By Diana Vilic
By Diana Vilic
When researching Amanda Goetz for our interview, I noticed a trend. There’s a lot of the same words that are thrown around to describe Amanda — words like “Ambitious”, “The-Women-Who-Has-It-All”, “Trailblazer”, “Founder”, “Recently Divorced Mother of 3”, and “The Next Marketing SuperStar”. While all those words are true, the Amanda I had the pleasure of sitting down with was so much more than a collection of keywords.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve rewritten this article 7 times, each time falling short of being able to cover the full essence of Amanda. You see, while Amanda is a notorious badass business woman who stands for empowerment — she’s also somebody who can make you feel like the most important person in a room, almost effortlessly.
Amanda is both somebody I see myself in, and someone I aspire to be like. It was surprising to me how our stories were similar and drove us to missions that aligned along each other.
I started the interview apologizing for the mess of professionalism I made; I pushed the interview due to my anxiety, forgot to answer emails, and overall I was my own nightmare. God how would anyone want to work with me when I couldn’t even remember to reply to an email! The first thing Amanda did was interrupt my completely scripted “I’m-that-I’m-a-fuckup” apology with “Don’t apologize, it’s okay, it’s totally acceptable.” Echoing something every founder I’ve sat down with has told me, no one teaches any of us how to do this. There are days when we just aren’t our best, the only thing we can do is be transparent and carry forward.
When you sit down with Amanda, it’s obvious she’s been doing this a while. She worked at a variety of startups and founded two businesses, her current project being House of Wise, a CBD startup designed around women empowerment and the destigmatization of CBD.
You have to wonder if somebody like Amanda is made or born and to my surprise Amanda and I share this intersection of life. Both growing up watching how people treated our parents, we became absorbers of energy, something we both still carry to this day and in so many ways something that drives our personal mission statements. “Growing up in a small town, I was a first generation college grad, my dad was the town Plumber and Electrician.” She pauses, “Even today I worry about thinking how I started so far behind and carrying this chip on my shoulder feeling like I need to prove myself and my right of being here. Being in these environments where I feel like an outsider — I wasn’t raised with money, I didn’t have access or grow up in a big city, my parents didn’t have college friends with connections who I could be introduced to. Even being a Founder and suddenly having access to all these things I never had, I still have crazy imposter syndrome, and the feeling of needing to overtly prove that I’m supposed to be there instead of just accepting that people assume I can do the job.”
Everytime I write this article I pause there, needing to reflect on how true that is. You see when you read about Amanda, we see every ounce of success, making her seem like Superwoman and while in many ways she is, it’s so refreshing to hear somebody share the same soundtrack that plays in your head, especially when they don’t let it hold them back.
“After my divorce I realized I have this whole chapter of my life where I get to set new terms” she said as she moved closer to the screen. “Every year for the past four years, I’ve been forcing myself into situations where I’m uncomfortable, so they don’t phase me anymore. One year I decided I would do media appearances because they scare me. So I did that for a year. Then I decided I want to start a company and fully lean into that — my first one failed and I think there was a lot of fear around repeating that.” She paused, “I had to realize that was the old me, I had two distinct identities, my 20’s, which was a very different identity and narrative that I was clinging to and now I don’t want to have fear around that. Even if I was to fail again, there’s so much you can learn from doing things on your own.”
“There’s so much to leaning into your fears that I didn’t do in my 20s, I was too wrapped up in the fear of who I wanted to be and I set this life plan that didn’t allow for it.” I couldn’t help but comment me too. My entire past year was built around letting my dream job go, just because I realized I hated my dream job. I wasn’t the 8 year old who dreamt it out anymore, instead of dreams I was following passion projects. After sharing my story, Amanda commented, “People in their 30s feel like they can’t run into the fire because there’s so much more risk.” Taking a sigh, she continues, “What scares me is so many women, hit having kids and think their time to run into the fire is gone. But in your 20s, you’re figuring out who you are.” She laughs, “The best time to run into the fire is when you feel confident in who you are because you can handle what is being thrown at you since your identity won’t feel shaken.” We both laugh, “Life is a big game, if you’re drawn to something, why wouldn’t you do it?”
“Everything I’ve done that I’ve failed whether it be my marriage, my first company, and infertility, I learned so much about myself and grew as a human, coming out better and stronger. Transitional moments are hard, but being able to go through adversary equips you to handle more and more.”
“For better or worse I’ve lived a lot of life in the past 10 years — infertility, fertility treatments, having babies, going through a divorce, going through dating as a single mother, you name it and I feel like I’ve done it. Most of those things are what women go through commonly but its still considered weird to talk about.” She paused, “We were raised by people who kept to themselves, they didn’t air their dirty laundry, we’re happy on the outside and you don’t talk about your stuff. Throughout my 20s I tried to do that and have the instagram perfect life.” Amanda took a deep breath, adding purpose to her next line, “There was a moment when I went through my miscarriage and I shared it with a friend and I remember because I shared my experience, the people around me suddenly felt safe enough to share their experiences whether it be a miscarriage or general life hardships."
"When I share all these things, it allows other women to open up in their own way, that’s the premise of House of Wise. It’s all about not asking for permission anymore to figure out how to have better sleep, sex, and a conversation around wealth and finance.” Now glowing she continues, “House of Wise is a CBD company but wrapped in empowering women to feel in control of the outcome of their life and set them up with a community to guide them along their way.”
Talking about things we admire, the conversation took a slight turn, “As a woman feeling powerful is being confident in your flexibility. I’m a maternal human, being able to accept I can be that and negotiate in a boardroom. To me that makes me feel powerful, the fact that I don’t need to pick a lane and can be both is empowering.”
I ask about how she navigates self worth, almost selfishly. I know how easy it is as a woman to let other people define your worth. “Women always try to prove what they’re worth and earn it, men demand it and meet it.”
“The way I view it, at the end of the day it’s all about outcomes. Are we aligned on goals and how to measure success. If we’re aligned on that, you don’t get to micromanage my time.”
“Leaning into the fact that I know what I’m capable of getting done, and just because I don't work the same clocked hours, I know my ability to be efficient trumps someone's ability to be inefficient but work longer hours. That’s hard to ask for as a junior person, but there’s a power that came from becoming a mom and knowing you can hit the same numbers in a shorter slot of time.” Looking at me, ensuring I understand her next point, she continues, “Time is a construct, you’ll do whatever you need to do in order to get the job done.”
“When going into negotiation, always ask for more than you feel comfortable with, then add 20% or even 50%. The funny thing is if women doubled what they’d ask for, many times it's still lower than what a man would ask for.” We both laugh, knowing we’ve been around enough men to learn that lesson. Personally, growing up around just males and watching them become powerful men in various fields, they all share one advice with me, go in there and show them you know what the fuck you’re talking about.
I mention how hard it is for me to be friends with females because I grew up around those type of guys. Amanda chuckles, “I grew up with guys, I was around men my entire life. Something I’ve learned in my life, especially recently, “Women need to learn to let go of relationships that are focused on competition. There should be a red flag if your friends only want to talk about other people or focus on the bad parts of life. It’s hard for us, we’re naturally worried about not being able to find new friends or acting better than somebody else. But I found that who you surround yourself with impacts your mental health.” I nod, being able to list books worth of people I let go because I wouldn’t have been able to function otherwise. “I surround myself with female founders who get what I’m trying to do. There’s a way to talk about experiences with a growth mindset over a victim mindset. Many of the friendships I’ve had to let go were looping around trauma bonding versus moving forward.” Taking a second, to process her thoughts, she carries her point, “Women struggle with when to set those boundaries because they feel bad about letting relationships end. That’s why House of Wise is so important to me. It’s a growth mindset community where we encourage each other and focus on growth and each others development.”
As our talk grew closer to the end, I couldn't help but marvel at the person in front of me, somehow being left at ease while still inspired to take over the world. It was apparent Amanda lived a lot of life, but never let that hold her back. Instead she used it as the fuel to move forward and encourage others to do the same. I asked Amanda what a strong women looked like to her, to me it's very apparent. Amanda Goetz is my image of a strong women.