Changemaker of the Week: Emilie Aries '09

by Swearer Center
February 20, 2014

Emilie Aries '09 is a Brown alumna making waves as a startup CEO for Bossed Up, an organization that brings well-balanced leadership training and coaching to ambitious women. 

Q: Why does the work of Bossed Up matter to you? Why should it matter to the world?
A: Bossed Up matters because I know what it's like to feel burnt out and isolated with nowhere to turn. In the years after graduating from Brown, I had gone from being a college athlete to not having a gym membership for nearly 3 years. I was regularly skipping meals as I cruised right through the lunch hour at my desk. I was chronically under-slept. I had lost touch with many of my dearest friends, and almost never made time for fun. All this because I loved my job! I was serving as the youngest state director in the nation for President Obama’s grassroots lobbying organization, Organizing for America. My ambition was obvious and I was performing well, but I was entirely unequipped to sustain such an unhealthy pace.

We now know that happier, healthier workers make better employees in our knowledge economy, and new research highlights the persistent double-binds that women face in leadership positions, making it even harder to draw healthy boundaries at work. Bossed Up provides a safe space for connection, personal and professional development, and one-on-one support throughout the many inflection points in women’s careers. We believe in unlocking our full potential as leaders by empowering women to craft happy, healthy, and sustainable careers.

Q: What does your current role involve?
A: As a startup CEO, I have a hand in everything we do, but mainly I’m focused on listening to our clients’ needs and enabling our team members to excel in their areas of focus. In short, my sole responsibility is to make the Bossed Up vision a reality.   We’re busy taking our flagship Bossed Up Bootcamp training on the road to Austin, DC and Boston this quarter and debuting our new career coaching services to empower ambitious women – and organizations that prioritize the development of their female talent – to reach their full potential.

Q: Were there experiences, people, or resources at Brown that prepared you for this move?
A: Brown was the first safe, experimental space that allowed me to cultivate my leadership identity – precisely the aim we have for our ‘bosses’ at Bossed Up! By allowing me (and all my fellow Brunonians) to take ownership over our own collegiate education, I began to see myself as a leader and believe in taking strategic risks and learning – instead of running – from failure.

I co-founded Brown Women in Business, took graduate seminars as an undergrad, was paired with a phenomenal mentor through the Women’s Launch Pad program, and became involved with Rhode Island politics all while pursuing my BA, thanks to the Brown community and it’s incredible array of resources.

Q: What's been the most challenging and rewarding parts of your work with BossedUp so far?
A: The single most challenging part of bringing a new venture to life is communicating your vision before it manifests. But since the bulk of that work is behind me, I’d say our biggest challenge now is keeping pace with our community’s needs!

The most rewarding part of Bossed Up is what got me into this business in the first place: seeing the positive changes that excellent training and coaching can bring into the lives of our ladies. It’s as though you can see the transformation before your very eyes when a woman begins to embrace her own power, and I never tire of seeing that happen with our 'bosses' at Bootcamp and beyond!

Bossed Up is offering a $75 discount to members of the Brown community for their March session in Boston - email [email protected] for more info!

If you know a Brown student or alum who is making a difference on campus, in Providence, or around the world, nominate them here to see them featured as Changemaker of the Week.