Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.

What is your name and title?

Jessica Lauretti, Founder at Laurels.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

I run a marketing consulting practice that partners with executives and startups to build and launch new ventures.

How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.

I used to be a singer in a band and started my professional career at VICE in the early 2010s. From there, I became the Head of Content at Purpose, a social impact agency, and went on to become the Global Head of the award-winning RYOT Studio with Verizon Media. I started my own business to be able to work on projects I care about with people I love.

In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?

I’d say my ability to pivot and evolve has been my greatest professional asset. I’ve always been open to new opportunities with steep learning curves and dynamic environments, as well as a willingness to change industries and companies regularly which has enabled me to learn and grow in any role very quickly.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

Hold on tight to everything you hold dear, and leave the rest behind.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

I always tell women who are just starting their careers to stop. I think it’s more valuable to spend that time pursuing things you are passionate about, learning what you like and are good at, and collaborating with peers on projects that are meaningful to you than to work at any entry-level job.

What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?

I think it’s important for companies to share the eligibility, methodology, process, and criteria for internal promotion and raises. With a transparent roadmap, you can then create a set of actionable items to direct your work effort towards while simultaneously creating a set of data and accountability for tracking when, how, and why women are or are not promoted into leadership positions.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

I’d like to finish the book I’ve been writing with existential career advice. The working title is Everything I Thought I Knew.

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

I’ve been involved in politics and activism since my youth, so the causes I am passionate about have changed over the years. Recently, I’ve been really focused on entrepreneurship and access to capital as social equity issues. As someone who grew up without generational wealth and an elite pedigree, creating my own opportunities was one of my only options for employment. I was able to turn a startup I ran in my 20s into a successful professional career, and I see it as one of the best ways to bridge the equity gap. I then began to build wealth from scratch. Currently, I mentor at TechStars, Combine, and other accelerator programs; and I have been working with startups and founders at both WeWork and SoftBank.

When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?

I joined soon after launching, back in the spring of 2019. I pledge 1% of my time and participated in several mentoring programs and speaking engagements for young people. There was a time in my life when someone gave me a shot and opened doors for me that I couldn’t get into on my own, and I have always felt like it’s really important for me to do the same for others.

What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?

I love politics, I love to cook, and I’m obsessed with my dog. I also spend as much time as possible at the beach.

What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?

Write this on a post-it note, “Life is all memory except for the one present moment.”