Ever wonder what it’s like to walk a day in someone else’s shoes (or spend a day in someone else’s job, as the case may be)? Us too! In our “Women at work” series, we’re talking to some of the most accomplished women we know about how they got to where they are in their careers, what advice they’d give their younger selves, and any tips & tricks they’ve picked up along the way.

Name: Steph Halpin
Job Title: New York Pilates Brand Manager
Age: 27
College major: Art Therapy

What does a typical day look like for you?
Working in a startup / small business environment, every day is different – from priorities to deadlines you have to stay flexible and agile. My typical day looks like this:

1. First things first: check email, calendar, slack, Instagram
2. Follow up with teams on outstanding info or needs
3. Follow up to partners or collabs on any outstanding info or needs
4. Planning the day: orchestrating how to maximize the day based on priorities
5. Check-ins with our amazing creative team and review any marketing or design work
6. More follow up
7. Phone calls with prospective partners
8. End of day report and projection for the next day
9. Walking over to a studio to checking in on the space and say hi to the team!
10. Pilates – duh!

What role has your gender or racial identity played in your career to date?
Being a women has made me exponentially more dynamic. In my experience as a women, my gender is very disarming and plays a role in the way people interact with me. As a woman who looks much younger, you’ve got to understand that people will size you up, then immediately underestimate you. You have to not be bothered by being underestimated, and then you have to roll up your sleeves teach each person through your leadership and professionalism the age old lesson: don’t judge a book by it’s cover. If I’m meeting someone for the first time, I’ve got to establish myself as someone who demands respect and who is valuable. Normally you’d think this is a baseline, but when you know you look like a kids TV show host, you’ve got to prove that there is in fact a brain underneath the cute freckles and curly red hair. Part of my role as a white woman in my career is to continually educate myself, have the courage and wisdom to call-in or call-out those around me, and to be an advocate for all women. You realize your career plays a bigger role beyond your own personal aspirations, and is more about galvanizing the efforts made by previous generations of women and building on those efforts for future generations.

How do you define success and how do you measure it?
In my opinion, success is progression, constant learning, hustle, and how well I connect with others. Of course I relish in checking goals off my own personal to do list, but I feel  the most successful when playing a role in supporting the success of my team.

Can you share the best professional advice that someone has given you along the way?
Proofread and “‘No’ doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, it only means you have to pivot and find a different solution”

What advice would you give your 25-year old self about navigating your own career?
Confrontation is not negative! Stating a concern out loud is the hardest part, but once that’s done, then real growth and learning takes place. I’ve learned that even when it might feel uncomfortable, it’s detrimental to one’s growth and the growth of others to not provide or give constructive feedback. Without open dialogue, we all remain static when we have so much to learn from each other.

Who has inspired you in your life and why?
So many people! Family, friends, teachers, coworkers, random good samaritans. Right now I’m most inspired by Alessandra Biaggi. She’s running for office of my district in the Bronx! It takes a lot of courage to answer the call to public office and take on the responsibility to make change. I’m inspired by her fearless dedication and about how she will sacrifice aspects of her life to better her home. Whenever I’m feeling tired from the commute or dissatisfied with what’s going on in my community, I remember that I have the power to contribute to making my environment an equitable, healthy, and positive place to live by getting involved.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The ability to be creative in all aspects from problem solving, copywriting, ideating ad campaigns, working on interior design. All around, having a broad portfolio of projects and always something new and different to work on. Special shout out to working with a stellar team: the most fashionable, funny, and open minded people!

Rapid Round:
Someone might be surprised to learn: A few years ago I donated bone marrow to a three year old with a rare cancer. She’s in third grade now and cancer free!!! So moral of the story is go out and join the national bone marrow registry because you just might save someone’s life.

Favorite book you’ve read in the last year: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Favorite quote: “Eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re tired” – My mom or “Art is not a mirror to reflect the world but a hammer with which to shape it” – Bertolt Brecht

Favorite health hack: Essential oils and my diffuser 🙏 Peppermint oil for stomach aches, and an acne blend that is magic.

Favorite life hack:
My “bag guts” has to be my fav life hack ever. It’s a small see-through bag that holds everything you always need on a day to day but not necessarily what you need when going out or when using a smaller purse. Everything is all in one place which makes switching purses super quick and easy, and you’re not kicking yourself for forgetting to move something over! I keep a Tide pen, tampons, Costco card, Dr. Hauska cuticle pen, ballpoint pen, headphones, hand sanitizer, nail file, an extra metrocard, and ibuprofen in there – comes through in times of need!

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