Part of being the CEO of Exhale Lifestyle means that Sandra Casagrand herself is learning how to inhale… and exhale. Founded in 2009 and re-launched in 2018, Exhale Lifestyle is the go-to destination for busy women who want to simplify their lives. Exhale’s comprehensive guides help women navigate entrepreneurship, wellness, money management, travel and more with ease.
How did Exhale come into being?
Exhale Magazine was a project that I started in 2009. I was co-publisher of a weekly newspaper when I started Exhale. I thought it would just be one issue, but I wanted to do it because there were so many missing stories about women in the media space. I ended up publishing 12 issues from 2010-2012 without extra staff or funding. It was a popular product that had interested investors who wanted to see me grow the business model. I had to stop it in 2012 due to challenging financial issues with the newspaper. My husband was also having serious health issues. In early 2018 I formed a new company and received funding to relaunch Exhale under a new business model. It took that many years!
What are some ways you maintain work/life balance?
Part of my desire to start Exhale (and why I called it Exhale) was my own challenges of juggling work and life. I felt exhausted trying to do it all and do it well. I wanted to connect with other women to find out how they did it! I often found myself asking “How did she do that?!” I have not mastered the work/life juggle, but I’m getting better at it and I do take a lot of the advice that we write about in Exhale!
What is one piece of technology or software that you regularly use, that has helped you be
successful and that you can’t live without?
Well of course, my mobile phone that serves as my office/fitness tracker/social connections! I really need to monitor how much of it I use… I find my attention span is getting shorter and shorter! But it is a necessary tool today.
Dependable Cleaners is an organization that cares about how its customers look and feel. We
strive to understand and communicate the different ways that people find inspiration for their
clothing style. What or who has significantly influenced your clothing/attire style?
My personal style is influenced by my early formative years living abroad and seeing women that really embraced their own unique styles. I learned to not be afraid to express yourself! I really love quality fabrics, which is why I need a dependable dry cleaner.. this is not a paid plug! Your company’s name is very apt! Most of my clothes require dry cleaning and your quick turnaround time has been so wonderful, and I have had no damage done to any of my delicate fabrics.
Was there any one person who has been influential to you as a leader?
I really can’t say that there has been any one person that has influenced my leadership style. But the common trait that I most have admired and want to emulate is thoughtfulness. I want to treat people in a way that I would want to be treated.
If you could impart one piece of advice onto young entrepreneurs, what would it be?
For young women entrepreneurs I would say make sure your life partner is going to be supportive – both in your career aspirations and on the home front. Once you start having children, your plans can go haywire without a strong support system. It really can make the difference. Make sure that your life has that balance of work and personal life.
What leadership books, courses or other educational material do you think every female leader should read?
I have to admit that I’ve been so busy this last year I have not had the time to read leadership books, but I have listened to a wide variety of podcasts from women that I find helpful. I especially gravitate to topics of startups – and the challenges they face. It helps to know that you’re not alone in some of the feelings you have when running a startup.
Provide 3 tips you think every young leader should know:
Lead by example, be confident but not arrogant, and use your power to drive change.
Are you actively involved in charitable organizations or causes?
The charities that I have supported over the years are related to women and children issues. Before I entered in the publishing world I worked at UNICEF New England, and I thought my career would be focused on women and children issues, but I ended up on a different career path. I love the work that The Girl Scouts do, as well as YWCA. I have volunteered at Rosie’s Place and plan on volunteering at The Women’s Lunch Place soon.