: You did it! You’ve checked off almost every box: graduate college, good job, married, house and other investments. By society’s standards you are successful and you have made it. Aside from that, you’ve been able to travel almost every world continent! Not to mention, you also wrote a book! You are leaving a legacy — not just for your family, but the future generation to read and learn about “herstory”. You have created a community and culture to motivate and help empower young women such as yourself. 

Rose: Oh wow! You’re a mom, raising two kids and helping others follow their dreams of turning purpose into profit. On top of that, you are working in music! I’m so happy you were able to pursue what we’ve always dreamt of doing!

“I have been a part of a couple of layoffs throughout my career, which pushed me into places where I didn’t imagine ever going to until I was forced to. Getting laid off the first time forced me to enter into a new industry. Being a part of the tech boom served me well, especially during the 2009 economic recession.”

What lessons did you learn from your biggest failures, and how did it contribute to a greater success?

Jenn:  I am not sure if being laid off would be considered my biggest failure because it’s not entirely my fault. I have been a part of a couple of layoffs throughout my career, which pushed me into places where I didn’t imagine ever going to until I was forced to. Getting laid off the first time forced me to enter into a new industry. Being a part of the tech boom served me well, especially during the 2009 economic recession. During that time, I was living in a bubble. While people were losing their jobs and homes, I bought my first house. The second time around, I ventured out and tried the startup life, which is something I’ve always been curious about. I was able to learn a lot about myself, and it also gave me the time and opportunity to write and finish In Her Purpose, which I otherwise would not have been able to do.

Rose: I laugh now just thinking about it. When I started a new position in media, I was unexpectedly requested to participate in a client meeting – literally 5 mins before it started. I had to present the outcome of the clients advertising campaign – which I knew nothing about! I was handed a report and I was supposed to explain it to the client. There must have been ten people in the room. It was nerve wracking and intimidating! What I learned from this situation was, always be prepared! Ask questions before you jump into a client meeting and review your documents!    

“Always know everything eventually works out, however, if you find yourself in a difficult moment, take a step back and breathe. Then remember you can’t control other people, you can only control your reaction to them.”

What’s the best advice you’ve received on navigating difficult moments?

Jenn: Keep going and keep the end goal in mind. You will figure it out and you will get through it like you always do. It will be worth it in the end!

If all else fails, call your mom and ask her to pray really hard! LOL

Rose: Always know everything eventually works out, however, if you find yourself in a difficult moment, take a step back and breathe. Then remember you can’t control other people, you can only control your reaction to them.

“It’s really dangerous when you get too comfortable because you’re not growing or learning anything anymore. Don’t ever settle for less!”

If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Jenn: I would not have stayed too long in one place — whether that is a job or relationship. It’s really dangerous when you get too comfortable because you’re not growing or learning anything anymore. Don’t ever settle for less! I also would have told myself to be a little more aggressive and to take more risks, rather than sticking to what my parents or society deemed to be the “right” thing to do. If I pursued and just tried everything I wanted to do, I would have failed faster and more often. I would have discovered whether or not that was something I was good/not good at, and whether I liked/disliked something.    

Rose: I would have taken my first businesses seriously and really focused on growing it. Instead, I thought that corporate was the right path to take.

“… wealth doesn’t just equate to money, but all aspects in life: mental, physical, and spiritual health. Health is wealth!”

What’s your self-care routine?

Jenn: I have a morning routine: I wake up and thank God for another day. I read a daily devotion and a daily affirmation. I make my bed and then I workout to get my body moving and blood flowing. I hit the shower and spend time with my skincare regimen: toner, eye cream, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Now that we are quarantined, I have a little more time so I use a gua sha tool to move my lymph and remove toxins. I also drink a lot of water, herbal teas, and green smoothies and juices. At night, I like to take an epsom salt bath to relax my muscles and remove toxins. It also helps me relax and wind down from the day.     

Rose: I give thanks to God in the morning and night. I do a 30 or 60 minute workout depending on which day it is. I drink freshly squeezed green juice in the mornings. I hike on the weekends and I clean and declutter my home and office weekly. Yes, CLEANING. I enjoy it, I love the fresh feeling of a clean home, it makes me more productive and happy. Do you find that weird?

What’s your favorite affirmation?

Jenn: “I receive all the wealth life presents to me.” It’s one of the cards in my deck of daily affirmations that I won during a yoga finance session with @cleoyogafinance. She did a virtual event hosted by @heyberna at the beginning of Covid. I like this affirmation in particular because wealth doesn’t just equate to money, but all aspects in life: mental, physical, and spiritual health. Health is wealth!   

Rose: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

When do you feel most inspired?

Jenn: I feel most inspired when I am passionate and excited about a person, place, or thing. If I get good vibes, I move with the energy and go with the flow.  

Rose: After speaking with like-minded, goal oriented people. I love their energy and I get inspired to learn more and grow too!

When do you feel most powerful?

Jenn: I feel most powerful when I am surrounded and supported by my tribe! Giselle Töngi-Walters has a quote in our book: “Find or create your own tribe. They will lift you up when you can’t do something. They are going to tell you to go for it when you think it’s impossible.”

Rose: After church, when the Pastor gives a very inspiring and motivational message. Also, after a really good SoulCycle class. The teachers really know how to fill your heart!

“Getting Shit Done (G.S.D)! Accomplishing whatever it is that I want to do or what I set out to do. Success is being able to not just talk about it, but be about it.”

What’s your definition of success?

Jenn: Getting Shit Done (G.S.D)! Accomplishing whatever it is that I want to do or what I set out to do. Success is being able to not just talk about it, but be about it. 

Rose: Being able to do what you love in life and not be defined by your career but by your good actions and intent.

“Being able to do what you love in life and not be defined by your career but by your good actions and intent.”

What can we expect from you in the next couple of years?

We plan to continue to grow In Her Purpose, not just the community, but also the brand and company. We launched our first book, In Her Purpose: 40 Principles of Asian Women Redefining Success on Their Own Terms, along with career guidance and professional growth programs to help people reimagine how they look at their career, business and life purpose. We hope to expand and further develop ways to help others find their purpose and passion.

There have been some questions about a second volume of In Her Purpose. It’s something that we are certainly open to so if you have any women that you’d like to recommend, please send them our way!

In addition to our book and programs, we are taking on some really interesting projects with some of the IHP women. It’s too early to say just yet, but stay tuned on some of the amazing things that we are creating!

“We hope to expand and further develop ways to help others find their purpose and passion.”

Connect with Jennifer Redondo-Marquez and Rose Buado.

Jennifer Redondo-Marquez: @JENNRED24

Rose Buado: @ROSE_BUADO

In Her Purpose: @INHERPURPOSE

Website: INHERPURPOSE.COM

Buy the book on Amazon: IN HER PURPOSE


About How I Met (Your Brand)

HIMYB is designed to connect people and ideas; spotlighting diverse perspectives, using the power of stories to fuel innovation and bring communities together.

(Your Brand) is your vision, your mission, and how you’ll be remembered.

YOU are (Your Brand).

Kristianne Molina

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Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina


Kristianne Molina

Jersey City, NJ

Artist


How did you get started in your craft – and how does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic? 

The Genesis of my exposure started at childhood. Going to practice and committing to art classes took discipline and became foundation for different facets of my life: art, athletics, writing, and relationships. I learned that knowledge and skill evolve which helped developed my aesthetics. I believe in aesthetics and then there’s style, they are mostly synonymous.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career? 

In a fundamental sense, women are instrumental to whom I have become.

I have a single mother that brought my brother and I from the Philippines and raised us in the east coast. My grandmother came to New York and worked at Zaro’s bakery for 30 years to help support eight of her children, mostly living in the Philippines.

I’ve met women along the way that I admired and they have helped navigate my way. It takes a village to raise a child and I was lucky enough to have strong women along my path. My high school art teachers were women and my varsity basketball coach was a woman. Most of my favorite artists are women.

At the Women’s March before inauguration I walked with my mother who last marched at the People’s Power Revolution in the Philippines and women artists in my community at Mana Contemporary. That was an empowering moment.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

Constantly learning and unlearning. Trends are so catchy sometimes I try not to get sucked into it like quicksand. When I start searching for something that doesn’t exist often I feel a need to create that nonexistent thing.

Some days I make responsive work to current events and try to learn more about the subjects. I feel connected in that way. When we read the news and hear about international affairs or cultural crisis it’s hard to feel connected when your reality is someplace else. Honestly take time to reflect and physically respond creatively from a genuine place.

I’m not sure if I am ever ahead of the curve haha.

At the Women’s March before inauguration I walked with my mother who last marched at the People’s Power Revolution in the Philippines and women artists in my community at Mana Contemporary. That was an empowering moment.

Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)? 

I’m trying to be kinder to myself and its been helping with productivity. Doing the most essential thing, listening to my body, resting when I’m tired, and eating when I am hungry, and daydreaming. Activities we take for granted.

I try to ride the waves of full energy when I’m really fired up to work on a project, write down an idea, or problem solve an idea. That energy pushes me through exhaustion.

When we read the news and hear about international affairs or cultural crisis it’s hard to feel connected when your reality is someplace else. Honestly take time to reflect and physically respond creatively from a genuine place.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor? 

In Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the enemy he calls this Plus, Minus and Equals. Plus is someone who is teaching you, Minus is someone you are passing it on to, and Equal is someone who is your match. You should have people filling each category.

Mentorship is essential. If you don’t have a mentor, find one. A mentorship is organic chemistry, and you can’t fake the funk. I believe a mentorship must have mutual respect.

I have mentors for different facets of my life. Relationships with people are like plants; some are watered more frequently than others.

Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

In Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the enemy he calls this Plus, Minus and Equals. Plus is someone who is teaching you, Minus is someone you are passing it on to, and Equal is someone who is your match. You should have people filling each category.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business? 

I believe understanding your perspective is important. Take some time to assess your resources and build with what you have currently. Own what makes you different. It took me a while to wake up to the fact that most days I am the only Asian in the room and being a Filipino was a marginalized Asian culture until the last few years.

When I decided to have my first child and chose to continue my creative work, someone had the audacity to say to me, “I thought you would give up once you got pregnant.” We’re living in the 21st century. Overall, I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow independently outside of my social roles, because that to me, it is a luxury.

Work hard and be nice.

Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

Own what makes you different. It took me a while to wake up to the fact that most days I am the only Asian in the room and being a Filipino was a marginalized Asian culture until the last few years.

Place that inspires me the most… Nature, a library and the ocean, unfortunately all three are in detrimental states. But there is beauty in the transient.

I feel most powerful when… When I give to others and myself freely, and it doesn’t have to be monetary.

I love what I do because… It scares me and it frees me.

Best advice I have ever received… Take advice but don’t take advice. Don’t wait to be inspired.

Dearest Creative

KORI & KIRSTEN
Photo Credit: Meron Menghistab


Kori Dyer & Kirsten Pincket

Brooklyn, NY

Co-Founders, Dearest Creative


How did you get started with your career – and how does it reflect your personal aesthetic?

Kirsten from Florida, Kori from Philadelphia—it was always both of our dreams to live in New York. We met at VOGUE where we formed a working relationship and as we explored the industry together our bond grew stronger. From music, to fashion and beauty, our experiences have been rooted in cultivating genuine connections and crafting brands. That’s why we decided to build our own.

How have the women around you been instrumental in your lives and careers? 

Both of us growing up in a house of three sisters and incredible moms, feminine strength and independence was continuously instilled in us. We were both extremely lucky to have been raised in an environment where we were told that “you could literally do anything you wanted as long as you worked hard enough for it.”

From music, to fashion and beauty, our experiences have been rooted in cultivating genuine connections and crafting brands. That’s why we decided to build our own.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve? 

Although NYC is magical and has many advantages, it can get overwhelming to try to “keep up” with the ever-changing trends. Constantly moodboarding, reading, attending museums, seeing shows and creating just for fun is the most natural way to stay afloat and relevant. We also have an incredibly talented and successful group of friends who run the gamut in terms of career paths – which is very inspiring. Keeping the conversation with your community flowing is also a great way to stay connected.

Our initiative, Dearest, is a creative studio whose passions lie in human interaction and mindful communication. At the end of the day, we just want to work with brands we like.

Dearest Creative

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)? 

Personally, it’s a constant battle to juggle multiple projects, keep up with family and friends, exercise, get enough sleep and also feel wildly creative at the end of the day. I think that keeping everything organized and in perspective is the most effective way to be productive and happy in all aspects of life. Our mission is to visually problem solve in a visceral way. We stay curious, keep learning and know that risk is our friend.

At the end of the day, we just want to work with brands we like.

How important are mentors? Who are your mentors? 

On a day-to-day basis, we are each other’s mentors. In a larger sense –

Kori: Emily Dickinson—the original riot grrrl created deep and dark poetry in isolation. My favorite: “Forever is composed of nows.”

Kirsten: I have always looked up to Charlotte Bronte (1 of 3 sisters also!). She was an incredible author, poet and feminist trailblazer.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business? 

Focus on your strengths. Don’t ignore your intuition.

Our mission is to visually problem solve in a visceral way. We stay curious, keep learning and know that risk is our friend.

Place that inspires us the most…

Kori: The Magic Tree—a giant whimsical Japanese hackberry in Green Valleys, PA. As a nature camp counselor every summer there, I’d read stories under this massive deciduous beauty which re-roots to create a fort-like getaway. It’s my definition of an escape where you forget your worries.

Kirsten: The Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy—the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been.

We feel most powerful when…we’re collaborating with like-minded people.

We love what we do because…we get to create beautiful things for a living.

Focus on your strengths. Don’t ignore your intuition.

Best advice we have ever received…

Kori: Be so good they can’t ignore you.

Kirsten: Be grateful that thorns have roses


Kori: @korianndyer | Kirsten: @kirstenpincket | Dearest: @DearestCreative + DearestCreative.co

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Roxanne Tineo

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ROXANNE TINEO

ARTIST

NEW YORK, NY

How did you get started as an artist – and how does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I started after my family and I moved from the house that we lived in for many years. I was also going through a break up at the same time. Painting is one of my ways to release tension and stress. The multi-colored women are a representation of how I view myself and other like-minded women. We all go through trials and tribulations, but we’re meant to get back on track to achieve our personal goals. You feel more enlightened and in-tune with yourself. Your whole vibe changes, and that’s when life changes.

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How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and craft?

Most of the women (and some men) in my life have made a huge impact in my life and career. My highs and lows with certain individuals have taught me so many lessons, which I am grateful for. They all somehow keep me on track. Shout out to the women and men in my life who have showed me the way to live a better life!

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Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I honestly don’t pay attention to trends, because they always come and go. I have always followed my own vibe; it is something I’ve always done since I was very young. I consider myself a low-key and classy rebel. I go against the grain. I compete with myself, and I do whatever makes me feel happy. I’m not sure if I’m relevant, but I do stay connected and ahead of the curve because I’m different than others. My perspective of life is viewed differently.

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

I do my best to keep myself organized by writing daily tasks in my planner, my sketchbook, and in my phone. There are times when I text my business partner things I have to get done, so I get reminded whenever I view his message. I also keep mental notes, which isn’t the best thing to do when you’re juggling with a new business and creativity. My creativity is always on 100% even though I don’t always have the time to get the creative work done. I make sure to write down my ideas, because I will eventually make time to get it done. I’m still learning how to manage my business and creativity at the same time.

I am taking my time with everything- I’m not rushing my process, because I want longevity.

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How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are very important! Just like friends, they can come and go but that’s part of life anyway. One of my mentors is a reverend. He is a very wise man who is very knowledgeable on business and politics. Some of my close friends are part-time mentors- they don’t know that though… haha.

I think it’s important to have people in your life who are willing to help and guide you to become a better version of yourself.

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What is your advice for women entering a creative field?

Women who are entering the creative field and feel they are ready to begin their own business is something they really have to think about. You have to be able to sacrifice things, and distant yourself from certain people. It could be friends, family, or anyone who doesn’t understand whatever goals you’re pushing to achieve.

You’ll have to learn how to take risks, be confident, don’t worry about people’s opinions, and don’t take anything personally. The entrepreneurial world isn’t easy, but I believe it’s worth it in the long run. It’s a path to personal freedom.

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Place that inspires me the most… I love nature. Any place outdoors where I can hear birds and see water and trees. It puts me in a zen-like place within myself. The second place that inspires me is The Met museum. I see something new every time I visit.

I feel most powerful when… I feel most powerful when things are organized and when I complete a painting.

I love what I do because… I love what I do because of how it makes me feel and how it makes others feel. I’ve noticed change in a way where others, especially young women are inspired by what I do. It’s such a great feeling.

Best advice I have ever received… Someone asked me a question that opened up a gate, and pushed me forward to walk through it. The question was: “What are you waiting for?” and “Who are you waiting on?”

Instagram: @ohyesitsroxanne + Website: www.RoxannaTineo.com

Photo Credit: Elijah Craig | David Schelling | Panache PR & Marketing

Zeena Koda

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ZEENA KODA

DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MARKETING AT MOTOWN RECORDS
WRITER, HOST, PRODUCER

LOS ANGELES, CA

How did you get started in your career – and how does your career reflect your personal aesthetic?

I began my career by being a musician. When I was in my teens and early 20’s I saw no other life than performing and writing music. Always the foolish artist, I held on to that sentiment for years and up until recently continued my passion as a vocalist with several different bands. Well as it turns out, the band did not make it man and I caught on pretty early that I’d need to find an alternative, tolerable source of income. I began working in the industry in 2006 at an indie metal label as head of PR, eventually parlaying my way up to a bigger label, then branching out as a DJ on SiriusXM’s metal station for almost 6 years. In the mix of this time I freelanced and explored my passions relentlessly, migrating my “day job” from PR into marketing and obsessing over all the digital nuances of this popular new mechanism they called “social media.” When one of the hip hop publicists left a gig I was working at, I made a crucial decision to take the “urban” world on. It came natural to me as someone who grew up listening to hip hop and the vibe of many of the key players felt very natural to me. I truly enjoyed towing the line between both the urban and metal worlds, which I came to discover were shockingly similar. Being able to steer the ship as both the marketer and interviewer has been key for me. The new paradigm for creative success is 360 and understanding the view behind every side of the lens is beyond beneficial. My personal aesthetic is 100% real and a by-product of my natural career progression. I aim to keep it morally conscious, classy and creative no matter what version of myself I am footprinting. Hard work and follow through will always be key drivers and there is nothing luck can offer, that can trump motivation and effort.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?


Women have been everything to me and I revel in being able to learn from female mentors and collaborate with other female contemporaries. I make it a habit to ask other women I admire or respect on “lady dates” to learn more about them. There’s so much to be learned from other females in the biz and it is a shame when ego or insecurity get in the way. I like to surround myself with other women who are passionate about their concentrations, willing to collaborate and interested in all aspects of REAL life. As a woman it’s SO difficult to balance all life has to throw your way and it’s endearing to see how other women have navigated this road and excelled. Women deal with so much in life and career – it’s such a unique, underrated position to perpetually be in.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?


Creep, creep and creep. I try to challenge myself constantly to meet new people and explore other options. One of the greatest mistakes any employee can make is complacency and I rarely accept anything less than my best. If you continue to challenge yourself to evaluate and grow, you’ll genuinely flow into the next stage of whatever that curve may be. Stay humble, stay empathetic, stay inquisitive and educated.

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?


It’s incredibly cyclical and to be honest, creative bursts come in waves. As I grow older, I really can take a look back at all the paths that I have paved for myself and appreciate each of these concentrations for the lessons they have taught me or headway each has given me in whatever area I’ve fancied. Maintaining focus is SO hard when you have a relationship to attend to, financial obligations to adhere to that aren’t normally very bountiful exclusively in a creative space and time flies by like a car in the fast lane. Never enough time or resource to get it all done. I think one of my greatest personal challenges has been learning how to tell myself “I don’t need to do this anymore.” Life is truly an endless list of checks and balances and things must come, as much as things must go. Making time to research and be inquisitive is key too, wherever the wind takes me I need time and clarity to explore.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

I’ve had so many various mentors at different times. It’s important to be able to candidly express your real concerns and fears with someone who has achieved a level of success that you perceive to be respectful. A mentor can be anyone you respect, even if they are more of a contemporary. I’m used to working in a bullshit filled field and find mentorship in anyone that I actually respect and follows through. Minimal criteria to most, but basically the gold ticket that gets anything done and very commendable. Mentors are essential and it’s beyond important to have someone you can go to for both leadership and venting purposes.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?


If you want to be financially successful, be ready to hustle 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. You never know which road could be the yellow brick road. I’m also a firm believer in bartering and (sometimes) working for free to gain experience. Although money makes the world go-round, building strong relationships and establishing your worth is everything. Sometimes the payout is nothing for a lot, sometimes it’s a lot for nothing. A great frame of mind for an ambitious woman involved in ANY biz. Perseverance and reinvention are also key because NO ONE STAYS ON TOP FOREVER. You need to learn how to play your cards and know when to hold ’em or fold ’em constantly. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE EVERYTHING. It’s the unfair, yet stark reality of life. It’s why Ivy league sticks with Ivy league, handshakes and winks are more binding than contracts and seemingly random people swiftly arise to the top. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered with marginal talent but a tapped in network killing it. Talent comes second to knowing how to move the king. The biz of creativity is a constant chess match and knowing the kings and how they move will make the difference.

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Place that inspires me the most…
 The beach and heartbreak.

I feel most powerful when… Being creative and producing creative things.

I love what I do because… 
I can’t commit to one concentration and I love the fire of inquisition and progression.

Best advice I have ever received… 1) Keep it moving. 2) You’ll never know the answer until you ask.

Connect with Zeena Koda on zeenakoda.com, LinkedIn, TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat: ZeenaKoda!

Kyshira Moffett

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KYSHIRA MOFFETT

CAREER ADVISOR | BRAND STRATEGIST | CONTENT CREATOR

PITTSBURGH, PA

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

My craft very much reflects my personal passions. In undergrad, I was the go-to person in my social circles for resume and advice. I was fortunate to participate in career preparatory such as the Chicago Summer Business Institute and MLT (ml4t.org) and I was eager to share my learnings with others. Now I’m able to share my expertise and opinions with others around the world.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

Women have been my best teachers! Whether it’s formally in the classroom or informally as mentors, women have provided the insight on navigating life as a multi-faceted ambitious woman.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

Read, read, and read! I’m a sponge for knowledge. I consistently read articles, blogs, and books. I’m also a fan of listening to podcasts on the go.

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

I ensure that when I set goals, I define measurements for success. When it comes to longer term goals, I break down what I need to do per quarter, month, and week to accomplish it. Then, I use my journal and planner to keep track. My professional goals require creativity to accomplish them so it’s pretty easy to stay within the creative space. I’ve fallen victim to exhaustion several times but I am actively working on scheduling time for myself and intentionally managing my energy.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors have been extremely instrumental in my growth. I have several mentors which I have deemed my personal board of directors. They consist of women who have served as former managers during my collegiate internships. I also have a suite of virtual mentors such as Erica Nicole of YFS Magazine, Myleik Teele, and of course Oprah! I follow them and take heed to the words of wisdom that they share.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

Recognize that entrepreneurship isn’t as glamorous as social media makes it seem. It is HARD and downright frustrating. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a 9-5 and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for pursuing that path. If you do venture into entrepreneurship, stay true to who you are. Don’t look to do something simply because everyone else is doing it.

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Place that inspires me the most… My hometown of Chicago. There’s nothing like working in a chic cafe downtown. Inspiration at its finest.

I feel most powerful when… I’m speaking to an audience on branding. It’s amazing to know that I’m about to shift someone’s perspective.

I love what I do because… I’m 100% sure that I’m walking in my purpose.

Best advice I have ever received… You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but you do need to be the hardest worker.

Connect with Kyshira Moffett on the thisishermovement.com, LinkedIn: Kyshira, Twitter: @KyshiraM, Instagram: @Kyshira, and Snapchat: @Kyshira!

Tannis Spencer

TANNIS SPENCER

TANNIS SPENCER

WRITER/DIRECTOR/FOUNDER OF THEMICOLE.COM

NEW YORK, NY

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I think my personal aesthetic has actually influenced my craft more. I adopted a minimalist aesthetic early in my adult life and that comes across in my work relatively strongly. I’ve really tried to focus on noise reduction in everything I produce and hopefully that’s what sets my work apart.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

Women have been immeasurably instrumental to both my life and career. I’ve been surrounded by such excellent examples of strong women all my life. From my mother being my first role model and someone I attain to consistently make proud to the women I work with professionally who inspire me every day. I joined a sorority in college and have been fortunate enough to literally be surrounded by women that are excelling in every industry. They push me to do my best. My linesisters are a constant motivating factor in my life; we’re all very close. We push each other, we cheer for each other’s victories, and support one another in our downfalls. It’s a friendship I wouldn’t trade for the world. Women are among the strongest, smartest, and resilient people on earth, so I’m rarely surprised when we succeed. I just applaud and hope we keep doing it.

“Two” Trailer – Directed by Tannis Spencer

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

First off, I hope to be a participant in these cultural changes so for me it’s always about being authentic and present. Thanks to social media it is a bit easier to stay connected, but to stay ahead of the curve I have to surround myself with people that know more than me. I try to have a diverse group of people in my life that can offer me perspectives I wouldn’t normally think of myself. It’s those sometimes idle conversations that can lead to creating something really innovative and pushing the culture forward.

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

My notebook is over flowing with ideas and projects, some of which will likely never see the light of day. I’ve learned to be selective with what I give energy to so that helps keep me on track. Staying creative can be super difficult! We all go through creative droughts but I get inspired when I see other people doing awesome things. That keeps me creative, other peoples success. It makes me try harder.

TANNIS SPENCER

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

I think mentors are very important. Having someone that can help point you in the right direction when you’re at a crossroads can be invaluable. My mentors are generally for less professional needs but they’re people I speak with to find grounding in a lot of my decisions. They’re typically family or very close friends.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

No matter, do what you love. I’m still figuring things out myself but what keeps me going is that I’m working towards something I love. I’d also advise other women to really do their research in their craft, do your due diligence and really articulate how you plan on contributing to the culture of whatever it is you’re doing.

TANNIS SPENCER

Place that inspires me the most… I love sitting on the subway! It’s so fun to imagine what everyone’s life is like, and I draw great inspiration from that. I come up with tons of stories and ideas based on what I think I saw or experienced on the train. You never know what to expect on the subway and I love what that uncertainty can create.

I feel most powerful when… When I’m with people that love me. Not in the authoritative sense but that I feel my most capable, smart, and confident when I’m with those people. That’s powerful to me.

I love what I do because… It makes my heart happy. A funny phrase I know, but it is genuinely true. I’m so fulfilled by my brand and the work I produce because they come from such a pure place. I’m always trying to make my heart happy.

Best advice I have ever received… People are watching even when you think they aren’t.

TANNIS SPENCER

Connect with Tannis Spencer on the themicole.com!!

Ariel Lopez

Image of Ariel Lopez c/o Innov8tiv.com

Image of Ariel Lopez c/o Innov8tiv.com

Ariel Lopez is a career coach at General Assembly – and founder of 2020Shift, a social enterprise that is designed to educate black and latino millennials on careers in the technology space. I was most impressed by Ariel’s work with 2020Shift – dedicated to setting students and recent graduates up for success, but most importantly filling the diversity gap with talent by providing resources and professional development. As an avid public speaker, Ariel enjoys sharing her expertise in digital media and technology and loves connecting people to opportunities. Luckily for Ariel, the things she loves the most is reflective of her day job, which allows her the freedom to cultivate her passion into profitable and innovative ideas to inspire others to pursue their career goals. 

ARIEL LOPEZ

CAREER COACH AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY & FOUNDER OF 2020SHIFT 

NEW YORK, NY

“I think it’s just about putting yourself out there. A lot of business connections have happened because of a tweet or a LinkedIn message. You have to find what channels work best for you/your brand and be active in them.”

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

My craft reflects the things that matter to me the most. I’ve always had a passion for helping people and as a coach I get to do that. 2020Shift is designed to help people elevate in their careers so I’m doing the same in that regard as well. I would also say I fell in love with tech as soon as I started working in the industry. It’s extremely important for me to be a catalyst to help others find success as well.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

I would say my mom has been the most influential person in both my life and my career. My drive and work ethic are a reflection of how I was raised. My mom always said that you can be whatever you want to be and that your current circumstances don’t define your future. I held on to those words and it helped shape the determination that has carried me through my career thus far.

“In terms of finding a mentor, network as much as you can and don’t force any relationships; let them happen naturally. You’ll have a gut feeling on who should be a mentor or not.”

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I think it’s just about putting yourself out there. A lot of business connections have happened because of a tweet or a LinkedIn message. You have to find what channels work best for you/your brand and be active in them.

2020Shift

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

I make a point to have vision boards for every year; you’d be surprised how things magically come into fruition. I also recently went Being Mary Jane-ish in my apartment – hanging up small affirmations. Success is definitely a mental battle; if you can stay positive and on track, you’ll accomplish your goals much easier.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are super important and I have a few. I have advisors that are mentors, students and friends. I’m usually giving people advice, but learn the most about myself in those conversations. In terms of finding a mentor, network as much as you can and don’t force any relationships; let them happen naturally. You’ll have a gut feeling on who should be a mentor or not.

“I have a love-hate situation with NYC, but it’s the most inspiring city in the world. When I wake up I automatically think: hustle. It’s becomes a way of life.”

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

Go after what you want and negotiate what you deserve (for those entering creative fields). For women starting their own business, keep your purpose and mission top of mind; that helps with riding the crazy roller coaster that is entrepreneurship.

Place that inspires me the most…

I have a love-hate situation with NYC, but it’s the most inspiring city in the world. When I wake up I automatically think: hustle. It’s becomes a way of life.

I feel most powerful when…

I’m teaching or speaking in public. I love engaging with people and hearing their feedback; it’s also an amazing feeling to hear, “You inspired me to do XYZ.”

I love what I do because…

I live in my purpose and I make an impact at the same time

Best advice I have ever received…

“You attract what you believe you’re worth.” I make an effort to shift my mindset to things that I want and believe I’m capable of doing.

Connect with Ariel Lopez on 2020Shift, General Assembly, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

Darling Chuck

DARLING CHUCK

ANDREA “DREA” RAMOS AKA DARLING CHUCK

DJ

QUEENS, NEW YORK

I met Drea at a mutual friend’s Ugly Christmas Sweater party in Brooklyn about three years ago. Back then, she was a fashion casting director who juggled a couple of DJ gigs after work – but despite her hectic schedule, Drea kept it going. As we kept in touch over the years, her hobby evolved into a career; she continued to cultivate her love for music and eventually left her 9 to 5 to pursue DJ’ing. This move for Drea was now… or never.

There’s just something about women that feed and empower your soul, and it should be reciprocated.

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

My professional background for the past 10+ years has been in fashion, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to turn my hobby and love of music into my craft. I had a pretty cool job as a fashion casting director, working with the biggest designers, brands and talent around the world. Through casting, I was able to meet a lot of awesome folks, and make some lasting connections. I was lucky to be in the position I was in. But I think the stress to maintain and keep up with the industry finally caught up with me so I decided to pick up DJ’ing on the side. The newness of it felt so exciting, that I found myself inspired to make moves with it. A year later, I quit my day job and dove into this new world of DJ’ing that I barely knew anything about. I’m a lot happier and lighter these days, and it’s because I feel like I can be more like myself.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career? 

I grew up in a single parent household, having been primarily raised by my mom, my grandmothers and my aunts. My mom worked multiple jobs, and made a ton of sacrifices just so I could live comfortably and have a proper education. In this man’s world, my grandmothers (R.I.P. Inang) are the most emotionally and physically strongest women I know, not letting life’s road blocks stop them from achieving what they’ve aimed for. My aunts have always offered advice and lent their care whenever I needed it without question, teaching me the real definition of friendship. Their teachings are a reflection on how I am towards other women. There’s just something about women that feed and empower your soul, and it should be reciprocated. I’ve been so lucky to share connections with so many other strong women because they inspire me to be better. If it wasn’t for these women in my life, I really believe I wouldn’t have the guns to be where and who I am today.

Use your resources and research people in the industry that you admire and are doing what you want to do and reach out to them. Make connections with them. People are generally willing to help if you just ask. Stay curious. Realize you don’t know it all, and have an open mind. Consume as much as you can, and make it work for yourself. Take risks.

DARLING CHUCK

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve? 

Working in fashion taught me to keep up with trends, and with the help of social media, it’s made it much easier for us to stay connected. I pride myself in having good taste and knowing how to cut the fat with all the extra crap out there, so the real challenge is being able to mute the noise while managing to staying relevant. I love pop culture, and I stay curious. I like to keep it moving. Nostalgia is good, but there’s also so much cool, new shit out there – especially with artists and music!

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)? 

It can be way challenging to keep track of both personal and business goals as a creative, but being freakishly organized while developing good habits has helped. I own stacks of notebooks and jars of pens because I like to physically write things down, and if I don’t have a pen and paper on hand, I’ll write it down in my phone or in my laptop. It’s the only way to regulate all the chaos going on inside my head. You can have a long list of goals, but having the discipline to formulate and execute those goals is how you’re really going to achieve them. Understanding that if you’re hungry enough and have the drive to want to see your ideas come into fruition is essential. Being a DJ nowadays is more than having great taste in music and having the technical skills to back it. You sort of have to be a “social personality” to add value to your brand; you almost have to treat it like your business.

Staying creative is an ongoing struggle, but I’m fortunate to live in a city that inspires me every day. A lot of people in NYC have this “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality, but sleep is fucking awesome! I think it’s important to stay in tune and listen to your body. As long as you eat right, stay active and allow yourself to be open, you’d be doing your future self a huge favor. You can’t create if you’re feeling restless or exhausted. The stress just isn’t worth it in the long run. Disco naps are fun, too. It’s all about maintaining a balance.

DARLING CHUCK

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor? 

Mentors are extremely important. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know it all, and it’s silly to think that you don’t need anyone to make it in life. We all need each other to get by. Embrace the people that inspire and challenge you so you can grow. I learn something different from each and every single person I keep close in my life – young and old.

My main mentor is my mother. She’s my number one. She is everything.

Shawndub and TAP.10 have been my DJ mentors since the very beginning. They’ve pretty much taught me everything I know about DJ’ing, and the ropes of industry. I admire those two so much. They’re possibly the most patient and intuitive people I know.

My boyfriend, Mike Baker has been my life mentor since we started dating. He’s really helped me through a lot of shit, and has shown endless support with what I want to do and who I want to be. He is literally my best friend, and I can’t imagine life without him.

DARLING CHUCK

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business? 

Figure out what exactly it is you want to do in the creative industry because there is so much to contribute to this world, whether it be in fashion, design, marketing or music. Use your resources and research people in the industry that you admire and are doing what you want to do and reach out to them. Make connections with them. People are generally willing to help if you just ask. Stay curious. Realize you don’t know it all, and have an open mind. Consume as much as you can, and make it work for yourself. Take risks.

Place that inspires me the most… 

The beach and being near the ocean. It reminds me how small I am, and allows me to open my mind to immeasurable possibilities.

DARLING CHUCK

I feel most powerful when… 

I can help empower other women.

DARLING CHUCK

I love what I do because… 

It makes me feel good, and it allows me to make others feel just as good.

DARLING CHUCK

Best advice I have ever received… 

Nothing is free. Everything comes with a price.

Connect with Darling Chuck on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud!

Rana Campbell

Rana Campbell

RANA CAMPBELL
CONTENT STRATEGIST & FOUNDER OF RANACAMPBELL.COM
ORANGE, NEW JERSEY

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Rana Campbell, Princeton University alumni and Founder of lifestyle website: RanaCampbell.comRana and I instantly bonded over our passion for bridging the gap between vision and reality – as she shared her website’s mission to help individuals shine in their personal and professional lives. Rana’s work has been featured on FOX 5 Good Day New York, The Huffington Post, Princeton Alumni Weekly, and many more.

I tell this to everyone: be a student of your industry. Understand the space well. Understand your future customer’s pain points and work on building relationships with them. No one can want your dream more than you want your dream. A lot of people talk about this in terms of “passion”, but I think this goes beyond passion. If you want to enter a field and create something that you actually want to see some tangible results from, you need to really be involved in the system and process of figuring out how to see something from ideation to execution. I think that’s where a lot of people have it wrong. They think talent alone will cause success. It may, but I think that having a larger bird’s eye view of the industry and the little intricacies can help insure long-term success.

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I’ve always been a storyteller, talker, and question-asker. These parts of my persona have definitely translated into what I do now. For me, my site and brand is all about empowering and sharing the stories of others. That’s always been intriguing to me. I’m the type of person who admires and wonders “Why?” How did things get to be the way they are? At the same time, I’ve always wondered, “What’s the best way to share this and share with others? Perhaps that’s why I love marketing so much.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

The women in my life have shown me resilience and strength. I think one of the most influential women in my life has been my mother. When I think of her I think of sacrifice and resilience. My mother went through alot in her life, and despite almost dying when I was a baby, she is still here with us. All along she has supported me and through her sacrifice I have been able to accomplish so much.

Other important women in my life such as teachers, mentors, and even former bosses have been instrumental in my life because they both believed in me and pushed me. They showed me new possibilities for my dreams and also showed me the ways that I can navigate those open waters as a woman.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I’m obsessed with reading. I always try to have a book in tow, if possible. I’m always trying to find new information to consume via blogs, news, film, social media, networking events, music, etc… I am like a sponge and revel at opportunities to learn new things. I think if you’re constantly seeking new knowledge, staying ahead of the curve is easy. This is where my love for asking “why?” comes in.

Rana Campbell

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

This one is a bit hard for me. Personally, I try to make sure to write everything down and revisit my goals from time to time. By keeping myself accountable, I’m able to keep track. For me, keeping track of my goals and staying creative don’t always go hand-in-hand. I feel that sometimes I have too many creative ideas which can cause an overload, which may cause me NOT to focus on my goals. There you have it… staying focused is what I find to be the most important thing. At the end of the day, I always try to remain positive. Burnout is real.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are everything. Having someone who did it already and can show you the ropes can save you a lot of time and also guide your own journey. Mentors are another part of your support system- which every creative needs. One of my mentors is Gabrielle Simpson, who is a director of Communications at NBC. I’ve known Gabby (as I call her) from when she worked at CBS Corporate and I as an intern. She’s always been a great support to me and has pushed me to pursue new opportunities. She also helped open up alot of doors for me, which I would have a really hard time gaining access to (quite literally.) Gabby sees greatness in me – having someone who sees that in you and wants you to achieve that is the best thing ever.

Rana Campbell

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

I tell this to everyone: be a student of your industry. Understand the space well. Understand your future customer’s pain points and work on building relationships with them. No one can want your dream more than you want your dream. A lot of people talk about this in terms of “passion”, but I think this goes beyond passion. If you want to enter a field and create something that you actually want to see some tangible results from, you need to really be involved in the system and process of figuring out how to see something from ideation to execution. I think that’s where a lot of people have it wrong. They think talent alone will cause success. It may, but I think that having a larger bird’s eye view of the industry and the little intricacies can help insure long-term success.

My dad once told me, “As long as you’re awake and have the ability to think, you should never be bored.”

Place that inspires me the most:

I get a lot of ideas while driving without the radio on. There’s something about being on the move that gets my mind going. Honestly, I can get inspired from pretty much everywhere. Everything is a story to me. You just have to want to see it. My dad once told me, “As long as you’re awake and have the ability to think, you should never be bored.”

I feel most powerful when:

This may sound crazy, but I love being naked. I think there’s power in loving your body in its rawest form. True power comes from within and I think that moment of nakedness where you have nothing to hide behind is where we can start to build that power.

For the more politically correct answer, I’ll say, I feel most powerful when I’m looking good, feeling good, and am prepared. Those things give me confidence.

I love what I do because:

I get to meet so many different people and hear so many different stories. At the same time, I love inspiring others and helping others accomplish their dreams. This may be because I’m an ENFJ, but I really enjoy seeing other people smile and feel good about themselves. I also like presenting ways that individuals can start challenging themselves to open their eyes to something new.

I read a quote the other day that sums this up perfectly: “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.

Best advice I have ever received:

Don’t let what others think weigh you down. I say this is the best advice because it’s something I find myself working on every day. Having courage to pursue a journey that others may not fully support or understand is hard, but if you believe in yourself and start to care less about what “others” may say the possibilities are endless. I read a quote the other day that sums this up perfectly: “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Rana Campbell

Connect with Rana Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram!

Melissa Mercado

WITHLOVEMELISSA

MELISSA MERCADO
ARTIST
PG COUNTY, MARYLAND

Behind every artist is a muse; behind every successful man is a hardworking woman – and it takes a strong foundation for couples to thrive together in an ever-changing industry to help each other grow and stay on top of their game. I met Melissa through a good friend of mine, L aka Naturel, a couple of years ago – and I have always admired how she balanced motherhood & family and hustle as an artist. Melissa’s artwork – “clean lines, minimal content and solid colors” – also reflects her energy: avant-garde – a modern woman who is not compelled to “choose”, but “juggles” different aspects of her life, and never settles for anything less than great.

“I am inspired by all women, I feel like I celebrate who we are when I create – it’s for us.”

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I love to clean and organize pretty much everything. I’m a little bit of a minimalist as well. Those habits are such a big part of who I am that it carries over into my work. My artwork and design usually reflects clean lines, minimal content and solid colors. If you ask my family and friends, I’m a total Virgo! Even though it’s not always achieved – I crave some type of perfection in anything I do.

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How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

My mother is the reason why I even pursued art and design. When I was young, my teachers, principals and my mom created avenues for me to water my talent – they were all women. My mom pushed me to go to art/design school for college and showed me I can make a living off of my creativity. I am inspired by all women, I feel like I celebrate who we are when I create, it’s for us.

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

“I don’t think too much about staying relevant because that tends to fog up creativity.”

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

” Artwork comes from within, and it’s hard to create if you are thinking about what everyone else wants from you – staying ahead of the curve is putting a piece out with a “fuck it, take it or leave it” attitude.”

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I love pop culture and fashion, so keeping up with trends doesn’t feel like a task. There are so many resources available like social media, blogs and just walking around your surroundings. I don’t think too much about staying relevant because that tends to fog up creativity. Artwork comes from within, and it’s hard to create if you are thinking about what everyone else wants from you – staying ahead of the curve is putting a piece out with a “fuck it, take it or leave it” attitude.

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How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

I’ve said it before, I’m a Virgo but I’m also a mother – staying organized helps me achieve those goals; it’s a part of who I am. My king and I made a culture of creativity at home and so as tired as I am, it’s always in my face. Hanging out with our daughter stirs up all types of inspiration for us.

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“We’re not built to know it all, so we constantly learn from everyone around us.”

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are very important. We’re not built to know it all, so we constantly learn from everyone around us. My very first mentor was my mom, instead of introducing me to a conventional career path, she introduced me to art & graphic design. College had a very intimate setting so I had a lot of one on one time with my professors – too many to name but they all made a good impact on my career path. There was a point in my life where I entered the world of makeup artistry, beauty & fashion. I learned so much from the artists and photographers I worked with. Currently, I am blessed with loving and living with a huge inspiration, my king –Naturel. I can’t wait to work with and learn from other artists and designers – my list of mentors will never end!

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What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

No matter how difficult things get – because it will get pretty unbearable sometimes – push through! Faith, hard work, and passion breed good results even if the results aren’t immediate. You can plan life all you want, but you can’t control what happens. Everything you go through – good and bad – leads up to your dreams and goals… so don’t give up!

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

Place that inspires me the most… There isn’t a specific place but where I grew up (PG County, Maryland) has a lot to do with the pieces I cultivate; some are inspired from the music, street culture and experiences I’ve had. As far as art and style, I find inspiration traveling, decorating my home and even shopping – as crazy as that sounds! Lol.

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

I feel most powerful when… I feel good, look good, and hold it down for my family!

WITHLOVEMELISSA

I love what I do because… I can wake up every morning and decide what I am going to do with my day.

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

Best advice I have ever received… Love and take care of yourself first and you’ll be able love and care for others.

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Connect with Melissa Mercado on Twitter and Instagram!

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Riana Stellburg

TITTAHBYTE

RIANA STELLBURG AKA DJ TITTAHBYTE
HONOLULU, HAWAII

Music connected me with Honolulu-based DJ Tittahbye a couple of years ago and I’ve been vibing to her mixes ever since from this side of the world (New York City).

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

For as long as I could remember music was behind everything I did. ​As a child I was exposed to different genres of music because of my older brothers and the hobbies that my mom signed me up for. Throughout middle school and high school, I would research and ‘Mp3 dig’ for music that I liked and would record songs on the radio and make mini mixtapes for myself to listen to and became very protective over my tracks whenever someone asked about it. For some reason I never liked revealing my sources because I felt like my music taste was what made me different. I grew up in a Filipino-dominant middle school where all my classmates were listening to Top 40 and there I was in the back listening to my Black Flag and Gorilla Biscuits. Eventually my music taste started to expand in college and I began to share the music I was listening to.

I went out to a lot of underground hip-hop and punk shows taking photos, wrote about them in my school newspaper, and then eventually started putting together and promoting shows. My main mission was always to shed light on those underground underrated artists…something I still focus on today.

​I started dating a DJ and that’s when mixing music entered my mind. I was writing a piece for a magazine and I gave him a track list to mix and then he said, “Why don’t you just mix it?” He ended up showing me the ropes starting from vinyl first and then taught me how to DJ on basically any format. He stressed to me that my music selection was important and that I should never lose that. People still ask me, surprised “Wow you DJ now?” but then in my mind it’s like…​about time.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

​My mother is your classic 63-year-old stubborn twice divorced Filipina, 1st generation to move to United States. Growing up she instilled great strength and determination in me and ​always made sure my back bone was unbreakable. She taught me that you could get anything you wanted as long as you made it your mission. One of the toughest generation barriers between us was that she was stuck in the traditional mentality of me becoming a doctor or lawyer to make money. Her rejection of my career choice just made me more determined to prove her wrong and it still fuels me.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

​I observe research, absorb and adapt. There are times I do feel defeated as if I’m going nowhere fast but then I snap myself back to reality and remind myself that nothing is going to happen if I’m not doing anything about it. ​

DJ Tittahbyte

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

​I’m a die-hard fan of to-do lists and I have all kinds of them: short-term, long-term, daily, personal, business, etc. I’m a ​huge procrastinator and work well under pressure (even though I’m stressed out haha) and I always need a deadline. If I’m on a time-constraint for the day for example, I won’t eat (and I do love to eat) or stop till the task is done.

My schedule is usually busy so I always make it a point to separate my personal and business environment. When I’m at home I try not to take my work with me and remind myself that my bedroom is for relaxing, unwinding, and taking a mental break, which is all very important to me.

As far as creativity goes, I can’t force it or rush it otherwise it’ll come out wack. If I’m stuck I’ll go do something that doesn’t require a lot of thinking until I’m re-energized to start again.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Extremely important. Without their influences on me, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

DJ Revise is my mentor, who is also my boyfriend and business partner, inspires me to strive for my best potential not only as a DJ but also as a person.​

As far as people I look up to…Sosupersam, TOKiMONSTA, Miss Lawn of Hellz Bellz, all bad ass girls doing all things that I love, running with the boys and killing the game. DJ Delve for his music programming and music taste. His mixes are the only ones that I can run back to back all day and I never get sick of it.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

​Be prepared to work and to constantly adapt. Have true intentions and purpose behind what you do and don’t ever lose sight of your roots.​

Place that inspires me the most…

Currently L.A. I went there back in April for my birthday and it was such a good break for me to get re-inspired and connect with some artists that I admire. I love the hustle that everyone has, it was very infectious.

I feel most powerful when… I’m DJ’ing on stage and everyone is dancing. ​I have such a great adrenaline rush and seeing people smile and move to the music I’m playing makes me crazy happy and just reminds me why I do what I do.

I love what I do because… it makes me feel vulnerable because I’m sharing my music taste with everyone and at the same time excited because the music I’m playing is making them dance and feel the way they do.

Best advice I have ever received… Do you boo boo.

DJ Tittahbytes’ Upcoming Events:

+ June 24th – Green Leaf Check at The Safehouse [greenleafcheck.com/rsvp]
+ June 27th- Ginza Nightclub
+ July 2nd – Chitty Bang at The Safehouse
+ July 3rd – First Friday at Fresh Cafe
+ July 11th – White Rabbit at The Safehouse
+ July 30th – Green Leaf Check at The Safehouse [greenleafcheck.com/rsvp]
+ August 20th – Kehlani at The Republik [bampproject.com]

Connect with DJ Tittahbyte on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Noël Descalzi-Fiorentinos

Noel Fiorentinos

NOËL DESCALZI-FIORENTINOS
FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF WORK IT OUT 
HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY

Thank you to Noël for sharing her journey as an entrepreneur on HIMYB.com – and personally inspiring me to choose a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Tell us about Work it Out and how long you have been in business.

Work it Out is a healthy lifestyle studio that offers fitness classes and wellness packages that are customized specifically for our community. With two Hoboken locations, our studios are like no other. We’re far removed from the world of impersonal big-box gyms, our unique facilities and wide variety of classes and offerings let you set your fitness free, while throwing away thoughts of a lonely unguided road to health. We also offer a children’s gymnastics program that is organically intertwined within our model. We are approaching our 4 year anniversary.

How did you come up with the company name?

Let me give you a visual:

You’re getting ready for a night on the town with all of your friends. You had a hard week at work but it doesn’t matter because you look fierce and feel amazing. All of a sudden your most ‘fabulous’ friend yells out (with a Z shaped finger snap) “GIRLLL…you better Work it Out!” You take one look in the mirror and have all the confidence in the world.

What is your company’s mission?

Our philosophy is steeped in the belief that our diversity in our offerings will shape your body, energize your spirit, and empower your soul.

And what do you think sets Work it Out apart from similar businesses?

Set your fitness free has been a tag line of ours that we’ve embraced and lived by since our start. We gradually came to the realization that keeping up with our changing needs as women is a big part of maintaining that freedom. So we asked ourselves how we could support our client in their evolution, whatever direction it took. The answer was clear – by offering fitness that evolves with them. Whether you are working your tail off, getting married, having a baby, had the baby or have a growing child – We’ve got you covered. All of this paired with studios that exude positive energy. We go out of our way to make sure each person that attends class is happy and content.
How does your current role reflect your personal aesthetic?

In every sense possible – I’m the oldest of 3 girls, with 6 and 9 year age differences between both sisters which meant, I was always the boss. For about 15 years my household revolved around my gymnastics career. For the most part, Work it Out was built on two stages of my life: During and After Gymnastics. The fundamentals of our gymnastics program come from everything I’ve ever learned from my time with the sport, like hard work, goal setting, confidence building and perseverance. The adult classes come from everything I learned after it was over like understanding how to juggle real life and healthy living. Also – I’ve always had a creative side with particular taste. Classic, clean. I think that shines through in the visuals of the brand.

Who are the women who inspire you and how have they been instrumental to your career growth?

Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice Founders of SoulCycle. Also, Lauren Boggi Goldenberg Founder of Lithe Method. These women inspired me to start Work it Out 4 years ago. I was living in Manhattan and used to take SoulCycle classes in the original Upper West side studio and saw how magical bringing together a community of people was. I grew up in a gym environment and understood that working out could not be forced. There had to be something special that people identified with in order to keep them engaged and coming back. Their studios made me understand that your work out is personal and you need to connect with it in order to stay committed.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I’ve always had an eye for trends. For one, just taking a step into NYC and opening your eyes to the culture, the fashion, the risk taking, can help inspire you. Being aware of people, places and things around you. I’m very visual, so naturally I connect with Instagram. I love following personalities in my industries, all different types, from all over the world. I find it interesting how certain countries are so ahead.. I always feel this way about Australia for some reason. I keep Work it Out relevant by picking and choosing trends that inspire me and remixing them into something that makes sense for the brand.

With that said, how do you keep track of your personal and business goals? How do you stay focused (even when you are exhausted)?

I’ve found that I am a big picture thinker. If I have a clear vision of the big picture, it makes it easier for me to set smaller goals. Staying focused is difficult for me in an ever-evolving business because the big picture is always changing, depending on what opportunities come your way. It’s important to be nimble. Being patient, trusting your gut and making smart, well thought out decisions is something I live by. An occasional risk here and there is also important.

Do you have any mentors? If so, who are they?

The closet thing I have to mentors, are my start-up savvy friends. These are people that have gone through similar business obstacles and triumphs or are in the process of going through them.

A recent study found a lack of mentorship among young women. How important are mentors to you?

I lean on this group of people quite frequently. It’s comforting to have supporters in your corner that will give you unsolicited advice that you are not afraid to hear. I like that they’re relatable.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

Go for it! Just know – it’s difficult to do everything on your own. There is power in numbers. Do your best to find a team that believes in your mission. Be patient. Also, mistakes are bound to happen. Don’t let them discourage you.

What place inspires you the most?

Central Park.

When do you feel most powerful?

When I bond and feel connected with my team.

Why do you love what you do?

Because it is an extension of me. There is something so fulfilling about creating a place that people love. It’s a part of their everyday lives and makes them happy. I feel indebted to them and a responsibility to grow it.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Concentrate on your team. A solid team equals a solid company.

Connect with Work it Out on Facebook, YoutubeTwitter, and Instagram!

Work it Out

Work it Out’s signature classes include: Ride, Zumba, Barre, Bands, Interval Training, Pilates, Toning, Go Mommy, and more. If you would like more information, please check out their site: Work it Out – and join Noël and her fitness loving team.

Hannah Garrison

Hannah Garrison

HANNAH GARRISON
MOTHER, DESIGNER & CO-FOUNDER OF WEAR YOUR MUSIC
NEW YORK CITY

Best Advice I Have Ever Received: “Do what I love.  I know it sounds cheesy, but if you are doing something you love then you are helping the world turn.”

Hannah Garrison is the co-founder of Wear Your Music. She started out handcrafting bracelets made of recycled strings for family and musician friends. Her hobby eventually expanded into a profitable business whose philosophy celebrates music, style, and philanthropy. Wear Your Music bracelets are collected from earth-conscious students and budding musicians around the world, including used guitar strings donated by acclaimed musicians such as John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Joan Jett, etc.

Describe a day in the life of Hannah Garrison.

Can we start with the fact that I am mostly in bed by 9 PM? Yes, that’s what running a few businesses and having two kids under 4 will do to you.  My days start and end early.  My time is split between my home office and Wear Your Music office.  I love that the Internet has made all of this possible.  My days are busy, but also flexible. There is a lot of nursing the baby, many, many emails, lots of healthy food, a bunch of social media, number crunching, and the occasional burst of creativity to keep things fun. I love my life.

How did you get started with Wear Your Music – and how does it reflect your personal aesthetic?

Wear Your Music was my first baby.  I met my business partner on Craigslist before we knew there might be crazy people on there. =) I was a creative maker and he was a savvy businessman.  Now, he’s creative and I’m all business-y.  We rubbed off in each other.  But as far as aesthetic, it is totally reflective of me.  It’s jewelry for the person who doesn’t wear jewelry.  It’s simple, unique, elegant, and gender neutral.  I love subtlety – and it is that.

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How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

I’ve found that with women it can go either way.  Either you grate up against each other with evil or you lift each other up.  I’ve been lucky enough to have a village of women that lift me up.  In my life and career (which are so linked) there have been women who’ve shown me that it is all possible; that you can have your cake (work) and eat it too (family).  This subject is so fraught, but it is important too.  We bring our personal values along with us to our businesses, so we better be damn clear about what they are.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

If you wear yoga pants you will always be relevant… No! Did I just type that? Crap! Yes, culture is ever changing.  (Oh no! Are yoga pants here to stay?)  But truly, I think the best thing I know how to do is to be in touch with all different types of people and all different ages.  I am friendly, and care about people in a genuine manner.  Different people are my go-to for different things.

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

Number 1) I am always exhausted. That means 2) I am über focused.  Like, laser focused.

I have to make use of all of my clarity so I need to work fast and efficiently.  I tend to pick a task that suits my mood.  If I am all drifty and far out, I write a copy, think, draw, and come up with ideas.  If I am fully caffeinated and settled in, I do numbers.  Picking a task that you are in the right state of mind for is key.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

I think mentors are super important.  I’ve had many people who’ve influenced me.  But I am on the lookout for a serious mentor.  So if you have one, send them to me!

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

Take care of yourself!  Self-care and work/life balance are really important. All the other shit matters, but it won’t happen without you – so you come first.  Eat breakfast, save some money, hire a coach.

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Place that inspires me the most:

The passenger seat. Seriously, with someone else at the wheel and the world spinning by…

I feel most powerful when:

I launch something beautiful into the world.  I love seeing ideas come full circle. Birth. It’s magical.

I love what I do because:

What I do helps people. That’s what I am here for – to figure out ways to help each other and lift each of us up.

Best advice I have ever received:

Do what I love.  I know it sounds cheesy, but if you are doing something you love then you are helping the world turn.

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