With more than 500,000 travel miles and six continents under her belt, world-traveler and angel investor Hitha Palepu knows “how to pack”. Testimony to this is both her lifestyle blog Hitha On the Go and her book How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip. Whether fundraising for mold-breaking pharma company Rho Pharmaceuticals, advising women-led companies like MM.LaFleur and Werk as an influential angel investor, or writing and art directing her blog, Hitha is, well, always on the go. Her drive to help develop the next generation of women leaders and her desire to share go-to tips, tricks, and advice with her readers makes her a true woman who supports women. Read on to learn more about this inspiring entrepreneur, writer and mother.
Question: What’s the most fun part of your day?
Answer: Around 6 p.m my dad and I make dinner together, while my son runs around and hangs out with us. It forces me to turn off work mode for the day and allows me to indulge in one of my favorite activities – cooking.
Question: How about the most challenging?
Answer: Getting a toddler to eat his breakfast, put on his shoes and coat, then fighting subway traffic to get him to preschool every day.
Question: What makes you feel most powerful and confident?
Answer: A hug from my son, a bold berry lip, a perfectly-cut dress, and listening to Katy Perry’s “Roar” on repeat.
Question: What draws you to support women-run organizations in particular?
Answer: If not us, then who? The organizations I’m proud to have invested in and support - MM.LaFleur, Werk, The Wing, heymama - are solving problems that either myself or my friends have faced. I don’t invest in them because it’s the nice thing to do. It’s because I deeply need these products and services in my life, and I’m certain that millions of other women do as well.
Question: What do you love most about working with other women?
Answer: Vulnerability. Working with women makes me feel safe to say exactly how I’m feeling or what’s on my mind, in a way I can’t in most work situations with men.
Question: What do you think is most exciting about being a woman in 2017?
Answer: I feel like the world has finally started to listen to women in 2017. We’ve always had our voice, but it was like shouting into a vacuum. With that voice also comes a responsibility to listen.
Question: What would your 12 year old self think if she could see you now?
Answer: She’d probably be wondering why I’m not a pediatric oncologist, but I know she’d be thrilled that I did end up living in the Upper West Side – a dream of mine ever since I saw the movie You’ve Got Mail.
Question: Now, let’s talk about your style. What is your “signature” outfit?
Answer: Either a dress with a matching duster, or skinny pants paired with a printed top and oversized blazer. Throw in a giant bag, a fierce pair of shoes, and statement sunglasses, and I’m good to go.
Question: If you had to narrow down your shoe collection to only 3 pairs, what would they be?
Answer: A bold pair of slip-on mules (I hope that trend never dies), a chic ballet flat, and a pair of pointed ankle boots.
Question: How have you been styling your Taryn Rose shoes?
Answer: I’ve been wearing the Maria pointed-toe booties with dresses and tights, or with dark denim, a bold-colored blouse, and a blazer. I wear my Elisa mules with monochromatic black or tan outfits - usually a wide-legged pant, a fitted fine-rib turtleneck, and a matching long jacket or coat.
Question: Who would you love to trade closets with?
Answer: Amal Clooney! Her style is bold and unexpected, and she looks perfect for every occasion she dresses for.
Question: Lastly, what do you have bragging rights to?
Answer: I can pack a carry-on suitcase in under 10 minutes (but I don’t, as outlined in the book). I also make a killer risotto and can rap “Baby Got Back” perfectly.
Casey Cancellieri is a writer, product manager, and fashion enthusiast living in NYC.