Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Lifeon iTunes, and stay tuned. We'll be releasing new episodes on Mondays.
If you thought that buying dishes was boring, it's time to think again, thanks to Kathryn Duryea, the founder and CEO of direct-to-consumer tableware brand Year & Day. Duryea certainly didn't take a linear path to be at the helm of the company that sells dishes to people like Eva Chen and Mandy Moore. After attending UC Berkley for chemical engineering, Duryea transferred to Georgetown before eventually taking a job as special assistant to the Office of the Vice President. She left that job for a worthy reason: to receive her MBA from Stanford. Later came a job in brand marketing at Tiffany & Co. and then the inception of Year & Day.
If you're not familiar, Year & Day is changing the way people shop for tableware. With its modern, minimalist dishes, flatware, and glassware at attainable prices, the brand has made fans out of Eva Chen (who owns gray and white pieces) and Mandy Moore (who favors the dusty pink plates). The San Francisco–based company has successfully taken the guesswork out of the thoroughly overwhelming task that is shopping for table settings. As Duryea told Kerr, "It was important to me to be able to provide our customers with the opportunity to buy everything they needed to set a table they love at Year & Day."
As you can see, Duryea's career path is fascinating, to say the least. Head to iTunes and subscribe to Second Life to find out how she went from the White House to Tiffany & Co. to starting Year & Day.