Thamina Stoll of Femme Hive: “Investing in my personal and professional development is also a big priority for me”

Investing in my personal and professional development is also a big priority for me. I love taking online courses and listening to podcasts. Gaining new knowledge and different perspectives is a big contribution to my mental wellness. I’m actually about to start a 9-month immersive part-time certification course on all things inner growth and I’m […]

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Investing in my personal and professional development is also a big priority for me. I love taking online courses and listening to podcasts. Gaining new knowledge and different perspectives is a big contribution to my mental wellness. I’m actually about to start a 9-month immersive part-time certification course on all things inner growth and I’m so excited about it.


As a part of our series about Mental Health Champions helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Thamina Stoll.

Thamina Stoll is the Founder and Host of the Femme Hive Podcast whose mission is to support young female professionals with the oftentimes challenging transition from college to work. After graduating from Duke University in 2017 and kicking off her career in Tech Sales at a global technology company in Dublin, Ireland, Thamina was suffering from post-graduation depression and felt ill-equipped to navigate life as a young adult. On the Femme Hive Podcast, she covers topics ranging from Career Progression, Personal Finance, and Well-being to empower young, ambitious women who are — just like herself — still in search of a fulfilling, purpose-driven life.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

I was very fortunate to have grown up in a privileged, non-traditional household with reversed gender roles in Munich, Germany. My grandma was a successful pediatric surgeon while my late grandpa, who was able to work remotely from home, was looking after me and my little brother. My parents dressed me in gender-neutral clothes and one of the earliest childhood memories I have is my dad telling me that women were smarter than men. Being raised in a rather progressive environment, I used to be a bit of a tomboy who preferred LEGO over Barbies, pirate over princess birthday parties, and above all, watching sports. To me, that was normal. It wasn’t until college that I found my feminist voice. Through my Political Science and Public Policy coursework at Duke, I was exposed to the field of Gender Studies for the first time. Finally, I started to realize how lucky I had been for having grown up in a progressive environment where I didn’t feel disadvantaged by virtue of my gender or race. That was a very transformational moment for me and I have been a vocal feminist and Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Advocate ever since.

You are currently leading a social impact organization that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit about what you or your organization are trying to address?

The first few years after high school or college are tough. Up until your graduation, you have spent the vast majority of your life in school and all of a sudden you are being handed a degree and an adult salary and somehow you are expected to know how to be a functioning adult. Unfortunately, that’s far from reality because as much as I personally loved and still cherish my college experience, our school curricula don’t do a great job at preparing us for the real world. In high school, I learned how to interpret poems from famous German poets, like Goethe and Schiller; in college I learned about how Alfred Hitchcock was mastering suspense in his movies but looking back, learning how to set up a retirement account, how to find mentors, or how to take care of my mental health would have been much more useful. With Femme Hive, I’m trying to address exactly these topics to provide my audience with an “Adulting 101” crash course around a variety of topics that are particularly relevant to young female professionals in their twenties.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

A few months after graduating from college, I fell into a deep hole because I realized that my 16 years in school had not properly prepared me for what life was going to throw at me. I had trouble establishing a new sense of identity that was not tied to being a student anymore. On paper, everything looked great: I was so privileged to have just graduated from arguably one of the best universities in the world, I was headed to a new country to kick off my career in Tech, and I was lucky to be surrounded by many great friends and supporters. But deep down I was struggling and I felt so ashamed and guilt for feeling this way. After all, I had hit the jackpot — or at least society’s definition of it. I had never felt so overwhelmed, anxious, and lost. I was suffering from depression. It took a while for me to open up about my mental health challenges to my female friends and I was quite surprised when I realized that most of them were going through a very similar experience, and it didn’t matter where in the world they were, how prestigious their employer was, or how much money they were earning. Everyone was struggling. So I thought to myself: “If everyone is struggling, why is nobody speaking up?” That’s when I came up with the idea for the Femme Hive podcast. This was in May 2020. And three months later, I launched the first episode.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

Amidst the pandemic, in May 2020, I felt pretty burnt out. With everything that was going on in the world, with all the uncertainty, I needed a distraction, something that would keep me busy but in a meaningful way. I had already tried all the banana bread recipes, so I was in search for a new creative outlet that allowed me to give back to people. For the longest time, I had been searching for ways to turn my passion for gender equality advocacy into something more tangible. And while on much needed PTO, I had that “Aha Moment”. I got to work right away and now, about 1.5 years later, I have been able to publish a new podcast episode every week, in addition to my full-time job in Tech Sales.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

In November of 2020, I hit a pretty significant financial milestone: I had generated a net worth of 50,000 dollars — after only two years of working full-time on a moderate 5-figure salary. When I shared my story on Instagram, I was surprised by how many women in their twenties reached out to me for advice. That’s when I realized how many young female professionals were lacking a proper financial education. I too had to proactively educate myself on topics like saving for retirement and investing in stocks. Soon after I started hosting Personal Finance workshops and wrote my “Personal Finances 101 for Young Professionals” E-Book, I became more involved in Financial Feminism and today, Financial Wellness is a big part of the Femme Hive narrative because women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path to gender equality. And I’m planning on pivoting in that direction in the future.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite sayings that I share with my own mentees is “Nobody can thrive in isolation.” Because I notice that too often, young people, particularly women, are too intimidated to reach out to more experienced people to ask for advice and guidance because they are afraid, they can’t add any value to the relationship. However, based on my own experience, most people are willing to pay it forward because they were once in the shoes of a college student, trying to secure their first internship or full-time job out of school. And without the help of mentors and sponsors who supported them back then, they wouldn’t be where they are today. Luckily, I learned that during my time in college as I have always enjoyed building genuine relationships with teachers, professors, and university staff. As a result, I have had the fortune of having benefited from lots of support and invaluable advice from many mentors and sponsors along the way. To give a very recent example: For the longest time, I have dreamed about living in New York one day. With the support of at least a dozen mentors and sponsors at my current employer, I was able to secure an offer to transfer from Dublin to New York. This certainly wouldn’t have been possible if these wonderful people hadn’t put their own reputation on the line for me and shared positive testimonials with the New York based hiring manager.

According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?

I actually had a great conversation about this on my podcast a while ago. But I think the main reason why mental health is still stigmatized is because we as humans inherently fear what we don’t know. Mental health is really complex and our society as a whole simply isn’t educated enough yet. There is a lot of pride and shame associated with seeking professional help and especially for people who grew up in a heteronormative environment where they were discouraged from showing their emotions, mental disorders such as depression or anxiety are perceived as a sign of weakness. I think particularly men are suffering from the existing stigma as character traits that are associated with showing or talking about your feelings are historically associated with stereotypical female but not with male traits and in many parts of society, both men and women are being punished when they’re not gender-role congruent. Luckily, the mental health and wellness movements have gained a lot of momentum during the pandemic and I hope this momentum will be carried over into our post-pandemic world. I am hopeful.

In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?

I think a lot of people — especially the ones who are silently suffering — could be helped if conversations around mental health were normalized by more people starting to speak up about their mental illness. That’s why I believe it is so powerful for leaders — may that be in government, business, or pop culture — who have a platform to be vulnerable and show that at the end of the day, they’re all just human. I also wish it was as easy for people to access care for mental health as it is to access care for physical health. We have made a lot of progress and I know a few amazing companies that are working on closing that gap but we still have a long way to go.

What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Establishing a solid morning routine, consisting of meditating, journaling, exercising, and reading has really helped me start the day on a high and positive note.

I also actively prioritize self-care, may that be through investing in high-quality, healthy food, affording myself a personal trainer, or allowing myself to binge Netflix in the evening. The only reason why I can take on a lot at once is because I prioritize self-care. For example, I am someone who needs at least 7, better 8 hours of sleep at night and if I don’t get that, I will take a nap that day. My sleep is non-negotiable for me.

Setting boundaries has also proven to be invaluable. I’m someone who massively suffers from “productivity guilt”, so I oftentimes have trouble relaxing because there are always so many things on my to do list but over the years, I have learned how to silence that guilt. That includes not working overtime unless I get compensated for it and I also always take every single PTO day I have available. I’m very European in that sense and I attribute a lot of my success to date to setting those boundaries.

To me, being in certain environments also triggers feelings of well-being. It may sound cliché but simply seeing palm trees, listening to the sound of the ocean or grounding my feet in the sand on the beach, makes me incredibly happy. Being in nature in general has a huge impact on my mental wellness.

Investing in my personal and professional development is also a big priority for me. I love taking online courses and listening to podcasts. Gaining new knowledge and different perspectives is a big contribution to my mental wellness. I’m actually about to start a 9-month immersive part-time certification course on all things inner growth and I’m so excited about it.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?

I love my Calm app for meditation and nice soundscapes for workouts or stretching. “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod has also had a massive impact on me and my morning routine practice. The “Mind Love” podcast by Melissa Monte is one of my favorites. For journaling, I’m a big fan of “The 6-Minute Diary”. I don’t do well with blank pages but really like it when there is a simple pre-defined format for journaling.

If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Putting your skills and knowledge in the service of others is incredibly rewarding. And you never know where that journey might take you in the end.

How can our readers follow you online?

By subscribing to the Femme Hive Podcast on their podcast platform of their choice. But I’m also active on Instagram and LinkedIn. My website is www.femmehive.com.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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