Today we had the honor of chatting all things work-life balance with Emily Kennedy — Forbes Social Entrepreneurs 30 under 30 and Co-Founder of Marinus Analytics. Marinus Analytics is an AI-based platform used to identify victims of human trafficking based on online movements. Through this platform, they have partnered with law enforcement and recovered thousands of victims. Today Emily shares more about her unexpected path to entrepreneurship doing something she cares about, and the ways she creates balance and supports her health in-between.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? How did you end up on this path to disrupt human trafficking?
I’m one of those people who never thought I’d start a business. But when I encountered human trafficking up close on a trip to Europe as a teenager, I knew I wanted to spend my life doing something about it. What started as a college research project became a researching job in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and then in 2014, I decided (along with my CoFounders) to start our business to build software to disrupt sex trafficking.
What do your responsibilities look like as the Co-Founder of Marinus?
Thus far, my job as a startup founder has encompassed a variety of roles, from product development to user discovery, fundraising to growing the team. Most recently, I’ve been the public face of our company, talking about human trafficking and AI issues in the public sphere.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that we can see a tangible impact from the work we do.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry about not having the full plan in front of you. Pursue what you are passionate about, and the path will come later.
What do you aspire to do and how are you working towards that goal?
I aspire to do more to influence and support other new entrepreneurs. I’m doing that through hosting The Empower Podcast, where I interview CEOs and entrepreneurs about how they are building businesses to change the world.
How do you maintain balance as an entrepreneur?
Boundaries are huge for me. Earlier on in my journey, it was important that I established boundaries around my life. For me, it was starting and ending work at the same time, waking and sleeping at the same time, making sure to take a lunch, and not checking emails on the weekend or off-hours unless absolutely necessary.
How do you support your health in-between work?
Do things not at all related to your work! Go on a hike! Go camping outside of cell service! Eat healthy food when your body needs it. Eat comfort food when your body needs it.
Favorite fitness regimens?
I used to go religiously to a boxing gym when I first started the company. That gave me the opportunity to work out lots of stress on the bag, and I loved that workout. More recently, it’s been rowing or doing weights in my basements, or going on light walks.
Do you have a favorite healthy snack?
I made homemade granola that is amazzzzing. 🙂
What’s your go-to easy meal?
I love a green chile recipe where you just dump everything in the Instant Pot and it always comes out great.
Beauty product you cannot live without?
Before pregnancy: retinol. During pregnancy: CeraVe tinted mineral sunscreen.
Are there alternative health treatments you enjoy?
I like to get a massage every now and then.
Any tips for staying healthy on-the-go/traveling?
Oh yes, lots. Drink lots of water on the flight even if it makes you have to go to the bathroom a lot. Bring a facemask and go sans makeup for a long flight so you can do lots of moisturizing during. Once you get to your destination, go to the gym and get a sweat going, it will help you reset. One of my hacks is to bring a jump rope; it’s small, cheap, light, and makes sure you always have something to do. Make sure to eat when you need to, even for early morning flights get some eggs or something in you and you’ll feel a lot better. Bring snacks so you’ll always have something to eat.
A book that has had the biggest impact on your life?
There are far too many to list, but one that comes to mind is Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, on how to get past fear to creativity. You don’t have to be in a “creative” profession to benefit from it!
Favorite place to vacation?
Hawaii — beach, sun, water, amazing food…such a great place to relax!
Do you have hobbies, activities, or creative outlets that help keep you balanced?
Working out and being active, hiking, snowshoeing…just being in nature!
Who inspires you?
My fellow women entrepreneurs.
Do you have a favorite playlist to listen to for motivation?
Yes, I make tons of playlists for myself and have for years. A couple of current fave artists are Logic, Billie Eilish, and Run the Jewels.