Wonder Women: Sarah Kunst

Hey Sarah! So what's your origin story?

Growing up in a 300 person town, one of very few minorities and possibly the only resident who both worked on a farm and had a subscription to Vogue, I knew I would eventually leave and go somewhere, anywhere, that didn't have snow mobile and tractor parking on Main Street. That place turned out to be NYC, where I ended up after attending Michigan State University for college. I landed jobs at Red Bull, Apple and Chanel. By 24, I was a startup executive and writer in the city that never sleeps. I wanted to learn more about technology so I went to Silicon Valley to be a venture capital investor and picked up accolades from Forbes 30 under 30, Business insider and Cool Hunting along the way while also being a contributing editor at Marie Claire Magazine. Last summer, I stopped after 7 years in tech to take stock - I was over calendered and over weight and while I was helping founders build their dreams, I wasn't living mine. I decided to make a change and build something for me, by me. That something is Proday.co, a personal training fitness app that allows anyone to workout alongside professional athletes anytime, anywhere. I raised venture capital money, signed professional athletes up to share their workouts and am launching this winter. In 4 months, I've gone from an idea to a company, pretty super human if you ask me. 

Was there ever a moment when you were discouraged to do something but followed your convictions, went ahead to do it anyway and found success?

A friend once told me some strangely liberating advice. "You know what's hard? Everything." It may sound depressing but in actuality knowing that it's ok for things to be hard is really freeing. It lets you focus on the doing and not on being upset that it's so difficult to do many things. I use this advice a lot in my career, working in technology can be overwhelmingly discouraging. It's an industry where women and minorities are a rounding error of the population and being both is not an advantage. I've managed to climb up in the industry despite the inhospitable climate and it's largely been due to self-efficacy and having a supportive squad of women who send encouragement and champagne.

So beyond support and the sparkling stuff, if you could send your squad of women any superpower what would it be and why?

I'd give women money to invest in other women. While women make up almost half of the millionaires in America, they do only a small portion of the investing. Capital is power and the more we help women build businesses the more power we will have. 

And what’s something you’d like to remind yourself?

"Become so rich and strong and tall that you’re a giant made out of gold and nobody can hurt you and everything you do is perfect and you can use your laser diamond eyes to melt the lungs of your enemies." Mallory Ortman wrote that satirically but from her lips to my ears, it's stuck. I remind myself that the difficulties I face won't last forever but the good I can do with my success can change the world for the better. Plus, I'd look great with laser diamond eyes.  

Find Sarah on:
Twitter: @sarahkunst
Instagram: @sarahkunst