In an effort to empower women across the globe, ERTH Jewelry founder and designer Nicole Trunfio created #12Women, a portrait series featuring a diverse group of women—successful in their own right—sharing stories of their lives, trials and tribulations, and moments of awakening.
One of the 12 amazing women highlighted in the project is Jessica Alba, actress and The Honest Company founder, who spoke with Trunfio about the importance of mentors, the biggest lessons she learned, and her favorite affirmations.
What makes you powerful?
JESSICA ALBA: Determination.
Who are your mentors and how did they help your journey?
JA: I gathered mentorship along the way depending on what I needed in that very moment. When I launched The Honest Company I spent time and contacted Tory Burch, DVF, and founders of Opening Ceremony, Umberto and Carole... the only people I knew that had started a business. I would ask, “How did you do it? What was it? What was the idea?” I would pick anyone's brain that had started their own business.
Now I am in a place where the focus is more concentrated on leadership, organization between departments and moving towards a common goal, while inspiring people to be productive and grow together. Additionally, I have been moved by Adam Grant podcasts, and TEDTalks, specifically, "WorkLife," which has been incredibly helpful. You have to mold and change based on what your needs are in terms of business practices for your given situation.
What qualities and virtues do you find valuable in people?
JA: Loyalty is a big one for me. People who are self sufficient and people who are proactive, I like those qualities. I also value people who have an emotional understanding of a room or a situation but can think intellectually in the moment. I think the balance of EQ and IQ are so important. If you are too emotional, you never really have the perspective and you can't always see the big picture. If you are too intellectual, but lack emotion, then you may not be aware of how someone else processes information or how to communicate with them, it's like hitting a wall. I appreciate people who are connected emotionally and intellectually.
What's the biggest lesson you have learnt in life thus far?
JA: The biggest lesson I have learned, thats a tough one. The best way I can explain this would be the butterfly effect. Like the metaphor states, the changes and cycles of our lives, moving from one state, perspective or lifestyle to another. The butterfly’s shape shifting journey carries an important message—it teaches us that growth and transformation, whether it be positive or negative, is a natural part of life and will always benefit us in some way.
The lesson of evolving and being open to the process, because the process is painful sometimes, but it's necessary. I think your first love, your first heartbreak, your first disappointment, your first big embarrassment, your first of anything... Feels monumental, when you experience something on that level. In the beginning you feel like it's over, that's it, and it feels so dramatic [laughs]. But once you have been through it a few times, you know what to expect. It sucks, but you know you will get through it, so you dust your shoulders off and keep moving forward.
Favorite quote, affirmation, or words you live by?
JA: I read this Eleanor Roosevelt book called, Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way, that still resonates with me to this day. When I initially started The Honest Company I was going through a lot of challenges, and there was a quote in there that said, “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” I think that was really powerful. We look for validation constantly, especially when entering the unknown. Also, there is something so beautiful and moving about “Don’t give anyone your power,” “Stay on your path,” and “Push forward.” Lastly, a word that always resonates with me is ‘perseverance’ followed with ‘patience,’ which is a challenge for me.
If you were given the power to successfully change one thing in the world, what would it be?
JA: I would eliminate ego and instead infuse empathy, that's something that I think would be transformative.
A portion of proceeds raised from the sale of ERTH Jewelry will be donated to a variety of children's organizatons in partnership with Unicef.
Photography by: Photography courtesy Chris Bagot; Styled by Jesse Arifien