Emily Meghan Morrow Howe (aka “Femily) of Portola Advisors

You know those people you meet who are always doing amazing things and looking fabulous at the same time? Emily Howe is one of those people! I met her 13 years ago, when we were both living in Boston. She was running a group called Mad Femme Pride that was all about creating space for Feminine Queer women in Boston.

I remember having monthly coffee dates with her and leaving feeling inspired every time. I remember attending her events and feeling like I had found community. I remember wishing I could do all the things she was doing! We marched together, danced together, ate food together, and changed our world together.

After we both left the Boston area, we kept in touch (thanks FB!) and supported each other as often as possible. She hosted a female empowerment young girls art show once that Emma participated in. She connected me to her sister, Maggie, who was instrumental in helping my sister launch, The Perpetual You. She even sent me a dress once because I had posted a picture of Emma wearing one that was almost just like it!

And anyone who has ever heard me share my story into personal development knows of the email that was sent to me in February of 2012 from a friend that introduced me to Sensophy and the work of Jacob Sokol and completely changed the trajectory of my life. Emily was that person!

It is because of this and SO MANY other reasons, that I am truly honored to share Emily’s story with you here. She is working to change the conversation around women and diversity in the workplace with every single thing she does. And I LOVE that she has found a way to get paid doing the work that feeds her soul. #goals

I could never have imagined 13 years ago that this engaging superstar of an event planner (though she was clearly so much more, I’m just not sure I realized it at the time!) would turn out to be one of the most successful, dedicated, women I know. Honestly, I’m not sure I could have ever imagined that we would still know each other 13 years later!

My takeaway: Everything we are doing now and every person we connect to - it is all part of who we are becoming.

Website: Portola Advisors IG: @femilyonthego

Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it? If you are not the owner/founder/CEO - what is your role? (Maybe you have a day-job and a business or side project - feel free to discuss any or all of it - we want to get a picture of who you are and how you are using your values to both make money AND have greater impact.)

I am a senior management consultant with a small socially-conscious firm in San Francisco. With my Master's degree in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College (#womenscollege), I help companies advance women, foster inclusion, and reduce workplace gender bias. Which also means I get to write and speak frequently about women/work/inclusion.

I love coaching/advising ambitious women in male-dominated fields and/or companies. I also produce a popular Bay Area events series for executive women called "Taboo Topics in Business" where we come together IRL, to build strong leadership networks, swap opportunities, and talk about the most pressing elephants in the room of corporate leadership: money, sex and power.

Why do you do what you do?

Finally, after a career of communications/consulting as my day jobs and women's empowerment as my side interest (feminist book club, community organizing, femme art collective), I've been able to merge my passions by shifting my client focus steadily to those who want help with gender bias.

What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you? 

Making money while making the world better! Not working for companies that make the world more toxic, less loving, or more unhealthy.

What is your favorite part/favorite experience about incorporating your values into your leadership role with your company?

I feel like there's less of a "workday" that I have to gear up for emotionally. I used to get the "Sunday blues" thinking about going back to work because it felt like I had to put so many of my interests on hold. I also didn't like "living for the weekend."

Now, when I write articles on women/business in the evening, it feels like fun! It's also cool that the books I want to read and conferences I want to go to actually relate to my money making. It's like everything is pointed in the same direction now.

And I don't have the Sunday blues anymore!

What is your biggest struggle in incorporating your values into your leadership role with your company? 

On the way up, I took on a few clients - to learn and pay the mortgage and fuel my biz - that weren't 100% dream clients: they were kind of bad for the environment, and a VP sexually harassed me...)

What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years? 

Love this question! So much!

I've started writing a column, "Ask Femily," that I really hope will help more and more millennial career women feel confident in exactly what to say and do when encountering sexism. I'd love to have published a good, useful book - I'm narrowing my ideas to see which catches flame right now.

I'd also love for a couple of my current and near-present collaborations to really take off; I'm working with such smart thinkers & entrepreneurs (women: whoop whoop!) right now and it really feels like our joint ideas and muscles are going to bring us to very good places.

I'd also like to keep maintaining my work hard/decompress hard balance!

Who are your business icons, heroines or mentors? 

Oh gosh - so many! Every day I'm inspired by dozens of powerful, creative, focused women in business, podcasting, politics, journalism, and my inner circle!

Here's the first one that came to mind: Danetha Doe, financial expert for the modern woman, because she really knows how to take all of the amazing, high octane things that she's doing and make them SHINE under one cohesive umbrella brand and website. (That's another goal for me!)

(BONUS: We are profiling Danetha in April - watch for her amazing story to come!)

What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business? 

Don't expect to be able to shift everything overnight.

Change one thing at a time and when it sticks, change another.

Build towards it. Engage your clients/customers in the change. Tell them you're shifting towards eco-friendly products or gender balanced hiring and solicit their ideas.

What are your favorite conferences or retreats to attend?

Women/Femme self-development, leadership, and learning conferences. I just got back from BREAK method with Bizzie Gold: so transformative!

I also love a good hot yoga retreat - and luckily so does my husband, so each year, we unplug and do a few yoga retreats.

What is the last book you read? 

I like to keep my mind actively gobbling up ideas well beyond the business books section, so "Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity is Wrong and How New Science Can Set Us Free," by Wednesday Martin.