My Journey to SHE-E-OFeatured

Growing up seeing my father work hard and be successful in business inspired me to follow in his footsteps – and as a natural-born leader, I was determined to be a CEO, despite my minimal understanding of how to get there and what this would entail at the time.

I’ve had jobs and worked hard from a young age, from working as a lifeguard to babysitting to working in restaurants. I thought if I worked hard like my father, I would be able to afford a good life like he afforded me and my family, something I have always been so grateful for.

To me, success has always been defined as becoming a C-level exec since I graduated with a business degree. It was what I dreamed of and had my sights set on. I remember I’d say – and still say to this day – I wanted to “ring the bell at the Nasdaq”.

Throughout my career, I witnessed primarily males in leadership roles and remember being outnumbered and having to fight for every promotion. This fueled my desire to do my part to get more women represented at the top.

I knew that to get to my end goal, I was going to have to take risks and make moves. Every year, I reflected on where I was at against my goal and sought out opportunities for promotions, evaluated new roles, put out resumes, networked, etc. to progress further in my career, learn my worth, and climb the corporate ladder. I went from my undergrad in business, to an internship at a bank, to graduating with a Masters in Accounting and an entry job in “the big 4”, to working up the ranks in different advisory groups at two of the top consulting firms, to strategic roles “in industry” at a leading US bank, to boutique digital consulting, rather rapidly. I changed what I was doing about every two years to move the needle and get closer to a leadership position where I could actually drive change and make an impact.

I had a critical turning point while on maternity leave in ‘20. I had time off and a moment to reflect and do some soul-searching. During that time, I realized that:

1) I loved solving problems through innovation and delightful digital experiences for consumers,

2) I was not thriving by constantly competing for promotions and navigating corporate politics and hierarchy,

3) I still wanted to be my own boss and a CEO, but on the path I was on, it was going to take too long,

4) I had a bunch of ideas and started to see the wave of entrepreneurship growing with friends (including my sister) diving in.

So, I started to think about what I was passionate about, the problem I wanted to solve, and what I really wanted to do in an ideal state, setting my career choices to date aside. What kept rising to the top was doing something that helped women look and feel their best and building a company for women, with more women represented, and with a great community and culture.

The problem I felt compelled to solve was one that I personally faced: the desire to look and feel beautiful but the fact that the process to look good is hard work.

At the start of the pandemic and #wfh period, I started my company Prept, a platform that provides the modern on-the-go woman with accessible, personalized style + beauty assistance. With a name, an initial virtual-hopefully-pandemic-proof concept, basic branding, and an Instagram account we launched.

I always wanted to be a CEO and my own boss. I quickly found that the role I always wanted entailed building a company 0 to 1 and a much harder path than I could have ever imagined. I applied every skill I’d learned to date, met with everyone possible to learn more, and learned on the fly. I was CEO + every other role in the company. I was scrappy, and worked overtime, but loved it because I was doing something that I was truly passionate about. As much as I was working, for once, it didn’t feel like work.

Fast forward to 2023, I grew a side hustle to 300+ customers (and a larger community), 3 apps, 55+ amazing female teams across 10 states, sustainably growing revenue, and so much more. I recently took my biggest risk to date and went all in (full-time) to navigate fundraising and continue to pursue my dream and the #startuplife this past April. I haven’t looked back yet and am excited about the future ahead!

Congratulations! I love that you focus on what drives you, makes you happy, but also how you work best in a workforce. I appreciated reading your story :)
@ericamichelson thank you so much!! Would love to meet & chat anytime πŸ’—
Yes please! I'll dm you!
Excellent! Keep going!!!
Thank you Jessica!!