“ Our CEO Katerina, who was one of the only other women in the company with children at the time, shared that one part of your life is probably always going to be a little compromised, whether it's your relationships, your health, or your work, and each week you have to decide what you want to prioritize ”
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in Newport Coast, California, as an only child. I shared a nanny–almost from birth–with my best friend to this day, Kara. I like to think growing up with her and her brother helped me avoid “only child syndrome”. Because I am an only child, our family was very closely-knit. My parents took me everywhere with them, but they also gave me a lot of freedom to explore nearby parks and the city on my own from a young age. It’s something I often think about, as that independence is not quite as easy to give our kids living in LA. Growing up by the beach, my childhood was fun, filled with curiosity, and pretty easygoing. Sports, specifically soccer and swimming, played a big role in my life, as well as art and creativity. In seventh grade, after I suffered a traumatic car crash, I moved from Newport Coast to La Quinta for a private college preparatory school. It was a big move from the beach to the desert, but I felt it made me more well-rounded and I grew a lot from the experience. After high school, at 17, I moved to LA to attend USC.
Tell us a little about your life now - where you live, what you do, your family and the type of life you’re creating...
I’ve been living in LA for the last 12 years. I moved around a lot–from downtown to Brentwood, to West Hollywood, to Venice. I’ve been in Venice for the past 6 years with my husband Andy, and our 19-month-old son, Alexander. We also have two, two-year-old white English retrievers we picked up two weeks before I found out I was pregnant (we got 2 puppies, found out we were pregnant and had a wedding all in the same 6 months!).
I left my role at Ritual a month ago to consult direct-to-consumer, impact-driven health and wellness companies. I’m so grateful for the amazing experience I had with Ritual. I’m really passionate about helping other emerging, innovative brands that have something to say tackle big challenges, as Ritual did, and have been grateful to be introduced to so many inspiring entrepreneurs even in the last couple weeks.
At this stage in my life, I’m prioritizing flexibility and freedom to make sure I’m taking care of my own physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, foster the relationships that are important to me, and work on something every day that I’m passionate about. There’s a word I really like, called ‘meraki’, which is when you leave a piece of yourself (your soul, creativity, or love) in your work. I want to bring that passion to all of the clients I’m lucky enough to consult for. If I’m checking most of these boxes, I’m creating “dream days”, or days that I’d be happy if they were my last–that’s really how I want to live my life.
What type of mother do you aspire to be? Do you subscribe to any particular parenting philosophies?
I hope to be the mother to my son that my mom was to me: endlessly loving, caring, and kind, above all. I am not a helicopter parent–I want to give him the freedom to find his own path, hopefully with a little bit of our direction and guidance. I want to support his unique talents and passions, and encourage him to foster and appreciate the many gifts life has given him.
I’m not super rigid on parenting philosophies, but to-date would say we’ve ascribed mostly to attachment parenting which focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can develop with their children through empathy. I breastfed for 14 months, and our son (for better or worse!) still sleeps in our bed. Now that we’re starting to look at preschools, I am attracted to schools that embody a combination of Montessori (child-centered approach), Reggio (collaborative learning, with an emphasis on the environment as a third teacher), and Waldorf (emphasizing the role of imagination in leaning). Our son is also bilingual (Spanish & English), so it’s important to us to also find a school that will allow him to continue to develop his Spanish-speaking abilities.
Can you tell us about your work with Ritual?
Most recently, I was part of the Founding Team at Ritual with our CEO Katerina, where I combined my lifelong passion for innovation, design, health and science. Throughout the years, I wore many hats, helping oversee Ritual’s branding, packaging, positioning and messaging, to more recently managing our PR and a few specific growth marketing channels including affiliate marketing, influencer strategy, content partnerships and strategic partnerships. It was amazing to see the incredible support we had from customers, partners, press, and the health and wellness community.
What did your career entail prior to Ritual?
Prior to Ritual, I was an early team member at Scopely, helping to scale the company to become one of the largest mobile game publishers in the world. I was also the first employee at StartEngine, a technology accelerator and crowdfunding platform. Throughout my career, I’ve been passionate about building brands, communities, awareness, and driving acquisition for disruptive companies that I want to help share with the world.
How did you find balancing work and motherhood? Were there any particularly challenging moments (pumping at work, for example?!)?
It’s definitely hard, and I can’t say that I’ve found balance (I don’t even know if balance exists when you’re trying to “do it all”!). Our CEO Katerina, who was one of the only other women in the company with children at the time, shared that one part of your life is probably always going to be a little compromised, whether it’s your relationships, your health, or your work, and each week you have to decide what you want to prioritize. Now that I’m self-employed, it’s been a little easier to balance all three, but I can’t say I’ve cracked the code. Pumping at work was challenging (pumping anywhere is challenging!), but my company made it so much easier by welcoming and celebrating pumping with open arms. One particularly challenging time was the month after coming back from maternity leave. It was such a big adjustment and so hard for me emotionally. I really felt like I was still in a daze.
Did motherhood change the way you approach your work? Did it make you any more or less ambitious?
My ambition is higher than ever as a mother. I want to give the best possible life to my son, but also want to honor the ambition within myself and make myself proud. In the early days of motherhood, it definitely made me force myself to stop working very late into the night because I was simply exhausted from minimal sleep. More generally, when you become a mother, your priorities shift. I wanted to be more present for the important things in life, outside of my work. I became much more efficient with my time – at work, and at home – and in turn, I think it made me a more effective professional.