We had the good fortune of connecting with Marya Khalil-Otto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marya, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I’m the type of person who hates giving up and often I put myself last so that I can continue on. I will say everything changes once you have children. The story of my dad’s passing and becoming CEO at 25 is the best example of arriving at a crossroads and believing in myself. Of course, I had days where I thought of giving up, I knew I had to push through. I had so many people depending on me. I went into fight or flight. I knew that if I did give up I would live with regret for the rest of my life. I have to admit I am my own competition, so giving up doesn’t come easy for me. That being said “giving up” sounds like such a negative thing, and I truly believe mental well-being should always come first. So rather than “giving up”, We should consider it “making space” for ourselves. We need to be more gentle and honest with ourselves when something we are trying to achieve is just out of our capability. I also think asking for help is one of the best things we can do and it isn’t giving up! I used to always put myself last, and now as I have grown older and have become a mom, I understand the importance of saying no to things I dont have time for, and asking for help when I need it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
When I first took over the company, I was just trying to keep the lights on and keep people employed. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I was fortunate because the backbone of the company was a product that not only worked but really helped transform people’s lives. The VI Peel is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for acne, pigmention, and overall skin texture. Without our results we are nothing. Of course, you can have a great product and not be a great company. To bring the company to where it is today has been an extremely hard journey and there were many days, especially right after my father passed, that I wanted to give up. It may sound like a cliche but it’s through the journey that I really grew as a woman, leader, wife, and mother to my 2 amazing children. When I look at my kids, and I think of my journey, I want them to learn that it’s good to fail, it’s not good to not learn and grow from the failure. The Vitality Institute has a simple mission; we help people reach their true potential. Confidence is key to reaching your goals, and with our incredibly effective in office treatments and at home skincare line people are able to feel confident to face the future.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Okay for the sake of this article lets assume this is all pre covid and that my kids are with their nanny! When I first moved to LA 10 years ago I lived in Santa Monica, and ever since then I have found myself moving more and more East. Now I live in Los Feliz and it’s such an unapologetically California cool neighborhood! I would definitely start the day with a hike in Griffith. park, we would start on the hidden trail called Fern Dale. It feels like you’re walking through a rainforest. Then we would hike up to the observatory, its challenging but still doable! Then I would grab an iced latte and croissant at The Trails, the cutest little hidden coffee and pastry shop in Griffith Park. Afterward, we would make our way to Vermont Ave and check out all the cute little boutiques and book stores on the strip. It has such a wonderful bohemian feel to it. We would grab lunch at Figaro the sweetest french bistro, it feels like you are actually in Paris. I would definitely have the steak frites with the green peppercorn sauce. We can walk off lunch while we check out vintage finds at Squaresville, Starday Vintage, or Cherry Pick Vintage.
Before we head to dinner we go to BLO in the W Hollywood for perfect shiny hair and maybe even makeup if I’m feeling lazy. Then we can stop at H Club, it’s a gorgeous members only club that took over the redbury hotel space. I come to enjoy the stunning interior design. I’m having a skinny margarita (or two) on the roof. The view of Hollywood is phenomenal. For Dinner and debauchery we are 100000% going to the Magic Castle. My husband and I are members after wanting to join for years and its the best decision we ever made lol. If you love Hollywood history or magic then you will love this place. It’s dark, mysterious and the magicians are the best in the world It is like no where you have ever been and I truly can’t describe it. I love that you have to follow a strict dress code!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a huge shout out to my business group Vistage for helping me become a more confident business leader. Every single person in my group has made a difference in my life. Especially my group Chair Fred Carpenter, who has mentored, nurtured and guided me for the last 5 years. When I was 25 my father passed away and I had to take over his start-up company, and I had no experience on how to run, lead, and build a successful company. I had never felt more alone. Vistage offered me a safe space to connect and grow and learn from other business leaders. I am incredibly grateful.