Hoya Highlight: Monica Byrne Ferguson (B'00)

Monica Byrne Ferguson

CoFounder, Solemates

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career?

There have been a lot of rewarding moments as an entrepreneur, but I think when Oprah Winfrey devoted a half page in her magazine and called my invention/product "genius." That was great.

What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?

I wish I had learned basic HTML/CSS earlier in my career.

What trends do you see in your profession or industry?

As a retail brand, we are constantly navigating the changing face of brick and mortar retail (i.e. its decline), as well as how to strike the right balance in the digital space with the investment that goes into our branded website in a world dominated by Amazon.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done professionally?

For sure it was the decision to leave Goldman (the second time) to start my company.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

Georgetown helped me understand what it was to have the courage of my convictions, and the importance of acting in accordance with my beliefs.

What was your favorite professor or class at Georgetown?

"Advanced Financial Management" (unlikely a common answer). It was the first class that showed me how numbers tell the story of a business. Accounting did not do that for me!

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?

Any memory that involves spending time with my friends—whether it was a class project, a dinner, or just sitting around our house. It was all so much fun.

Who is a source of inspiration and strength to you in your life and why?

My parents. They raised four children, have demanding careers, more friends than they can handle, and they have always made time for everyone and everything. I am inspired by their work ethics, sacrifice, and energy.

What is on your desk right now?

An old fashion (paper) date book, an amazon Echo, a bottle of SmartWater, a to-do list, and a mess of sample products and packaging

Who is your favorite author?

Amor Towles, Jonathan Franzen, and Kristin Hannah

What is one part of your daily routine you couldn't live without?

Coffee and exercise

What are your words to live by?

"Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder" (Gilbert K. Chesterton), but I erroneously attributed it to David Brooks for years.