She has one of those success stories that we all dream about. Originally from Owatonna, Minnesota she was newly graduated from the Iowa State University in 2008- perhaps one of the worst times to be on a job search. Eventually she got not one but three job offers and she opted for the lowest paying job in Los Angeles. She packed up her 2000 Chevy Malibu and drove across the country to her new home in Van Nuys. She went on a test run before her first day of work to her new office. It was only 15 miles away from where she lived, so should take around 20 minutes to drive?! Except… thats not the way it works in Los Angeles. Two and a half hours later she quickly learned there were more ropes to her new life than she anticipated. Fast forward eight years and she is the CEO of EightSixtySouth, a prestigious PR Firm located in Downtown LA. Read on to learn about Kelly’s typical morning and evening routines. We can all use tips on how achieve that work/life balance, especially from those who are managing it well!
I’m Kelly Howard. I’m the CEO of EightSixtySouth (formerly Post+Beam), a strategic communications agency headquartered in LA. I acquired Post+Beam at the end of 2016, and have since taken the business through a full rebrand – hence EightSixtySouth. Aside from getting to do what I love every day, I have an affinity for good food, fitness, exploring the city, and inspiring young women to work towards their goals… and, of course, a good pair of heels and a killer happy hour margarita.
I’ve always been a morning person and love waking up with the sun to give myself enough time to mentally prep for the day. If I’m not woken up by my alarm, I’m woken up by Bella, my rescue pup who’s part dachshund, part chihuahua – and 100% love. I’m a sucker for her morning cuddles and can’t get out of bed without getting in a few.
Then, as much as I hate to admit it, I grab my phone and check my email, giving everything a quick half-asleep scan.
Once I’m up, it’s straight to the kitchen to brew some coffee, followed by an hour of “me” time – re-checking those emails, scrolling through social media, and catching up on my inbox newsletters. A few favs include The Skimm, Fashionista… and of course, Bond Twenty.
Time to sweat. Maintaining a work-life balance has become more and more important to me as I’ve gotten older and immersed myself in entrepreneurship. And taking the time to take care of yourself – working out, eating well, and unplugging – are crucial to success… and staying sane.
My workouts are one of the favorite parts of my day – I will confess that it is sometimes difficult to motivate myself to get out the door, but once you’re in it, you never regret it. I make sure to mix it up to never get bored (and to challenge the body). When it comes to workouts, a few favorites include the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, which I do at my home gym, cardio mixed with high-intensity sprints at Equinox in West Hollywood, yoga at different studios around the city, or the combination of core, weights and spin at The Wall Fitness on Sunset as part of their unique 123 Stack workout.
Coffee, check. Workout, check. With those under my belt, I head over to my newest spending addictions, Dry Bar and Blushington – both on-demand beauty services that make me look fab while still allowing me to get my work done.
While sitting in traffic is never ideal in LA, my commute to the office in DTLA allows me to, again, recenter and focus on the day ahead. On the drive in, I try to make it a habit to listen to Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s daily meditation challenge. It’s a welcome reprieve from the constant stimulus we often to subject ourselves to in the car and elsewhere – music, checking email & social media, responding to texts, etc. This month’s challenge is particularly interesting as it addresses our relationship to time – encouraging you to experience time as a journey and making each moment matter, as opposed to letting time (or the lack there of) be a stressor.
When I arrive at the office, I check in with the team on their daily priorities and begin my day – sorting through and responding to emails I hadn’t addressed that morning, following up and pursuing new business opportunities, and taking calls and meetings with clients, team members and prospective partners throughout the day. We work in an open office environment, so we all try and take a few moments to catch up and have some fun too. Oh, and we have puppies in the office as well.
I typically head home sometime between 6-7pm, catching up with loved ones on the commute home. If I’m not out at an event or catching up with a colleague, my evenings are pretty relaxed, cooking a new recipe I found on Pinterest or watching one of my favorite shows – a welcome contrast to a hectic day where you’re expected to be “on” 100 percent of the time. As work-life balance has become more important, I also try to be present when at home, leaving my computer and phone on the charger.
If I am out and about, there’s a good chance you’ll find me in the neighborhood at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood.
My bed typically calls between 10:30 – 11pm. I make sure to wash my face and go through my nighttime skincare ritual, then hop into bed for one last scroll through my email and social channels. Then it’s off to sleep until that alarm rings… or Bella decides she’s ready for breakfast.
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Photos via @eightsixtysouth