By Manon DeFelice
Ever wonder what the life of an up-and-coming entrepreneur or a CEO really looks like? Considering a leap to a startup? Or just curious about the day-to-day of someone navigating her way in a different industry? Women@Forbes’ new “Day In The Life” series gives an insider’s view of what these women do — from their inspirational moments and behind-the-scenes at work to the apps, productivity tips and stress-reducing tricks they can’t live without.
7:00 a.m.: My children are my alarm clock.
Every day as an entrepreneur and CEO is different, but one thing is usually the same: The day begins when my three kids (ages 9, 7 and 3) run screaming into my room. I would love to meditate in the morning before the kids get up—it’s my vision of peace and serenity—but this never happens. Like so many other busy parents, I am running around trying to get myself ready and the kids dressed, fed and out the door for school. My husband has already left for work by 6 a.m., but my au pair helps me juggle it all. Somehow I manage to fire off a few work emails amid the commotion.
8:30 a.m.: School drop-off and a strategy walk.
We live down the street from our elementary school so I get to walk my older kids to school, which is one of the best parts of my day. Soon they won’t want to be seen with me, but today I even get to hold their hands.
Ellen Gustafson, my Director of Strategic Partnerships, is visiting from California, and after drop-off we go on a strategy walk. My new favorite thing is the “walking meeting”: You can work and work out at the same time . With fresh air and exercise, the ideas flow better, too. If Ellen and I can’t walk physically together, we often do walking conference calls.
11:00 a.m.: Partner meeting in NYC.
I’m based out of my home office in Greenwich, Connecticut, but meetings keep me on the move. Today I’m going to the New York City offices of Grand Central Tech (GCT), a start-up incubator and our newest “Inked” partner. We are a perfect fit for each other. My company, Inkwell, primes companies to transform their workforce by including flexibility as part of their compensation package—getting them access to a more diverse and experienced talent pool that they could not attract before. Through our partnership with GCT, we can help early-stage companies diversify their teams with top talent from the beginning. I love it!
2:00 p.m.: Late team lunch and a client 1:1.
After our GCT office hours, I go downtown to the Soho House for an Inkwell team meeting. We are a virtual company with staff working flexibly from home, so it’s great to get together when we can. Instead of spending money on office space, we get to spend it on fun team-building events. Today we have a productive strategy session over a yummy late lunch.
Then I am off to meet our client XO of Newell brands. Sonny Caberwall is the visionary behind this special opps group trying to incorporate technology into Newell products. One of the best parts of my job is working with brilliant founders pushing the boundaries of what is possible. So inspiring!
6:00 p.m.: A virtual dinner with my kids.
I try to rush home from NYC to be there for dinner with the family, but unfortunately today I won’t make it. My au pair is busy running the kids around to their afternoon activities (soccer, gymnastics, piano). When I can’t be with my kids, I go digital, staying involved via text and FaceTime . I’m also lucky to be a part of several elaborate carpool groups for my kids; I help out on days that I can, and the other parents save me all the time. It takes a village.
But I do make it home in time for bedtime. I help the kids get ready, and my husband reads to them as he does every night (tonight is poetry!). I love watching them all cuddled up together.
I feel gratitude every day that I have the flexibility (and mobile technology) to be available for my family when I need to be. Sometimes it’s hard as a CEO to live the Inkwell vision of work-life balance, especially when I am traveling, but I’m excited about what we’re building and I love my crazy life. I am grateful for my family, my team, my village.