Today's member spotlight is Kathleen Ong, who I met a few years ago when we randomly sat beside each other at a fashion networking event. From that chance encounter we started a long-distance friendship (she lived in Vancouver at the time), really making our love official over dinner once she moved to NYC.
Kathleen is the Marketing and Communications Director at Wantering, an awesome fashion-tech startup. In true Girl Gang fashion, Kathleen is also involved in about a million other things, including founding Girls Raising (now, Vinetta Project), writing for multiple publications, freelancing in social media and PR, and training a really cute puppy. But where her passion really lies is travel. She's even launching a super secret project on that topic soon. Keep an eye on Kathleen. She moves fast, so try to keep up.
Where do you find your inspiration?
If I could, I would be travelling constantly. I think exploring new places, meeting new people, and opening your eyes to unexpected experiences is the greatest source of inspiration.
What’s your special sauce? That little trick you do before walking out the door to perk you up and make you feel your most you?
There’s a quote that we custom ordered off Etsy and stuck to the wall near the entrance of my apartment. It says, “make every day the best day of your life.” I make a habit of looking at it before I walk out the door to remind myself that each day is what you make of it.
Who are your mentors? Who do you look up to?
I have so many people that I look up to! Since being introduced into the startup community 3 years ago when I joined Wantering, I’ve been luckily enough to meet so many inspirational startup founders and hustlers who understand what it’s like to live and breathe “doing what you love.” I also have my parents to thank for always being supportive of my non-typical choices such as moving away for college, choosing jobs that have no stability, and living in New York City. Can’t stay they haven’t freaked out along the way, but so far so good. My life path is not at all what you were “supposed” to do where I grew up!
What makes you happy no matter what? Like, if you’re having one of those no good rotten days where everything is terrible, what’s the thing that pulls you off the ledge?
I’d have to say giving one of my girlfriends a call. I’m a talker and constantly over-analyze everything, so talking through the issue helps me understand what the problem is and how to fix it.
What’s something you struggle with in your career?
Making sure that I’m always doing something I love. I know that sounds kind of weird, but sometimes I fear that I’ll end up in a culture-less work environment chained to my desk 9-5. At the end of the day it’s up to me to make sure I choose wisely, but also get out there and open the doors to opportunities that I want to be a part of.
Tell us about a time when you hit a breaking point, a fork in the road? Have you ever wanted to quit and run away to Bali?
I always want to run away to Bali! Working at a startup, you hit breaking points every couple months or so, even if things are going really well. It’s a roller coaster and you have to surround yourself with a good team and friends who understand what you are doing. When I do feel like quitting, I usually cry, go to yoga and try to do something else before getting back on the horse. As long as it’s something that I love doing, I’m willing to get back on the horse and try again.
What is something you’d say you are always fighting against? For example, many people fall prey to comparing themselves to others, which makes them feel bad about themselves. What’s the thing you have to pep-talk yourself about?
I take everything too personally. It’s a fatal flaw. I’ve learned over time that I have to separate business from personal, learn from it and move on otherwise it’s going to cripple me. I keep a diary, where I’ll journal every so often. I find that I turn to it to write when things aren’t so great as opposed to when everything is fine.
What are you most proud of in your life? Can be career or non-career related.
I’m proud of finally living and working here in New York. Everyone who knew me as a kid remembers that I was the girl who taped photos of the Statue of Liberty to the inside of my locker. Truly, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
What is the skill you picked up as a kid/teen that you still rely on today?
My best friend hated calling people to ask for things - booking appointments, seeing what time a store opened, literally everything. So I used to do it for her. I now have no problem calling or emailing complete strangers and, very persuasively, asking for things. Now with a job in marketing, this skill is invaluable whether I'm pitching for PR, trying to get sponsorships for an event or getting my company a partnership with a huge brand. Can't say it works 100% of the time, but if you don't ask, you'll never know!
What is the one thing you throw on when you head out the door that gives you that warm glow from deep in the tummy that says, “I know I look good”?
If you are a fellow bag-lady like myself, you’ll understand when I say, my cobalt blue Proenza Schouler PS1 bag! Holder of my most important possessions for the day, my bag is both a functional accessory and style statement. I used to only carry it out for special occasions, but one day decided: YOLO - I need to enjoy it more often, so I bring it just about everywhere with me now.
About the interview series:
Two Eggs is about being you, your inventive boss-lady self. It’s about owning your success and running shit. The name comes from the two eggs you add to a box of cake mix. Not only are the addition of eggs what catapulted boxed cake mix to success in the 1950s, but it’s what makes the cake “real”. Your “two eggs” is the thing that you feel makes you, you. This interview series attempts to get to the bottom of what makes our Girl Gang members tick.
This interview series is a platform for Girl Gang members to share what makes them happy, what inspires them, what they’re afraid of, and what they’re proud of. The intention is to inspire you guys (our friends and readers) to go off and launch your own careers. Our Girl Gang members have worked really hard to get to where they are, and we don’t want them to sugarcoat anything. The online world is “fake” enough as it is, so we hope for this to be a place to share the realness. We hope you find comfort in hearing what our Girl Gang members have to say, and that they inspire you to kick your life into high gear!