In this interview, we speak with the co-CEO of The Riveter, a membership network designed to empower and advance women professionally. With a focus on offering expert-led courses, flexible workspace options, and a freelancer marketplace, The Riveter also places a strong emphasis on self-care as a core value. By creating a work environment that supports and empowers members to thrive both personally and professionally, The Riveter believes that self-care is not only essential for overall well-being but also for the success and productivity of the business. We discuss the positive impacts of prioritizing self-care on employee productivity and well-being, how to encourage self-care without sacrificing work commitments, the role of self-care in fostering a positive company culture, and advice for business owners who want to prioritize self-care in their own workplaces.
Heather Carter is the co-CEO of The Riveter and has over a decade of co-CEO and executive-level experience leading venture backed companies in operations, strategy, and expansion both vertically and geographically. She has scaled companies in marketplace, health tech, digital community, and brick & mortar from stages of pre-seed funding through to exits. Heather currently serves as a Board Member at the Beverly Hills Women's Club, Growing Hope Gardens, advisory at Hailo and has served as Backstage Capital mentor.
Tell us a little bit about The Riveter and the intersection between it and self-care.
The Riveter is a membership network built to amplify and advance women professionally. We offer expert lead courses, spaces to work via partners, and a freelancer work marketplace. However, before the pandemic The Riveter had 10 coworking spaces nationally and when it was founded in 2017 by Amy Nelson her vision was to have a workspaces that doubled as wellness spaces. When we had physical locations we offered a range of self-care activities and resources for our members, such as yoga, pilates, meditation classes, healthy snack options, and resources for wellness, including physical and mental health. Today, we still prioritize self-care but in a different way, we hope to create a work environment that supports and empowers our members to thrive both personally and professionally. We believe that self-care is not only essential for our members' overall well-being but also for the success and productivity of our business.
What inspired you to incorporate self-care as a core value in your company, and how do you promote it among your employees?
Speaking as a working mother, I firmly believe that our core mission of helping women make more money cannot be achieved without acknowledging the importance of self-care and self-allowance - that is, the freedom to show up genuinely. As working women, particularly those who are mothers, we often bear the mental load and added family responsibilities. Therefore, it's crucial that we recognize this fact for ourselves, our teammates, and members of The Riveter. To promote this, we strive to create a psychologically safe culture where everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
Can you share some examples of how prioritizing self-care has positively impacted the productivity and success of your team members?
At Riveter, we believe that prioritizing wellness is key to our team's success. We used to do this more when we all worked IRL but now we find new ways to promote wellness. By encouraging our employees to take breaks and engage in self-care activities, we have seen significant improvements in various areas. One of the most noticeable benefits is increased focus and concentration, which leads to improved productivity and job performance. In addition, prioritizing self-care has helped our team members manage their stress levels and avoid burnout, leading to improved mental health, higher job satisfaction, and engagement. Moreover, promoting self-care has also boosted creativity and cognitive function, allowing our team members to find innovative solutions to problems. Finally, prioritizing wellness has helped our employees strike a balance between their work and personal lives, resulting in overall improved well-being and a more positive work environment. By investing in our team members' wellness, we believe we are investing in the success of our company.
In a fast-paced work environment, how do you encourage employees to make time for self-care without sacrificing work commitments?
At The Riveter we offer a very flexible schedule. We are a mostly remote team and lean into the philosophy that as long as we accomplish what we need to, it is less important how and when we work.
What role do you think self-care plays in fostering a positive and supportive company culture?
Prioritizing self-care shows that the company values its employees' well-being, which creates a more positive and supportive work environment. When people feel supported and cared for, they are more likely to be productive and engaged at work, have heightened creativity and are less likely to leave.
What advice would you give to other business owners who want to prioritize self-care in their own workplaces?
The best advice I can give is to Lead by example: Business owners and leaders should prioritize their own self-care to set an example for their employees. By showing that you value self-care, you encourage others to do the same. You can implement all of the office self-care initiatives, but if your employees see you stressed and sending emails at all hours you are inadvertently setting a standard, and sending a message that self-care is not actually a priority - for anyone.
Looking back on your own experiences, can you describe a time when prioritizing self-care helped you overcome a professional challenge or achieve a goal?
Being an entrepreneur and leading a company in a high-growth phase requires making sound decisions quickly, which often means being reactionary but not emotional. I used to struggle with prioritizing self-care and managing stress, leading to late nights of doom-scrolling the news on my phone. This vicious cycle left me stressed, sleep-deprived, and mentally exhausted. Realizing I needed to break this pattern, I made a conscious effort to fuel my body with high-nutrition foods and started taking long morning walks while taking work calls. Additionally, I now end each evening with a relaxing bath and a meditation session on my acupressure mat. This self-care routine has worked wonders for my stress levels, and I'm now sleeping through the night and feeling more mentally sharp during the day.