In honor of Women’s History Month we’re highlighting a few of our inspiring clients and colleagues. We asked these five fierce females for their honesty, in addition to how they define success. Learn how they prioritize what matters most in their lives, and in the spirit of women supporting women, the advice they’d give to younger versions of themselves.
You may want to grab a pen to take notes.
Meet Our Wonder Women
The all-star roster includes…
Monica Stevens Le – This Havenly client embodies everything we aspire to be. She’s a clean eating entrepreneur who just published her first cookbook. In addition to running her own business, she’s also raising a beautiful daughter. She, of course, loves cooking and spending time with her beautiful family.
Jan Seale – Havenly’s Vice President of Revenue and former sales lead at the Trunk Club—and most importantly proud dog mom to London. Outside of work, Jan spends her time traveling, reading, spending time with family, and drinking wine (she is a Havenly employee, after all).
Sarita Yeldandi – Our Director of Customer Experience & Operations (and a yoga instructor, no big deal). Outside of work she spends her time mothering two small humans and one medium canine, co-piloting life with her best friend and partner in crime, and trying to enjoy every moment she gets to spend with them and her closest friends and family.
Sarah Woelfel – Co-founder and partner of Cult Capital, which funds and helps scale emerging cult consumer brands. Sarah is a Havenly client and badass business woman. She spends her time with her husband, working, working out, and binge reading.
Vivian Torres – Havenly designer and home guru, Vivian found interior design later in life after first becoming a lawyer. Outside of designing, Vivian loves to cook, dance and watch comedy with her husband, Paul. At least once a week she catches up with family and friends, except for her mom—she gets a call everyday.
Tell Us About Yourself
Q: What motivates you?
Sarah: I love the feeling of accomplishing things, whether big or small.
Sarita: My children, my husband, and the chance to leave this world a better place in some small way.
Q: What does success look like to you?
Sarah: Success is giving my absolute best every single day.
Jan: Success to me is making a meaningful impact. Whether that’s on a person and their career or the business and it’s visibility. Success to me is simply being an impactful leader and being an integral part of my company’s story.
Monica: It’s really immeasurable. Just having the feeling that you really enjoy whatever it is that you are working on…that is success.
Vivian: I think there are two defining characteristics of success: 1) Authenticity: and; 2) Abundance, both in terms of traditional wealth and relationships. Money provides security, but there’s no point in having it if you have no one to play with and if you keep it ALL to yourself.
Q: If you had a life motto or mantra, what would it be?
Sarah: You can do anything you put your mind to.
Jan: I don’t know if it’s a motto or mantra but there’s a Tony Morrison quote that I try to embody in my professional life, “when you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
Monica: Never lose your childlike sense of wonder.
Sarita: My yoga mantra is “May all beings everywhere be happy and free.”— Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Vivian: My motto is “Let the bullshit blow in the breeze.” Any Pharcyde fans out there?
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Q: What does the word home mean to you?
Sarah: Family! Comfort. Great memories. Love.
Monica: Somewhere I truly feel at ease.
Sarita: I love this quote from Gaston Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Space: “If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”
Vivian: Home is where self expression meets unconditional acceptance. It’s a place, person or thing that lets you waive your freak flag and loves you anyway.
Q: How do you want your home to feel? What’s your favorite space in your home?
Sarah: I want my home to feel bright, airy, cheery, welcoming, comfortable yet beautiful, fresh. And my favorite space in my home is my kitchen! This is where we spend the most time and create so many amazing memories with family and friends.
Jan: I want my home to feel chic but cozy. I never want my home to feel like a museum that you can’t put your feet up on the sofa. I love to entertain and always want people to know that it’s warm and welcoming (but it’s also really beautiful so you should take your shoes off).
Monica: I want my home to feel really welcoming. My favorite space in my home is my office. Having all of my ceramics and work props displayed really gets my creative juices flowing.
Sarita: Mid-Century Modern Meets Pre-Colonial India. I come from a family of weavers in India, but fell in love with Mid-Century Modern architecture and furniture design in art school here in the US. And I want my home to feel like a shelter from a storm.
Vivian: I want it to feel inviting and comfortable but in a museum, magazine-cover kind of way.
The Story Behind the Women
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Sarah: Working with amazing entrepreneurs who are so creative and inspirational and are creating innovative products that otherwise wouldn’t exist in the marketplace. They are really changing the world for the better! We have invested in some really innovative brands including Supergoop! And LAWLESS Beauty in the beauty space and Miyoko’s Kitchen in the food space.
Aside from that, my team. They are an extension of my family. Every member of our team contributes something unique. We could not be the firm we are without each other.
Jan: I love the challenge. Building a company is no easy feat and doing one with a complicated customer journey can be tough. I love that the problem we’re solving is simple but the path to success is varied. There’s no right answers and what works today may not work tomorrow. Being forced to be agile and to constantly evolve is necessary, and while challenging, makes coming to work every day exciting.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Monica: The neverending climb. I’m always battling with myself and challenging myself which is great but exhausting.
Sarita: You can’t please everyone, so I remind myself of the cliché, you have to do your best and forget the rest.
Q: What life or career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Sarah: Being a Mom while balancing work. It’s incredibly difficult but so rewarding at the same time. I have had to learn how to not strive for perfection in either area.
Jan: I’m really proud of my time at my last company. Being one of the first few employees and being a part of starting at the beginning, see it rapidly grow, to being acquired by large retailers, to pursuing profitability. Getting to be a part of a wild startup ride and know that my contributions were a part of the company’s success is unparalleled.
Monica: Writing a cookbook, business wise. Being an incredible mom, personally.
Sarita: My 2 children are a greater source of pride than I ever knew they would be.
Vivian: What I’m most proud of is that I’ve been able to maintain very close relationships with my family and a big, loud group of friends that I’ve known since I was 5, despite that I’ve lived away from my home town for over 10 years. It takes effort to stay connected but I don’t take the value of relationships and community lightly.
Q: How do you balance your career with life pursuits?
Sarah: I carve out time on my calendar for all! I am very regimented in my scheduling. For example, I leave work every day no later than 5:30pm so that I can go home and spend an hour or two with my daughter before she goes to bed.
Jan: I don’t know if I do. I’m 36 single, and just froze my eggs. BUT I will say that I’ve learned over the years that I have to put myself first sometimes and that friends and family are important to my overall sanity. Prioritizing what’s important to you is paramount to your personal happiness which shows up in how you do at your job.
Sarita: I don’t. Balance is a figment of our imagination. At any point in time, the scales are tipped in one direction or the other. I fail at at least 2-3 aspects of my life on a daily basis, but life is a beautiful mess.
Parting Words of Wisdom
Q: What words of wisdom would you have for the younger version of yourself?
Sarah: Do not doubt yourself, or ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There have been so many moments in life where I doubted myself or others doubted me and I stuck to my agenda and persevered. There are also times when I didn’t stick to my agenda and wish that I had. You know yourself and your capabilities better than anyone else and don’t ever doubt that.
Jan: My best advice is to not be obsessed with my title but focus more on the tool kit I’m building that will help me run my own business one day. Getting caught up in how much money I made or if I had a better title than someone else wasted a lot of mental energy when I should have focused on the experiences i’m gaining that will make me invaluable to wherever my career takes me.
Monica: Just. Keep. Going.
Sarita: Be kind to yourself.
Vivian: Focus on nurturing individual interests and talents, and develop the self-confidence to pursue them despite what others think.