WoVen, a podcast from Canaan featuring Amy DuRoss
by Nina Kjellson, Laura Chau, and Amy DuRoss | December 17, 2019
One of Vineti's board members, Nina Kjellson, General Partner, at Canaan started a podcast called WoVen, about women who venture. We're excited to have Amy DuRoss, Vineti's Co-Founder and CEO, on it today. This podcast will take you through her early stages as a young woman growing up in Washinton D.C., with her parents and family being incredible influences, through her time as a venture capitalist before she co-founded Vineti.
Learn how Amy became interested in bioethics, which merges her interest in philosophy and literature, with a keen interest in patients. She had the opportunity at G.E. to delve into some of the therapeutics, a lot of the tools, a lot of the bioprocess, and sort of mechanistically, build upon all of this discovery and make it available. She intentionally split her time, keeping track of both where the therapeutics were and how best they support the therapeutics. Vineti is focused on the latter rather than the former, but as you can imagine, the two are so intricately intermixed and advancing so quickly that there is no end in sight. We're just at the beginning! Listen to hear more from our inspiring CEO.
And if you're new to Vineti and would like to learn more, please download our data sheet.
NINA: [00:00:01] You're listening to Woven, a podcast from Canaan. Woven stands for Women who venture and represents a platform.
LAURA: [00:00:07] And a community.
NINA: [00:00:09] Yes! And, well, really a celebration of venturesome and adventurous women.
LAURA: [00:00:14] I'm Laura Chau.
NINA: [00:00:15] And I'm Nina Kjellson.
LAURA: [00:00:16] We are investors at Canaan, an early-stage venture capital firm that partners with founders to build the future of how we live, work and thrive. Each episode we share the journeys and wisdom of remarkable women working in life science, technology and business.
NINA: [00:00:30] Welcome to Woven.
NINA: [00:00:38] I'm very honored to be chatting today with my good friend and esteemed colleague, Amy DuRoss. Amy was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area and politically engaged at a very early age by lawyer-activist parents, as well as her Quaker school, both of which nurtured her strong social justice compass. She studied humanities at Yale, Oxford, and Stanford, graduating with a master's degree in English, and then returning some years later to Stanford for an MBA.
NINA: [00:01:03] Amy's career has spanned tech, consulting, policy and healthcare. With 10 years at really big organizations such as E-Loan, G.E, the World Bank and Life Tech, as well as in precision medicine startups from Gene Sage to California's Prop 71 initiative to Navigenics, and ultimately to the founding of Vineti, where she is CEO. Vineti is defining a whole new software category for precision medicine therapy management by enabling vein to vein supply chain documentation and analytics for these breakthrough new therapies. I am proud to be an investor and on the board of Vineti.
NINA: [00:01:33] Amy has been honored by fellowships with the Cora Foundation and the Aspen Institute, in fact twice, and she is actively committed to diversity and inclusion across the business and in politics. With three young children and a writer husband, Amy is living the Bay Area dual-income always on chaos and is doing so with incredible finesse and stamina. As a fun fact, Amy, who you'll see is the definition of gentility and approachability, features prominently in her husband's third book called The Fear Project. You'll have to read the book to learn why. I'm very honored to be chatting today with my good friend and esteemed colleague, Amy DuRoss.
NINA: [00:02:06] Let's begin at the beginning. Let's talk about Amy's childhood. How did you grow up and how do you think that shaped your values and your outlook on life?
AMY: [00:02:13] So I grew up inside the Beltway, a stone's throw from the Capitol building, very much in a political mode from day one. So highly political family, from a long line of politicos and suffragettes. So our whole life was permeated with politics and the opportunity to influence policy, and seeing real evidence of that in front of us in our community, really, on a daily basis. And so fast forward, I got very involved in the patient movement early, mostly because our family was impacted by chronic disease, and close friends of our family. So a lot of my focus as a child, in addition to the normal sort of sports and bumps and bruises of childhood, was really, what are we gonna do to leave a legacy here, and how are you going to influence our country, our community, and do it with haste?
NINA: [00:03:03] Your parents are both lawyers, and your mom continues to leave a legacy as a district attorney or defense attorney, and your dad's a lawyer as well. How did healthcare come into the picture versus other causes that one might get activated on in D.C.?
AMY: [00:03:15] It's a great question because we routinely, growing up, would have debates at the dinner table where we were assigned topics all across the span of every topic you could imagine. And our job was to really research and then come in with a point of view and hold our own with two litigating parents. And so health care was one of many, but really the way it came to the fore for me was around patient advocacy. So seeing the impact of chronic disease on my loved ones, again, whether they were in my immediate family or within our community, and realizing the desperation that that must invoke and what I felt on their behalf.
NINA: [00:03:53] So the need for medicines that didn't exist?
AMY: [00:03:55] Yeah, the need for more help. And really what then grew into recognition, the need for something other than one size fits all. And feeling this sense that with all of our incredible brainpower and progress, we should be able to really titrate and focus with more precision on a patient's individual needs. And so, you know, I was fortunate to grow up at a time when some of that technology and certainly the sequence of the genome and other key milestones in our human progress were coming together. But it was always this sense of, you know, having a variety of different patients I had access to all having very different experiences and outcomes. And what was fundamentally the reason behind that, in a sense that despite all of our progress, we hadn't really focused enough on each patient and as an end of one.
NINA: [00:04:43] It sounds like empathy and a call to action in a family where that's what you do, is you serve on behalf of others. But then also this curiosity about genetics and biology and science. Yet you went off to college and studied humanities and poetry and comparative literature, English. How do you riddle the two, and when did sort of science come back in and why not study science?
AMY: [00:05:04] So I had, again, I'm heavily influenced by my parents and grandparents in our family, and we always had this expectation that going to college was about learning how to think. How to think critically, and then applying that critical thinking to a topic that might be completely different from the focus, those four years in college. And that should really be a sanctuary where you didn't have to think about sort of pre-professional lines, you really wanted to make your brain as excellent as possible.
AMY: [00:05:33] So I had this sense going in, which again was such a privilege, that I really was there to learn how to think, and what became more and more interesting to me over the course of college was bioethics. So bioethics was really a merger of my interest in philosophy, in literature. And then really this interest, keen interest in patients. But what were the ways you could address systemically, really to protect patients directly? And that's where the bioethics really came. And I was actually enrolled in a Ph.D. program also at Stanford to do bioethics. And that was really where I was going to kind of make my impact was to say, look at the needs of patients and then look at the ways systemically we can protect those needs and encourage, you know, development around those needs. But it suddenly became clear to me that technology had a role to play, whether it was on the molecular level or really something more directly disruptive. And that's where I began to think less about academia being one or more steps removed, although still impactful, really trying to shift more into a mode of doing something that was much more generative and sort of directly hands-on. And that's where technology and sort of bioethics and health care all came together.
NINA: [00:06:45] But your arrival in Silicon Valley was a little bit of a happy accident. You began your studies at Yale and also studied abroad at Oxford. What brought you to California in the first place? And that's pretty far from this incredibly tight nuclear family as well.
AMY: [00:06:59] Yeah, no, and I think some of that, in all honesty, was intentional. I love my family. And if they're listening, nothing's changed about that. But it was a very specific childhood with specific expectations and a sense of duty. And I think California, it's such a cliché, was this open book, and an opportunity to go out and really define potentially a different way of living. And I think I always assumed I would bring whatever I discovered in California back to the East Coast as well. So there was always this sort of safety net --.
NINA: [00:07:31] And your parents, especially your mom, is still waiting for that to happen.
AMY: [00:07:34] She spends a lot of time on the plane coming out here. Yes, it's true. I think that was always the assumption. But I really very specifically came to Stanford from Yale because one of my mentors and my advisors at Yale moved to Stanford between my sophomore and junior years. And I had really gone to Yale to really study with her. And so I followed her to Stanford. And I loved everything about my experience other than my mentor was leaving at Yale. So the two sort of combined to make sense, to take a leap.
NINA: [00:08:04] Sort of serendipity and, and a door walked through rather than resisted.
AMY: [00:08:08] Yes.
NINA: [00:08:08] So, I made a choice to not stick with the academic path and began your professional career, which is more varied than most. How do you tell the story of your career? And when did you know that an opportunity was right to take, or one to leave as you've transitioned into something new?
AMY: [00:08:25] It's a great question, and it's applicable to how I talk to myself about it as well. It's always about people for me.
AMY: [00:08:32] So for me, I chose and still choose based on the quality and the commitment and the noble intent of the people I am privileged to work with. And so that has really brought me into different streams, and the other piece is that without, I think as much intention, I love to be dislocated. This gets back to why do I pick up and move to California with a strong family backbone on the eastern seaboard?
AMY: [00:08:56] It's I enjoy the element of surprise, and I enjoy that challenge associated with surprise. So as long as I feel the fundamental people quotient is solved for, and I feel really confident in the people, I really fundamentally believe that you're only going to learn from dislocation, as long as they're really strong people around you.
NINA: [00:09:15] And so you talked a bit about getting into health care and the patient element of that and talked a little bit about the early 90s and being in this molecular and genetic revolution in Silicon Valley, and in science more generally. But you've gone over the last 10 years to really hone your career specifically to personalized and precision medicine. Can you say a little bit more about that and maybe build on the Gene Sage to the Navigenics to the Life Tech and then found Vineti.
AMY: [00:09:40] So, again, I'm a student of personalized medicine. So I think if nothing else, my career tracks with developments in that arc. But, my focus was really in both two directions. What is the human at its most elemental level? And that really is really the genomic level. And then the, so what? What do you do with that information and that data? And to really track my focus on both really the discovery and then the application of the discovery, that has been less a happy accident and much more of a focused set of choices, particularly in the last decade.
AMY: [00:10:15] As a venture capitalist, I had the opportunity as a platform really at G.E. to delve into some of the therapeutics, a lot of the tools, a lot of the bio process, and sort of mechanistically, how do you build upon all of this discovery and then really make it available? I actually really split my time very intentionally keeping track of where we are therapeutically, and then also, how can we support the therapeutics? And obviously Vineti, our company, is more focused on the latter than the former, but it's all so intricately intermixed and frankly, it's advancing so quickly. So, I think there's like, no end in sight. We're just here at the beginning, even though I'm, you know, in mid-career.
NINA: [00:10:55] Well, that's interesting, too, because it ties back to empathy and your socialization nurtured from a very young age towards justice and democracy. And part of what Vineti is looking to do is ensure equal and broader access to these therapies. Maybe you could speak a little bit about how you think about the inequality of access today and where your bioethicist lands on that aspect?
AMY: [00:11:20] Yeah. This is a wonderful question, Nina, because there are moments where I think about the more public health aspect of what someone even in the personalized medicine realm. Again, there are lots of ways to define personalized medicine. It's not just the technology, where I think, would I be serving patients better if I were looking more at the public health side of the equation versus where we sit, which is really at the tip of the spear on the technology development at the most sort of bleeding-est edge if you will. But I think where it comes down to most days, again, because there is always this conflict back to my political roots, is to, what constitutes impact across the broadest sort of utilitarian perspective, is that we are innovating on reducing human suffering.
AMY: [00:12:05] And so that is only so powerful in that our ability also extends to really broader humanity. So, we're just at the beginning. And so what we're doing at Vineti is really ensuring that there's a democratization of this bleeding-est edge. But it's not going to happen overnight. And so if somebody isn't carrying that mantle, either it will never happen, which is the worst scenario, or it will be so significantly delayed that will just perpetuate unnecessary human suffering. But it is an internal debate all the time.
NINA: [00:12:36] Well, and I found that sentiment happily is pretty widespread in our industry, that there is a real self-reflection about not just excellence, not just scientific intrigue and adventure, but really, are we doing good? Which brings me to question a little bit about your management philosophy and leadership style and the organization that you've built. Because you have a very unique kind of chimera at Vineti because it is a software company, engineering intensive, but it is facing a very nuanced healthcare space that is so technical and is so bespoke. How do you recruit? How do you cultivate a culture with people of such different styles, and your imprimatur in general for diversity and inclusion mandates that you also have women, LGBTQ, immigrant, first-gen, international. How do you turn that melting pot into a great and productive culture?
AMY: [00:13:24] Yeah. We lead with our mission. So our mission is really to ensure that these lifesaving personalized therapies are extended to all patients, and that really attracts different cut of already remarkable talent, particularly based here in San Francisco. But in other parts of the world where we have a presence, we are creating our own vernacular even to this day at Vineti. And that is because we have deep, challenging based manufacturing expertise, quality, enterprise software, all the logistics and cold chain, all the typical kind of SGNA and marketing. And how do you market into a new market with a new solution? All of these pieces. Then, the lovely thing about our team is we really have managed to find a new way of communicating together, and there is a fundamental level of respect for this various domain expertise and this broad sort of hybrid team. So it requires discipline, and I think the active listening component in my career, I have never been more challenged than in this particular role with this company. It's this constant kind of attempt to bridge gaps, create a common understanding.
NINA: [00:14:34] There's that empathy again.
AMY: [00:14:37] And I think among our leaders in the company, I see a really great facility for that kind of active listening.
NINA: [00:14:44] For you personally, is that learned skill or is that an innate?
AMY: [00:14:47] More challenge than it ever has been in this current chapter. Because of, quite frankly, I've never run an enterprise software company, and there's something very distinct and there are decades of best practice, and there's also new technologies to learn, really, every month. So my listening is because I'm a student of all of these expertise sets, particularly that one. I think it's something I have not perfected, and I still have lots of continuous learning around. But I do think it's part of having litigating parents because every word counts and they'll spill it back to you. So you have to do that in return. But, you know, I still have a lot of work to do.
NINA: [00:15:28] The cadence at which you run life as a founder, entrepreneur, CEO and also leader in the community, and as a wife and mother to three young children is pretty audacious. How do you keep calm under pressure? How do you parse the urgent, unimportant from the urgent important and see the forest for the trees?
AMY: [00:15:48] And so the honest answer is, I still have more learning to do on this front. But I think fundamentally for me, the most important aspect of leadership, given the environment we are in, is this ability to segregate what's urgent from what's not. And then there are varying levels in what's not. And the best way for me to get better at that is to do it. And so I think for anybody listening who is feeling challenged in that regard, it's a really honest challenge. It's one that's really shared. The only thing I can say is it gets easier and easier, and it's just fed by experience. And so you really have a level of confidence to say, this may not be exactly the same situation, but there's enough approximation for me to feel X about it. And for me to think about where it's prioritization is. And the good news is that most issues are not lethal or deadly, so there's a certain level of humor and just sanguine kind of response. For stamina, right? You just have to be able to laugh at yourself to keep everything in perspective as well.
NINA: [00:16:53] It's that often that being a CEO is among the loneliest jobs. You refer to the various constituencies, whether it's investors or your board or your customers or your team, and you do have to keep your own counsel a lot of the time. But you're also someone for as long as I've known you, who's cultivated incredible relationships with people who wish you well and want to see you succeed. That's especially true, I think, of folks that you would call mentors. And I'm curious, what does mentorship mean to you? Have you best received it? And at this stage in your career, where do you see opportunities to be a mentor versus the mentee?
AMY: [00:17:26] Well, I have just so much gratitude for the mentors in my life, many of whom are still with me. Some have passed away, but I certainly wouldn't be here without them. So they've been a very active and continuing part of my growth. For me, mentorship, particularly within the Vineti team, is all about active listening and really understanding the human being that we're supporting. I think there's a level of humility around, you're playing a role in a certain chapter more directly, but I intend to know these teammates for the rest of our lives. I hope. And so trying to look ahead to where there are hopes and dreams and also what we can do in the here and now to set those hopes and dreams in motion is a constant conversation. And our company now is eighty-seven full-time employees. I still take the time, and we're still fortunately at the size where I can meet with everybody individually. And so in those meetings, we really do talk through where that individual is in their own sort of perception of where they want to be or what they want to learn or how they want to grow. And that really was a reflection of how I've been mentored. You know, I think the difference about being a CEO, because this is my first time vs. other roles I've played in my career, is there is a level of loneliness, and no one really talks about that. It's kind of the way not everyone talks about the full spectrum of childbirth. But there are all these beautiful moments. But at the end of the day, it is really you and you alone making some very significant decisions with lots of helpful input. And so as a mentee, and even as a mentor, I have an added appreciation, many of my mentors were CEOs or in significant leadership positions, but didn't really emphasize this part for me. And so I do because I know there are very specific members of our team who seek to be CEOs. And it's the burden and the privilege of leadership. But it is very different. It's very distinct.
NINA: [00:19:31] Absolutely. And the job is so enormous that even at your best, somebody is being neglected or something is getting left behind, or some ball is getting dropped. And at the end of the day, accountability sits with the CEO.
NINA: [00:19:42] Speaking of constituents who want access to your time, you have three extraordinary young boys, and your company was birthed about the same time as one of them. Talk a little bit about timing of having kids and whether that's something that was proactive and deliberate or folded into life, and perhaps particularly if there's any advice you'd give to women in their 20s or 30s about how to balance starting a family and starting a company, or really launching the next phase of a great career.
AMY: [00:20:12] I really would put this personalized medicine, I would include the opportunity to really proactively think about your reproductive path, which is something that I didn't really have the benefit of just by virtue of the timing in which I was kind of coming of age for childbearing. But, I myself always knew I wanted to have the opportunity to have children and really felt that I would do that with or without a partner. So that was fundamental, I think, know yourself early. I didn't happen to meet my partner till my latter thirties, and so as a result, if we were going to have children at all, and/or more than one child, we were going to have to get on it. So we were really fortunate to have three children very close together.
AMY: [00:20:54] And, you know, in retrospect, it was a blessing that I really couldn't have imagined another way of doing. You know, I think I personally felt like I wasn't emotionally ready earlier in my thirties. And in part, now looking back on it, it's because I hadn't met the right partner. Although again, in a very sort of fiercely independent mode, I thought I will have a child no matter what. And I have great respect for women who do. But for me, my own emotional kind of journey, when I met my partner, it really sank that this was someone I wanted to do this in partnership with. As far as the career, I think if I really had to be honest about it, I don't think it's a great idea to have a child and a company at the same time. That being said, there were some really interesting parallel earnings that, again, in retrospect, I can see with more clarity. You know, I think the level of forgiveness around particularly recouping strength after giving birth to a baby and really spending time getting to know that baby and each baby being very individual, and, and/or birthing a company that has very individual attributes, there's actually a lot of parallel kind of learning going on.
AMY: [00:22:06] I think if you were starting out if I were starting out and I had the option to freeze my eggs and really make that a very planned effort, I would absolutely do that as an insurance policy. Again, assuming I knew I wanted to have children. And then be able to slot that in potentially with more precision, I think that makes a lot of sense because it's not just your career, it's your emotional self and all your other family dynamics, all the partnership, and partnership. Right. And so, so many of these things we can't control. We don't know what opportunities are going to present themselves. We don't know the people we're going to rely on most in our lives as we grow into them. So, being able to take some of that uncertainty off the table would have saved an enormous amount of concern and worry on my part. So I would absolutely encourage people if they're interested in having that option to pursue it.
NINA: [00:22:59] To create the optionality.
NINA: [00:23:01] Your partner is also a very talented, driven, ambitious person, multiple published books, a lot of articles and freelance reporting, working on a children's series. Now, the creative process isn't always as structured as the 7 a.m. to midnight CEO gig. How do you negotiate the splitting of family duties and home duties and ensure that just as you need time to really focus and lead Vineti, he has time to nurture the creative process and produce his craft?
AMY: [00:23:28] So it's a really, it's a daily negotiation. And we have, I think, an understanding of each other's goals. So there's a sense of, what is the baseline expectation for the amount of time and energy, and what's the kind of recoup on the occasional weekends that we get to ourselves. You know, I think we've just worked it out.
NINA: [00:23:47] The communication and expectations.
AMY: [00:23:48] Absolutely. And we haven't been perfect about it at all. I think we were very fortunate to have very wonderful help in the early days of our children's lives, wonderful full-time nanny. She made a huge difference in our lives and really taught us in many ways how to be parents.
AMY: [00:24:04] But I think for me, it's about knowing what your partner absolutely needs fundamentally to feel well and then working backward to figure out how to provide that. So we're very respectful. I think the future is really unknown. And so we've just committed that we're going to continually check in on how this is working, what are ways we can optimize, where are we not doing as well? It's like pitching aboard.
NINA: [00:24:30] It's a perfect segue about pitching. You had a pretty unique experience of incubating Vineti inside G.E. Ventures with a significant female colleague based on leadership. You also have a pretty diverse senior team and you have a pretty balanced, gender-balanced board at Vineti. But you pitched a lot of firms and you've been in a bunch of other businesses where you've also been facing the investment community. How have you felt as a female founder or a female executive in what is a much more male-dominated territory of founder CEO?
AMY: [00:24:59] So, really lucky to be in this role at this moment in history. When there's more awareness, and there are more women in empowered situations and positions to really engender change.
AMY: [00:25:11] So, we collectively have a lot more work ahead of us, but it takes a certain amount of leap of faith just to say, I deserve to be here. My voice is important. It may actually be the most important voice at the end of the analysis. And so, really, holding that up in these important conversations as a team. I do think the future is so bright, and I am so excited to see what comes forward on the investing side and on the entrepreneurial side, and in senior leadership for women and for all sorts of different diverse humanity in the future. Because I can say, it makes such a huge difference, and it's an important one. So, more is better.
NINA: [00:25:52] Yeah, and I think what you're alluding to too is, is it's not just about sex or sexual orientation or skin color, it's really about how do you bring cognitive diversity, and diversity of backgrounds, so that you get the richest possible problem-solving set.
AMY: [00:26:07] Absolutely.
NINA: [00:26:08] And that, in my experience, speaks for itself. What's been the biggest inflection or biggest juggernaut in your career when you think back on your trajectory?
AMY: [00:26:16] So I think for me when I was in graduate school, I had a very typical set of pathways ahead of me post-graduation, all of which would have been really wonderful, I'm sure. But I had this really burning need to do something at a national policy level, really, around patients. And that's when we focused on the stem cell initiative, and really zeroed in on California. But California at that point was proxy for a big gap at national funding levels. So, that all tied together for me. And I had a number of my mentors, faculty members within the Stanford Business School, who said I was crazy. I had this important moment coming out of graduate school where, prior to graduate school, I'd been more of a humanities type, philosophy. And to really say, we've got some business skills under your belt. Now, just go put them to use. Payback your loans, Amy. Don't put yourself at risk. And that was the overwhelming voice. And I think really understanding that there was a potential risk. But what was the flip side of that risk was the regret of never having tried. And ultimately, that's what won out. But it required a lot of belief in the cause, certainly. And then really wonderful people, which I was very fortunate to find and to really lead the effort with.
NINA: [00:27:35] There's a lot of advocacy in your career, throughout your career, and some strong policy work as well on Prop 71. Do you feel called to serve in office? Is that something that might be in the future for you?
AMY: [00:27:47] You know, it would be a real honor to serve in some capacity as a citizen and then an official. I don't discount any opportunity that would come forward. I do love the idea of what kind of service and the potential for real impact. That's always been part of my ethos growing up and my tutelage in my own family. I don't see that pathway immediately. Certainly, I'm fully committed to Vineti, but perhaps if that's the right mix. And again, I can make a real contribution that way, I would absolutely be honored to have that opportunity.
NINA: [00:28:21] Fantastic. Anything else that you'd like to share. Or anything I didn't ask you that I should have asked?
AMY: [00:28:26] I mean, I'm always sensitive around the "loneliness" statement because it's true, but it's also gratifying in its strengthening. So I think that the point about, yes, being a CEO is incredibly, inherently lonely. But there's also this remarkable kind of supercharged growth that happens as a result, because you are relying on yourself, in away. And because so many others are relying on you in a very specific way. But then you, in turn, are relying on yourself. And that really is this incredibly like, a fundamental cycle that is very enriching.
AMY: [00:29:02] That's the positive side of it. But it is a different, everyday outlook and state of being.
NINA: [00:29:08] And as I say, it's really through a challenge that we grow.
AMY: [00:29:11] Absolutely.
NINA: [00:29:12] I think describing it that way is truthful.
AMY: [00:29:14] But it's not talked about in both the bad and the good together, at least not in a more widespread way. I think CEO to CEO, there's more conversation around the, how do you manage the loneliness and the fear of burnout that is specific to your role?
NINA: [00:29:30] That's so important that that peer-to-peer network exists, even if it's small and ad hoc.
AMY: [00:29:36] Yes. Yes.
NINA: [00:29:36] I'm glad that you seek that out.
AMY: [00:29:38] Absolutely. I really do. But there are real benefits to this kind of challenge, like any challenge.
NINA: [00:29:44] That's good. Good balance.
AMY: [00:29:46] Mm-Hmm.
NINA: [00:29:47] Okay. So Rapid Fire, I've got a bunch of questions here and I'm going to start with, what's a parenting hack?
AMY: [00:29:52] Oh my goodness. It's having a set of dinner options. Throwing in something new every now and then, but knowing everybody has an expectation. Everybody's like, pre-vetted. Some routinization around what you prepare for dinner every night. Done.
NINA: [00:30:07] Right on. What's your superpower?
AMY: [00:30:10] I guess today I would say, active listening is probably where both I feel strength. Again, I would admit that I have more growth to do.
NINA: [00:30:20] I would endorse that as a superpower. Is there a superpower that you'd like to have if you could blink and have it immediately?
AMY: [00:30:26] Instant fitness.
NINA: [00:30:28] So to that point, do you have an exercise routine?
AMY: [00:30:31] So first of all, my kids are extremely active, so we play a lot of sports outside. I try to kind of roll my wellness athletic time in with my spending time with my children's time. As much as I can. So lots of activity, whenever I can get the access on the weekends. I'm a big yoga fan, but I don't get to do as much yoga as I'd like to. And then running. Running is the easiest way to just get some cardiovascular in, and wherever you are in the world.
NINA: [00:30:58] And a good way to see the world, too. If you're obliged to travel it. If this wasn't your career, what do you think you'd be doing?
AMY: [00:31:04] If this were not my career, I would love to be a rock star. I would love to be Lady Gaga. I think just to be able to inspire, and, I mean, that level of talent and be able to share it, is so cool.
NINA: [00:31:22] Is there a personal trait or quality that you wouldn't mind ditching?
AMY: [00:31:25] I would say, I think a propensity to second guess myself and always wanting to get to the exact right answer on major questions particularly. But then, I do have a tendency to, it's sort of the editor in me, to go back again, and again and kind of revise and replay different scenarios. And at some point, it's really inefficient.
NINA: [00:31:48] What mobile app do you use the most?
AMY: [00:31:49] Waze.
NINA: [00:31:50] Do you have a favorite purchase in the last year?
AMY: [00:31:53] Lady Gaga tickets.
NINA: [00:31:56] And how about a book, TV show or movie that wowed you?
AMY: [00:32:00] Recently, I've seen The Deuce on HBO, and it's about Time Square in this like the 70s, 80s, and it's such a different world. It's again, back to this sort of dislocation, and it's brutal, and it's violent and probably more violent than I would usually choose. But it's like completely, utterly different. It's the other. It's wonderfully acted, too.
NINA: [00:32:23] And then lastly, do you have a spiritual or mindfulness practice or a religious practice?
AMY: [00:32:29] I do. So, my husband's a Buddhist, so he's a daily meditator. So, my goal, once a week, is to meditate with him. And so I'd say most weeks we're actually quite successful in that. It's not an extended period of meditation. If it's 10, 15 minutes. For me, given the pace of my life, to sit for ten to fifteen minutes is, I think is, I'm, I'm doing pretty well. I was raised Catholic. So I really do subscribe to a lot of the rituals in Catholicism. I'm a huge fan of Judaism also. So I enjoy being more of a cultural kind of admirer of that faith and the heritage and history. But I would say I'm more of an amalgam of different pieces at this point in my life.
NINA: [00:33:14] It's great. This was fantastic.
AMY: [00:33:15] Thank you so much for inviting me and for your interest, and for having the opportunity to sit and chat with you, and for this sound system that works, and. Thank you for your time and attention.
NINA: [00:33:29] That's it for now. I'm Nina Kjellson.
LAURA: [00:33:31] And I'm Laura Chau.
BOTH: [00:33:32] Join us next episode.
DISCLOSURE: [00:33:38] Woven is a production of Canaan with help from Collective Next. Reproduction or use of any content without explicit permission from Canaan is strictly prohibited. Got a question or a comment? E-mail us at hello at Canaan dot com.