In my former life as an editor I had the privilege of meeting quite a few celebrities, and one of my all-time favorite interviews was with Rihanna. I asked her to describe her vision of the “Fenty girl,” who of course is independent, confident, creative, and empowered. She followed up by asking me, “Are you a Fenty girl?!” I was like, “I want to be!” And I actually think about that a lot — we should all embody the Fenty girl qualities!
As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Molly Winding Dewey.
Molly Winding Dewey is co-founder and CEO at Mettacool. She is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach trained at Duke Integrative Medicine, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, fitness instructor, and talk show host. Molly began her career in New York City in media and tech before realizing she was meant to do something more meaningful, which is what drew her to the Health Coaching program at Duke University. Health coaching led to career coaching, and that new path led to the genesis of Mettacool. Molly has found her calling as a corporate well-being and career coach — a role that allows her to bring together and utilize her many passions: connecting with others, empowering women, public speaking, writing, and traveling. Molly graduated with a BA in Strategic Communications and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and her husband live in Vail, Colorado, taking full advantage of the mountain lifestyle and using their environment to stay grounded and fulfilled amidst hectic careers. Follow her on Instagram @mollydewey.
Thank you so much for joining us. What is your “backstory”?
I studied journalism and gender studies in college, so there was always an undercurrent of wanting to be part of women’s empowerment in some way. I started my career in media and while I loved writing and working with celebrities, I wanted to do something more meaningful and impactful. Women and wellness were always important to me, so I went back to school at Duke for integrative health coaching and then joined forces with my business partner, Natalie, to bring that coaching model into the corporate space for women.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
The word ‘metta’ means loving-kindness in the Pali language, but I haven’t always been great at keeping that top of mind as a founder. Starting a company is stressful! So as much as I’d like to say I’m this zen master, my wonderful husband would tell you that back when Mettacool was getting up and running I was more of a vicious tyrant. I remember one night chatting through some logistical things with Carl (my husband), but I was so overwhelmed with work that I just broke down and started screaming things like, “THIS F***ING COMPANY IS GOING TO KILL ME” — not very loving. The irony! I think I’ve gotten better at practicing what I preach, but I’m always a work in progress.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Working with women is really our bread and butter, but our leadership team recognizes that everyone needs to be part of the conversation for change so we’re launching a new program in 2020 called MettaMEN — Allies for Equity that I’m really excited about.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
In my former life as an editor I had the privilege of meeting quite a few celebrities, and one of my all-time favorite interviews was with Rihanna before her very first Fenty runway show at New York Fashion Week. I asked her to describe her vision of the “Fenty girl,” who of course is independent, confident, creative, and empowered. She followed up by asking me, “Are you a Fenty girl?!” I was like, “I want to be!” And I actually think about that a lot — we should all embody the Fenty girl qualities!
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve always been inspired by feminist history, and one of my favorite people to study in college was Sarah Bernhardt. While she was quite transgressive, she actually used her femininity to her advantage, which was pretty brilliant and a whole lot of fun. If I can make a name for myself advancing women and having a good time, I’ll be happy.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I don’t know that I have success, per se, but I would hope that I’m helping to remove the obstacles for women who so clearly deserve to advance and just don’t because of the culture. Coaching and building this business is, for me, not at all about my own success, but about the success of the women we support and empower. So hopefully we’re enabling those women to use their success to bring goodness to the world, and we simply act as a vehicle for that.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish I had known how much time it would truly take to get the business off the ground and gain real traction. I knew it would take a little while, but I tend be more on the impatient side of things. My brother does standup comedy and told me early on in the business that getting Mettacool going was kind of like doing open mic. You can’t just go to one show and expect to become an overnight sensation, you have to go to a lot of shows and there’s a lot of trial and error before you get in the groove of things and gain a following. It’s a lot about finding your footing and adjusting as necessary.
- Luckily I figured this one out pretty quickly, but I wish someone had told me right off the bat not to try to do this entrepreneur thing alone. Two heads are always better than one, and joining forces with Natalie and building a team has taken us to an entirely new level.
- Being your own boss is way harder than having someone else be your boss. I live in Vail, so I thought I’d be out skiing all the time and it turns out I hold myself to a much higher standard than anyone else would, and I allow myself so little free time. I’m getting better about making time for the fun stuff, but it’s definitely something I’ve had to learn.
- Everyone told us when we started that it would be a grind for at least two years and I kind of thought, “yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine,” but it really is a grind. It’s not always fun and it’s pretty much never easy. That said, if I actually understood what “the grind” meant, I might not have even started the business, so my naivete was probably for the best.
- There will be moments where you’ll feel more fulfilled than ever. You won’t believe what you can actually accomplish and you’ll be so proud. You won’t feel this right away or all the time, but it will come in unexpected conversations, small wins, and overcoming hurdles.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
I would love to meet Whitney Wolfe Herd and pick her brain on everything from business to feminism to shopping. To me she’s the whole package — smart, driven, and stylish. I love what she’s brought to the world through Bumble and her political activism, and her success as a female founder in the tech space is what drives me to hopefully have a similar impact in the corporate space. There are so many things I don’t know or understand about running a startup that I would love to get all her advice on.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
@mollydewey on Instagram