For this installment of my Women’s Empowerment Series, I had the honor to interview Elisa Camahort Page, Speaker/Author/Consultant/Entrepreneur. Camahort Page pioneered a space that truly honored women’s voices when she co-founded Blogher! Since then, she continues to champion women’s voices and challenge social norms. In her new book,
Road Map for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All, she offers women a step-by-step prcoess into empowerment and transformation.
Your career is so fascinating and inspiring. Tell us about your career trajectory?
I have what I like to call a checkered past. I went to school for Theatre and moved to New York with dreams of being an actor. But after four years I realized that maybe that wasn’t what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and I moved back to California.
In a way I think that very early “failure” was liberating.
At the age of 26, the thing you thought you were going to do the rest of your life is not the thing you’re going to do, which means you can really do anything. I ended up working in the commodities industry for seven years, and in that job I learned that I could learn new industries, which served me well when I decided to check out the tech industry that seemed to be doing super well in Silicon Valley in the 90s.
I spent another seven years climbing the ladder in corporate tech during the boom times, and then hanging in there during the bust. When I left my last corporate tech job I thought I would just get another job in the same industry. But I didn’t find myself doing anything to make that happen, and that was pretty unlike me.
So, having never really thought about being an entrepreneur, I first started consulting in this very very new blogging and online community space, and then ended up cofounding BlogHer with my two cofounders.
We started BlogHer is a labor of love, and it wasn’t until after the first BlogHer conference that we sat down and decided there was a real opportunity to build a mission-based, for-profit company. After we were acquired, I stayed with the acquiring company for quite some time, but eventually felt called to leave and pursue other passion projects, including writing my book, Road Map for Revolutionaries. Since writing books isn’t exactly a real living for most of us, I went back to consulting again, and I continue to put together what I now call a portfolio career instead of a checkered past. I’m speaking, writing, consulting…all of the above.
What amazing projects can we expect to see next?
I’m hoping to finish my proposal for my second book by the end of June, so that’s a big one I’ve been stewing over for a long time. I’m also working with the Peace is Loud speaker bureau to help me to spread my message that everyone can help make the changes they want to see in the world.
I’m also collaborating with a couple of groups of terrific colleagues on two different consultancy groups, Mentor Bureau and Ternstyle Group. The goal is to help companies be better, do better, communicate better, grow better. These are great way to combine all those experiences, successes (and failures) from my checkered past…scratch that…portfolio career!
How do you create work-life balance?
I’ve always hated the term work-life balance, partly because I wasn’t good at it, and partly because we hardly ever ask men about it.
I now talk more about work-life-activism balance, because I believe we will all feel more fulfilled, more purposeful, and therefore happier, if we make sure to work for the better world we want to see…whatever that means.
I have a relatively new practice of setting personal, professional, and activism goals each week and tracking whether I achieve them. I make those personal and activism goals pretty small ones, so I’m fairly confident I can work them in. I also have a practice of blocking certain times off in my calendar and trying to hold those times sacred. Some blocks are so that I can do organizational tasks like pinging people or making a plan for the next day, some blocks are so that I will take that yoga class or will shut down my computer at a particular time.
I think one’s ability to achieve work-life-activism balance ebbs and flows. And that’s actually OK. There wasn’t too much of it when I was a start-up founder. There’s more of it now that I’m a multi-hyphenate who controls my own activities.
Can you share some tips on how to cultivate it in our own lives?
I’m driven by deadlines and calendar items, so I put my most important to-dos and actions into my calendar on particular dates, including personal things. I also create little challenges for myself…last year it was the #vegancookbookchallenge to get myself cooking more (because it’s healthier AND I enjoy it). This year it was a challenge to take up yoga…so far I’ve really stuck to it.
Sometimes it’s making a deal with yourself; sometimes it’s making it a game; sometimes public (or at least small group) accountability makes the difference…figure out what tactic works with your personality type. We’re not all the same as to what incents and rewards us.
What would you tell your younger self?
Eventually, people are going to get you.
And when you find the people who get you, you’re going to be just fine. And when you find people who don’t get you? Move along, nothing to see there.