If you set your intentions each day to simply make better choices you will be surprised by how many opportunities you have to do so. When I know I don’t have time to go to the gym, I take the stairs up to my apartment or to my office instead of the elevator. When I have no choice but to buy a bottle of water vs using my own water bottle, I will hold that empty bottle in my bag until I find the proper recyclable garbage. I use these same strategies for whatever opportunities I have on any given day.
From letterhead to launch, Rochelle oversaw the creation of skin care brands June Jacobs and, most recently, Naturally Serious Skincare. Rochelle is responsible for the day-to-day management and execution of both brands — ensuring that each stay true to the original vision.
As a mother/daughter duo, Rochelle and June join forces to not only pioneer new products, but also share a common vision of company growth, worldwide.
Rochelle boasts significant experience working for large, well-known organizations carrying skills that have transposed into the skincare world. She began her career at Lehman Brothers, where she worked on both the Equity Syndicate and Institutional Sales Desks. She left Lehman Brothers to work directly with senior management of Viacom, the international media company which, at the time, owned Paramount, Blockbuster, CBS, Showtime, MTV, and other entertainment entities. Rochelle was quickly promoted to manager, the youngest at the time, and was responsible for managing Viacom’s Pension Fund Investments and 401(k), as well as the company’s global currency positions. After a successful three-year run, Rochelle was armed with the necessary tools to succeed in managing the operations for Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care and June Jacobs.
In addition to operating two successful beauty brands, Rochelle is an Advisory Board Member of the Dubin Breast Center. She spent over a decade on the Junior Board of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and has served on the benefit committees for the 92nd Street Y Nursery School and Allen-Stevenson Annual Benefits and co-chaired the Fall Benefit for the Fresh Air Foundation. Born and raised in New York City, Rochelle — together with her family, including her teenage boys Jake and Luke — continues to make New York home.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Growing up an only child I was very independent and eager to please my parents. My mother did not want me to follow in her footsteps though, she had other plans for me. I spent my summers working on Wall Street, which led to an incredible full-time opportunity at Lehman Brothers. I then went on to corporate finance at Viacom. My mother’s business was 6 years old and very small when I first approached her with the idea of leaving the corporate world to join her. She looked at me and without hesitation and said no. Thankfully, I learned directly from my mother to never accept no at face value. =I then created a PowerPoint presentation and set up a formal interview with her and her business partner, Peter Thomas Roth. He hired me on the spot.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story? Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Ihave always and still want to believe that people have good intentions, especially those I work intimately with. I am very trusting because of my beliefs. However, I think one mistake that I’ve seen many people make is believing they’re irreplaceable and because of that, can get away with certain things. I think believing your indispensable actually makes you dispensable. My mother now says, when a President dies, the next one is sworn in the next day. This was not always the case. When I first started, I trusted someone very senior, “irreplaceable,” at the company even though I began to see signs he was taking advantage of my mother. I told her and she simply asked me to watch him. Long story short, he’d been stealing directly and indirectly for some time. In my book, you now have to earn your trust with me and continue to prove you are trustworthy. You need to have checks and balances in place too. It disappointments me that I now feel the need to have my guard up at all times. The real lesson here is how my mother handled this. We could have easily had him prosecuted and sent to jail and he knew it. My mother sat him down and we showed him all the evidence. She asked him if he had anything to say, but he didn’t. He didn’t apologize or ask to be forgiven. Her words to him were thoughtful, strong and direct. She simply said you are a father of young children. You are creating your legacy. Take this opportunity to know that you will never get a second chance here, but I am giving you a second chance to be the man I know you want to be. He walked away speechless. Soon after, he left the state and opened a restaurant down south. He seems to have taken the second chance.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Iguess it goes without saying, that in my case, it was my mother. However, it wasn’t so much that she took me under her wing and mentored me, it was rather quite the contrary. I simply watched her accomplish one thing after another that honestly, nobody else I know could have achieved. We own and operate our own R&D and manufacturing facility, which was not the case when I first started in 1999. Frustrated with the innovation she was receiving from other labs, she decided to start her own lab. She strongly believed that the business’ destiny relied on innovation and quality control and even though nobody within the organization had any experience with starting or running a lab, that didn’t stop her. Twenty years later I am proud to say, we have the best-in-class facility.
Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Health and wellness are interchangeable to me. I was invited to attend The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) for the first time in 2012 and this was a life changing experience for me. Up until then, other than leading by example, I wasn’t sure how I would have the ability to influence others and share the importance of wellness to my organization and to our industry. Having a global format where top leaders and visionaries have the opportunity to meet face-to-face and share incredible learnings and ideas has been extremely beneficial to our industry and to me personally and I am so grateful for the insight that was passed onto me through my involvement with GWS.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
1) wearable technology — I simply can’t say enough about how much love I have for my apple watch — and it has absolutely nothing to do with reading texts. The fitness benefits and habits I have created in order to meet (and often exceed) the daily and monthly goals I set have 100% changed the way I live. I love being reminded to get up after I have been sitting at my desk for an hour. Like clockwork, when I feel myself holding my breath, the watch alerts me that it’s time to ‘breathe’. These helpful little reminders have contributed greatly to the habits that I have created to maintain my physical and mental wellness.
2) stay hydrated! — while industry standard is 8 cups of water a day — I know my body needs more. I like water but I don’t love it as much as I wish I did. To help me drink throughout the day, I add a couple of water infusion drops like coconut water or green tea — by pureinventions.com which tastes so good it’s never an issue to meet these daily goals/requirements. Not only will your body thank you, but your skin will thank you too!
3) make mindful choices — If you set your intentions each day to simply make better choices you will be surprised by how many opportunities you have to do so. When I know I don’t have time to go to the gym, I take the stairs up to my apartment or to my office instead of the elevator. When I have no choice but to buy a bottle of water vs using my own water bottle, I will hold that empty bottle in my bag until I find the proper recyclable garbage. I use these same strategies for whatever opportunities I have on any given day.
4) forgive yourself and try to do better the next time — this is really tied to #3 — making mindful choices. It is really important for me personally to forgive myself when I don’t always do the right thing and try harder the next time.
5) set achievable diet and fitness goals — and then exceed them! I have found the best way to stay fit is to not “be on a diet,” but instead to limit things I know I love (DAIRY!! PASTA!!!!) vs depriving myself. I find myself not craving things I have decided to limit. I love being active and try my best to do whatever I can outside. I feel like with a bit of nature and fitness, I can fix anything.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Itravel a substantial amount of the time, so I feel like I am always on a plane. I walk up and down the aisles to stay moving. These walks are generally matched by some strange stares. While I don’t personally commute during the work week, it seems like everyone else does. Why can’t we find a way to get people moving on planes and trains? They have a ‘quiet car’ on many trains — why not have an ‘active’ car. They have premium seats on planes — why not have an active space on planes!?!?!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Don’t let the little things get you down.
2. You can’t control everything, sometimes things happen that are out of your control and instead of getting stressed and bogged down, take a deep breath and try to work it out. What happened today that seems like it’s the end of the world might be an afterthought by next week.
3. Always keep an open mind, you never know where life will take you. “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get” Its cliché but it’s true.
4. Try to surround yourself with positive people, positivity rubs off.
5. Last but not least, always stay true to yourself and your core values.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Sustainability, mental health and environmental changes are near and dear to my heart. My skin care brand, Naturally Serious, was created because I was looking for a sustainable, effective, natural skin care regiment that was better for the environment. That being said, nothing is more important to me right now than mental health and wellness. I have two teenage boys and a very sweet boy they went to elementary school with recently took his own life. This loss has been super challenging on the community and sadly, we’re not alone. It breaks my heart to see how much anxiety these kids have and how so much of it is entrenched by social media. Their perception of life is tied to snapchat. We need to invest in mental wellness before these kids even get a phone. If we can teach them healthy methods to manage their anxiety and to advocate for themselves by seeking help when they are struggling emotionally, we may be able to make a difference. The silence and stigma associated with mental health needs to end and each of us can help make this a reality.