Modern Women Making Waves: Lisa Raja


Lisa Raja, Co-Founder, TRADEMOMS Our Modern Woman Making Waves this month is Co-Founder of TRADEMOMS and mother of two, Lisa Raja, who had a vision of creating a global platform, that advocates for moms wanting to find a balance between family and career. I met Lisa back when she started her first business, Iniam, a successful boutique on College Avenue in Oakland where my friends and I loved to shop. Here she was able to showcase her talents within fashion and create a space and women’s community where we could also gather for fundraising and social events. Since then, she has taken on management roles within top Bay Area retail start-ups such as Cuyana, Joyus and Threadflip. I was happy to reconnect with her recently and it was no surprise to me when she told me about the new online space she had created specifically for women as they transition in and out of the workforce. Lisa realized the need for mother’s to be able to have a flourishing family life along with their part-time work schedules. Her mission was to create a community that empowers stay at home and working moms, by offering them the resources to connect with one-another and re-define the traditional corporate America mold. I encourage you to visit her innovative site, sign up and join in the movement. She also has a fabulous MILM (Mothers I’d Like to Meet) Series blog which you should not miss!

Good advice is a gift — what is the best advice you’ve been given?

My dad is the most positive person I know. There is no downside in his eyes. He is especially positive when things are not so rosey. THAT has always struck a chord with me. He always says “Lis, be positive”. Goodness, it used to annoy me as I wasn’t always able to embrace his positivity. Over time, I can wholeheartedly say that walking through life wearing his positive goggles has truly shaped how I approach life. Yes, there are days where the world seems it’s going to explode, but I think learning to maintain a positive outlook on life has helped me rebound with strength and optimism. I am forever indebted to my father for that.

What is on the top of your bucket list?

My life dream is to open schools in Africa and India. Schools that will teach women a trade that will empower them to help support their families as well as schools that will provide an education for children that would otherwise not have access to a formal education. On a lighter note, but very much on my bucket list, I would do anything to step onto a Miami beach feeling like a rockstar in a white bikini.

Who would you invite to your ideal Girl’s Night?

Oprah. So not gonna happen but can you imagine how great it would be? Amazing conversation, giggles, and a therapy session! Of course, I’d invite all my closest girl friends. I’m a girl’s girl, so the more girlfriends I can gather together, the better.

What is your go-to piece of clothing?

That’s easy. My black blazer. It’s that one piece that I default to when I am in a hurry, don’t know what to wear and need to look pulled together. I am a “classic with a twist kind of girl” and love a crisp background that gives me the option to play with jewelry and fun shoes. My blazer sets the tone for that. I can wear and re-wear it, styling it differently each time.

What do you sing when you are alone in your car?

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a songbird. Truth be told, I don’t think I should be singing anywhere, even alone in the car. Although I don’t sing much, I do a lot of dancing while in the car. Yup, I’m one of ‘those’ people. Old school R&B and 90s hip hop really gets me grooving!

What was the best compliment you have received?

I’ve often been told that I give incredible hugs. Maybe it’s my southern roots, but I’m a hugger -- warm and tight.

How has your life been different than you imagined?

I grew up in a conservative family in Houston and I never ever thought I would live anywhere but Houston. I am super close to my family and truthfully, I never thought I would leave. After vacationing in San Francisco, Labor Day weekend 1999, I fell in love with the city and decided to move shortly thereafter. I arrived in SF without a job, friends or even a place to stay. Till this day I am not sure how my parents allowed it. Houston is a city I love and proud to be from, but after sixteen years in the Bay Area, this is my home and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Oh geez! Hmmmmm. Male celebrity crush has to be Matthew Mcconaughey. Swoon. My female celebrity crush -- J.LO! It’s almost a crime to age that beautifully.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

CAKE and as much Real Housewives of anywhere that I can watch. And if I could eat cake while watching the housewives, in bed, at night after my husband falls asleep (we don’t share the same passion for the housewives so it’s best if he’s sleeping) -- well, then I’d be in heaven.

What is your favorite museum?

Hands down, The Louvre. Paris is my birth city and in part why I am partial to it. However, the history, the architecture, the range of art and artists are all reasons why I love it. Being inside is where all the action is, but it’s also awe inspiring to admire it from the outside, especially at night.

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

Goodness this is going to sound so hokey pokey, but I am really sensitive to a person’s vibe. Either the vibe is inviting and warm and I want to know more or the vibe is off and I just move on.

ABOUT TRADEMOMS:"As mothers make the decision to step away from their careers to spend more time with their families, they often become burdened with thought of becoming less marketable or having their resumes become obsolete. With TRADEMOMS it is possible for moms to continue to use and sharpen their skills, by either selling or engaging in trade, while getting the things they want or need. TRADEMOMS is a community driven marketplace that gives moms a platform to trade or sell/purchase services and products with one another."