Kristin O'Keeffe Merrick & Lindsay Shookus
Women Work F&%king Hard - co-founded by real-life best friends since college Emmy Award winning SNL Producer, Lindsay Shookus and financial advisor, Kristin O'Keeffe Merrick. Recently, named Badass Women Changing the World, are on a mission to help women. Originally created out of a love for throwing parties, WWFH has had invite-only mixers once a year.
Current title and occupation?
K: Kristin O’Keeffe Merrick, Financial Advisor & Money Expert
L: Lindsay Shookus, Talent Producer at Saturday Night Live
First thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
K: Give belly rubs to my dog Winnie who is the love of my life (sorry kids and husband but it's true!)
L: Throw down a jug of lemon water as quickly as I can so I can move on to coffee. Then a quick 5 minute snuggle with my daughter.
How did you 2 meet and what inspired you to create Women Work F*cking Hard?
K: We met on our first day at UNC-Chapel Hill at orientation. We were both friendless and very much not southern in a place that was very southern. She was from NY and I was from NJ so I declared that we would be friends. We started WWFH in 2018 when we were both working tirelessly. We had small kids and lots of responsibilities. It sparked from Linds wanting to help a single-mom entrepreneur friend she had drum up more business and clients. At a the time, we were both so tired constantly from work and mom’ing and life. Linds called and said "Hey can we throw a party and call it 'Women Work F*cking Hard'?" I immediately said yes.
L: Please see Kris answer
Best advice for owning a business with a friend?
K: We do a good job of picking up the slack when the other is slammed. Also we recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses and make sure we are doing the work that makes sense for each of us.
L: Learn to communicate both as friends and partners – they sometimes require a different approach for whichever hat you are wearing. And know your strengths. Kris and I’s brains work incredibly different, which is a beautiful thing, so luckily the things she’s best as, I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. And I think vice versa.
#1 Tip for staying organized?
K: My dad was an entrepreneur and taught all of his kids to "learn everything about the business you want to create, and then physically do it". What he meant by that was that you should know every facet of your business, and understand how to undertake that, so you know how many employees it takes to run the business, what is realistic to ask of your employees, and to know that what you're asking of them is possible. It's how I ran my businesses and how I managed to achieve success.
L: Hahahahahaha. You think I’m organized. Greatest compliment ever. I’m the most disorganized organized you’ll ever see. But I suppose I am a list maker. Yes - I often lose my current list. But then I find an old one and go from there. The truth is, when I’m overwhelmed with too much going on, I typically sit and take a few breaths, and inevitably that one thing I forgot to remember, springs back into my mind.
You suddenly have one free hour in your day. What do you do with it?
K: Watch TV. I LOVE TV.
L: Take a walk, meditate or talk to Kristin or my mom.
Most memorable career moment?
K: I did a money talk at the Wing (at the time The Wing was a women's only co-working space in Manhattan) in January of 2017. The Wing had just opened and I wanted to start spreading the word on financial literacy. I thought no one would come. Instead it was standing room only. It was that night that I realized that I wanted to work with women and help them with their money.
#1 financial tip for people in their 20’s - 30’s?
K: It's ok to make money mistakes in your 20s but don't let them ruin your life. Don't use credit cards if you can avoid them and don't be afraid to say no once in a while. You don't need to go to all the weddings, showers and parties!
L: Hire Kristin Merrick to manager your money? Ha. I guess I would say, from my own experience, don’t put your head in the sand, keep your fingers crossed and hope it goes well. Educate yourself, even just a little. Read some articles or take an online basics class. As women, I think we have to empower ourselves at a much younger age to gain a real financial literacy. And that’s from the brain of someone who did not do that and wishes she had.
Do you have a personal motto or power statement?
K: My Body. My Choice.
L: We can do hard things.
L: The show “Virgin River” all the way baby
Fave BeautyBio product?
K: The Eyelighter Concentrate! I look like a model! (I don't but I have received so many compliments since I started using it!!)