#SWAAYthenarrative

From Model to CEO: 5 Lessons in Business From Simona Fusco

Business

Ever since I can remember, everyone told me I should be a model and actress and I will never forget how happy I was landing a job as a lead model at the young age of 8 for Lacoste, which was one of the major international advertising campaigns at that time. From that point everything happened so fast and I was catapulted into the entertainment business and began working as a full time model and actress. It was an endless roller coaster of job opportunities that I didn't have time to think!


It wasn't until the birth of my daughter, that I had an opportunity to slow down and think about my life. I remember clear as day that during that time of reflection, something inside me made me make the decision to slowly transgress from being an entertainer to working on something that I've always had a passion for, something that fulfilled me more than working as an actor and allowed me to help others.

Once I realized that, I never looked back. I looked at what my talents, passions, and interests were. I asked myself what could I see myself doing? Plans were laid and I began what would become the start of my company, 'Perfect 12', a high-end executive match-matching firm in Beverly Hills, California.

Here I am today, a successful business woman and owner of a company for over 10 years. I've learned so many invaluable lessons in that time. Some of which, I hope help you on the path to breaking through the business world glass ceiling.

Follow your instinct.

Women can be extremely critical of themselves and therefore hesitant to trust their gut instinct when it comes to many situations including business. I realized that in the past I was making a lot of my career decisions based upon what I thought was rationale and was told by others that it was the right thing to do. I learned over the years that following my internal instincts was less stressful, quicker and easier to make and nine out of ten times ended up being the “right" choice.

Don't be Afraid to Fail.

I cannot emphasize how important this lesson is. A lot of times women get intimidated being that it is still a predominantly male business world. You might think that successful people are just lucky or have the right connections but you forget that you are looking at the result of years of struggling, failure and hard work. I see every “failure" as another stepping stone to reaching my ultimate success. It is the ultimate teacher.

Find yourself a mentor

Rome wasn't created in one day and neither was any business. After all we aren't just business women. Women nowadays juggle motherhood while being a provider all at once! Start doing your research and find yourself a female role model who can share her experiences. They may be more difficult to find than their male counterpart but trust me, women nowadays are making powerful moves they just are not as publicized. Don't be afraid to ask your friends, family and colleagues for advice. Knowledge and wisdom are power and we can never have enough of either.

Don't take No for an Answer

Women are by nature generous and compassionate and therefore prone to settle even if it is not in their best interest. Never ever ever ever settle and don't be a follower. Challenge the status quo and be a leader and take smart and calculated risks in order to solve the problem before you.

Walk into every Meeting and Own it

Every heard the motto: Dress for success? I know that every woman has that one outfit in their repertoire that they feel confident in. Think of Jackie O, Grace Kelly or Oprah. Strong, intelligent, classy women that made an impact in the world all the while being dressed to impress. Whether it's that little black dress for that first date or that power suit for a business meeting. I certainly dress for the occasion and it gives me that extra boost of confidence. You are in charge and the more confident you are, the more people who are listening to what you have to say will feel your energy and that will give you even more confidence and success.

Rome wasn't created in one day and neither was any business. After all we aren't just business women. Women nowadays juggle motherhood while being a provider all at once!

The Quick 10

1. What app do you most use?
The app I most frequently use would be Facebook. It's a great way to promote my businesses and my press articles. It's also a great way to stay in touch with family and friends overseas.
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
My morning routine starts out by making sure my daughter is off to school and my dog is fed. I'll have breakfast, check my messages, check in with my assistant and attack my schedule of the day. An average day typically consists of taking meetings with clients and doing interviews such as this.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
There are so many moguls that I admire! One of them would be Oprah. I love her confidence, her style and her generosity. While she's incredibly successful she always remembers to give back. She's an innovator and a leader.
4. What product do you wish you had invented?
Apple of course!
5. What is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal would be a lion. It reminds me of my late mother who passed away from cancer. Her astrological sign was a Leo and she had the personality of a lioness. Fierce and a warrior.
6. What is your life motto?
Never never never EVER settle.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
I typically don't snack and on the rare occasions that I do, it's typically with healthy, natural foods such as fruits, nuts and yogurt.
8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful?
Passionate and driven about what it is they're doing to be successful.
9. What's the most inspiring place you've traveled to?
Many places leave me with different inspirations. Europe makes me melancholic as it reminds me of my childhood. Hawaii makes me feel romantic. NYC inspires me and reminds me that the sky's the limit. It just depends where I am.
10. Desert Island. Three things, go.
Obviously my phone, my family and my dog lol not necessarily in that order!
3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.