All Posts in People Who Inspire

January 20, 2015 - Comments Off on Stories & Style: Comedian Mad Libs

Stories & Style: Comedian Mad Libs

NL-MadLibs-Header

Our Stories & Style event is coming up quick—have you RSVP'd yet? (Better get on that—the list is filling up!) We've told you all about the night's storytellers: Ophira Eisenberg, Elna Baker, and Sara Benincasa. While a bit of background information is always a good thing to have in tow when you're off to meet someone new, we wanted to give you a deeper look into the personalities and humor of these fine ladies, including our very own Nicole Lenzen. We gave them a throwback assignment of sorts, one that will look very familiar if you grew up with those handy-dandy packets called Mad Libs.

Sit back, read on, and get to know these four empowering ladies:

Ophira Eisenberg, Writer/Host of NPR's Ask Me Another

Ophira 1

I  can’t leave home without red lipstick.

My go-to clothing item is a sequin top. Unless it's dirty, then I wear a dirty sequin top.

When I feel most confident I look in the mirror and say, it's better than I thought.

My best beauty tip is to smile, but never ever fake laugh.

When I wanna dance I listen to Prince. When I need to cry I listen to Joni Mitchell.

Ray LaMontagne keeps me sane.

The strangest/best compliment I’ve ever gotten was, "I've masturbated to your voice on public radio. If you're looking for something less dirty: "I can tell by looking at you that you live in a fifth floor walk up. Keep it up."

My favorite thing to do for myself is cancel everything on my schedule.

Rachel Maddow is the most empowering woman I know.

Fedora, Beret, Beanie, or Top Hat?  In this order: Beret, Top Hat, Fedora, Beanie.

When I’m looking for a pick-me-up, strong espresso, little milk (or icy vodka) is just what I need.

Purse, Backpack, Fannypack, or Pockets? Purse, Pockets—If I never see another backpack or fannypack again, that would be great.

At parties I try to stand right next to the cheese cubes.

Read more

January 15, 2015 - Comments Off on Women Who Inspire: Smita’s Take on Indian Culture, Women in Information Technology, and Must-Sees in Bangalore

Women Who Inspire: Smita’s Take on Indian Culture, Women in Information Technology, and Must-Sees in Bangalore

IMG_20141130_173847

Meet Smita, Technology Consultant and Outdoor Adventurer

Nicole and Smita met while working together on a project for Brooks Brothers. While they successfully designed and implemented a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) system, they also became quick friends in the process. Smita works and lives in Bangalore, India as a consultant for a company called ITC Infotech, helping clients better understand the technology they use for their manufacturing processes and order tracking. While that might come off as Latin to anyone not involved in the industry—hey, that's why Smita's there!—you're sure to recognize some of the names she's worked with: Charming Shoppes, Levi's, QVC.

We were lucky to catch Smita on a wintry Sunday in NYC on her most recent consulting trip to the States. We had a great time catching up over many pots of tea, going shopping at Young & Able, and grabbing a yummy vegetarian meal at Le Verdure at Eataly. Smita wouldn't usually gravitate to a bold, red outfit, but we managed to get her to try on the scarlet Elena dress. As you can see, she's totally rocking it. Read on to hear what Smita has to share on being a woman in an Indian tech company, the chaos that is her daily commute, and must-see spots in Bangalore:

A Day in the Life

Let's start with the weekdays. When I'm in India and working from ITC headquarters I wake up around 6:00am and go for a jog, then get ready for work, and put together a lunchbox to take to the office—I don't like my office food anymore. It's not healthy or tasty. My day at the office starts around 9-9:30 am and goes until 8 or 9pm, depending on which customer I am working for. I go back home and I try not to work after that, but I haven't succeeded in that yet! I have something for dinner and watch TV or read a book—something to soothe my mind after I leave work. I sometimes stay up late, but I try to at least get six hours of sleep.

Dressing for Work: It used to be all typical Indian dress, whether you wear Salwar Kameez or a kurti—which is a long top with leggings. I don't wear a lot of Indian clothes to work. I do wear jeans, but normally I'll dress up in trousers and a comfortable top. Apart from that, we do have our ethnic dress, like saris. On special days the whole office is festive. I prefer clothes that I can move easily in—I don't want to worry about wrinkles.

You have a lot of Indian companies and manufacturers who are making western clothes. But you also have brands like Marks & Spencer, Zara, Mango—mostly European companies. The style is definitely evolving and leaning toward more trendy nowadays. In India, we don't have a seasonal concept because you can wear jeans and a T-shirt almost 365 days out of the year—the temperature is not extreme. Things tend to be colorful and bright. I try not to look overly professional or nerdy! I don't prefer skirts because I think they make me look even shorter.

Read more

January 12, 2015 - Comments Off on Stories & Style: Get to Know Writer/Comedian Sara Benincasa

Stories & Style: Get to Know Writer/Comedian Sara Benincasa

Sara-Benincasa

If you haven’t already heard, we’re hosting an exclusive event at Bene Rialto in Manhattan on Thursday, January 29th from 6:30pm-9pm. Aside from meeting Nicole and having the chance to try on pieces from the Eva and Candy Collections, we’ll have delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine for you to enjoy while taking in fashion-focused, personal, storytelling performances from three amazing women—NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, Writer/Comedian Elna Baker, and Author/Comedian Sara BenincasaWe’re going to be sharing a little background on each of our guests over the next couple of days.

Sara Benincasa: Author, comedian, proud father, and grandfather—in her own words. Let's start by describing her as the author of this empowering body image story on Playboy.com. Whether she's sharing the power that is a boudoir photo shoot or working on her podcast In the Casa, there's one thing you can't deny: She is one refreshingly honest woman. Take this story she penned on Jezebel, for example:

I'm sorry my vagina is so sensitive.

There's a moment at which every junkie hits rock bottom. I think that was mine. I'm an apology addict. Most women I know are similarly afflicted. We think our value as females is dependent on being literally and figuratively pliable to the point of contortions that would make a pretzel or a porn star jealous. And in so doing, we not only devalue our actual important and genuine apologies ("I'm sorry I slept with your brother.") but posit ourselves as being ever in error, constantly over-speaking, overspending, over-laughing, over-crying, overeating, over-existing.

Men fear not being enough. Women fear being too much.

Sara is the best of both worlds. She can take on a powerful topic (see above), but she also knows when to keep it light. Here's proof:

Read more

January 9, 2015 - Comments Off on Stories & Style: Get to Know Author/Comedian Elna Baker

Stories & Style: Get to Know Author/Comedian Elna Baker

ElnaBaker

If you haven’t already heard, we’re hosting an exclusive event at Bene Rialto in Manhattan on Thursday, January 29th from 6:30pm-9pm. Aside from meeting Nicole and having the chance to try on pieces from the Eva and Candy Collections, we’ll have delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine for you to enjoy while taking in  fashion-focused, personal, storytelling performances from three amazing women—NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, Writer/Comedian Elna Baker, and Author/Comedian Sara BenincasaWe’re going to be sharing a little background on each of our guests over the next couple of days.

Meet Elna Baker. She's a published author, comedian, and "This American Life" storyteller. That tells you something, but the fact that a headline describing Elna reading "Imagine Carrie Bradshaw as a Mormon" pops up on the first page of her Google search results says a lot more. Her amazing book title alone—"The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance"—is a great indication at what you're treating yourself to with Elna. Here are a few words from others that dig a little deeper:

Read more

January 8, 2015 - Comments Off on Stories & Style: Get to Know NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg

Stories & Style: Get to Know NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg

Ophira 1

If you haven't already heard, we're hosting an exclusive event at Bene Rialto in Manhattan on Thursday, January 29th from 6:30pm-9pm. Aside from meeting Nicole and having the chance to try on pieces from the Eva and Candy Collections, we'll have delicious hors d'oeuvres and wine for you to enjoy while taking in  fashion-focused, personal, storytelling performances from three amazing women—NPR's Ophira Eisenberg, Writer/Comedian Elna Baker, and Author/Comedian Sara BenincasaWe're going to be sharing a little background on each of our guests over the next couple of days.

Without further ado, meet Ophira.

Aside from having one of the most beautiful names we've ever heard, she's the host of NPR's trivia/puzzle/game show, "Ask Me Another" (a "half raucous pub trivia, half comedy talk show with witty banter, celebrity guests, and live music blended in," to borrow some of Ophira's own words). Aside from her gig as a podcast personality, she's also a published author and stand-up comedian (with plenty of written accolades to boot). Her debut memoir, "Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy," is—according to Esquire—"a history of her bed-hopping adventures, including, among others, a one-night-stand with a cat doll fetishist and bathroom sex with the lead singer of a U2 cover band." If that doesn't reel you in, I'm not quite sure what will. (Maybe the fact that we'll be giving away a signed copy at the event.)

She has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, VH-1, the E! Channel, CNN, and more. Her comedy album, "Bangs!" was released last October—one lucky person will also get a signed copy at the event. Here's a peek at what you've got to look forward to on the 29th:

December 6, 2014 - Comments Off on Women Who Inspire: Infomous’ Chief Operating Officer Scarlett Sieber on Being a Woman in the Tech Scene, Gaming, and Creating a Community on Twitter

Women Who Inspire: Infomous’ Chief Operating Officer Scarlett Sieber on Being a Woman in the Tech Scene, Gaming, and Creating a Community on Twitter

IMG_7937_Scarlett Sieber in our Eleanor Top

Meet Scarlett Sieber, Chief Operating Officer at Infomous—but that's not all.

Scarlett is a lady who wears many hats—from her day job as COO at a tech start-up to an avid tweeter with an impressive community of entrepreneurial followers. Scarlett has been in the tech scene for three years, but the impact she's already made will long outlast the little time she has already dedicated to her various outlets. Aside from her full-time gig, she's constantly attending networking events, participates in the prestigious Start-Up Leadership Program, and manages to find time on the weekend to play video games with her boyfriend—more on that later.

We grabbed some time with Scarlett to talk about all of her activities, and the hobbies she manages to fit in during the free time she makes the most of. Tune in to learn what Scarlett has to say on the state of the tech scene in New York City, her advice for starting a business venture, her growing Twitter following, and more:

The Daily Grind

I manage and oversee a team who helps with the design and development of our website, including a marketing analytics and a web development intern. Let's say we're walking through a Monday morning. We always have an hour-long strategy meeting to discuss the high-level goals for the week. We'll put a goal up on the board and try to achieve it by the following week. After that, there are always a lot of sales calls. On any given day, I'll have between two and three sales calls with prospective clients. A lot of that is also about follow-ups, going through and making sure we reconnect with the people we talked to the week before and send them the appropriate documents—marketing documents, proposals, or whatever is applicable to that specific client.

I spend a lot of time applying us for different competitions. It's time-consuming, but really fun. Specifically within the last six months, we've been looking for funding. So it's been a lot of investor stuff—researching investors and the companies they invest in, looking at the portfolio companies and seeing if they are the right match for us and getting as much information as we can about them.

IMG_7966_

Read more

September 16, 2014 - Comments Off on Q&A: Rokkan’s Melyssa Brown on Working at an Ad Agency, Caring for Her Baby Corgi, and Fitting Her Figure

Q&A: Rokkan’s Melyssa Brown on Working at an Ad Agency, Caring for Her Baby Corgi, and Fitting Her Figure

Melyssa-Lead1Melyssa wearing our Edie Romper in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn

Meet Melyssa Brown from Rokkan

Melyssa spends her days working as a marketing and communications manager at an ad agency called Rokkan, which is located in Soho. At night, she takes on freelance consulting and writing gigs. Melyssa handles the social channels for the organization, while also jumping in on creative projects and strategies for the brand—something she absolutely loves about her job. (Fun fact: She actually made her way to the communications world via neuroscience—more on that later.)

We got the chance to shoot Melyssa in the Edie Romper—with her adorable 3-month-old Corgi pup, Ein—in their natural environment at Fort Greene Park (more on why that's her favorite spot for relaxing later on). We chatted about her day job, what she looks for in fashion, and how she views the gender breakdown within the advertising industry. Read on to see what she had to say:

Melyssa's Adorable Corgi Pup, Ein

She's pretty much taken over my whole Instagram feed. I wouldn't post her to Instagram until I created a hashtag for her. (It's #einstagram.) Her name is Ein, short for Einstein. Actually, this is dorky. I really like anime and there is a seminal anime called Cowboy Bebop that really popularized that form of animation and entertainment in the US. Think early 90's Cartoon Network, late-night. (They were the only type of people who would air this type of stuff.) There is a corgi in this anime who is a hacker dog. His name is Ein, which is German for "one," or short for Einstein. Sort of an homage to this character and also to the fact that little Ein is brilliant, so she really fits the name.

A Day In Her Shoes

Weekdays: Depends on Ein, as she has this knack for getting up at 4am on the dot every morning (trying to get her away from doing that). She does have an excuse: She's a baby, and with that, has a baby-sized bladder. My alarm goes off at 7am, so theoretically, I get up at 7am. I get dressed and we go for a jog around the block. I come back in and we eat breakfast - I usually have yogurt and granola with some fruit. I put Ein in my room or in her crate so she can calm down again and adjust and then I hop in the shower. I get ready for work and we go out one more time before I leave.

To commute to the office, I walk to Atlantic terminal. Depending on how fast I walk and how late I am, it can be anywhere from a 6 to 10 minute walk. I usually head out around 9:30am. I theoretically work 10am-6pm, which may or may not happen because it's advertising. I work all morning, which consists of meetings or planning, and, of course, emails. Then, I just work the rest of the afternoon. I'm typically off at 6:30pm or 7pm. I might go to Zumba or yoga, out for a drink with some of my co-workers, or networking with a reporter. Then I'm home!

That being said...

Read more

August 21, 2014 - Comments Off on Q&A: Google Glass’s Janine Gianfredi Shares Her Shopping Considerations, Favorite Outfits, and Thoughts on the Future of Wearable Tech

Q&A: Google Glass’s Janine Gianfredi Shares Her Shopping Considerations, Favorite Outfits, and Thoughts on the Future of Wearable Tech

Janine_Elena5Janine Gianfredi on top of the world in windy San Francisco, wearing our Elena Dress

Meet Janine Gianfredi from Google Glass

Janine Gianfredi travels around the world spreading the wearable tech love that is Google Glass. As Head of Brand Marketing & Partnerships for the tech giant, Janine needs to make an impression wherever she goes. Most recently, she found herself in London for a Glass expansion campaign and a fashion event. Shortly before that, she attended an advertising festival on the beaches of Cannes. Toss those destinations in with the couple of times she's been to Italy this year for work meetings and you've probably got a pretty scenic visual playing out in your head. When it comes to fashion, Janine plays close attention to what she buys, where it was made, and how comfortable she feels, and is always empowered through her personal style.

Janine might be a familiar face to you— we previously profiled how we reclaimed her wedding dress and turned it into an evening gown. While she's currently based in San Francisco and works in Mountain View, California on the Google Campus, Janine is an ex-New Yorker who still manages to wear a bit of black here and there. We caught up with Janine between trips to ask a few questions about her daily itinerary and what she looks for in a work wardrobe. Read on to see what she has to say.

A Day in Her Shoes

Waking Up: I probably travel two weeks out of every month. On those trips, it's common to leave on Monday morning and return home on Friday. I'm packing up for the week to go to New York, or lately we've been going to Europe quite a bit. No complaints there! (It's been a really great roster of places.) Those weeks are very different because I'm usually staying in a hotel and I'm not far from where I'm working for the week.

When I'm here in San Francisco, I get up at about 5:30 in the morning, which is a good two-and-a-half hours earlier than when I lived in New York. I hop in the shower, but definitely don't wash my hair every day because it dries it out. I get dressed and head down to hop on my shuttle around 6:30am, which takes me from SF to Mountain View in just under an hour.

Janine_Elena3

Morning Rituals: I get to campus around 7:30am, and the first thing I do is visit the barista for a latte—less for the caffeine and more so for the ritual. I sit and read emails or articles while I eat breakfast, and I get to my desk around 9am. From 9am until 4:40pm I have a pretty hectic day—a ton of meetings. I have a stand-up desk now—I don't sit anymore, which also makes me not really wear heels as much.

Don't Skip Meals: I do not miss meals ever. I am very, very good about eating three meals a day with snacks. I eat lunch every day around noon and I try very hard not to eat at my desk. I try to grab somebody and get away even just for a few minutes. My meals are very veggie-heavy. I usually avoid meat for breakfast and lunch and save it for dinner if I am eating it.

Work/Life Balance: I usually get on a shuttle around 5:30pm or so to arrive back in SF by 6:30/7. My husband George picks me up a lot of the time from the shuttle because I'm usually too tired to walk home! Since we moved here, we actually cook quite a bit for dinner. When we were in NYC, we barely ever did, but now we're really good about it. We have more space to cook, so it's easier. I also try very hard not to work when I'm home. I put in a long day and then I'm done with it. A lot of times at night we'll watch a show or read a book. I try to be in bed by 11pm to get up again at 5:30.

Weekends: I could work out here during the workday, but I choose not to. Part of it has to do with getting sweaty. I take way too long to shower and do all of that stuff. It just doesn't fit well into my day, so I tend to save it for the weekend. It may not be the best, but it's what I do. Friday nights I try to get to a yoga class, and we'll often meet up with friends for dinner. Saturdays we jump in the car with the dogs and go to Crissy Field. We try to be outside and just chill out. I do a pretty good job of not doing work on Saturdays or Sundays. I'm actually in the habit of not looking at emails until Monday morning now.

Janine_Elena2

Read more