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Newsletter 8.16.19


As a designer, I was trained to think about the "human touch." I've always loved to think about problems in this way – of them breathing and connecting with humanity. Through my experiences, I've not only thought about the societal and cultural problems I might be solving for, but also the people I'm solving it with. Being immersed in an environment that places a high value on connection and mentorship is something I find thoroughly beneficial.

Today is my last day as an intern at Google. It's been an incredible experience to build impactful products, features, and opportunities for billions in the ecosystem alongside a highly dedicated team. It's not only been rewarding to see ideas roll out into the wild, but learn about the stories behind those who have dedicated their time to the development of ideas.

When working with and leading a team towards execution, I've found it incredibly helpful to think like a designer. I believe our power comes from channeling humanity in everything we do and create connections with the people around us. And women certainly have an edge in this. You might hear stereotypical phrases of women being too emotional, but it's often to our benefit. We can learn how to personably build camaraderie, inspire others by offering support and enthusiasm, and bridge the gap between one's "work self" and one's "personal self."

Today's newsletter features a mix of stories from power women on Broadway to Alexis Ohanian (a true woman's ally) on normalizing paternity leave in the workplace. 

Happy reading,
Maya Frai, Founder of Let's Hear It

The latest news on women.
Meet the 24-Year-Old Owner of Eko Kitchen, San Francisco's First Nigerian Restaurant
Simileoluwa Adebajo makes everything look easy. Opening a restaurant in San Francisco’s savage real estate market? “I got lucky; the owners of a shared kitchen space offered me a chance.” In reality, Adebajo’s path to opening Eko Kitchen, the city’s first exclusively Nigerian restaurant, is a tale of focus and determination, one that includes jollof parties for hungry students and copious amounts of organic palm oil held for questioning at U.S Customs. “It took a minute,” she smiles. No big deal. Bon Appetit, July 31, 2019
Who Calls the Shots on Broadway? She Does
But, even though women remain a minority among lead producers — those in charge of the commercial life of a show — their power is clearly growing, not only on artistically adventurous projects but also on big dollar ventures. As leaders and tastemakers they are bringing their own life experiences to bear on the shows they oversee, particularly attentive to how women and girls are portrayed, and whether women are employed on their creative teams. NYTimes, August 14, 2019
The Billionaire Who Backed Michael Kors Is Investing in Influencer Arielle Charnas
Chou and his Vanterra Capital fund are participating in a $10 million funding round that values the Charnas brand at close to $45 million. Other investors include Harry’s and Warby Parker backer Box Group, M3 Ventures, Silas Capital, Third Kind Ventures and Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss. The investment is one of the biggest secured by an influencer to date, and indicates that Charnas has ambitions far beyond her licensing agreement with Nordstrom. BoF, August 15, 2019
Publication features on women and their careers. 
Photo: Camille Fournier.
Interview with Camille Fournier on Managing Teams, Y-Combinator Podcast

“It's important to treat people like human beings at work and to open up about personal things a little bit. Again, you don’t have to tell people all of the details of your personal life and you shouldn’t pry in all the details of theirs, but appreciating people as human beings is important so that they don’t feel like they have to just be all business with you. That, in turn, just builds up vulnerability, it makes them feel safer. There’s that whole psychological safety is a really important research concept in building good teams. Teams that feel psychologically safe are able to ask each other questions that are maybe, they’re not afraid to look dumb in front of one another.”

In this interview with Y-Combinator, Camille Fournier, Managing Director at Two Sigma and former CTO of Rent The Runway, talks about navigating growth and change as a company leader. Listen here.
Op-eds and letters on advice, experiences, and inspiration.

My day job is all about investing in and working with the best founders and C.E.O.s in the world. There are two types of leaders in a business — leaders who bring problems, and leaders who bring solutions — and I want a household (and I seek out businesses) with the latter. Parents who can only identify problems aren’t leading, and I’m encouraged to be seeing more and more fathers exercising their role in household leadership by solving problems, whether it’s bringing home a paycheck or performing dad things.

Alexis Ohanian, "Paternity Leave Was Crucial After the Birth of My Child, and Every Father Deserves It" –– NYTimes

The unique skills and experiences she acquired while running her campaign set her up for success. She flipped the formula on how politicians usually run for office. She trusted the expertise and networks of women of color who are civic engagement organizers, pouring resources into their efforts early on. She expanded the electorate. She talked about race and identity on the stump. She traversed the state, speaking to white people in counties that hadn’t voted for a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson. She explained to them why her diverse coalition would also benefit them, whether or not they chose to vote for her.

Melanye Price, "Stacey Abrams Is Playing the Long Game for Our Democracy" –– NYTimes

Humility is a virtue, but it doesn’t need to come at the expense of creating an enduring sense of faith in yourself. When you play down your accomplishments and abilities with self-deprecating attributions, entirely writing off victories to external factors like chance or timing, you not only perpetuate the belief that something negative is on the horizon, you also miss out on the power of self-efficacy — the mind-set that you have the ability to shape your life. 

Jennifer Taitz, "Always Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop? Here’s How to Quit Worrying" –– NYTimes

Because everything needs a little human touch
Photo: Gin Lane.
Pattern by Gin Lane

"A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.”

Pattern Brands is a new multi-brand consumer goods company with the mission to help our generation find more enjoyment in daily life. The company was born out of renowned design agency Gin Lane, behind the design of over $15 billion dollars of brand value including companies like Hims, Sweet Green, Harry's, Smile Direct Club, and more. Gin Lane has worked to understand how consumers and companies interact, converse, and come together around shared values to create an iconic brand. Now with Pattern Brands, the Gin Lane team will be able to have those conversations with customers directly around their own brands, starting first with Equal Parts, a new innovative take on cookware launching this fall. And that's just the start. – KPCB

→ KPCB on why they invested: Read here.
→ Gin Lane Announcement: Read here.
The LHI Newsletter is sent straight to your inbox every Friday morning. 

'Till next time.

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