Ban.do's Jen Gotch on Crying at the Office and the Beauty of Oversharing

The wellness industry is expanding at a breakneck pace, and women are leading the charge. Our series I Want Her Job profiles the brand founders and influencers who are breaking the mold. Follow along as we learn about the ins and outs of their daily gigs, how they're looking to change the collective conversation, and what they envision for the future of wellness.

On my first day of the fashion internship that would ultimately become my first full-time job, a supervisor offered what she intended as sage advice. "Make sure no one ever sees you cry at the office," she said. "It's so unprofessional." Twenty-one-year-old me nodded, wide-eyed—and then proceeded to cry in the bathroom later that afternoon.

But when I tell Jen Gotch this little story over the phone, we both laugh. I knew that Gotch—the founder and CCO of the cult-beloved, happiness-oriented brand Ban.do—would appreciate and empathize with this impressionable experience. By opening up an honest discussion around mental health and offering an unfiltered look at her emotions on social media, she has earned a sizable following. In effect, Gotch is also chipping away at the old, tired notion that successful women better leave their emotions at the door.

Gotch didn't necessarily anticipate becoming an emblem for transparency around mental health but has embraced her newfound role nonetheless. "I didn't have anyone to talk to, and for some reason saying it publicly felt great," she says. "So the response was really icing on the cake, honestly, and has definitely guided probably the last year or six months." One of the byproducts is her aptly named podcast, Jen Gotch Is OK… Sometimes, which was launched via Girlboss Radio earlier this year. Episodes cover themes like therapy, rating your emotions, and Gotch's bipolar diagnosis—all told from her unflinchingly honest, upbeat, and often hilarious POV.

As Gotch and I speak about all this, my mind continues to drift back to that younger version of myself and the sheer terror that gripped me when my feelings inevitably made themselves known. Making space for my emotions and my mental state is a longwinded, hard-earned lesson that has radically changed me—which is why, like so many of Gotch's fans, I find her voice so refreshing and necessary.

With that in mind, I asked Gotch about "oversharing" on Instagram, embracing a non-linear career path, and where optimism overlaps with realism in the workplace. Take notes—she shares her thoughts below.