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Newsletter 8.23.19


This week, I finished two books that now sit at the top of my gift list: Brotopia by Emily Chang and Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino. I had coupled them together with the intention of exploring the minds of two unique female writers. I certainly could not put their words down, but I couldn't help but feel emotionally torn and angry after reading the stories and commentary slapped on each page. While Jia explains stories of sexual harassment targeted towards women in the college scene, Emily speaks of maltreatment towards ambitious women aiming to make it in Silicon Valley.

Jia writes, "Look at what happens to ambitious women, people wrote. Look how women are punished for daring to live the way they want. Feminists have worked so hard, with such good intentions, to justify female difficulty that the concept has ballooned to something all-encompassing: a blanket defense, an automatic celebration, a tarp of self-delusion that can cover up any sin."

Upon reading stories of blatant disrespect and harm towards women, I was certainly not unaware, but still stung by the constant realization that the fight has only just begun. Women have been at the short end of the stick, but the endless stories that fill pages of news and books should serve as a constant push to be stronger than the person expecting you to be inferior. Jia and Emily's strength in publishing their commentary is to be admired. I've been angry since first coming across the stories that stripped the innocence and happiness of many young women. But I chose to relent and instead seek out support and find my own way to contribute to the progression of the global female community. Strength will be our best asset. 

Featured this week are incredibly strong women who seek out progress from anger, not retaliation.

Stay resilient,
Maya Frai, Founder of Let's Hear It

The latest news on women.
How teen Greta Thunberg shifted world's gaze to climate change
Thunberg is the driving force behind a movement that has seen more than 2 million teens around the world take part in Fridays for Future school strikes against climate change. On Wednesday, she set off from Britain’s shores on a monthslong journey — she is sailing to avoid flying — that will take her to a U.N. summit on climate change in New York in September, and the COP25 conference in Santiago, Chile, in December. NBC, August 17, 2019
Momofuku’s Secret Sauce: A 30-Year-Old C.E.O.
While Mr. Chang is the brand’s lodestar, Ms. Mariscal, 30, is the executive who makes it all work. Born and raised on the Upper West Side, to the family that founded the specialty foods emporium Zabar’s, Ms. Mariscal began her career at Momofuku in 2011, as a public relations and events intern. Over the years, she quietly became Mr. Chang’s closest collaborator and confidante, a largely unknown force shaping matters as varied as menu design, branding and business development. NYTimes, August 16, 2019
Nike got called out for discriminating against pregnant athletes. Now it’s changing its policy
In May, Olympic runner Alysia Montaño wrote an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that it was hypocritical for Nike to use empowering language in its advertising, like “Just Do It” and “Dream Crazy,” while simultaneously punishing elite athletes for choosing to start families. Nike has agreed to no longer apply performance-related reductions in contracts for 18 consecutive months, from the very start of the pregnancy, and Nike cannot terminate an athlete’s contract even if she has decided not to compete due to pregnancy. Fast Company, August 16, 2019
Did Venus Williams Ever Get Her Due?
Venus brought to tennis her 129-m.p.h. serve and a brick-wall volley game. But more important, as Courtney Nguyen, a senior writer for W.T.A. Insider, the news department of the Women’s Tennis Association, told me: “Venus brought, not trash talk, but the idea that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one is going to believe in you. She brought not apologizing for being good, not apologizing for what you want. ‘I’m here to win it. I’m not here to make friends.’ ” 
NYTimes Mag, August 22, 2019
Sarah Kunst's New Venture Capital Fund Invests in Female Entrepreneurship
This morning, Sarah Kunst announced that her venture capital fund, Cleo Capital, is going public. Kunst filed to raise $10 million for the fund in August 2018 and has worked tirelessly since then to make sure that her goal—which will simultaneously help other female entrepreneurs accomplish theirs—would become a reality. "One of the biggest indicators of anyone potentially getting funded is whether or not the investors that they're talking to look like them in a literal sense." Marie Claire, August 19, 2019
Publication features on women and their careers. 
Photo: NYTimes.
Corner Office Interview with Payal Kadakia, CEO and Founder of $600 Million Startup Classpass

“I actually wrote my application essay to M.I.T. on how my life revolved around the number two. I was born on Feb. 2. I had these two identities, American and Indian. I was the second daughter. I saw a lot of creativity in numbers. Even when I danced, I saw it all as geometry. People always think of writing and the arts as the creative side, but to me, math and science were actually really creative.

In this interview with the NYTimes, Payal talks about being the daughter of Indian immigrants, studying at M.I.T. and working at Bain & Company before founding ClassPass. Her idea has upended the fitness class market with a simple premise: Instead of paying for access to one gym, pay a monthly fee and drop in to classes of all sorts. Read more here.
Op-eds and letters on advice, experiences, and inspiration.

I soon realized that given who we are, and what we are trying to achieve, there was no way I could try to conceal my pregnancy in good faith, but I did have to address the elephant in the room to get it out of the way—with investors and with men in operations, contracting, real estate, and food and beverage. I realized that being a mother would actually make me a better leader. Most of our executive team have young children or are expecting. Becoming a mother has given me a deeper understanding of the needs of a big segment of our member base.

Emma Hinchliffe, "11 Female CEOs and Founders on What It’s Really Like to Have a Baby While Running Your Company" –– Fortune

Because we're a fan of experiential commerce
Photo: Obsess "Living Coral"
Obsess: Reinventing the e-commerce interface

“With the latest technology on our phones, we should be seeing shopping experiences online that are much more visual and much more interesting. The problem is that nobody has tackled changes to the e-commerce experience in 25 years.” – Neha Singh, Obsess’s founder and chief executive

For Pantone’s 2019 colour of the year “Living Coral,” Obsess, a new fashion website, created an underwater store filled with coral-hued product. The glass walls and ceiling look out into the ocean, and a gigantic coral reef sits at the centre of the store, surrounded by racks of Altuzarra tops, Topshop slip dresses and Senreve handbags. Obsess created its space online, relying on virtual-reality technology to create a shopping experience it hopes comes close enough to the real thing to stand out from countless other e-commerce sites.

→ Learn more about Neha: Read here.
→ Learn more about Obsess: Read here.
The LHI Newsletter is sent straight to your inbox every Friday morning. 

'Till next time.

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