THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur

Welcome to The Balance Project: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—about how women I admire do “it all.” So I asked them. Every Friday I’ll feature a new interview. Here’s what Jessica Mindich had to say…

No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur

Age: 43
Where I live: Greenwich, CT
Job: Entrepreneur, Founder/CEO Jewelry for a Cause. One of her lines, The Caliber Collection™, began by repurposing actual guns and bullet casings from police seizure or gun buyback programs and transforming them into jewelry with a portion of the proceeds going back to the police departments to fund future gun buyback and amnesty programs.
Ages/genders of kids: 2 boys ages 11 and 13

Jessica Mindich

Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
OMG no! I was a litigator and then general counsel to a technology Internet company. I LOVED practicing law. The law left me because we moved to a state where I wasn’t admitted to practice and I was having my second child. When I tried to go back, 4 years later, I felt out of touch and irrelevant and intimidated by a profession that had once empowered me. I did some serious soul searching and spent a lot of time hoping someone would figure out my next move for me. Ultimately, my very wise husband, had me make a list of what I wanted out of a career and what kind of quality of life I wanted now that I had a family.  Every idea or opportunity that came up I ran through this rubric. It was so helpful!

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Well… this is a loaded question. I think I have “it all”… but I sacrifice so much every day to have “it all.” I really really wanted to work and have a job that connected me to people all over the world doing amazing things. I wanted to learn, be inspired, be challenged, be successful and make a difference… a big difference. This is not a part-time commitment. So, of course you can’t have “it all.”  I would LOVE to also have time to sleep, be a better friend, go to yoga, maybe even sit down while I eat lunch!!

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Sleep and getting back to yoga at least 1x per week. I have committed to shutting it down when my kids get in the car. Making dinner. Being as present mentally (as possible) at dinner, bedtime, etc. But the thought of getting back on the mat and being present for myself for an hour or actually going to sleep when the house is quiet as opposed to seeing it as an opportunity to “be productive” is not something I have been able to do. If a friend told me this I would, without hesitation, say that this is evidence that you don’t have respect for your health and without your health you cannot show up for the rest of your life. HA. Advice is so easy to give out.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I think I am getting better at prioritizing. I hope I am. I am trying.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? “It is what it is.” -Mel Mindich, my father-in-law
From your mother? Unconditional love.
From your kids? “Listen to me.”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
I would take my dogs for a longer walk than normal and breathe fresh air and admire the magic of mother nature.

What would you have told yourself…
20 years ago? You will one day be 43.
20 years from now? You will one day be 63.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource? 
Cooking. I am terrible and I am aware that my family humors me. It is a charade.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I can’t carry a tune. I wish I could sing. My fantasy is to be able to sing like Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Shania Twain or Rihanna… the list is long. I love great music. I love listening to powerful women sing. Sometimes it makes me sing along while I hike as long as no one can hear me. Otherwise, I would NEVER EVER.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I love working. I have been a waitress, flipped pizzas, made deli sandwiches, spent hours baby sitting, worked retail, been an assistant, a lawyer, happily forever a mom, and most recently an entrepreneur. All of these roles have been challenging and scary in their own way. I can’t answer this question because I have never had a job I didn’t love while I was in it.

Favorite book?  
Love story. I sobbed for hours. I will never forget the emotional experience of reading that book.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Wolf of Wall Street. Now I am reading The Goldfinch with my book club.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Hiking. I love to get lost on country roads for miles. I do it on purpose.
Food? FRENCH FRIES! (with extra ketchup)
Website? Amazon. I never go shopping but I am a professional Internet shopper. Without Amazon Prime I wouldn’t be able to work.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
4-5. That is horrible. I know that is horrible. I am working on that.

What do you read every morning?
Emails that came in from the time I went to sleep.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: can I think I can….
I wish I: had a crystal ball
My kids: rock. They keep it real and I am keeping it real for them. We will all grow up together I guess.

Jessica with then Mayor of Newark Cory Booker promoting The Caliber Collection.

Jessica with then Mayor of Newark Cory Booker promoting The Caliber Collection.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
RAISE THE CALIBER!

Find more about Jessica here:
www.jewelryforacause.net
Twitter: @jforacause
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JforaCause

Please share your own tips on balance below and check back every Friday for another interview from The Balance Project. Better yet, subscribe in the box to the right and I’ll let you know when a new one posts…

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THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 3: Emily Liebert, Author

6 Comments

  1. Nancy Weiser January 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    This is awesome–the whole concept and the content! Inspiring!

  2. Alana Sanko January 30, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Wow! I love this! Jessica, The Caliber Collection is incredibly inspiring — and so are you!

  3. Susie Orman Schnall January 30, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Nancy and Alana, I’m so glad you enjoyed the first installment of The Balance Project! Check back every Friday to learn about other inspiring women and their quests for balance.

  4. meg hock January 31, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

    susie, you are a dynamo!

  5. Elizabeth m January 31, 2014 at 11:50 am - Reply

    This is amazing! Knowing and admiring Jessica, I really enjoyed getting to learn more about her and how she keeps all the balls in the air!

  6. Whitney Littman January 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Susie,
    Thanks for sharing Jessica’s story. I really appreciate other women’s stories; it’s good for the soul!

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