#MakingTime: A Day in the Life of a Female Founder and Food Entrepreneur

Lisa Curtis

Photo courtesy of Lisa Curtis


Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize when everything feels important on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.


Who: Lisa Curtis

What: Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli

Where: Oakland, California


6:15 a.m.

My alarm goes off with gentle chimes – it doesn’t take much to wake me in the mornings. I spend 15 minutes getting dressed, brushing my teeth and lacing up my running shoes before running down the dark streets of downtown Oakland. I pass people sleeping on the street and five different construction sites for high-rise buildings – the telltale signs of a neighborhood in transition.  

6:45 a.m. 

I arrive at my the house of my running buddy who lives near Lake Merritt. I generally get there a few minutes before she arrives, doing a few quick stretches as I take in the silent street. We run around the lake, chatting about our lives. I saw a running shirt once that said “Running is cheaper than therapy.” It’s certainly a motto that rings true for me.

7:30 a.m. 

I arrive home sweaty from a run around the lake and hop in the shower, putting on the "Moana" soundtrack and singing every word. Dry, lotioned and dressed, I turn off the music and put on my meditation app for a ten minute morning meditation. 

8:00 a.m. 

I walk my bike out of the garage and glide out onto the streets now bustling with commuters. I arrive at my office at 8:20 a.m. and immediately turn on the electric tea kettle. Soon my yerba mate and moringa superfood oatmeal are ready. I place them on my standing desk and flip open my computer. I go to my calendar first, mentally charting my day and circle the three things on my to-do list that I plan to accomplish.

1:00 p.m. 

I hear my stomach growl and realize that I’m hungry. I grab the glass tupware out of our commual office fridge and heat up the pasta and veggies from last night’s dinner. I wish I could say I didn’t eat at my desk but I almost always do. 

1:30 p.m. 

I noticed earlier that I have a call marathon – three 30 minute calls scheduled back to back with a potential investor, a member of the press and a potential partner. Noting that I don’t need my laptop for any of the conversations, I take the calls as I walk around the neighborhoods near our office, jotting down notes from each conversation and relishing in the California sunshine.

3:00 p.m. 

The rest of my day is filled with meetings and focused work time getting through my everchanging to-do list. The afternoon passes by quickly and before I know it our office is almost empty again. 

5:30 p.m.

I bike back to my apartment, turning on my bike lights and keeping a close watch-out for cars. I arrive home and kiss my husband who has also just arrived home. We toss our bags on the couch and start cooking dinner together. We divide up the jobs – me on chard, him on bell peppers and soon have a wonderful asian-themed stir-fry. He pours himself a glass of whiskey and I opt for a shandy. We chat about our days and any interesting news he read on his long commute home.

7:30 p.m.

We clean up the kitchen and then part ways. He heads to the media room and I bring my laptop over to the couch to clear my inbox of all the emails I hadn’t responded to during the swirl of meetings, phone calls and dedicated, focused work time. Emails often feel like the thing that can wait until my brain is at its low-point, which for me is later in the evening.

9:30 p.m. 

I switch off my computer and start brushing my teeth. My husband comes out the media room and jokingly berates me for not telling him it was bedtime! We get ready for bed together, often taking our time and chatting as we winddown. 

10:00 p.m.

My lavendar-scented eye mask is on and the rest of me soon follows, falling into a deep sleep. 


About Kuli Kuli:
Kuli Kuli’s founder Lisa Curtis got her first taste of moringa as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in Niger . As a vegetarian, she was eating mostly rice and millet — a diet that left her feeling sluggish. When she mentioned her fatigue to women at the community health center, they suggested she try moringa. She bought moringa leaves from a neighbor’s tree and mixed them with a popular peanut snack called kuli-kuli. She soon felt better and began to work with villagers to encourage them to use moringa. Lisa founded Kuli Kuli to help women in West Africa use more moringa locally and earn a sustainable livelihood by selling a portion of each harvest to the US.
After returning to the US, Lisa, along with co-founders Valerie Popelka , Jordan Moncharmont , and Anne Tsuei , launched Kuli Kuli through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign which raised $53,000, making it the most popular food campaign Indiegogo had ever had at the time. In 2015, Kuli Kuli announced an initiative with Whole Foods Market, the Clinton Foundation’s Haiti Program, and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance to plant hundreds of moringa trees in Haiti and sell a Moringa Green Energy Shot made with Haitian moringa. As part of this new initiative, Kuli Kuli launched a second crowdfunding campaign that raised $100,000 from over 500 people. This ambitious new project will help reforest Haiti with drought-tolerant moringa trees while providing Haitian smallholder farmers access to the growing market for moringa leaf powder. We are continuing to grow our moringa supply chain by providing fair, sustainable wages to farmers and women-led coops around the world.


Interested in contributing to Fairygodboss' #MakingTime series? Email [email protected] with "#MakingTime" in the subject line.