Anna and Annie + Werk
At Werk, Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean are rewriting the rules of an outdated workplace to make work compatible with the lives of ambitious women. By creating structures where care and career no longer conflict, they are blazing the trail for a new generation of women to achieve equal representation in leadership.
Werk is the world’s leading expert on flexibility and is committed to leveraging that expertise to provide value to its companies and members, in each case with a commitment to best-in-class customer service. At the heart of every decision they make is a commitment to building a better future for all people.
Why do you do what you do?
I keep referring to a quote from Jill Filipovic's new book, The H Spot: “[o]f course women can’t flourish in a system that needs us as support for someone else’s building. We’re here to prop it up, not live in it.” It's time to eliminate the structural and systemic disenfranchisement of women in leadership.
How do you balance your working relationship and your friendship?
We quit our jobs and had raised 300K after meeting each other in person twice. We met on a random phone call and spent the first 6 months remote from each other, so we really learned how to communicate. When Anna relocated her family to New York last memorial day, we actually moved into a summer beach house rental together and merged our families and lives and business. But we really took the time to build a deep friendship outside of Werk. Now our families are truly embedded and we hang out way too much outside of work. It's a family love fest.
Tell us about a failure you're grateful for.
Every failure is a gift, you just have to receive it that way. There have been dozens and dozens of failures we've experienced building Werk and when they happen we look at each other and say, "Ok, we learned this lesson now. Phew." We're grateful for the experience and the opportunity to learn.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Annie: The beach, a book, a great new playlist, a quiet, cozy, beautiful room
Anna: Travel, new places, yoga
When you were kids, what did each of you want to be when you grew up?
Annie: The President of the United States, a boss, a writer
Anna: A Marine Biologist, a doctor
What's the biggest lesson you've learned working together?
Working together has been transformative — it is an exceptionally healthy, respectful partnership. We have invested almost as much time and attention to the business as we have to our relationship — finding ways to communicate better, know each other better, and ultimately understand ourselves better.