CEO and Founder of Favoire, Cassandra Paré has her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from Fordham School of Business. She has spent over 6 years in Marketing, the last four of which have been as Vice President of Digital Marketing, Content and Social with Citigroup. During her time at Citigroup she worked passionately on several women’s platforms aimed at empowering women with career and financial education. She is also a contributing writer to several popular online publications including The Huffington Post, Wakefield NY and Elite College Daily where she writes about women, technology startups, and philanthropy.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
Today’s work culture has forgotten that we are humans first and foremost before we are workers. Companies often require that their employees, more or less, be tethered to their work, whether it’s through a 15 hour work day or handing them a blackberry that is never to be turned off. There is no more “real” downtime and a result we see a work culture that’s almost completely on the verge of burnout. What’s more, as humans, we want to feel that the work we do is rewarding – that it is in someway creating a positive impact in the world. Companies that only focus on their bottom line are just not creating the right incentives for their employees. The result is a lack of passion, the loss of real sense of satisfaction in what we do.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
Favoire believes that companies can impact the world in a positive way when they think about more than just their bottom line. We seek to not only create a sustainable business, but to create sustainable change in the world. When I came out of school (University of Pennsylvania) there was no way I could have worked at a non-profit. I had too much student loan debt and I couldn’t have paid my bills with the salaries they were offering—that’s the situation for so many people today racked in debt. We have these super talented people who want to impact the world in a positive way but there are just no real solutions for them. The idea of a social enterprise is really coming of age—the concept that if you grow as a business, you can also impact the world in positive ways is pretty exciting. Favoire just launched a few weeks ago, so we are by no means there yet—but we want to create work that is not only fun and exciting but that is fundamentally meaningful to our employees and to the world.
Why do you do what you do?
The real reason is passion. When it comes down to it, work is so much of your life, if you don’t love what you do, then goodness—you are really losing a huge chunk of your life. Life is so short, you have to find what moves you and then just go for it.
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I was an Art History minor in College. I love all kinds of art. Art is a fundamental expression of our own humanity. It allows us to reflect on our own culture, attitudes and behaviors and explore them in meaningful and illuminative ways. When you see a great piece of art that really moves you it almost feels like a sixth sense. You should check out what Cory Arcangel is doing. He is making some pretty incredible art with technology and new media.
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
We work with different non-profits but we like to work with non-profits that create sustainable change instead of band-aide type solutions. For example, we are currently supporting education for girls in the underdeveloped world. When women prosper they tend to re-invest in their families and communities and to bring the world forward with them. It’s that whole “if you teach a man to fish” kind of mentality. We want to work with organizations that we believe will lead to sustainable change not just short-term solutions.
We also care very much about work/life balance based on what’s important to you in your life. For example, for someone who doesn’t have kids but has a real passion for their pet—well if a mom needs to leave early to take their child to the doctor someone else has the same right to leave early to bring their pet to the vet. We don’t require that you live a certain type of life to benefit from work/life balance.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
I’ve been really fascinated to see how the Media/ Communications/ Journalism industry has transformed. Technology has really impacted that industry in so many ways. There are really no barriers to entry anymore and news is immediate. There is also becoming a grey area between bloggers and journalists. It’s impacted us in positive and negative ways. On the one hand, there are certainly more outlets than ever before to share your story, on the other hand there is less credibility and transparency.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
I think companies really need to give employees work that they can feel proud of. Work that is fulfilling to them and sort of satisfies their core values as humans. The other thing is to respect the line between work and free time. I really think that when a company gives a person time off, they should require them to turn the blackberry off… at least for a few days. You can’t recharge if you’re never fully disengaged.
What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
I am from Brooklyn. Like born and raised. Whenever I tell people that, they are like, “But no, where were you born?” And then I have to say, “I was seriously born in Brooklyn.” Let’s just say there was no Shake Shack or hipster bars back then.
What do you do for fun?
I love to cook. That’s a new thing, but when you spend all day in front of a computer, its nice to do something that is completely physical—to make something with your own two hands. I bake a really mean brownie—when I was first reaching out to people about Favoire I had a joke with myself: “bake it ’til you make it.” I wanted the people I talked with to remember me, so I baked them brownies whenever I came to meet with them. The feedback was pretty positive.
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
I start every day with a 4 mile jog and then ten minutes of meditation. I traveled throughout South East Asia for 7 weeks and fell in love with the Buddhist culture hence the meditation. It’s really grounding. It’s amazing how much more productive you are when you just begin your day on the right foot.
Where in the world are you?
Brooklyn, New York, USA