Jan. 28 2019
Carly Leahy and Afton Vechery are the co-founders of Modern Fertility, a company focused on making the science of fertility more human and helpful for women. Carly is COO, while Afton serves as CEO–and both women have a passion for creating products that make planning for pregnancy easier. Before joining forces, Carly worked at tech companies Google and Uber. She also has an admitted obsession with The Great British Baking Show. Afton showed signs of being a successful entrepreneur from a young age, starting a water quality testing company when she was in middle school (NBD). Below, these co-founders revolutionizing the women’s healthcare space take us through how they start the day (and might even inspire you to wake up a little earlier).
Carly: Every morning at this point I remember my dad’s very wise advice, “Carly, it’s as simple as this, when the alarm goes off, you just get up.” I’ve had to eliminate the snooze button as an option––I like sleep––so I pretend snooze doesn’t exist!
Afton: When I worked at 23andMe I commuted about 3.5 hours a day (inclusive of a 10-mile bike to Caltrain on the way to Mountain View) and when I lived in NYC I did the same thing from SoHo to Greenwich, CT on Metro North. I got really good at waiting until the last possible second to hop out of bed, shower and be out the door in 5 minutes. Modern Fertility is based in the Mission and only a few minutes away so I no longer have to time multiple forms of transit, but I have carried on the speedy routine! In terms of products I love, I adore my pillows. If I stay at a hotel and like the pillows, I will call them to figure out how to get them. I have used Dove soap forever but recently switched to Indie Lee face wash and I love the smell–it wakes me up! I use Kiehl’s SPF 30 face moisturizer on top. When I was in college, I licensed the patents from a biotech company (KeraNetics) for cosmeceutical applications which is now Virtue– best shampoo ever (literally re-infuses a slightly less intense version of the medical grade keratin we used for biomedical applications back into your hair).
Carly: Get that sweat on. I try to sweat a little every morning––makes me feel strong and clear-headed, and it’s something I’ve done rain or shine since training for field hockey season in college. On Mondays I do a long “out and back” run to get outside and prepare for the week. On the way out I listen to a podcast (I love Terry Gross and Fresh Air) and on the way back I get the blood pumping with some right-down-the-fairway top 40 jams. No shame.
Afton: I do strength training on Tuesdays and bike up twin peaks (tall hill in SF) on Wednesdays with a good friend of mine, so on those days I am up around 6:30/6:45 A.M. (roll out of bed into workout clothes and am out the door) Other mornings I do emails in bed as I wake up and read some long form articles about things that are happening in our space. I have tried really hard to become a morning person but still do my best work at night! Mornings for me are still a little groggy and so I kind of stumble through getting out the door and into the office where I have my coffee.
Carly: Shower, change, and hop on my bike to get to the office. I lay out my clothes the night before (kind of like I’m still in middle school…but it makes me feel organized/prepped at night). What is my fancy work outfit of choice, you ask? Well, I get made fun of on-the-reg for wearing “athleisure” around the office. We’re working hard and often my outfit just isn’t a decision I want to make (and I need to be comfy)––and that’s OK 🙂 So on your average Monday morning, let’s be honest, I’m throwing on my leggings. On the product front in the morning, I am a HUGE fan of Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with SPF––it’s a great base without feeling cakey and it takes care of your skin! Often, it’s the only makeup I’ll wear. I also love the Sun Project sunscreen––it’s light and smells oh so good and I feel naked without it (every day no matter what).
Carly: Once I get to the office, make some coffee (to become human), and grab some breakfast, it’s time to dig in. I do a (very glamorous) email catch-up session and make myself a to-do list (I have one on a notepad and a more detailed checklist on my desktop).
Afton: Nowadays, there are a lot of interviews! We are hiring and I get to kickoff my day talking about why working at Modern Fertility is so great and learning more about potential new members of our team! I typically mix these calls with grabbing a coffee at our office and a greek yogurt that I add a spoonful of almond butter and jelly to.
Carly: Off to the races! On Monday mornings we have a team meeting where we all gather around to go through top priorities for the week to come. After that, it’s game on for the week. On a typical day, I’m interviewing someone for a role, joining product stand up to review designs, mapping out social or content campaigns, the works. Every day is different and it is always (always always) an adventure. I’m lucky I get to spend it with brilliant people.