Corey Spiegel, Founder & CEO, Light House

Corey Spiegel is the founder and CEO of Light House, a diverse and inclusive global community of women having meaningful conversations about real life issues affecting many of us. It’s a place to find yourself, whether lost, needing guidance, or looking to have worthwhile discussions through interactive classes, events and retreats. She left the corporate world as a senior executive in the entertainment space after 25 years to venture into brighter territory, using her life lessons to grow an engaging outlet for conversations and learning. Ms. Spiegel is a sought-after moderator on matters such as empowerment, pro-aging, entrepreneurship, personal growth, and overall health and wellness.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Corey shared her professional trajectory, the inspiration behind establishing Light House, the secret sauce behind her successful career, future plans, pearls of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Corey. Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise.

I began my career as a senior advertising executive who spent two decades working for big companies like Warner Bros, Ellen, Playboy, and Extra.

Balancing marriage, career, motherhood, and life was not easy for me. I craved a place to get real with other women facing similar challenges in life, someplace I could gain perspective and guidance on a shared experience and hopefully find community in the process. I had reported to a board of directors professionally and had a vast community of women around me, but that level of support was missing in my personal life. I wanted experienced, unbiased advisors who were willing to provide honest counsel, mentorship, and wisdom about life. I created Light House, a diverse and global community of women who are having personal conversations that are transparent, refreshing, and real, with the vision of creating a “Board of Directors for your personal life.” Light House creates a confidential and judgment-free space for engaging dialogue that not only allows women to hear and learn from others, but also to renew their own sense of appreciation, empowerment, and passion for life.

In your recent post, you mentioned that taking time for oneself isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity. You also shared that especially for women striving for empowerment and success in every aspect of their lives, finding moments to pause and rejuvenate is crucial. For someone who is passionate in the luxury sustainability space, can you please shed light on this topic and how a wellness retreat isn’t just a break from the daily grind, rather it’s an investment in our well-being, offering benefits that ripple through every area of our lives?

Absolutely, taking time for oneself, especially in the pursuit of empowerment and success, is vital. In the luxury sustainability space, where the emphasis is on both opulence and conscientious living, this becomes even more poignant. Wellness retreats in this context serve as more than just a respite from the daily hustle; they are strategic investments in our holistic well-being. Luxury sustainability isn’t just about what we consume externally but also internally. Wellness retreats often focus on mindful eating, encouraging participants to savor nutritious, locally sourced, and sustainable cuisine. This practice extends beyond the retreat, influencing our everyday dietary choices, promoting better health, and reducing our environmental footprint. Many wellness retreats are situated in pristine natural settings, providing a much-needed escape from urban chaos. Spending time in nature has been linked to reduced stress levels, improved mood, and enhanced creativity. These benefits persist long after the retreat ends, enabling individuals to approach their work and personal lives with renewed vigor and clarity. Luxury sustainability encompasses not only environmental stewardship but also the well-being of individuals and communities. Wellness retreats often offer a diverse range of holistic practices, such as yoga, meditation, spa treatments, and mindfulness workshops. These experiences foster self-awareness, emotional resilience, and inner peace, empowering individuals to navigate life’s challenges with grace and authenticity. Wellness retreats also provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for sustainability and personal growth. These connections can lead to lasting friendships, professional collaborations, and a sense of belonging in a supportive community.

Feeling supported and understood is essential for women striving for empowerment and success in male-dominated industries. The benefits of a wellness retreat extend far beyond the duration of the experience. By prioritizing self-care and holistic well-being, individuals cultivate habits that sustain them in the long run. They become more resilient to burnout, more effective leaders, and better equipped to balance their personal and professional lives. This ripple effect positively impacts not only the individual but also their families, workplaces, and broader communities. In essence, a wellness retreat in the luxury sustainability space is not just a momentary escape; it’s an investment in our physical, mental, and spiritual health, with dividends that enrich every facet of our lives. It aligns perfectly with the ethos of luxury sustainability, which seeks to harmonize opulence with ethical responsibility and personal fulfillment.

Working in a historically male-dominated industry, what has been your journey breaking down barriers and stepping into leadership roles?

Breaking down barriers in male-dominated industries requires a combination of confidence, authenticity, communities of support, advocacy, continuous learning, resilience, and persistence. Women can drive meaningful change and create more inclusive and equitable workplaces by actively challenging the status quo and supporting one another. Confidence is critical too. Building confidence often involves recognizing and embracing your strengths, seeking out mentors or role models, and continually challenging yourself to grow and learn. Authenticity is a powerful tool for breaking down barriers as well. Being true to oneself and one’s values can help build trust and respect among peers and superiors. It’s essential to embrace your unique perspective and contributions rather than trying to conform to traditional expectations. As women break down barriers and step into leadership roles, they pave the way for future generations of women in the industry. Leading by example and serving as mentors and sponsors can help empower other women to pursue leadership positions. Breaking down barriers in a male-dominated industry is not always easy and may involve facing setbacks and challenges along the way. Developing resilience and perseverance are crucial for navigating obstacles and continuing to strive for success.

How do you unplug and step away from work?

Unplugging and stepping away from work is not only beneficial but it also improves your productivity and effectiveness when you return. It’s not easy to do and is most certainly something that I have to practice on a daily basis. For me, it starts by establishing clear boundaries between work and personal time. This helps me cultivate a healthier relationship with my work and enables me to enjoy a more balanced and fulfilling life. I also continue to develop a wind-down routine at the end of the workday to signal to my brain that it’s time to transition out of work mode. I do incorporate mindfulness practices into my day to help cultivate awareness and presence. Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation help me stay grounded and present in the moment.

What is the one lesson learnt that’s unique to being a woman leader?

One unique lesson that female business leaders often learn is the importance of being assertive yet compassionate. This involves balancing assertiveness with warmth which can be a delicate art for women in leadership. Research has shown that women are often penalized for exhibiting assertive behavior that is perceived as “aggressive” or “bossy.” Female leaders have to learn to navigate this by finding ways to assert themselves confidently while also cultivating relationships and demonstrating empathy. This is why our most popular series for female leaders is so valuable. It’s so important to build a strong support network of other women in similar roles or industries. These networks provide a safe space for sharing experiences, insights, and strategies for navigating challenges unique to women in leadership. Balancing professional and personal responsibilities can be particularly challenging for women in leadership positions, especially those who also have caregiving responsibilities at home. We have to learn to prioritize self-care, set boundaries, and delegate effectively to manage our work-life integration successfully.

You have been a recipient of prestigious awards and accolades over the years including being recently named as one of the Top 50 Female Leaders in Los Angeles and also have been featured in The Wall Street Journal; The Miami Herald; NBC News; and Luxury Travel Magazine. What is the secret sauce behind your successful career?

The biggest secret to growth is that there are no secrets. Be patient with yourself. It’s not about changing overnight. It’s about putting in a little effort each day and remembering that the more your practice, the easier the changes come.

Which one of your accomplishments makes you the proudest to date?

When you’re doing what you love, you’re often aligning your actions with your core values and passions. This is the case for me. My work brings me a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, knowing that I’m living authentically and in accordance with what truly matters to me. Doing what I love has a positive impact not only on myself but also on those around me. It’s so inspiring when I witness others pursuing their passions, speaking their truth, or creating something that has meaning and impact for my community. Doing what you love is an accomplishment because it allows you to live authentically, find purpose and meaning, experience personal growth, and leave a lasting legacy. It’s about living life on your own terms and finding fulfillment in the pursuit of your passions.

What is your mantra behind striking a work-life balance?

I prefer to strive for harmony rather than perfect balance. Achieving equilibrium between work and personal life is an ongoing process that typically ebbs and flows depending on circumstances. Cultivating harmony by integrating work and personal responsibilities that feel balanced is always going to be challenging. This may involve flexibly adjusting your priorities, schedules, and activities to accommodate changing needs and circumstances. It’s never going to be perfect.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I hope that I will always be evolving and learning no matter what I do. I allow myself the room to remember that my plans and priorities may change over time, and that it’s okay to adapt and adjust my vision for the future as needed. I know that the key is to set clear goals, take proactive steps towards achieving them, and remain open to new opportunities and experiences that come along the way.

What advice do you have for aspiring women professionals who are just starting out?

For women who are just starting out in their careers, here are some key pieces of advice I would offer up:

Know Your Worth: Recognize your value and the contributions you bring to the table. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for fair compensation, advocate for yourself, and assert your worth in professional settings.

Seek Mentorship and Support: Surround yourself with mentors, sponsors, and supportive colleagues who can provide guidance, advice, and opportunities for growth. Look for both male and female mentors who can offer different perspectives and insights.

Invest in Continuous Learning: Commit to lifelong learning and professional development. Seek out opportunities to expand your skills, knowledge, and expertise through courses, workshops, certifications, and networking events.

Build Your Network: Cultivate a strong professional network of contacts within your industry and beyond. Attend networking events, join professional associations, and connect with peers, mentors, and potential collaborators both online and offline.

Take Risks and Embrace Failure: Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and step outside of your comfort zone. Embrace failure as an opportunity for learning and growth, and don’t let setbacks deter you from pursuing your goals.

Speak Up and Be Assertive: Practice speaking up assertively and advocating for your ideas, opinions, and contributions. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself in meetings, negotiations, and other professional interactions.

Find Your Voice and Authenticity: Discover your unique voice and leadership style, and don’t be afraid to let your authenticity shine through in your work and interactions. Be true to yourself and your values and strive to make a positive impact in everything you do.

Stay Resilient and Persistent: Building a successful career takes time, effort, and resilience. Stay resilient in the face of obstacles, setbacks, and rejection, and remain persistent in pursuing your goals and aspirations.

Support Other Women: Lift as you climb by supporting and empowering other women in your field. Celebrate their successes, advocate for their advancement, and foster a culture of inclusivity and collaboration wherever you go.

Remember that every journey is unique, and it’s okay to make mistakes, change direction, and evolve over time. Stay true to yourself, keep learning and growing, and believe in your ability to achieve your dreams and make a difference in the world.

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