We had the good fortune of connecting with MEAGAN AYRES-ELIEFF and MEGHAN FIALKOFF we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi MEAGAN, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
MEAGAN AYRES-ELIEFF: When it comes to risks I think we are all often afraid to lose or be faced with danger but I do believe that when you take risks in life or business this is what pushes you forward into the future — allowing you to really excel in life. For me, going against what may have been what is called the “normal” thing to do or what is on “trend” has always paid off. From a young age, I always wanted to do extreme and extravagant things. I grew up in a small town and in college I told my Mother, I am going to move to Paris and I am going to follow my dreams. That year for Christmas, she got me a Paris painting (which still hangs on the wall in my parents home) and wrote me the sweetest letter encouraging me to do this. I think a parent or mentor can really play a huge part in building your confidence to take risks. Long story short, I didn’t move to Paris but I moved to London, England for an Internship (when everyone in school including all but one guidance counselor and my parents told me I wouldn’t get the job) and I did take that trip to Paris.
You have to be willing to trust your intuition and go for what you know you can accomplish and handle, even if it makes you feel like you are going to throw up at the time because you are so nervous.
Taking these small risks has helped me as it’s given me the confidence to start two companies — one being Modern Day Wife (MDW) that I am working on now. I was told by a branding agency the name was too bold in today’s society, but I decided to keep it anyway.
I knew it would stand out, that I could build a community of women, couples and even men who wanted to connect, be inspired and talk about the challenges they face in trying to do it all in Modern Day Society.
Our community at MDW is one that is inspiring, creative and connected and we take a ton of risks! For example, like deciding to be one of the first networking groups to re-open to in-person events safely in 2021 and that most certainly was the right decision. It has helped us grow rapidly, and I am so grateful that myself and our MDW Co-Founder Meghan Fialkoff made this decision and took the risk.
Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance?
This is an amazing question and it is honestly ever-evolving. I worked in New York City for nearly 10 years. I ran a non profit and was running around doing events at the UN, schools, ringing the bell at Nasdaq, living a single life. It was full of energy and you could hop on a subway at any point and do / be anywhere you want. I worked pretty intensely all day and had a bit of a commute, so I’d say my life was mostly work and then enjoying living in NYC on the weekends. Getting married and moving to LA, I did fundraising for years and traveled around the globe. It would be quite intense when I was away, and then I would take 3-4 days to recuperate and then head back out again. It worked well with my husband as the time away made us excited to spend time together and kept things fresh and exciting. Everything changed during COVID. I was pregnant, I couldn’t travel for work, and I finally found the business partner I was searching for which is now the inimitable Meagan Ayres. We launched Modern Day Wife in the US and since then it has been pretty much blood, sweat and tears poured into making this company huge – but with all of it fully paying off. Balance doesn’t exist too much for me at the moment, but it has been stabilizing I’d say over the past couple of months for the first time since we partnered in 2020. Figuring out how to balance having a toddler, being a business owner, and being married, is definitely not easy. I am still figuring it out. Once we got my son into daycare things got MUCH easier. The last barrier I really have to overcome is figuring out how to cook. So, that’s another article for Voyage LA – tell me what food service is best for me in 2021!
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?
Our business is definitely different than other Women’s Networking groups that are out there as we offer events that are for Women but are also certain events that are CoEd. We are about helping the Modern Day Women achieve success in all areas of her life — career, home-life and relationships. We are providing a 360 degree view at what it looks like to juggle many roles and what support you need in order to really do this and to have all areas of your life thriving.
Our community is meant to inspire fun and connections — helping people to network and connect in order to achieve the many goals they have.
MDW is a hub for content, to be in the know with what is trending and to get access to the best of the best in terms of tips, content, resources and products to make it all go right.
MDW is fast expanding because of the years of experience we both have in planning events and working with people. It’s funny because we both have the same name – and both have a background in PR/Events.
This similarity has helped us to navigate the fast pace world of events and build this brand quickly. As Business Partners, we have the same purpose and values for the brand which makes it easy to communicate and to work together but separately.
We took all of our failures and mistakes from past work experiences and could apply and use them with MDW. I think this is the part that people often don’t see is the many years of hard work it took to get the knowledge to apply to what one is currently doing.
Meghan and I also work a lot of hours and this business is fully self-funded. We have no investors or someone else footing the bill. It comes down to work and maintaining good relationships with people, without this we couldn’t get the job done.
We also have differences in strengths that help us — you need to have a business partner who can think of and dream up and manage certain elements that the other can’t. We let eachother stay in our own lanes and not cross over into the other person’s department — when you do this, things expand fast because there is trust and no stops on what the other person is doing.
This is an important lesson to learn with your Business Partner and your employees. You can’t do it all alone — you would never sleep or have time for other areas of your life that are important to you. You have to teach what needs to be done and then trust the person to do it — if they make a mistake — get it corrected and encourage them to continue.
There will be mistakes that people make along the way, the deciding factor I like to look at is if it is honest or is it careless.
When it’s careless you need to really ask yourself if this person is a good fit for the team?
Modern Day Wife is a global community, we want our chapters to run across the world and to inspire women to know you can be a great wife, mom and careerwoman — you just need help along the way and that is where our community comes in!
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?
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
My answer will be very similar to my answer if I still lived in Manhattan. I think walking the streets in the Manhattan or driving the streets and highways of LA, you get the full glimpse and feel of the city. In LA, you must drive through the Malibu mountains, you must drive on PCH, you must drive through the Hollywood Hills. These are landscapes, sunsets, views you have never seen before until you come to LA. It is spectacular, nostalgic, actually quite unreal. I then think a fantastic dinner out, let’s say at Osteria La Buca or some high energy twinkle light restaurant (which is typical LA). You then need to spend one day in Santa Monica driving PCH, visiting the beach and ferris wheel, walking to the residential area to see the beautiful homes; a day driving through Long Beach and Manhattan Beach and eating at a fabulous sushi restaurant; sneaking into Hidden Hills to sight see some celebrity homes; driving up and down the streets of Beverly Hills and Bel Air to see the most manicured streets you’ve ever seen and most exquisite homes of a lifetime; brunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel – and there you have it! A pretty general itinerary with much room to explore and meet new friends.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We love this, it is so true no one makes it on their own. It is definitely a group effort to get the job done in life and in business! Meagan Ayres-Elieff: For me, there are definitely a few key people who helped me in getting skilled in order to be able to start and come up with the concept of Modern Day Wife. It started for me when I was working as a Retail Buyer at Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver, Canada. What I loved about working with this company is they really did invest in their employees. They hired a skilled expert in Merchandising, Retail Buying and Retail Management to Mentor me — this woman Christina was tough, smart and had it together. She saw the whole picture, she taught me how to think big, think creatively, merge brands together to tell a story and to look for those details in a brand that make or break it. If something was out of place she saw it and confronted it. Learning this skill set has allowed me to create over the top ambiences for our events, at Modern Day Wife (MDW) , a unique brand story and curating our vendors/sponsors and partners to develop an exclusive experience for our guests.The other two ladies who have impacted the success of Modern Day Wife (MDW) are Lara Kozan and Kate Muker. These ladies generously donated their time in mentoring me to sell a company I no longer connected with and funnel my vision and creative energy into MDW — what will be a global brand. In a brainstorming session, we actually listed out all of the things MDW could be — events, online store, TV Show, homegoods, membership, courses, coffee table book and more! Much of these things, Meghan Fialkoff and I have done and are in the works to do! It is crazy when you look back to see the trajectory that can be developed from just a few people sitting around a dining room table dreaming up what could be.
MEGHAN FIALKOFF:In 2006, my father and I launched a non profit together, starting in New York City. His name is Dr. Bernard Fialkoff and we ran the non profit together through his Periodontal Office in Queens. He largely sponsored our programming and inspired me on vision, dream making and the value of hard work. We both had a no-holds-barred type of attitude and both worked in a super speed type of mode. We didn’t accepts stops or “no’s” and in fact, didn’t even consider that someone could say “no” to us. We had huge visions for our non profit and because of that, we were able to expand at an extremely rapid rate. We didn’t operate with a “red tape” mindset, we didn’t wait for permission. We just set the goals and got busy. The people we attracted understood this about us and that they could grow with us and help on a large scale, and so we continued to expand our outreach with all of the amazing people that we worked with and continue to work with including government leaders, celebrities, United Nations leaders, pageant Queens, ministers, Rabbis, medical professionals, you name it. We produced more than 2000+ events and expanded our outreach from NYC to Central America and really, throughout the United States. It was this thinking big attitude, the concept that there were and are no barriers, and the concept of having a strong teammate who thinks and acts like you do that gave me confidence, gave me skill, gave me experience, and has allowed me to then dive into this next chapter with Meagan in Modern Day Wife.