1991 & Our Labor of Love
This Labor Day, I want to share the story of our principal labor of love, YUI+Company. Why do we do what we do and, at the end of the day, why did I respond “yes, please” when asked whether I wanted to “sell my soul” with YUI+Company? This concept was conceived 26 years ago with a woman, a mission, and an unwavering commitment to family and community.
In the 90s, working for a prominent public relations agency meant poor things for one’s personal agency (despite that the concept of “work-life balance” has been around since the mid-1800s, gaining prominence in the UK in the late 1970s and appearing in the US in the late 80s). Day after day after night after night, “9 to 5” actualized as “9 to I’ve-got-just-one-more-thing-to-do-before-I-leave…”
As a radical optimist anchored in a soul purpose to catalyze joy, in 1991, Ellen Yui became a pioneer for working virtually and building teams way before it became the norm, forming YUI+Company while awaiting the birth of her son. Yes, you read that right, “while.” Our very genesis was motherhood and providing opportunity and lifestyles that allowed working mothers, professionals and artists to be productive, healthy and fulfilled.
If family was our genesis, soulfulness took us to revelation. As a passionate and prolific writer, Ellen dreamed of creating a company where one’s uniqueness and creativity not only could show up to work each day, but where it was actively and relentlessly encouraged. Regardless of whether you were a custodian, c-suite executive or Fortune 100 organization, Ellen believed YUI+Company could help you hear your soul and speak your truths. Since 1991, Ellen has sought to help leaders disrupt markets, ideas, and themselves, manifesting a vision of the world in which passion equals purpose.
YUI+Company was truly founded at the intersection of spirituality and business, marrying the powers of conscience and commerce to fuel positive change.
The conception of YUI+Company is grounded in wisdom from Nelson Mandela who said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the World. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you.”
Since joining the YUI+Company family three years ago, every day I have been sure about my choice to sell my soul.
Today, as we clink glasses (or cans) and soak up some of summer’s last rays of sunshine, I offer infinite thanks to the women and men that have gone before us, guiding our work culture towards equality, integrity and compassion. Cheers! Thank you for your service to the world, and happy Labor Day!