Alicia Driskill supports women all day, every day. As the founder and CEO of evolveHer, a creative co-working space for women based in Chicago, empowering women is something Alicia has done for years. Prior to founding evolveHer, Alicia worked as the Vice President of Global Partnerships at WME | IMG, one of the world’s most innovative companies. She also served as a senior executive at Live Nation and People.com. In our interview with Alicia, we discuss how her passion for empowering women led to the creation of evolveHer, her top tools for building a successful career, tips for self-care, and so much more!
What are some of your “top tools” for life?
Alicia Driskill: #1: Reduce the noise. Everyone has an opinion about what you’re doing, but it's important to stay focused on what is important to YOU and follow your heart in pursuing YOUR goals. Surround yourself with people who empower you and lift you up versus distracting you from your goal.
#2 : The idea of “work-life balance” is total BS. I prefer to look at it as work-life integration because it’s impossible to separate them due to technology. As a mom, I am constantly pulled between work and family. After years of self-induced mom-guilt, I now like to think of my life as a pendulum with work on one side and family on the other. The goal is to hover around the middle, but some weeks I swing more to the work side — so I make sure to spend extra time with my family the following week. By looking at this broader picture instead of the isolated moment, I am able to be aware of the heavier weeks and balance them out with a little extra family time.
What was your inspiration for creating evolveHer?
AD: I worked in entertainment & media for 17+ years. I loved what I did, but I was outsourcing my entire life and rarely seeing my family. I’ve always been a strong advocate for empowering women & girls, so I decided to evolve my career and focus the next chapter of my life on this mission. I consulted on women’s events for a couple of years and met a number of amazing women in the Chicago entrepreneur circuit. I was always energized by our discussions and wanted to create a space that brought women together from around the city to work, learn and grow. I built a space that supports women in all aspects of life and bridges the gap between corporate and entrepreneurs. We’re a year in and I couldn’t be more fulfilled. I continue to be inspired every day by the stories I hear, the women I meet and the collaborations that I see made at the space.
How do you practice self-care while also hustling and following your passion?
AD: I have to be honest . . .this is SO hard for me. We’ve been up against a deadline for the past couple of months so I had to stop kickboxing which is something I LOVE. Now that wearetheglu.com launched, it’s time for me to get back to the gym. My goal for April is to commit to one kickboxing session a week and go for a brisk walk every day. I also try to get 7-8 hours of sleep as often as I can.
What are some of your top tools for caring for your mental health?
AD: Looking ahead at the week . . .I like to get everything organized on Sunday night for the week ahead so I go in on Monday with a plan. And I like to end the week by relaxing with the family. Every Friday night, we hang with the kids (five-year-old and an eight-year-old) during family movie, pizza & game night. It’s a relaxing way to end the week and decompress.
If there’s one thing you could tell your past self, what would it be?
AD: You don’t have to be perfect! I call myself a “recovering perfectionist.” I always thought everything I did needed to be perfect before I put it out into the world. I was often paralyzed at work because I couldn’t get out of my own way and wanted to be the best of the best. I eventually cut myself some slack and learned the value of sharing my story and the value of sharing a project before finalized, which allowed me to grow and become more confident in who I am.
What advice would you share with people who don’t know what they want in life and/or their career?
AD: Allow yourself the space to explore and to change your mind. All of the experiences and jobs you explore help you to get to know yourself better and teach you skills that can be utilized later in life. Follow your gut, it never leads you astray.
What’s one message you think the world needs to hear right now?
AD: As you’re moving forward in your career, hold the door open for other women and pull them through. We are stronger together and can make a greater impact when we’re united vs competing.
What’s your favorite quote/saying?
AD: “Actually, I Can.”
To learn more about evolveHer, visit www.evolveher.community/en