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!

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!!