Danielle Gronich & Kayleigh Clark
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
Danielle: President & CEO
Kayleigh: Co-Founder & COO
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Danielle: I spend about 4 days per week operating San Diego Acne Clinic; this is the 100% Acne focused Clinic where people go to solve their breakouts once and for all. Especially cases where Accutane hasn’t even helped, we solve it for them too. We have a unique evaluation process that allows us to identify ALL of the triggers that are working against someone’s skin. I love working with people and giving them their confidence back, it’s hugely important- especially for vulnerable teenagers.
Kayleigh: As a start-up, Danielle and I both wear a lot of hats. My day to day currently consists of fulfilling website orders, managing both website and Amazon inventory, responding to comments and messages on Instagram - we believe it’s super important to stay connected to our community and be a skin wellness resource. I also manage both my email as well as CLEARstem’s general email, which is filled with new surprises every day! In regards to the creative side I am overseeing our team that is currently redesigning our packaging - we are super excited for the new look coming very soon! Lastly, 2 days a week, Danielle and I have creative days where we are working on the redesign of our website, new products, videos, and little changes we are making to continually improve.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
Danielle: I watched a lot of MacGuyver and James Bond as a kid, so I pretty much wanted to be a CIA spy and just be really, really cool. Then in high school I fell in love with Biology and Genetics, and medicine had my attention through high school and college. I’m not a fan of Western medicine, so I opted to skip medical school and find an alternate way to help people and make a difference somehow. What changed everything for me was my own ridiculously difficult acne struggle- it’s the reason I left the corporate world and eventually founded SD Acne Clinic so others wouldn’t have to endure what I went through. So far this is the only profession I’ve ever loved and I love it more every day. It teaches me about people every single day, and as a Sociology major that’s sort of my thing!
Kayleigh: This is really funny but I actually wanted to be a Pathologist because I watched way too much CSI as a child and my mom had worked in the Crime Lab, so I found it fascinating. As time went on and I started to understand my strengths and weakness more, I fell in love with business, communications, and nutrition. I continued to pursue opportunities in the corporate world that motivated me as my passions developed. The more I grew the more I realized my passions were in the wellness space and helping people. I had a lot of personal health experiences that left me very empathetic towards other people journey's, specifically in regards to both skin & whole body health.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
Danielle: I have a B.A. is Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, an Esthetics License, and about a dozen professional certifications in the field.
Kayleigh: I have a B.A. in Sports Management and Marketing. I am also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Danielle: That nobody has it all figured out, so just start somewhere.
Kayleigh: Ask for help.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
Danielle: Winston Churchill. He read, he studied history, he took no crap, he respected his wife, and he always spoke the inconvenient truth. His grit and resolve were unshakeable and because of his persistence he saved the Western Hemisphere from having to speak German. Alive: Lori Grenier from Shark Tank! She’s generous, kind, and wildly successful due to her intelligence, grit, and integrity.
Kayleigh: To be honest I don’t just have one role model. Over the years I have surrounded myself with some pretty amazing people that I view as role models in different capacities. From my friends, who are stay at home moms, friends who are working moms, to my friends building their own businesses, they all play a special role in my life. I value each and every one of their friendships so much, look up to them in different ways, and they truly keep me sane! In the business/founder world I really look up to Brandin Cohen, the CEO/Founder of Liquid IV. His ability to hustle, stay laser focused, passion to change the world, all while giving his own time away to other people and show support are all qualities I really look up to.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
Danielle: I get to work with Kayleigh, exchanging ideas, crafting each piece of CLEARstem with care and love, and on the other days, which I spend in the Clinic it’s with the most wonderful patients anyone could ask for. Positivity and awesome vibes flow constantly through each business. I’m grateful for who I get to work with every single day.
Kayleigh: Danielle. I don’t know how it happens but we are always on the same page. We both encourage each other, hustle, but also find balance in our lives. She is so supportive and CLEARstem wouldn’t be what it is today and the direction it is going in without the amazing rhythm we have going.
**Danielle and I answered these questions completely separately, without seeing each others answers and seeing that we both listed each other as the best thing about our work environment literally makes me so happy!
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
Danielle: I’d like to have an office for Kayleigh down the hall from the clinic so we could link up on my lunch breaks in the morning!
Kayleigh: Can I create more time? Kidding! But honestly how do the day’s just fly by?
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
Danielle: running CLEARstem about 40% of my time, the rest spent on an expansive giving-back initiative. By then I want us to already have been able to provide free product, self-care, and body-care wellness lessons to all of San Diego & Los Angeles’ kids who reside in long term foster care facilities. These kids don’t have any support from their parents, let alone resources to treat their skin— and acne is rampant due to the constant emotional stress and budget-foods they receive. School curriculum needs to be supplemented with self-care, mind-care (self-love) and practical lessons about nutrition, exercise, and of course skincare.
Kayleigh: With every day being so new with CLEARstem it’s so fun to think of where we will be in 5 years! I envision overseeing the day to day operations of the CLEARstem team in our office. I want to be in the middle of the hustle, leading our team into an always growing, work-hard play-hard mentality. Our team will truly change the world and the skin health space. I look forward to our continued growth.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Danielle: I am, whether I choose to or not.
Kayleigh: Yes and no. I keep my positive attitude and fun-ness going both at work and in private, but I do feel more laser focused and a little more serious when it comes to work. Sometimes I struggle to break out of that when it’s time to step away from work for the day.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
Danielle: All the key players in our company are females and we’re clients at SD Acne Clinic. From our SEO professional to our marketing support, even to Kayleigh herself. It’s all us girls.
Kayleigh: This is something very important to us as women! Danielle covered the bases with this one.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
Danielle: 100%. Diversity is fundamental for optimal growth & evolution (literally and fufurately!) I especially love my foreign clients because I get to learn from their perspectives and get inspired by health and nutrition practices from around the globe. This diversity in though is what inspired some of our products’ ingredients! Cultural diversity and linguistic diversity frame our thoughts, and I find every corner of that fascinating.
Kayleigh: Absolutely, but I am surrounded by a lot of diverse people in my life and I never see them as “diverse” I see them as incredible people. I believe that the aspects that make us all so different are our superpowers; it’s what makes us all so special.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
Danielle: Pretty darn good actually, now that I made the shift to waking up early and going all organic. Granted I don’t have a kid yet otherwise it would be a different situation! (I plan to adopt someday). I have so much respect for moms, seriously!!
Kayleigh: I like to view it more as a rhythm. My work and life are very blended and to separate the two wouldn’t be realistic. So to find a balance in the rhythm of both is what I try to achieve. Every day is different.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Danielle: early mornings to exercise, reading, and being able to visualize the future for the company. The ability to get things done well & quickly, and the ability to problem solve.
Kayleigh: The ability to pivot. What I mean by that is in a start-up there are a lot of things that will go wrong. The most important quality you can have is to recognize what happened, learn from it, pivot, and continue hustling.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS?
Danielle: We love what LWL is. To be a part of a movement like this is uniquely special for women, for business, and for America. When women get stronger everybody gets stronger, everybody benefits. It’s spreading opportunity and founded in compassion, what could be better?? I think Eleanor Roosevelt herself would be proud :)
Kayleigh: Thank you ladies for this amazing interview :) Keep crushing it!