Courtesy of Christina Hirth Vuleta

For this installment of my Women’s Empowerment Series, I had the honor to interview Christina Vuleta, Interim Client Solutions Director at Worth Media. From VP of the Women’s Digital Network at Forbes to a serial entrepreneur that founded 40:20 Vision, 7×7 Mentoring, and 40 Women to Watch Over 40, Vuleta has championed women with a keen forward vision.

Your career is so fascinating and inspiring. Tell us about your career trajectory?

I’ve always been curious about the “why” behind the way people behave.

Looking at how the world is changing and how this creates new ways to fulfill our needs around work, life and play.

That led me to my early career in advertising and brand strategy. Then I became a futurist – identifying and applying trends to help brands develop new products and position themselves for the future. After that I moved to the company side – for Forbes and now Worth – where I applied strategy and trends to telling the brand story and activating it through content, community and partnerships.

The thing that threads this all together is a love for figuring it what the consumer cares about what a brand stands for and where the world is going.

How did you get started in the industry? What got you interested in the industry?

I’m actually industry agnostic. I have a specialized expertise that can be applied across many sectors. I call myself a brand strategist and brand activist who specializes in transforming brands and markets. I’ve worked in beauty, health and wellness, media, retail, CPG (consumer packaged goods like Tide or Dove) and luxury.

That means I got to help launch new products, ranging from Olay Total Effects to Memo, a luxury jewelry ecommerce business. I got to work with Martha Stewart to figure out how to position the brand (after she go out of prison) and The Ohio State University to position the brand in an increasing complex education landscape. I got to work on the future of esports and the future of community for multi-national brands.

What amazing projects can we expect to see next?

Over the past eight years, I’ve gotten involved in the women’s leadership movement.

My mission is to help women take their next step forward.

I’ve done this through creating a mentoring network, working on consulting projects like the future of girls and leadership and building the women’s channel at Forbes with the mission of helping millennial and entrepreneurial women achieve their goals. My next step to do more of this work focused on founder and funder community.

It’s crazy that only 2% of venture capital goes to women founders and a fraction of that to founders of color.

I believe that with more women as CEOS, founding their own companies, there will be new company cultures that are more inclusive to all. And that female-led companies will continue to scale. Look at last week with both Glossier and Rent the Runway reaching unicorn status.

So I’m starting Venturing Salons that will bring together founders and funders to get actionable advice on taking their next step and I’m working on a podcast in this area as well. Beyond that I’m continuing to advise female founders on brand strategy and their pitches as well as taking on strategy projects for women led brands.

How do you create work-life balance?

First, finding work that doesn’t drain your energy but gives you energy. Second, taking time for rituals that let your mind take a break. For me that’s Pilates. My mind can’t wander when I am focused on a series of exercises based on 8-10 repetitions. More recently I have brought back a old ritual — actually eating breakfast at home and reading the paper before I go to work. It feels oh so decadent, but it also makes me so much happier. That has to be good for productivity!

Can you share some tips on how to cultivate it in our own lives?

Take an inventory of what gives you energy at work and what drains your energy. See if you can eliminate some of the drains. If work drains you more than energizes you, I would start looking for a new job that allows you to do more of what energizes you.

I would also say to experiment to find the thing that frees your mind from negative chatter or that running to-do list.

I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in yoga planning what I was going to have for dinner! It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be a traditional mindfulness practice, it could be chopping vegetables!

How do define relationship success?

Having shared expectations and learning to love without drama. I find that most stress in relationships comes from disappointment from your partner not meeting your expectations. So it helps if you and your partner know what those expectations are.

What would you tell your younger self?

  • Learn to ask for money. No one ever got fired asking for a raise!
  • Know that you have many chances to reinvent yourself as you get older. You feel like every decision you make in your 20s is final or narrowing your choices. But you have many reset buttons in your life. You have time to explore, just be strategic about it. Always ask what you are going to gain or learn from a new job and what you are going to give.
  • Never underestimate the power of your naivete. That is what companies need. You are not boxed in by the “we tried that before” cynicism.
  • No one’s timelines matters but your own.