A Q&A With Our COO Just In Time For Mother’s Day
With Mother's Day weekend upon us, we wanted to take the opportunity to feature our so-called "work mom," Regina. Though she's technically our COO, the way she looks out for everyone on the team, keeps all of our priorities and deliverables in check, and supports and encourages us to do our best work - all feel maternal in all the best ways possible.
While we’re not big on official titles, we do have business cards for more formal occasions and mine says simply “COO and RainMaker.” Internally, I head up the “GSD” part of the business - not so appropriate, but lovingly known as Get S- - - Done. You know how they say “be careful what you wish for” - well, it happened. I love to wear multiple hats and that is basically my EVOLVh life. I am so thankful to spend my days with an amazing team that can juggle with me at a fast pace.
A day in the life runs the gamut – product development, warehousing and inventory, customer service, partner development, content creation, strategic planning, and financials and metrics, just to name a few. My secret is to leave room in the schedule for the planned and the unplanned.
I grew up in Massachusetts – my dad was a high school physics and chemistry teacher. I can’t speak to genetics – but my strength was in math and science. Following your passion was not so much the direction back then, it was to get the skills to get a decent paying job – and so I did. I got an Industrial Engineering degree, and quickly landed a job in Telecommunications – decent pay yes, passion no! Eventually though, I found my way even in Telecom to work with a range of partners, rather than circuit boards. I discovered that I'm passionate about working with people and partners and all that entails. Lessons learned, if you’re doing something you don’t love, do some thinking about the pieces of your role at work that you do enjoy, and do more of it, you will find your niche and migrate to something new.
This is one of my favorite stories – as it was so unexpected in many ways. I met Boris through some salon friends at a casual dinner, and we must have connected in some way as I would occasionally meet him in SF for coffee. I was dabbling in the salon education world and wasn’t sure what the next step would be – but Boris and I had some great conversations back then.
Leading up to the start of our partnership, I had invited him to dinner, he met my girls, saw my home office set up, and it must have led to some inspiration on his part. The very next week we were at a favorite coffee shop – St Franks in SF, in their loft work space – and he literally looked at me and said “Regina, we should put an ad on Craigslist today, and hire our first customer service person, and they should work for you, in your house.” Verbatim.
While some would have thought that was kind of crazy, the fact that neither Boris nor I thought that was out of the ordinary behavior, will give you a clue that this was somehow meant to be. And that’s exactly how our EVOLVh journey together began – the partner desk that I had sat at with my girls doing their homework took on a whole new life – as the beginning of the next chapter of EVOLVh. 8 years in, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner, not to mention he makes me laugh like crazy! (I love to laugh.)
I wish I could say I was good at this, but like many families, we went from an empty-nest freedom stage to four people back in the house. Sometimes it feels like a comedy of errors just to get on a video call – it’s like TikTok in real life. My tips: prepare for the day, look at your schedule to carve out time for work vs calls (especially the video calls) – don’t wait until the last minute to count on technology, it doesn’t always come together last minute. Find a dedicated space in your home where you feel most comfortable. And don’t be hard on yourself if it’s not perfect. Many are in similar situations, and being understanding makes the world go round.
Technology: I keep a bucket of everything I need by my work table – extension cords, chargers, pens, notebooks, reading glasses.
Must haves: Dripdrop (for hydration), caffeine (either green tea or coffee), my trusty Swell EVOLVh color water bottle.
Makeup Bag: I have a two minute routine I can make happen on the fly – Kari Gran sunscreen, I wear sunscreen every day rain or shine, Thrive Lash Extension mascara, a Bare Minerals red shade lipstick for a pop of color.
My video tops: I have 3 to choose from last minute, why worry about bottoms at this point – be prepared so you don’t have to stand up, do you really want people to know what kind of weird pajamas you wear! But if you want to know – I have several pairs of In Bloom sets that I often find at TJ Maxx that I’m not too embarrassed to be seen in.
My two minute hair: Wonderbalm to slick down night time curl craziness and UltraFlex HairSpray – I can make a hairstyle with just those two items.
My top tip: I give my family the 15 minute warning prior to my video calls – I love you, but I don’t want to hear you, see any of your body parts, or your pretty little head popping into my video screen while I’m on a call. My call will take me about X minutes – and you will then have my full attention.
I decided about 3 weeks in to Corona, to be easy on myself yet tough on myself. I so enjoy the local red wines we have in Sonoma County – Ryme has one of my absolute favorites, Crackling Carignane. Like many people, I’m always looking for the healthy balance with food and beverages – and look for ways to cut down and I had been in my “go without” phase. When my 3 sisters initiated a weekly zoom happy hour – I realized that something that I enjoy so much should be a constant in moderation. What could be better than wine and great conversation with friends and family and my hubby?!
The tough on myself part is my commitment to getting back into fighting shape. Without access to a gym right now – I was able to pick up a used Stairmaster at a local used sporting goods store. I love to rock out to music while I’m on it which is in a strange way very calming, and I alternate with speed walks outdoors so that I can enjoy the hills of Sonoma County and get out of the house. For me, self-care is about balance, being easy on yourself during an uneasy time, and keeping in close contact with the people you love. That makes me feel really good about life ☺
I have Eliza at home and Seyla is in Idaho. Corona time has put a new spin on keeping in touch and activities – fortunately we have FaceTime and texting, sharing stories about their interests, friendships, school, shopping, and yes talking about EVOLVh. There’s nothing that’s not game in our conversations. All time is quality time, but yes, I’m looking forward to the next family dinner and holding both their hands in real time.
Best: show your love always, in every situation in good times or bad. My parents did this for me and I think it instilled confidence that I knew that they would love me no matter what choices I made. Worst: don’t be your kids’ friend. I don’t have to be their best friend, but they always know that they can come to me for anything, and I wanted to keep that path open.
Yes, I agree. Many similarities! My daughters gave me the nickname “mama bear” and I try to take it as positive. I love the role, obviously. Co-parenting or co-running a company, you’re building something – either a brand/team or your family. Many similarities: you need to stay focused as there are going to be challenges and goals along the way and you’ll need to inspire the rally. Setting the tone is important, and leading by example. Making requests and framing them up, is a must. And at the end of the day communication is key - listen, be encouraging, practice empathy. No one is perfect, but I always enjoy learning and putting these into practice.
I am a low maintenance high maintenance person. I do like to be put together in public which translates to makeup and hair, yet it eludes me at times lately. My hair routine is the easiest it’s ever been – as my years at EVOLVh have taught me how to have the healthiest hair possible translating to easy manageability. Each day I give my curls a conditioner bath with either SmartCurl or SmartColor – I need the extra hydration with my dry color treated strands. I have a new appreciation for SmartCurl Leave-In, the newest of our leave-ins, but still alternate with SmartStart. All of the benefits make it a no brainer – the built in UV protection, the lock in of moisture, eliminating the results of our hard water, it creates a really smooth surface for styling. My fastest routine is using WonderBalm solo to twirl my curls and I’m ready for the day. If I’m feeling adventurous, I use TotalControl at my roots and blow dry for some added lift. My other superhero product is the UltraRepair Masque – it is magical. Color treating and dry curls can mean a coarse texture, and with UltraRepair, mine is smooth as silk - perfect hair in a bottle!
My bathroom is somewhat of a lab – yikes, but it’s so much fun. I love Kari Gran products – simple skin routines with lots of hydration. RMS – the perfect concealer and highlighter for my skin type. I’m experimenting with natural retinols – at this age looking for a bit of correction, Herbivore Botanicals have some effective products. I’m dabbling with some Ayuna products – for exfoliation, and I never leave home without scent. I love Rosie Jane and some of the DedCool fragrances.
During my career transition, I was a power seller on Ebay, and my specialty was handbags. I still have a very special love (maybe a slight addiction) of handbags. I just think that they make an outfit. While I do love classic brands that don’t go out of style like Chanel or Saint Laurent, I buy preloved from therealreal.com or Fashionphile after some late at night research and saving my pennies. I’m also loving some of the new brands out there, especially Senreve for practical well made work bags so that I can carry my laptop with me at all times. On the fashion front, I’m a fan of comfortable dresses (in black) with an edge that have pockets if at all possible. La Ligne is a newer brand that is flattering fur curvies, but work practical. I’ll keep dreaming at the moment, as I’m wearing yoga pants these days.
My favorite Mother’s Day to date was at Preston Vineyards in Dry Creek - a picnic on the grass with amazing cheese, olives, and some bocce ball. My dream Mother's Day for the future would be on Michigan's Elk Lake - gorgeous Caribbean blue color and unsalted , a lovely boat ride with the breeze and sun on my back, to discover new favorite places. The common thread, sharing stories and giggles with my girls. It’s the best!
Happy Mother's Day, EVOLVhers. And shout out to all of the moms and mother figures in all of our lives!
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