Alyssa Bertram; Toronto; @easyperiod
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I’m a tampon pusher! I run a company called Easy. We deliver organic cotton menstrual hygiene products to your door and help provide pads to girls in Kenya.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to Ryerson University in Toronto and studied psychology.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
I was really fortunate to land a research assistant role under a really prestigious woman in the nursing department at Ryerson.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
I didn’t really have a big break. I had more of an awakening. My mom got really sick in the summer of 2015. I was faced with the possibility of my biggest fear, which was losing my mom. My mom is healthy today and facing that fear really changed my perspective on things. At that point I became dedicated to doing work that I felt really passionate about and really beautiful things began to happen from there.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
I think that would have been my launch day. I brought together my family and friends and a bunch of strangers who were interested in my tampon delivery service idea. All of a sudden a concept that I had only seen on a screen was taking shape in real life. Our website was live, orders started coming in and my idea came to life. I knew at that point I was on to something.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
I think my lowest moment career-wise was being in a job that I dreaded being in every day. It felt soul-sucking to dread going to work. I bounced back by making the decision to stop complaining and take action. I got clear on what I wanted my life and my work to look like and I started taking the steps to make that a reality.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Your intuition is no joke. I’ve had the experience of ignoring my intuition and it’s never led good places. On the flip side, when I listen to that voice inside that seems to know what to do, things just seem to work out. Often for me this means being quiet enough to actually hear my intuition.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
Grow, grow, grow! Sometimes people are so focused on growth that they forget the natural progression of things. Things take time. Each stage of growth presents new challenges that you need to be prepared for. Rapid growth can be a nightmare if you aren’t ready for it.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
We live in a patriarchal society, so yes. I believe as a female founder I have to constantly prove my ability and credibility in a way that might be assumed for a male. Seeking funding as a woman I face a disadvantage. Luckily I have the example of many determined women who refused to let such barriers keep them out. We still have a lot of work to do.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
I am! I set the prices so that’s a part of the equation for me. I am providing a worthy service and I ask for a fair a price in return.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
I think the most common thing I hear is that millennials are self absorbed. I wouldn’t disagree.