Lauren Lee

Lauren is Co-Founder and CEO at Semaine Health, a plant based pain relief supplement for females. Lauren and her co-founders are on a mission to normalize the conversation about periods and period pains. Prior to starting Semaine, Lauren was an aspiring ballerina and had a career in graphic design.

 

THE FIRST THING SHE DOES WHEN SHE WAKES UP

Have a moment of gratitude because I feel like the moment I wake up––especially on a weekday and really every day is a weekday when you have your own business–– is to start thinking about that to-do list. The overwhelm starts building right away. I find if I can shift my focus to even just one thing that I'm grateful for, it helps prevent that spiraling anxiety of what needs to get done. On Mondays specifically, I try to think about something I'm looking forward to that week.

ON GETTING HER ENDORPHINS UP

I get my endorphins up in the morning because I find that so important for my mental space, just by trying to stave off any anxiety and overwhelm. I go for a brisk walk, but usually I really like to just dance. My background was in dance when I was younger, and I just really miss moving my body to music and it's something I picked up during COVID, and that has really, really helped. I try to start the day that way just to get into a good mindset, it’s less about losing weight, getting fit, getting toned and more about mental health.

HER EATING HABITS

In the past, I've been a lot more restrictive and stringent on my diet. For a long while, I was vegan, soy and gluten free, which had its own challenges. This was sort of the beginning of my education with learning how to keep my inflammation levels lower and trying to prevent the chronic inflammation that happens to all of us, but especially those of us with different conditions. 

 

Now, my diet is more omnivorous. I will eat a little bit of lean meat and some eggs. I stay away from dairy and try to not eat too much sugar but I am 100% sweet tooth. I try to get most of my sugar through fruit.

FROM BALLERINA TO CEO

My first passion was to be a dancer. That was 100% what I thought I would be doing when I was 19 years old. To the point of excluding  everything else, I didn't want to go to college because I didn't feel like I needed to. I was going to be a ballet dancer, and I was going to work my way up to the top. By the ripe old age of 37, I'd be retired; I know being a ballerina sounds like a goal that seems like most people outgrow when they're like 7 years old, but I was 100% consumed by dance. The silver lining of this is that the single-minded discipline and focus I needed in order to do that, has helped me grow as a business person too. There's an unrelenting quality about pursuing a goal for years, and potentially not making it and learning from that.

ORIGINS OF SEMAINE

Semaine started more than two years ago, and it started because my twin sister and I both have endometriosis. Endometriosis is a menstrual condition that can involve lots of different symptoms, but usually extremely painful periods is sort of the big one. It can lead to infertility and people can be in pain all day long or have intense bouts of pain over your menstrual cycle. Diagnosis for most womxn with endometriosis is about 7 to 10 years, that's longer if you're a woman of color, and especially for Black womxn, that diagnosis takes a lot longer.

THE IMPETUS FOR STARTING SEMAINE

The impetus for starting Semaine is that women's pain is often dismissed. I don't think it is anything evil on the side of doctors, it’s just that period pain is often talked about as being normal and expected. Which leaves you with few options to resolve that pain. You’re told to, either suck it up, go on birth control or take over the counter pain medication.

COMBATTING DECISION FATIGUE

I try to interweave production work with big decisions or tasks that may feel daunting. Also, I found that breaking down large tasks into smaller steps helps with my flow.

ON VULNERABILITY

I think it's hard for people to allow themselves to feel vulnerable, and move on from a space of vulnerability and keep going. It's human nature to shut down that feeling and crawl back into your comfort zone. That's not a luxury that you get when you're a startup founder, because you'll always be moving out of your comfort zone. Whether it be by making mistakes, feeling imposter syndrome, decision fatigue setting in, stress and countless hours of poor sleep, or a bruised ego. I’ve learned that being able to bounce back from those moments by putting on blinders and moving forward, building resilience and faith that you can keep going is extremely important to the success of your business.

 

We’re about to start a fundraising process, which is something totally new to me. I’ve never had to ask for money, or go into a room of predominantly men and talk about periods and why they should fund that. Although these things make me feel overwhelmed, I think you need to give yourself space to embrace it and grow into it.

Lauren's Recommendations

HIBTstacked_Color_RGB.jpg

How I Built This

Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.

74cb75bab2243992e98fab5156007185827084cf

All My Relations

A podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) to explore our relationships— relationships to land, to our creatural relatives, and to one another.

2ad66d-1_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Asana

Track, manage, and connect your projects across any team with Asana

  • Instagram
  • Twitter