People 26 July 2018
Maven is the new car rental service in town, and it has raced to the front of the automotive industry in record time. It provides an expeditious rental process by means of an app. Once you find a rental near you, instead of having to go through the hassle of signing paperwork on site and picking up keys from a desk, Maven allows you to unlock and access it with a simple few clicks on your phone. You can then connect your car to your phone so that you can play all of your favorite tunes or listen to your latest podcast obsession. At the end of your ride, you return your rental to wherever you picked it up, click “End Trip” in the app, and that’s it. It seems too good to be true.
"Maven was born because we saw a need, we saw a demand, and we saw people really in the cities asking for it"
Photo courtesy of maven.com
So who should we be sending our letters of gratitude to? Julia Steyn, the Vice President of Urban Mobility at Maven. Steyn dreamt of moving to the Big Apple to work on Wall Street after finishing up business school. A lofty dream, but she actualized that long-founded fantasy by joining Goldman. “I was obsessed with Wall Street movies, and so I was dreaming of coming to New York and was gung-ho about only going to one place,” Steyn explains. “That place was Goldman.” Steyn’s fantasy grew astronomically, as she worked for Goldman for seven years not only in New York City, but also in London, after she married her husband.
“To me it was always the challenges that were interesting. So with investment banking, every transaction is a new challenge. You learn all the time, and I love learning.”Her love for investment banking was then trumped by her love for advising and working on the client side of things, so she switched gears and ran corporate development at an aluminum company in NY. One shift led to another, and before she knew it, Steyn was agreeing—with some reluctance—to meet the General Motors (GM) management team in Detroit. “I was very skeptical,” Steyn admits, having no background in automotives. “I was like, ‘Well, cars, Detroit...I don’t know how I really feel about it.’” Steyn met with the previous CEO of GM to talk for two hours about its history, and as she describes it, they “basically held [her] hostage,” her new career trajectory initiated with rapidity.
“It’s really the best decision I’ve ever made because automotive has been on the cusp of so much change even in the six years I came to run a new team. It was fun to bring all these people who are deal makers inside the company, organize and build a completely new team, and really be on the cusp of corporate strategy.”
The idea for Maven was born two and a half years ago when Steyn thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we were partnering with some real-estate companies? Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to a vehicle just in your garage?” Based on all of her success, it’s clear that others thought that would be nice too. She worked with engineers and software developers to figure out the simplest thing to download onto your phone for reserving a car—efficient and seamless.
Steyn began testing the idea’s efficacy by putting a few cars in Manhattan with Stonehenge as a partner because they were looking to create new customer environments for renters. People from neighboring buildings grew interested in renting as well, so Steyn started the brand and gave it a name. “Well, I think the industries where you have hard assets that are idle and that sit idle like a house, or a vehicle, that is a perfect place to disrupt because you want your asset to work for you in a way,” Steyn says. “That’s something that you don’t want to stand your balance sheet for and so that’s how it really Maven was born because we saw a need, we saw a demand, and we saw people really in the cities asking for it.”
“Don’t shy away from a challenge. Even if you don’t succeed, you’re going to learn something. Also learn from challenging people around you because if you’re constantly coddled you don’t have room to grow. Having an opportunity to work with someone who is going to give you constructive criticism, it’s going to push you forward"
Fear not if you have strict preferences when it comes to automobiles. Maven offers electric cars, SUVs, compact cars, and sedans. If one of those suits your fancy and you’re in a travel bind, Maven could be your saving grace. It has locations in 15 major cities across the states, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.
“The majority of the population ends up living in cities and it’s so constrained you have a whole bunch of space constrained from parking to where you live, to where you eat. So, it ends up that you have to do it.”Maven is a subsidiary of GM, currently making GM the sole shareholder. “[GM] has funded us with millions of dollars over the years,” Steyn reveals. “So it has supported outgrowth. And we’re actually hugely additive to the core business because we’re tapping the audience that doesn’t interact with our brands.”
Out of there 6,000 vehicles, by the end of this year, a whopping 2,000 of them will be Electric. So ⅓ of Maven will be pushing for a more sustainable future with far less noxious gas emissions polluting the air, making Maven the largest electric fleet in the United States. Steyn believes that electric cars will eventually dominate the streets, though many U.S. cities are not conducive environments for that change. “We’ve been promoting the electric cars,” Steyn says. “In Boston there is only one fast charging system. So, working with cities to give them the preview, to be a procreator of what needs to happen for this to be adopted is a fascinating endeavor.”
Being a foodie, mom, pianist, and woman with wanderlust, Steyn has plenty of passions to pursue when she is not working. “I travel a lot now, personal and professional,” Steyn says. “I have a ten year old boy, and I was a concert pianist when I was young, so now I torture him with the piano. I also take my creative energy and put it into cooking. It’s really soothing.” Steyn is clearly a woman of many trades, eager to challenge herself in the workplace and outside of it. As a big believer in accepting challenges and not being deterred by the gripping fear of failure, Steyn offers fellow female entrepreneurs some advice. “Don’t shy away from a challenge,” she insists. “Even if you don’t succeed, you’re going to learn something. Also learn from challenging people around you because if you’re constantly coddled you don’t have room to grow. Having an opportunity to work with someone who is going to give you constructive criticism, it’s going to push you forward.”
Steyn took her own advice by jumping headfirst into entrepreneurial waters, brave and ready to face whatever challenges may come—and it did wonders for her. Maven’s success has granted her a rightful place of esteem in the automotive industry. Now Maven has over 130,000 customers and counting, growing 10x month over month this past year alone. One can only imagine the increase in growth and popularity to come as more city-dwellers search for the quickest way to rent.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."