Amber Olson Rourke, co-founder of wellness and beauty enterprise Neora, has learned a lot in her 12 years at the helm. She started out as a 20-something woman in the boardroom, and the learning curve can be steep and often rocky — which is why she’s quick to impart what she’s gleaned climbing the corporate ladder.
Olson Rourke admits she doubted her own instincts and expertise at first. “There's so many times where we were sitting at a table and coming up with an idea and someone who maybe had more experience than me or was more outspoken than me would go one way,” she recalls. “I would just feel in my gut that isn't the right path, but I would just let it go and say, ’They must know better.’ Then I saw it play out time and time again, that whenever I did that, it wasn't the right path.”
The obstacles didn’t slow Olson Rourke down. In its first decade of operations, the company achieved over $2 billion in cumulative sales.
How Amber Olson Rourke Grabbed Her Seat at the Neora Table
How did Olson Rourke become the self-assured entrepreneur she is today? She explains, “Most people will give you your seat at the table, but we have to learn to trust our own voice and to not assume that somebody else, just because they have more experience or they're a male or they have a bigger title, knows more than we do. We have to confidently show up at our seat at the table and act like we deserve that seat and have a confident voice in that seat. And when women do that, I do feel like they are heard and that they are really great leaders.”
And she’s enthusiastic about sharing advice for other young women just setting out on an entrepreneurial journey.
“I'm really big about being intentional in the moment, and manage my schedule tightly and time-block everything, so I can show up present to wherever I'm at,” she says. “So if I'm here talking with you, that's what my 100% focus is on. If I am scheduled to be out doing stuff with my daughters that's what I'm doing. I feel like so many people try to do everything in one singular moment and let themselves get so distracted that they are not making an impact where they are.”
Masters of multitasking, take note. Offering your undivided attention can help you have it all, but you just can’t have it all at the same time. She continues, “It's not about the minutes. If you're judging everything based on counting a minute, how many minutes do I do this versus how many minutes do I do that? It's never going to be equal. I just try and bring the biggest impact I can to the minutes I have in front of the people that I'm in front of.”
There’s also the part of Olson Rourke that’s a working mom. She says, “There's so much about moms and working moms and mom guilt, and how do you balance it all?” It’s a struggle many face. She confidently adds, “I don't feel guilty for being where I'm supposed to be because that's where I'm supposed to be and that's what I'm supposed to do. And I think it starts with that attitude.”
Neora’s mission and its motto is short and sweet: “Make People Better.” Olson Rourke explains, “Anything that we do, whether it's for our products, for our employees, for our independent brand partners, we want to help make them the best version of themselves.” She adds, “Anything that we create product-wise, our goal is to help make people's lives better, whether it's making their routine simpler, giving them better results so that they have better confidence, increasing their health and vitality.” She also believes that products can and should be streamlined. “Each of our products do the work of many to streamline your routine. They are all clean and performance-driven and they're all very innovative and ahead of mass-market trends.”
For those looking to start their own business, Olson Rourke has more words of hard-earned wisdom. “Be really clear on who you're trying to serve. Who are you trying to help? What are their issues? What are the ways in which you could solve those issues? Surround yourself with really smart people and trust your gut always.”
She also stresses the importance of mentors. “We believe really deeply in mentorship. No one can see all of their blind spots or ask themselves the right questions to unlock what they need to work through.” Formal and informal mentorship can do wonders to help guide you through business. She adds, “Having somebody who you trust and who's willing to give you effective feedback is really crucial.”
It’s challenging to be successful in business alone. Olson Rourke reveals, “No one has all the answers. Being able to develop relationships with mentors who have different strengths and different skill sets, is really critical to becoming your most effective in your role.”
As any successful businessperson will tell you, it’s also crucial to pay attention to what the future of the global market looks like. “We see that a lot of the changing dynamics on how people are shopping and how people are working really sets the stage for what we do. People more and more are wanting the convenience of shopping online, but also at the same time, want good personalized customer service.” Neora is prepped and ready for the change. “That’s where we shine,” Olson Rourke beams. “That concierge level service of someone providing you how you're going to get the best value, how you're going to get the best results, making sure that they're walking you through your health and wellness journey.”
Although there’s no crystal ball to tell the future for Amber Olson Rourke, her success is evident and it’s a safe bet her future is bright.