Meet the Founders

A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDERS, ANA KERTESZ & SAM JAYANTI

Hi! We’re Sam & Ana - founders of The IdeaMix. We met as Harvard Business School students and have been good friends since. We’re career changers and entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners. We love sharing stories, inspiration, insights and resources.  We started The IdeaMix because we shared a vision for a community of self driven individuals who want to find their best work lives and love living them.    

 

We grew up in a wide variety of countries between us where the values of education, learning, collaboration and family were very strong. We were also taught that to whom much is given, from them much is expected.

 

We knew we could do anything we wanted - it was just a matter of figuring out the obstacle course we’d have to navigate to get there.  Life is full of ups and downs. The test of who we are is how we overcome the downs and retain our humility on the ups. 

 

We learned not to rest on our successes and achievements because there was always something more to learn or a new way to evolve.  We learned not to dwell on the depths of our sadness and disappointments because in the words of Kelly Clarkson more recently and Friedrich Nietzsche originally, "what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger."

Work is an integral part of our lives. Work gives us meaning and purpose. We are convinced that all of us can, and should have a work life that we love, rewarding our talents & passions and complementing our lifestyle. The stories we share show you just that. 

We’ve done a lot of different things between us.  We’ve done deals and made investments at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. We’ve explored business and creative sides at publishers Random House and HarperCollins. We’ve worked at the Peninsula Participacoes family office in private equity and venture capital investing, working closely with start ups, entrepreneurs and Boards. We’ve worked with former spies in corporate intelligence at G3/ Kinnevik. We’ve worked in Silicon Valley at Palantir.  We have had Board roles in different for profit and non-profit organizations. 

We were lucky to have attended amazing educational institutions: Harvard College and Harvard Business School.  They prepared us for some of what we encountered in our work lives. But there was so much more we had to figure out for ourselves. We did it by learning from friends, peers, mentors, bosses and professionals. We did it by consuming media in all forms that caused us to think about ideas and apply them to ourselves. We did it by being honestly assessing ourselves. We did it while making tons of mistakes and learning from them.

We have solved many problems, dared, lead, learned, created,  mentored, built. We have found ways to bring our ideas to life. To make it happen. We navigated our careers through various twists and turns: changing jobs, switching industries, romantic partnerships, family commitments.

As we were contemplating what to do next, we read dozens of books, looked at dozens of online platforms, attended several events, Talked to friends, family, acquaintances, work colleagues, professionals, and could not get an answer. How can you change your career? How can you start a business? Become an influencer, or a writer, or a solopreneur? Or anything you want? How can you get essential inspiration and resources that is relatable and actionable? 

 

We realized that our frustration was real. Despite the overwhelming amount of resources available, people, at different life stages, in different geographies, are struggling to live a life with purpose & meaning, that brings them joy and is rewarding. And we know this is possible and real.

 

So we decided to build just that. A destination for people to explore, grow, inspire, learn, enable and act to live their best, authentic lives. 

Join us at The IdeaMix. We are building a community to exchange the most varied and relatable stories, the most essential ideas & inspiration, and the most actionable insights for you to make it happen.

 

Life is a continuous flow of self-improvement, change and learning. And we want to be there with you, all along your journey. 

 

Thank you to all of our team members, collaborators, supporters and all of you who believe that we can change how the world exchanges inspiration and real experience to turn what we love into what we live. 

Ana Kertesz

Co-Founder

 

Ana worked in M&A, dealmaking, investing and derivatives during her 13 years at Goldman Sachs in NYC and Sao Paulo. She then worked as Executive Director in private equity, venture capital, strategic investments and fund raising at family office Peninsula Participacoes. Confronted by her own need for inspiration on her next endeavor, Ana felt the urge to develop an engaging and scalable solution to help people take action to create a fulfilling work life. Ana has served as a mentor, advisor and board member to different start ups and non-profit organizations. She currently lives in the greater NYC area with her husband and 3 kids.

Ana - Fun Facts

I truly value: 

My family, friendship, truth, fairness, determination, nature.

A happy place:

My home with music, good food, family & friends. And the beach. Always. 

My superpowers:

Energy, getting the big picture, people, communication, planning ahead, loyalty, grit, resilience, generosity, juggling. 

I need to improve:

Ask my husband, my kids, my parents, my brother and Sam! Perfectionism, criticism, anxiety.

I cannot go a day without: 

Definitely need and love sports. Tennis, yoga, biking, strength, skiing. Tea. People. 

The first thing I bought with my money: 

Tough! I hope it was a gift for my mom and dad. Or maybe gum or stickers.

My favorite drink:

Water (wait, what?). And for every other occasion wine, spiked seltzer, and now tequila with lime (thanks, Sam).

My wellness philosophy:

Sleep well, eat well, drink water, do lots of sports, stretch, walking meditation, laughing, reading and being grateful.

 

Ana - Up Close & Personal

I was born in Brazil in a family of European immigrants made of people who have created their own independent paths: small business owners, artists, architects and creatives, who value authenticity, determination, resilience and believing that we can craft the best lives we want to live. Traveling and seeing the world were my passions since I was a child. Every penny I made, I saved to travel and study abroad. That passion & determination took me to Seattle, Europe, Boston, NYC and many other places.

 

I became enchanted with the world of dealmaking, investing and finance at an early age. After a few internships, I started working at Goldman Sachs very young and ended up spending 13 incredible and intensive years there. The strategizing of the deals, the adrenaline of the negotiation process, the excitement of getting a deal done, I loved it all. And I was lucky to have had many entrepreneurial opportunities during my many years at Goldman Sachs, from helping to build a new business to helping lead the build up of a whole new region.

 

I then felt I needed a different platform to bring my ideas to life. Working closely with a family of very successful entrepreneurs at Peninsula was an incredible experience, in which I was able to work closely with start ups, founders, and investors, and learned a lot about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and make a real difference in the world.

 

I have to say that our decision to move with our family back from Brazil to the U.S. has been a huge exercise of letting go of a well established life and job, of the proximity with family and friends, in search of a new life with more freedom and security, with a higher quality of life and an entrepreneurship haven.

Upon our move, I took a deep dive into exploring ideas of what to do next, how to leverage my talents and passions, while allowing me to have a balanced lifestyle. In this process, I realized how difficult career transitions are. I was shocked to see so many talented people doing something that is not fulfilling to them, feeling lost and overwhelmed by the amount of resources available, feeling lonely and a complete lack of support, and many people just accepting a work life that has no meaning to them. 

 

I became obsessed with the theme of finding a way to leverage technology to scale solutions to help people get the best inspiration and actionable ideas to live heir best, authentic lives. More than one year researching and creating different product ideas, and endless sleepless nights thinking about the theme. Then Sam and I came together and realized we were thinking about similar ideas and decided to embark on the journey to build The IdeaMix. The most thrilling journey of my life! 

 

Samhita Jayanti

Co-Founder

 

Sam has worked in finance, publishing, consulting and technology over her career. Throughout, Sam has given way to her evolving interests, passions, intellectual curiosity and people instincts in making her career pivots. She has been driven by her curiosity about new industries and desire to learn. Sam lived in 8 different countries before the end of high school. She has lived in New York City since 1997 and is married with 3 children. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Americares, a large health care focused global non-profit.

Sam - Fun Facts

I truly value: 

Family, work ethic, persistence, constant evolution, people.

A happy place:

Anywhere I am together with my love, children, extended family and my two dachshunds, Poppy & Linus. 

My superpowers:

Resilience, loyalty, ability to problem solve, ability to learn and adapt, friendship, adventure.

I need to improve:

Over-committing to things. My phobia of roaches. 

I cannot go a day without: 

Reading. Green juice. Tea. Exercise even if it is walk.

The first thing I bought with my money: 

Dinner for friends. 

My favorite drink:

My family have taken to calling it The Sam: tequila with lots of lime juice and sparkling water with rocks and salt.

My wellness philosophy:

Balance. Food - a bit of everything in moderation, Different types of exercise which must include yoga. Time with family and time to myself.  Sleep!

Sam - Up Close & Personal

No way to beat around this bush.  My biggest life challenge came when I lost my parents and brother at the age of 12. Tough few years right after don’t begin to describe it. But in that sea of sadness, there was a lot of good, a lot of self awareness and a lot of learning for me. Love and care from my surrogate family surrounded me. I was forced to formulate my own belief system with all the influences around me and the things I’d learned from my family to figure out the right path for myself.  I built amazing friendships and had support and advice from so many mentors who counseled me.

Arriving at Harvard College after spending 2 years obsessing about how I needed to leave India, I was miserable at first.  But then I made friends, discovered the wealth of education and resources that surrounded me and began exploring my interests to find myself. I started my career in finance in New York City at a time when it was all about Wall Street.  I realized a couple of years in that finance wasn’t my calling. I went to Harvard Business School hoping to figure out what my career path would be. There too, I found amazing resources and people but no ready answers. I decided to follow my curiosity.  

I spent a few years in publishing thinking I wanted to be a writer.  When I sat down to write, I had an expectation that magical words were simply going to flow out of me onto the page. Surprise, surprise that didn’t happen.  I learned what good writing was though along the way and realized that I was too social a personality to be able to write or edit which were both relatively solitary endeavors.

I can’t express the excitement I felt when I met a bunch of former spooks and investigative journalists who became my partners and colleagues at investigative consulting firm G3.  We rode a wave with an amazing team and riveting work but as with all good things, they come to an end at some point.

So I'll admit I'm a little ADD.  Aren’t we all? After learning all I did at G3 and Kinnevik, I was ready for something different.  My curiosity led me to tech and I met Palantir - a diverse group of people who came together around a powerful shared mission of making sense of the world’s data.  I got hooked on tech in Silicon Valley, but then realized I needed a different forum to deploy my skills.

In hindsight, I had the privilege to work in several different industries, with amazing people, and develop so many skills.  When Ana and I came together and realized we were both passionate about the same idea: helping people figure out what they love to do and craft a life doing just that. When Ana and I began brainstorming the idea, the circuit completed and we began our journey of building The IdeaMix.

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