Over the last few weeks, I shared advice from women with Bay Area ties across a wide range of industries. I’ve compiled the advice here. I admire high-achieving women, whether they’re high-profile stars like comedian Ali Wong, or local experts like Mary Russell, attorney at Stock Option Counsel. I’m especially struck by the resilience of “late bloomers” who experienced success later in life, such as actress D’Arcy Carden.
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After 12 years of struggle, Ali Wong became a star with her first Netflix special in 2016, Baby Cobra. She’s a San Francisco native, and a knockout live performer. I took this photo when I watched her Hard Knock Wife show in SF. And I can tell that I’m getting older because I like to eat dinner at 5 PM.
D’Arcy Carden, native of Danville in the East Bay, plays Janet in The Good Place. She juggled several jobs to pay the bills before she scored the role of a lifetime at age 36. Carden honed her improv skills at the famed Upright Citizens Brigade theater, and this quotation reminded me of mindfulness principles. Staying in the moment helps you perform better under pressure.
I first learned about 39 year-old Samin Nosrat when I watched her terrific Netflix special, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. She’s a UC Berkeley grad, and an alumna of Chez Panisse restaurant. In a March 2019 interview in Bon Appetit magazine, she talked about how she was glad she achieved success later in life. And she also described her “manifestation journal” where she’d write lofty, seemingly impossible goals. And years later, upon reviewing her journal entries, she was stunned to realize that she had achieved many of those dreams.
Serena Williams is the Greatest of All Time. A Quartz article (July 2018) describes her ability to use the “quiet eye.” Joan Vickers, a kinesiologist who originated the term, studies elite athletes’ ability to focus and take a longer look at the ball or hoop, which leads to better results. Mere mortals like me can also benefit by holding a steady gaze to improve focus. Ms. Williams lives part-time in San Francisco, and I keep hoping I’ll see her in the Mission neighborhood. I saw her win the 2002 US Open over her sister, Venus. If you ever get the chance to watch her live, do it!
Nigel Poor is Co-Producer of Ear Hustle, one of my favorite podcasts. Ms. Poor and her co-hosts, Earlonne Woods and Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, interview inmates at San Quentin prison about their everyday lives. Topics range from the mundane (doing laundry, getting mail) to the profound (parenting from prison, missing important milestones). San Quentin is located in the Bay Area’s Marin County.
Aileen Lee is a unicorn in her own right as a prominent female venture capitalist. Ms. Lee coined the term “unicorn” to describe private companies valued at over $1B. She founded Cowboy Ventures in Palo Alto, CA after a long career at Kleiner Perkins. She was interviewed by Kara Swisher, a technology business journalist, in October 2016.
Being a first-time homeowner is an intimidating prospect. Abio Properties of Berkeley, CA, writes a great article with tips for first-time home buyers in the Bay Area.
Mary Russell is a prominent employment attorney in the Bay Area. In her May 2019 newsletter, she wrote about the unique considerations of negotiating startup equity. Most importantly, ensure that the company’s valuation in the equity package is based on the latest investor value per share (“409(a) value”), and NOT the potential future value. This is especially important at late-stage private companies offering RSUs (Restricted Stock Units). You can subscribe to her informative newsletter.