Being a female-run and founded company, it’s a big priority at Tea to take every opportunity to inspire, uplift, and support the further empowerment of women. This month we celebrate women who have inspired us from all different backgrounds and walks of life. We asked seven of these women our pressing questions about life and empowerment.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Anna, Lila Ruby King: Fake it, till you make, is totally a thing. The adults are doing it, all the time.
Kristin Guy: It’s okay to say no…and don’t burn your candle from both ends.
Mitzi Rivas: 1. Honor your intuition: If the path that is presented to you doesn’t feel true to you, step off of the well-manicured path and into the unpaved terrain where the wildflowers grow and the thickets are untamed. 2. Realize that we are interdependent: don’t undermine your talent but don’t believe your achievements stemmed from you alone. We stand on the shoulders of so many- acknowledging this truth is critical to achieving great heights. 3. Practice self-compassion. I learned this skill in my 40’s (I wish it had been sooner) and it makes the delicate balance of giving and receiving an act of ease.
Miranda Anderson: I tell my current self the same thing I would tell my younger self and it is this: You have plenty of time. You don’t have to be in a hurry. Take it slow. Enjoy each moment. Breathe deeply. Embrace the present with gratitude.
Rebecca Gross: I would probably advise my younger self to look within and not outwardly for comparison and approval. It is, of course, easier said than done, but in this season of my life I am slowly learning to live by this, and I think it would have been helpful understanding it on a deeper level earlier in life.
Calli Kelsay: There are no boxes that you need to fit in so do you for you. Don’t worry quite as much because things will still work out one way or another. Failure is just another way of saying I haven’t figured it out yet, but there are a million and one ways that I can try again. Then get up and try again. Having self-compassion will pull you through all of the things life will throw at you. All of the hardships that will happen are opportunities to grow stronger. Never shy away from giving to others when you can and where you can. Try new things, often. Use your talents and strengths for the greater good. It’s okay to stand alone when you’re standing for what you know is right.
Leigh Rawdon: I would like to send a message to my younger self before I had kids: make the most of your weekends! You think you are so busy, but you have so. Much. Time. Exercise, sleep late, linger over coffee with friends, spend hours in the kitchen mastering a recipe, travel, re-learn how to play the piano, organize your house, read a million books! (I should probably remember to give my older self this advice when my kids go off to college!)
What do you hope for your kids’ futures—both boys and girls—and their approach towards equality between genders?
Mitzi Rivas: My hope for my beloved children, Luca and Maya, is that they proudly stand on their father, Carlos’ shoulder and mine. May they deeply appreciate the blend of the masculine and feminine and realize the harmonious impact for good that arises when both are given expression.
Leigh Rawdon: I always wanted to have a daughter so I could help her develop into a strong, kind, and independent woman. That didn’t happen! I have two incredible sons. So instead I am raising my boys to be good men—men who grow up seeing and believing that women are leaders and CEOs. They are surrounded by women who are confident and compassionate. They read books and watch movies with female protagonists without thinking twice. I might not get the chance to raise my own daughter, but I’m doing my part to nurture two sons who will respect and value women’s perspectives and equal participation.
How do you navigate motherhood and career goals?
Kristin Guy: When I was very new to the working mom role, I made the decision to leave a senior-level corporate position over six years ago to go freelance and start my own business. I wanted the opportunity to have flexible hours and the potential to work from home. Now as a self-employed working mother, I am grateful for that decision because[…]it is very important for me to have the ability to control that balance of time spent between my family and my career. It was initially a terrifying leap into the unknown, but looking back I don’t regret a thing because I’m able to do what I love while being more creative than ever and still spend quality time with my family.
I decided to consider my children my greatest asset in my career. They naturally create scheduling boundaries that I have to navigate, which means more efficiency, creativity, and flexibility. They are so imaginative and wonderful examples of living in the present an
Miranda Anderson: Years ago enjoying the moment. I truly believe that one of the best gifts I can give them is a mother who is fully living into her dreams, which for me has meant writing a book, traveling to speaking engagements, and hosting workshops all over the country. I show them, by example, how to live their own best lives to the fullest.
Besides finding a work-life balance, what was the most difficult thing you experienced in your career as a woman and how did you overcome it?
Rebecca Gross: The most difficult thing for me was working under bosses/a company that did not value or appreciate me or my artistry. I had a constant feeling of why have they even hired me if they won’t let me have a voice? Why am I here? Comfort and familiarity will keep you stagnant for as long as you let it. As much as leaving that situation was uncomfortable there was no opportunity for growth in a space where I wasn’t valued. I think women oftentimes feel undervalued but I can tell you, I have THRIVED when I have demanded my place in spaces where I felt I belonged.
Mitzi Rivas: Over the years I have chosen to honor my own voice instead of bowing down to the more dominant and imposing voices in society. Being a Salvadoran woman, it is sometimes hard to depict the source of the challenge. It has taken much of my life to find the courage to step forward with my perspective, passion, and talents amongst the undercurrent of unspoken messages designed to keep me in place. The struggle is real, but so is freedom and opportunity to infuse my truth and purpose into my daily life and work.
What qualities make a great leader?
Leigh Rawdon: Curiosity. Great leaders know that the key is to search for and discover the right answer, not to have the right answer.Believing that every person has something important to contribute—and helping them find it and embrace it.
Kalli Kelsay: Empathy, kindness, compassion, passion, connection, vulnerability, strength and love. I have seen, first hand, what happens when we acknowledge and honor the feelings of others[…it] creates a stronger and more powerful community.
Lila Ruby King: When I think of the leaders I really admire, probably the quality that stands out the most is empathy. I think that when our leaders display things like empathy, kindness, thoughtfulness, it filters down into the environment in which we live in or work in.
Kristin Guy: Transparency and trust in others.
Mitzi Rivas: Being able to lead with authenticity is the greatest strength of my leadership.
We appreciate all of these women for passing along their words of wisdom and will continue to admire the innovation and inspiration that they poignantly demonstrate through their work and within their life.