By Marina Liao
In a bi-weekly series, we're interviewing female executives, founders, CEOs—basically, boss ladies—on their one "power suit" a.k.a. the outfit they wear every day for easy dressing to conquer whatever the job throws at them.
Fertility is a confusing, complicated topic to decode, but San Francisco-based startup Modern Fertility's goal is to close the gap between women and fertility information earlier in life by making personal health info readily accessible. The company is known for its at-home customized hormone tests, which you can send in by mail to have reviewed by board-certified physicians. You then receive results and feedbacks about your hormones online via a personal dashboard. There's also access to chat with a fertility nurse and/or join Modern Fertility's online community.
"We try to prevent pregnancy our whole lives and then when we try to have children, we have little to no information to help us get there," said Carly Leahy, co-founder of Modern Fertility. "So if you track your fertility hormones over time, you can get a better sense for what your fertile window looks like. I know in the bay area and in New York City, these things are fuzzy and women are always asking should I freeze my eggs? Why is that the first question? It would be helpful to check in to see where your body is first before turning to that."
Leahy, who has previously worked in creative strategy positions at Google and Uber, founded Modern Fertility in 2017 with Afton Vechery. The company currently employs 14 full-time employees with a network of about 30 contractors. They work out of a "warehouse-type space," in the Mission where, coincidentally, both Airbnb and Lyft started. While Leahy handles the marketing, brand strategy, voice, and content of the start up, Vechery focuses on the clinical and business side. Leahy credits Vechery for being deep in the fertility space first before drawing her into the space. The duo met on a "blind date," set up by a mutual friend, and long story short, Modern Fertility was born.
Given the company is a new start up, you can imagine the dress code is relatively lax. In fact, Leahy counts leggings and a baseball cap (it's her dad's old Red Sox hat) as part of her weekly work uniform. (Lucky!) "I’ve always been a creative person in a creative field and I have always been encouraged to express myself in a way that feels natural to me," said Leahy. "I think it’s really important that accessibility, that authenticity—the ability to become your own self extends into the brand we’re creating at Modern Fertility." Without further ado, Leahy chats about her laid-back power outfit, below.
Her Morning Routine
"I am a total planner, so I have a week-by-week routine. On Mondays, my fiancé and I usually go for a long run and I'll listen to a podcast. Post shower, I slip into my high-top sneakers and then bike to work. Also, on Mondays I pack clothes and bring them with me to the office for Tuesday. That's because I usually run to work on Tuesday morning or attend a pilates class. I try to sweat every morning, sometimes it's low-key and other times it's a higher-intensity workout, but always a work out. Exercising makes me feel sharp and because I've already surmounted a physical challenge, the rest of the day feels slightly easier. My Tuesday/Thursday outfits are usually what I call my 'athleisure look.' By that I mean, a pair of comfy leggings and a half zipped sweatshirt."
Her Getting Dressed Strategy
"My strategy for getting dressed is always picking out clothes beforehand, like packing them into my bag for the next day or if I know it's going to rain, I will drape clothes over this yellow chair I have. Most days, it's an athleisure outfit because I like to be comfy—you're really getting into my psychology here—and since I live in San Francisco, you always have to be prepared with extra layers. I love an oversize sweater or a long-sleeve shirt for layering."
Her Work Uniform
"I have what I call my 'normal Carly' outfit, which consists of jeans with light rips in them, high tops (I have a few pairs of high-top Keds that I like), a tank top (in gray, black, or white), and a button-down, either flannel or linen, thrown over everything. Sometimes it's a sweater.
My hair is usually braided off to the side for ease. On the accessories front, I've never been a big jewelry person, but I have a couple of simple pieces all from my fiancé, who is wonderful. I wear this small gold circle earring on my left earring and a small gold bar earring on my right, for that mismatched look. I also have a simple gold bracelet I wear all the time too.
For my athleisure look—I smile and joke as I say this because the word has become a running joke at my office—I'm in leggings (right now I'm wearing a pair from Lululemon), a soft workout-material-type long-sleeve shirt, and a Patagonia half-zip waffle sweatshirt. I top it off with a baseball cap. I'm a big fan of going to Marshalls or TJ Maxx and scouring the athletic racks. I love looking for a good deal. This dressed-down look has become part of our company's culture. I want my team to know that I see them putting in so much effort, they’re dedicating their lives to Modern Fertility's mission, so if they want to be comfortable, that’s okay. Personally, I just like looser-fitting clothes that are tomboyish. My friends actually said this to me but my style is like 'camping chic.' Very outdoorsy."
The Three Words That Describe Her Power Outfit
"Camping, camping chic, and comfortable."
"You can be a great, successful, high-performing leader and still be kind. I think kindness and seeing people/understanding where they are, it’s a really important leadership skill and life skill. As we evolve our company and things get chaotic, being kind is super important. That’s what my parents have taught me and I think everything works out when we're all nicer to one another."
If you love Carly's #bosswoman startup work style, shop similar pieces from her favorite brands, below.
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