Real Talk With Ursula Mead, Founder + CEO of InHerSight
Finding a job that fits you both professionally and personally can be hard. Ursula Mead, Founder and CEO of InHerSight, decided to do something about that by making it easier for women to choose companies based on the things important to them. She’s helped countless women find the right career fit for their lives and goals.
We spoke with Ursula about InHerSight‘s mission, what she does to create balance in her life, and what she hopes to achieve in the future.
Name: Ursula Mead
Location: Durham, NC
Title: Founder + CEO
What it is: At InHerSight, women rate the female-friendliness of the places they work, and get matched to companies that have what they are looking for.
Educational Background: BA in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA in international affairs from The Elliott School at George Washington University
What inspired you to start InHerSight?
At its simplest, I saw a problem and felt like I had a way to solve it. Across the country, companies and employees, women and men, are coming to terms with the problems that still exist for women in many workplaces. For the 72 million working women in the US — who will be more than 50% of the workforce in just a few short years — finding workplaces that support their professional, personal, and family growth goals is incredibly difficult, and the tools and resources that they need don’t exist. That’s what I was inspired to create.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I sleep as late as I possibly can, sometimes later. My husband usually has coffee ready, but if not I refuse to open my eyes until he does. When I’m finally awake, I open WhatsApp to read any messages I missed when I fell asleep with my computer on my lap the night before. Then I message my cofounder to see if he’s up and when he’ll be ready to carpool to our tiny office in Durham, NC. Then I put on my gym clothes and an old hat and head out!
Days at the office vary. I almost always spend a few hours on the phone or responding to email. Outside of that I might be at the whiteboard talking through new features, going over our goals for the month, reading the latest Reductress articles, putting together business forecasts, stuffing my face with popcorn, singing along to 90s soft-rock ballads, etc.
We’ll usually work about eight hours at the office before heading home. Then I’ll have dinner and spend time with my daughter and husband before settling back down with the laptop to continue chasing the ever-elusive completed daily to-do list. Every day ends with me falling asleep short of that goal.
If you could have given yourself a piece of knowledge or advice when you started what would that be?
There will be days where you’ll want to strangle your cofounders…try not to actually do it.
How did you deal with doubts and fear of failure while building InHerSight?
Failure wasn’t really a thing I thought about when we first started. We had an idea that we had high conviction in and were passionate about, and we were having a great time building it. We’ve worked together for about nine years now and have an incredible team dynamic, so the worst outcome was that we’d enjoy creating something that we felt could have a big impact but nobody would use it. We’re very fortunate that that wasn’t the case!
How do define success?
Getting stuff done.
What’s been the hardest part of starting your own business?
There are so many little administrative things that have very little to do with your vision for the company you’re creating or what you hope for it to accomplish…but they still have to be done. It can be frustrating to walk away from (or not even start) great conversations about your next big idea because there’s a form that has to be filed with a government office somewhere.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting your own business?
There are so many things that are rewarding about the work we’re doing. Every week we hear from companies who want to do a better job supporting women, we hear from women using the platform to rate their companies or find new and better places to work, we see the media using our data to advance gender equality issues, and more.
What advice would you give to other women wanting to start their own business or looking to make a large career change?
Big changes often start small. A lot of people feel the need to make a sweeping change or drop everything else if they want to try something new. We started building InHerSight on nights and weekends and kept our day jobs for as long as we could, and I think there were a lot of benefits to that approach.
What do you think is the most important thing women can learn or remember as they go through life?
Everything is temporary.
What are your hobbies? What do you do when you’re not working?
I love to bake, hike, and play super nerdy games.
How do you balance your work with your personal life?
I find the “work/life balance” construct to be a funny one — work is part of life! And a big part for me. I just make sure that I ask myself, am I happy right now? And I absolutely am.
What’s next for you and InHerSight?
We have a lot of cool features in development for InHerSight, but in the meantime you can check out the new sexism tracking app we built called Whistle.