Kayla Fruchtman was working on her graduate degree when she started to contemplate whether or not it was where she wanted to be. She was in a place of security – along a path to becoming a professor – but there was something that just did not feel right. She ultimately made the decision to leave the program, move across country and redirect her path.
She would eventually become the Director of Development and Marketing for Healing Waters International, an organization with the mission to end the global water crisis through clean water solutions and health & hygiene education. During her work with Healing Waters, Kayla came to understand that a woman cannot be fully empowered without access to clean water. She was always interested in starting something that focused specifically on women, but the thought of doing it on her own felt somewhat overwhelming and daunting. So, in 2015 she founded, The Her Initiative, Healing Water’s campaign for women and children.
The lack of safe water and health & hygiene education lock many women into a cycle of poverty, so The Her Initiative‘s goal is to make it so women and children in at risk communities do not have to spend their days walking for water. Kayla could have left her job and started a whole new non-profit around this premise, but instead she chose to approach the CEO of Healing Waters as an intrapreneur and launched the initiative internally. The decision allowed her to stay in an environment that provided her with some support, while at the same time pursue something that inspired and motivated her.
Sometimes the changes in our lives are BIG – like moving across country or quitting a job – and other times the change is constructed within an already existing paradigm. Chapter Be stories do not necessarily mean that you have to quit your 9-to-5 job in order to follow your path of being – sometimes it just requires you to think differently about how you approach the change you want to see or create in your life.
In the podcast episode we talk about Kayla’s decision to leave grad school, how she approached being an intrapreneur, and the lessons and successes she has encountered along the way! Listen below to learn more about Kayla’s Chapter Be story…
CHAPTER BE QUESTIONNAIRE…
Who you are, as you are.
What’s your favorite quote, story or fact?
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” -John Steinbeck, East of Eden (although it’s hard to pick just one!)
Worst work experience?
Definitely nannying. I respect stay-at-home moms so much more now because of this job, but taking care of someone else’s kids just isn’t easy. While this job really brought me to my knees, it gave me so much more respect for my parents and their unconditional love!
What is your definition of success?
Living a life that is full of joy and passion in all aspects of your life- personally, professionally, relationally. I think our society equates the word “success” to “money” and while I enjoy nice things, I am just not someone who is motivated or passionate about money. When you can invest your time into the things that bring you joy, your life will be successful.
How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?
I often feel close to burn out and the first thing that starts to waiver is my creativity so this question is very much an important one. I often have to slow down, step back, and come up in altitude. Once I can see the big picture, I can cast a vision for whatever the task at hand may be. I tend to be a more creative thinker so when I have the space to see the bigger picture, I can focus on innovative and fun ways to accomplish the task. I also find that sometimes just walking away for a few minutes and putting my attention on something else helps to push the “drained” feeling away and let’s me get re-energized.
What does “to be” mean to you?
Such a loaded question! To be is to exist in a way that is meaningful and intentional. To just exist with no intention would be so boring and I don’t think we were made for that. We are made to thrive, to enjoy and savor life, and to love who we are. “To be” is to live the best life you can, to not try to be perfect (see my favorite quote above), to love yourself and others well, and to leave the world a better place before you touched it.
How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?
I am a huge procrastinator in my personal life way more than my professional life. Personally, I often say I have no idea how to “adult.” In fact, I just set up an appointment today to get my oil changed – you don’t want to know how many months ago I should have done that! My procrastination mostly looks like me choosing the things I enjoy to do in my free time over the things I know I need to take care of – going hiking, taking road trips, playing with my dog, meeting up with friends. I’m trying to learn how to create enough margin in my life to take care of the “adult” things.
Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?
- Books: Les Miserables, East of Eden, The Night Circus, The Alchemist (I love fiction – its such a good way for me to rest my brain) and Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline.
- Websites and Blogs: The Everygirl, The New Yorker, On Being Blog, Darling Magazine.
- Podcasts: I really want to get better at listening to podcasts, so any recommendations? My main go to’s are On Being and The Robcast. I’ve also listened to a few episodes of Stuff You Should Know but need to get more into that!
Favorite song with “be” in the title?
There Will Be Time – the new Mumford and Sons song.
If you haven’t listened to it yet, you need to. They collaborated with Baaba Maal, this phenomenal musician from Senegal, and everything about the song is perfect. It feels like you’re listening to something holy.
LINKS & RESOURCES…
Images via Chapter Be