Ryan Harwood – Founder & CEO, PureWow

Ryan Harwood is the CEO of PureWow, a digital media company that specializes in women’s lifestyle content. Harwood founded PureWow in 2010 after noticing a void in the digital landscape for the Upper Millennial and Gen X female. PureWow publishes original content that provides unique, under-the-radar discoveries related to fashion & beauty, food & travel, home decor, technology, recipes, health, and more.

Prior to starting PureWow, Ryan worked for Goldman Sachs for five years and was instrumental in the development of the newly formed Goldman Sachs Private Bank. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Ryan was a two-time captain of the men’s varsity tennis team at Penn and also played professional tennis during the 2003-2004 season.

1. How do you define success?
Happiness. Everyone gets there in different ways, but if you’re happy, then you’re successful.

2. What is the key to success?
Understanding what makes you happy. Self-awareness and a deep understanding of who you truly are.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I knew that I would die trying. Never giving up is something that makes me happy. Grit. Hustle. Compassion. Integrity. I knew that if I stayed true to myself and those principles, I could hold my head high and sleep well at night.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Everything that was taught to me by my parents at a young age. It’s in my DNA to never give up. Time and time again, it’s proven to be fruitful. When things seem most bleak, go head down and continue working hard. Your defining moment may arrive when you feel surrounded by adversity.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. I try not to let obstacles affect me for long periods of time. Sulk about it for a few minutes and then forget about it and move on. Also, the fact that indecision is the worst decision. Don’t mull for too long. Gather facts and opinions, go with your gut, and make a decision. You can always learn from your mistakes.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love the NBA. Going to Knicks games is my home away from home. All stress disappears when I am at MSG. Playing tennis, the gym, making playlists on my 1996 iPod, and spending time with my family and my friends.

7. What makes a great leader?
Confidence, conviction, honesty, and a very high emotional IQ.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
You’re not supposed to know what you want to do forever, yet. Try something you think you may like and go from there. The process of elimination is sometimes the best way to the answer. I started my career in one area of finance, quickly moved to another area of finance, and now work in media and technology. Work hard and be nice to everyone, and it all works out the way it should.

This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.