The Defining Moment That Inspired Alli Young to Work Smarter, Not Harder

In her Thrive Questionnaire, the CEO and founder of The Forem shares how she learned to prioritize, combat burnout, and build meaningful connections.

At Thrive Global, in honor of International Women’s Day, we’re inviting women business leaders to share how they Thrive. 

Thrive Global: What obstacles have you overcome in your career, particularly obstacles that had to do with your gender? What did you learn from those experiences that you wish you’d known before?

Alli Young: When I was just starting out — and I see this often with a lot of young, professional women — I thought that doing the most work, or handling the most projects, would help me climb the ladder faster. What I experienced instead was burnout, and my crazy work ethic led to unrealistic expectations that didn’t come with enough payoff. 

I learned there are simple, strategic steps we can take to work smarter, not harder. It’s about maximizing your great work for the most impact, building the right connections, and asking tough questions. I built my company, The Forem, to teach these practices to women and underrepresented groups so they can use these strategies their entire careers. 

TG: How do you reframe negative thinking so you can feel “unstuck” and move forward?

AY: I realized that a lot of negativity drains away when you practice leadership skills. Even early on, before I started climbing into executive roles, I was eager to talk about my strategies and the projects I felt passionate about. I would hold informal info sessions at lunch with a few colleagues. Sharing your work creates so many opportunities (ones I didn’t even realize when I first started). It builds your brand, builds your network, and builds your confidence.

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