#54 Pamela Murphy: Founder of Select 7

Drawn to the excitement and fast pace of the media world, Pamela pursued literature, psychology and women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island and later earned her Master’s Degree in Magazine Journalism from New York University. Working her way through the ranks of print media, she worked at some of the publishing world’s biggest women’s magazines, such as Fitness, Mirabella, Elle, and Glamour.

After successfully climbing the masthead, Pamela created her first independent venture, a national lifestyle magazine called Madison. She went on to add Film Producer (with actor Ed Burns) and Marketing Director (of her husband, Chef Marc Murphy’s restaurant group) to her resume, and also ran The R.E.S.T. Initiative, a non-profit organization that brought massage therapies directly into chemotherapy treatment rooms, which she started after completing her own battle with breast cancer. Today, the program runs at the NYU Clinical Cancer Center as part of the alternative medicine practice.

Murphy is now the principle of The Select 7, a platform imagined from years of travel, research, recommendations, and list-keeping. The Select 7 is a curated exploration into the worlds of philanthropy, food, beauty + wellness, travel, fashion, interior design and social media by some of the most interesting people out there. The site unlocks the worlds of today’s top tastemakers, acting as an exchange hub for people who want both the aspirational and the totally obtainable to share their finds, recommendations, and ideas by inviting you into one person’s world for seven days.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Authenticity, kindness and hard work, which I think pretty much speak for themselves. The Select 7 is a curated lifestyle website, but truthfully what I’m trying to create is a super authentic community, and that can only be done by creating an environment that is truthful, kind and that runs on hard wrk and perseverance. The key to ur success is that honesty and it’s how I run the business, and also how I try to run my life!

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

I started a magazine (yes, an actual print book!) called Madison in 1991 and it was wildly successful until it wasn’t. We managed to launch something with not so much money at a time when magazines were really starting to fail as an industry (or so it seemed) and there was huge success and pride in that, but ultimately we realized we weren’t business people (my partner and I were both writers and editors) and we had taken too many missteps with the running of the business to celebrate any kind of real longevity. That being said, I learned A LOT from that failure, the most important lesson of which was to really, really know what you don’t know from the start. And outsource, outsource, outsource.

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

A podcast! Called The Select Sessions, we are bringing our guests from URL to IRL and I’m really excited about making that live connection with our guests and our readers.

#53 Yao Huang: Jewelry Artist

Yao Huang.jpg

Yao Huang is a jewelry artist making politically charged protest pieces. She was the recipient of the 2018 Charles Pratt Memorial Scholarship and the 2018 Marie Zimmerman summer Scholarship. Online censorship has become increasingly strict in her home country, China. However, while China’s constitution and other policies clearly afford its citizens freedom of speech and press, the opacity of Chinese media regulations allows authorities to crack down on “leaks” by claiming that they expose state secrets and endanger the country. The definition of state secrets in China remains vague, facilitating the censorship of any information that authorities deem harmful to their political or economic interests. Yao believes that freedom is a basic requirement for creativity and art, and that citizens’ involvement is necessary for developing an optimized society. With her pieces, she challenges the wearer to be aware of this censorship and to protest for a more transparent society. Meanwhile, her jewelry makes tangible the issues of censorship, and refuses to let the questions disappear.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Firstly, I believe that the most valuable function of human is thinking, especially critical thinking. Personally, the process of thinking is directly reflected on my work and creation. I am actually an ineloquent person in life, so that I express my voice through creation of jewelry. And because of that, my work always reflects the books I read, the repeating examination toward social issues, and objective and positive thinking. These aspects ensure my work is original, in demand of some process of thinking as well as has depth.

Meanwhile, under the training of 4 years of intense courses, my time management skill has improved dramatically. I can wisely put fragmented time in use. For example, commuting time is usually my brain storming time. I enjoy the sense of self-affirmation when I make full use of time like these. I think that the best respect I can pay toward ideas is the completeness. The moment of completion grants me a great sense of satisfaction. Even though there are no more deadlines for me right now, I believe I will continue using this fast working style, because those great ideas of mine cannot be stalled and put off.

As for the third core value, I think it is staying humble. I am a cautious and rational person. I only take half of the complements and acknowledgement from others. I would not stop thinking just because others think my work is great. There is always a sound in my mind telling me that “this is not enough” to push me march forward toward perfection. Therefore, even in the same series of my work, people can tell the progress and the change of my thoughts I make during the course.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions? 

I have been thinking about this for a long time, but I can’t think of any experience that I deem as failure. Maybe because I am optimistic and rational, I view everything and every experience from a larger perspective, and in a longer timeline. I believe every experience I’ve had is good, which provides me with lots of feedback, pros and cons. But I have always struggled to talk to myself. As far as I consider, the life of a human is a process to continuously cognize oneself and to continuously accept oneself. Creation which is developed from one’s heart, that’s the goal, and it means we really need to be honest and open-hearted to ourselves. During the design of this thesis, I have tried some styles that I do not like, which made the process very hard and full of frustrations. Drawing the design graph took me one month, and I still did not like what I had done. It wasn’t until I fully realized my thoughts, clearly knew what I wanted to express, that I finished the drawing, and I did it in just two days. After this experience, I deeply realize the importance of accepting my heart. Only creations from my innermost being can arouse others’ feelings.

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

Now I am continuing working on the series “hello, big brother.” During the making process, I realize that my early work is directly expressing my ideas to people, even though it is an inevitable stage, and an important part of the introduction of my background. Later I realized that creation requires interactions, between the work and the wearer. The interaction not only passes my thoughts and ideas, but more importantly introduces the personal understanding and connection of the wearer. Although my work in my senior year such as the keyboard series and the glasses series are general, I believe that I can develop them more. I hope my vision can be broader, more interesting and more absorbing. For example, I have an idea that is to equal scale my keyboard, maintain other designs but take away the space key only, then 3D print it all as a sliver brooch. Now the idea is in the stage of 3D modeling and adjusting the design. As for the next project, I want to criticize the social phenomenon that people put the cart before the horse, pursue the result and ignore the process. Now I am still working on how to closely connect this social problem with the human body and jewelry, just like in my previous series.

#52 Jackie Cohen: Founder of My Story Jewelry

Jackie Cohen founded My Story from a simple piece of jewelry that Jackie designed to celebrate her journey to motherhood. Inspired by her Adoption journey, she created a simple band with Julia's birthstone in it, and found that the ring sparked conversation wherever she went. Jackie would share her personal journey and in return she received other people’s stories, and more importantly a connection to their life. A few special requests and a collection was born. MY STORY is fun sentimental jewelry, that is meant to be mixed, matched and layered and can be personalized, to make it extra special to the owner.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Collaboration.  One of my favorite things I love about working with a team  is collaborating. So many ideas start with simple conversations.  Having a team that works well together is essential for growth, I work very hard to hire people I trust, who I believe are dedicated to my brand, people who are innately good people and align with my company’s core values.  I think that is why getting the best team you can is so important to me, and you must treat them with ….

Respect is a basic human desire.  To have respect and feel appreciated in the workplace will pay you back tenfold. I also believe that we are all extremely busy and respecting one’s time, is very important to me.  I am a single mom, I hire moms, I respect that they are busy and work hard when they are at work, and need to leave on time, so staying on schedule is huge for me. 

Empathy. Just as I respect someone and their time, and as a working mom, I know that moms are torn between work, and  home life. I believe that if someone didn’t let me leave early for a soccer game or cheerleading competition, for my child, I would be upset, angry and likely not work as hard the part of the day I was there, because I would be focusing on what I was missing.  I believe being empathetic to work life balance is part of my company’s corporate goals.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

many years ago, before I owned my own jewelry company, I was on wall street, as an equity trader.  It was a full mans world, where you got business for taking the guys to the yankee game, and sitting at row 10 for the playoffs and sadly enough, strip bars and all sorts of other bad habits.  

Wall Street was filled with nepotism, and I was not in the inner circle. 

I worked hard, and worked my way up. At 34, I was running a small trading desk, and then got a call from Bear Stearns. I went for an interview despite the fact, that I know it wasn’t the right fit for me. I hated everything about the place.  I didn’t like the people, the corporate culture, and I loved where I was. It was a small company, and we were all family. I didn’t follow my gut instinct, and took the job at Bear Stearns. I did hate it, and ended up counting the seconds until my bonus so I could quit. Lesson learned, follow your gut. It knows. 

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

Collaboration with Sonnet James. Potential collaboration with State bags. Always looking to work with women owned businesses whose core values align with My Story.