From Bourées to Purées: Meet Our COO
Across puzzles to projects to products, Stephanie’s approach to solving life’s challenges is beautifully unconventional.
Q: When did you first learn about nutrition?
A: I studied ballet pretty seriously from 5 to 15, so there was high pressure to stay skinny, and so my introduction to nutrition wasn't the healthiest. Celery was popular, because we thought the effort of chewing and digesting it took up more calories than it contained (this is not true, fyi). I used to hide my candy bars and lie about my weight, because being 5'5" and 110 pounds meant I was an elephant (this is also not true). Nobody should feel that way. Food is fuel; it's necessary, not evil.
Q: Did you want to be a ballerina when you grew up?
A: It alternated between that, a princess, or an assassin. Not because of the job, but because of the costumes. Really the best would have been a combination of all three. No one would see that coming. Turns out, I'm not remotely qualified for any of them. To be fair, I haven't felt totally qualified for most of my jobs.
Q: You've had an interesting career path. Can you tell us about that?
A: Basically every job I've had has been a result of random chance. As a result, I've crossed a wide swath of industries: newspaper editing, interior design, test prep, baseball card production, transit ticketing software, and now food. The point is, paths don't need to be linear to lead somewhere.
Q: Which of your traits are you most proud of?
A: My ability to think logically and creatively. My favorite feedback I've ever received was from a Cornell classmate who said, "I've never seen anyone solve problems like you do." My mom used to give me logic puzzles to keep me entertained, and when I was older I used to take the LSAT for fun. Solving puzzles, approaching problems from different angles and improving processes have been key skills in my career as both a project and product manager. I'd say I think outside the box, but really, who said there has to be a box there at all?
Q: Hold up, you used to take the LSAT for fun?
A: Yep. I worked at Kaplan and had access to the tests once they were published. To be fair, I also used to edit Kaplan's official explanations, so it made sense to first take the test. But aside from that, I'd do Logic Games when I had a few minutes and wanted to relax.
"You'll regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did. The best experiences in my life have resulted from risks."
Co-Founder and COO
Q: What three adjectives are most important to you?
A: Creativity, integrity, competence.
Q: What was the best piece of business advice you've gotten?
A: Someone recently said to me that "the key to finding your path is to identify something that makes you angry, and fix it." The more common advice to "follow your passion" has always frustrated me. Starting Levelle was the first time I've felt passionately about my work, and it came about because we discovered an imbalance that infuriated us enough that we had to address it. Also, don't go to business school right out of college. It's so much more rewarding when you have context.
Unrelated, my favorite piece of advice from an old boss is this: "Brush the teeth you want to keep."
Q: What is your no-fail go-to when you need a pick-me-up?
A: I take a dance class. When you're trying to remember choreo, you don't have time to fret about anything else. Or I disappear into a fantasy book.
Q: What is your personal or professional motto?
A: You'll regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did. The best experiences in my life have resulted from risks.
Q: What does the world need more of? Less of?
A: Less talking. More listening. Definitely more spontaneous group song-and-dance numbers.