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I had to go to a holiday party at my former workspace in NYC to meet the woman who would e-introduce me to Sally Ekus – friend, philanthropist and literary agent for chefs, cookbook authors, and culinary personalities. Good thing for that introduction. (Thanks, Jenna!) While Sally’s home base is here in bucolic Western MA, she’s a tough woman to pin down, often jet-setting to NYC to meet with publishers, to conferences all over the place, and to Boston to support LLS. It was her story of cancer survival and her nomination that helped me remember a childhood friend last year. It’s also what made her a friend. Introducing Fabulous Femme Sally Ekus.
Q + A
How would you define being a modern woman in 2015? Well, we are an active bunch who aren’t afraid to speak up and act out. Being a woman today means being strong and vulnerable at the same time. Granting ourselves permission to carve out a world we not only want, but are leading.
At least for me, being a modern woman means making a conscious effort to be mindful of what I want in life and going after it all. I have the women of the past to thank for this luxury. And I have the women who I call my friends and family today to thank for the confidence in my voice.
What would you like modern women to give more of a shit about? Each other. The planet. The insides of our bodies. And tacos – fresh piping hot tortillas with the fillings of our dreams.
Conversely, what would you like modern women to give less of a shit about? Feeling the need to be “right” before we speak up; what our bodies look like rather than feel like; being too “nice”, childrearing as a universal must do; and our fears.
What is your superpower? In other words, what can you do on a rockstar-level without even thinking about it? Connect people. I absolutely love to be a matchmaker. This desire to connect people whether it is in love, life, work, or play. I am lucky to have a community of people around me who inspire me each day. One of the ways I show how much people mean to me is by introducing them to others. Connecting people is one of the reasons I love my job so much. I am a professional matchmaker. I get to work with people who are passionate in their own special way, and then figure out which editor and publisher would make the most sense for them. I also love matchmaking out in the social world. Whenever I go to an event, meet new friends, or have an idea—I do so with other people in mind. I ask myself, and often unconsciously, “who would this person love to meet?” “who in my community needs to know what x person is doing?” etc. I love it! My mind is always racing with a web of who I know and want to introduce to one another. What better way to show someone how much you care than by the act of connecting—it says “I want people to know how cool you are!”
What’s your favorite non-negotiable act of self-care you do to decompress or recharge on the regular? I do improv! My whole life I watched people around me bask in the glory of their hobbies and I was always a bit jealous having never found one for myself. Sure, I tried on a bunch for size. I dabbled in photography, I took up running, I have even done a few mosaic classes—all of which I really liked.
But it wasn’t until I found improv that I understood this whole I have a hobby thing. Now I take as many classes as possible, I do workshops, I drop by jams, and I read about improv for pleasure. My spare time is invested in improvisation. There is a fabulous, thriving, and compassionately hilarious community in western mass. Under the direction and care of Pam Victor and the Happier Valley Comedy show, I am proud to be one of the Zen of Improv students.
Improv has helped me find my voice, face my fears, and keep me on my toes. The benefit of letting go of your fear of failure and leaning into a world of laughter is a kind of self-care I never imagined and feel grateful for every day.
Do you predominantly make decisions with your heart, smarts or guts? What’s the process look like for you? Oh, I love this question! I am sure for some people the three operate independently but not for me. My heart, smarts, and guts are all very much intertwined. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to follow my heart or my head first. The reality is there is no way I can feel with my heart without tapping into that little gut feeling. Same goes for smarts. Whenever I am trying to be smart about a decision it is my gut feeling that guides me. From a very early age my guts have led the charge.
Who’s a fabulous femme inspiring you? What makes her so fab? Amelia, my sister. She is the sh*t. She works for a high profile social media company in NYC (think, say it within 140 characters) running their entire food and beverage program to keep their employees happy and well fed. Her management and communication skills are inspiring. Plus, she has impeccable taste in food, art, culture, and fashion. Whenever I am around her I feel jazzed and inspired. Her energy is infectious, powerful, and her wit is off the charts. Laughing to the point of crying is standard when we get together. Fabulous Femme doesn’t even do her justice.
If another woman wants to connect with you, how would you prefer that happens? For professional queries I prefer email at Sally@LisaEkus.com, and for connecting in general, social media is great! Instagram and twitter.