Staying Relevant & Versatile—In Business & Life with Adrienne Arieff

Interview by
Diane Danvers Simmons
Natalie Simmons
Published on
July 8, 2020

In this episode...

Serial entrepreneur, Adrienne Arieff, imparts wisdom for all stages of life and all environments (COVID-19 and otherwise!) around how to stay on top of your game both personally and professionally. In episode 15, we explore ambition, being present so we can be open to opportunities, the juggling act of the working mother, mentorship, and recreating yourself for the 21st-century job market. All of that and more with our girl crush, Adrienne Arieff!


Adrienne Arieff

Adrienne Arieff serves as Managing Director, Marketing for BECK Media. Her interests lie at the intersection of emerging technology and creating meaningful brands. A jack of many trades, she has been an advocate and doer in the mentorship space for over 10 years and runs non-profit, Project Mentor.


2:00 - Diane and Natalie introduce the guest of Episode 15, Adrienne Arieff, mother of twins, Gen-Xer, entrepreneur, brand strategist, author, mentor and SO much more! They chat about the theme of the episode: staying on top of our game both personally and professionally no matter what stage we are in or what is happening in the world at large.

4:00 - As the ladies kick off the conversation with Adrienne, Diane and Natalie reminisce about how they met Adrienne - through friend and previous podcast guest, Erica Gragg of Escape to Shape. Diane remarks on how Adrienne encouraged the ladies and helped inspire this very podcast. Natalie laughs about the “girl crush” she had on Adrienne when she first met her. 

7:00 - Adrienne shares her unique career pathway guided by her interests and ambition. She began in education at the UN and moved over to events at UNICEF, pivoted hard through guidance of a perceptive boss over to Vogue, worked in fashion PR at Burberry and then in fashion reviews in London. Next she was led by love and her future husband back to SF to work in communications, where she ultimately started her own agency, wrote 3 books, taught classes in digital marketing, launched a mentorship nonprofit and now leads as Managing Director at BECK Media, where she runs content, social media, brand marketing and more for the likes of TikTok, Facebook Watch, National Geographic, American Express Foundation and beyond!

11:30- Diane notes that Adrienne's “ambition is based in intuition.” And that by remaining open-minded she has been free to accept the “opportunities as they come and run with them.” 

12:00 - Adrienne introduces her passion project, Project Mentor, co-founded with creative Lauri Levenfeld. She defines mentorship saying, “Mentorship and being a mentee or a mentor keeps you accountable and moving forward. It’s great to seek out mentors in every phase of your life, both personally and professionally. Mentors can be your best friends, your colleagues. Mentorship can also be a moment in time—maybe someone has been an incredible mentor for you and then they’re done, and that’s ok too. I’ve had that, and that can be disappointing when they disappear, but you can appreciate what they’ve done for you.” 

13:30 - The women discuss how we go about recreating ourselves and the way we work both in times of crisis, eg COVID, and outside of it. Adrienne advises remaining fearless and jumping in alongside taking quiet moments and noticing the incredible things that can come from chaos. 

15:00 - Adrienne talks about her experience having children and the choices she made to balance work and raising her children. She says, “once I became a mom, I realized that I thrive off my work in many ways and that’s a huge part of me and in my DNA... so I needed to work a little bit to feel alive and then I loved having time to be a mother.”

16:00 - Natalie reflects on the pressures as a woman to “have it all”—be the good mom, have a good job, a nice home, make healthy meals for your family and so much more—and asks Adrienne how she navigates that.

16:40 - Adrienne shares the action-oriented lessons she learned from her parents - an art appraiser/ historian and doctor/scientist. Joking that she “took her parents’ model” for parenting, she is excited to be able to role model both being a loving mother and career-person for her children. 

17:30 - Adrienne remarks on how she likes to incorporate her kids into her work and beams over their creation of mission-driven, sweetness @kawaiicutenessformeals on Instagram in which the girls sell their own art to raise money for Meals on Wheels through JustGiving.com.

19:00 - Reflecting on the impact her mother had on her, Adrienne shares stories about her mother and the sense of responsibility and accountability she instilled in her; moreover, her influence on Adrienne to “surprise & delight” and “over-deliver” and how that has impacted her in her businesses. 

20:50- Natalie draws parallels to Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and states the 4th agreement - always try your best. 

21:40- The group pivots the conversation to work and how we can navigate the current economy. Adrienne discusses the impact of our financial stability, the opportunities in the (“gig economy” aka “picking up odd jobs” and taking the emphasis off of “having purpose” all of the time.  

23:00 - Adrienne reminds listeners to tap into their networks and the power they hold for each of us. Natalie pushes back on her to explain how we start the process of finding a mentor and Adrienne offers some  tips and resources provided by Project Mentor  and even LinkedIn. 

26:30 - Natalie reflects on her feelings of imposter syndrome when looking for jobs in previous years and getting comfortable with accepting that the worst that can happen is someone you reach out to - whether for a job or networking - says “no.”

27.30- Adrienne wraps up the mentorship conversation by stating that you can’t expect anything from mentorship, that it is a two-way street, and you must keep your expectations in check. 

29:00- In the conclusion of the episode, Adrienne jokingly offers her tip of the day to not become a Coronavirus expert, but remain cautiously optimistic. She brings it home by sharing her silver lining in the wake of COVID-19 which she shares she’s co-opted from others: around the gift of spending time with family and the ability to stop and be present. The group laughs about her morning mantra, “Be present today. Be present. Goddamnit, be present!”

As mentioned in the episode.

  1. Link to episode with Erica Gragg, Global Perspectives & Travel After COVID-19
  2. Visit BECK Media’s Webpage https://beckmedia.com/
  3. Visit Project Mentor homepage https://projectmentor.co/
  4. Visit and donate at @kauicuteness Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kawaiicutenessformeals/
  5. Check out The Four Agreements https://www.miguelruiz.com/the-four-agreements
  6. Learn more about the “gig economy”: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfrazer1/2019/02/15/how-the-gig-economy-is-reshaping-careers-for-the-next-generation/#7a4fea6d49ad
  7. Project Mentor resources for finding a mentor https://projectmentor.co/mentors/

Find out more about Project Mentor:

Visit the Project Mentor website: https://projectmentor.co/

Follow Project Mentor on Instagram: @project.mentor

Follow Project Mentor on Facebook: @projectmentorco

Follow Project Mentor on LinkedIn: @project-mentor

Connect with & follow Adrienne Arieff:

Follow Adrienne on Instagram:@adriennearieff

Follow & connect with Adrienne on LinkedIn

Read The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family -- Half a World Away

Read Fairy Tale Success Guide to Entrepreneurial Magic 


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