Founder and CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld & MakeLoveNotPorn
New York, NY
What is the best career advice you ever received and from whom?
I can’t remember who said this to me (it was before Arianna Huffington began championing
this as well), but the best advice I ever received was “Get more sleep.” Sleep is a wonderful
thing, and it’s absolutely key to functioning at your best.
Describe your typical morning?
There isn’t one. When you’re an entrepreneur, every morning is different in terms of what
you find yourself dealing with. I like to say that every situation in business and in life can
be summed up by a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and in this case the appropriate
quote is, “Each new morn some fresh horror brings.”
Entrepreneurs tend to struggle, especially at the beginning. As an entrepreneur, how
did you overcome failure and turn it into success?
I don’t believe in the word ‘failure’ when it comes to entrepreneurship. You know
the saying, “A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet?” Well, I feel failure is a lesson you
haven’t learnt yet. One of the quickest ways to make people think differently about something
is to change the language around it. ‘Failure’ is a bad word, because it sounds so definitive
and like it’s all over. I prefer to use the word ‘lesson’ or ‘learning.’
So I’ve encountered plenty of lessons – but I’m a fan of the saying, “Those people who say
it can’t be done, should get out of the way of those people doing it.” The thing that most
motivates me is the dynamic I characterize as, “I’m going to bloody well show you.” Tell me
it can’t be done? I’m going to bloody well show you. Put an obstacle in my path? I’m going
to bloody well show you. And so every lesson I learn is another valuable one on the path of
bloody well showing you.
If you could have dinner with one person, living or deceased, who would it be
Peng Liyuan, the current First Lady of China. I would be fascinated to get a female
perspective on the future of China from a woman so uniquely well-positioned to provide it.
Finish the statement. If I ran the world, I would…
Turn every single good intention into action – human good intentions and corporate good
How would you work towards greater inclusion in terms of class, race and gender?
I already am. I focus on four things in the work I do to help drive greater inclusion:
1. Encouraging the use of microactions everyone can undertake every day to call out instances
of unconscious bias and exclusion whenever they are observed/happen, to open everyone’s
eyes to them.
2. Publicly calling out every day conference speaker lineups/media coverage and
programming/business situations that need to #changetheratio, and proposing diversesolutions.
3. Speaking to the bottom line: messaging constantly that diversity drives innovation, creativity,
disruption and better business. Want to make more money? Break the closed loop at the top
of every industry/organization/ company of white guys talking to white guys about other white
guys, and you will.
4. Urging ‘bulk-buy.’ From a sheer numbers perspective, make any environment/event/experience
gender-equal and diverse, and you immediately manage out bad things (sexual
harassment/prejudice) and make good things happen. Tokenism,
hiring/appointing just one
womanor POC, is useless; the lone alien organism has to adapt to the culture around it. Think in
numbers, ship ‘em in: find a way to bring in groups, not individuals, and you make those good
things happen a whole lot quicker.
What question would you ask another Woman of Note?
How can you help women make more money? (We don’t get taken seriously until we get taken
seriously financially. And there is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking