Emily Kitko Of Zipline Logistics On The Self-Care Routines & Practices Of Busy Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

An Interview With Maria Angelova


Reduce burn-out: taking time to focus on self-care can reduce feelings of burn-out. You can’t take care of others if you aren’t at your best. Thanks to my husband for this reminder!

All of us know that we have to take breaks in our day to take care of ourselves. “Selfcare is healthcare”, the saying goes. At the same time, we know that when you are a busy leader with enormous responsibility on your shoulders, it’s so easy to prioritize the urgent demands of work over the important requirements of self-care. How do busy entrepreneurs and leaders create space to properly take care of themselves? What are the self-care routines of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders? In this interview series, we are talking to busy and successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and civic leaders who can discuss their self-care practices and self-care routines. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Emily Kitko.

Emily Kitko, MBA is the Director of Marketing at Zipline Logistics and an extremely “crunchy” wife and mother. Emily has over 10 years of experience in different marketing verticals and has a special love for A/B testing. When she isn’t managing large budgets or marketing strategy, Emily’s passions include her undying love for Britney Spears and practicing her “witch doctor” home remedies to keep her and her family healthy.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is an honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you please share with our readers your personal backstory; What has brought you to this point in your life?

I grew up in Ohio as one of three girls. My dad owned his own business and my mom balanced both work and motherhood. I went to Ohio University for undergrad with an initial dream of becoming a lobbyist after seeing the movie “Thank You for Smoking” in a communications class. I graduated from OU with my future husband and then pursued my MBA at Wright State while working part-time. The next couple of years were difficult as I attempted to find my way through life. I stumbled upon my first big “break,” during which the goal of running my own marketing team was born. I found the perfect company, team, and boss to start my career in marketing. Fast forward: I got married, moved, found bad jobs and bosses, had two beautiful daughters, and still focused on my dream. Now I am currently living my dream with my own marketing team, my family, and two more blessings on the way!

What is your “why” behind what you do? What fuels you?

I truly love my job and feel so fulfilled by it. The rush and thrill of the hot seat, teaching and coaching others, the creativity and problem solving — I am living my dream. I love being a mom and I love having the flexibility to be present with my girls. When I first became a mom, I didn’t think it was possible to “have it all” (be both a present mom and an employee). I realized the right company would allow me to “have it all” and I found that at Zipline Logistics.

How do you define success? Can you please explain what you mean from a personal anecdote?

Success is very personal and for me, success looks like taking pride in the things I do. I look back at my 23-year-old self and know she would be amazed by the things I’ve since accomplished. I am proud of who I’ve become and hope to continue to surprise myself. From managing my first employee to exclusively breastfeeding while working . . . what else am I capable of?!

What is the role of a growth mindset in your success? Can you please share 3 mindset mantras that keep you motivated, sane, and propel you forward?

  1. “Let’s Rodeo”: This is an Emily-ism for sure. I use this in both my personal and professional life. While many situations bring this phrase out of me, it’s mostly used when I’m not confident in a decision and may feel scared to make the wrong one. Saying “let’s rodeo” means “let’s do it” and be ready to accept the outcome either way.
  2. “You are one decision away from a new life.”: Think of the power we have as individuals to change our lives. I know that I have the power to make a change if I am unhappy, trapped, or not feeling my best. In my own life, one 30-minute phone call changed the trajectory of my family’s life.
  3. A former mentor and boss always said, “We aren’t saving babies, we are in marketing!” I have carried that with me and say it to my own team now. This helps us focus on the things that truly matter in our jobs rather than get caught up in small imperfections. Life is stressful enough — no need to get stressed over email marketing!

You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I believe goodness to the world comes from YOU. YOU make the biggest impact on your world and people’s world around you.

  1. Creating better bosses: There are a lot of bad bosses out there. I know, I’ve had some. I have made it my personal mission to be a boss that people want to work with. With that, I am teaching and coaching my team to grow into great leaders. The world needs GREAT leaders.
  2. Raising Daughters: The world also needs strong girls, and I am up for the challenge.
  3. Junior League: I have been part of the Junior League (a non-profit women’s organization) for 7 years helping to make my community a better place. I have a lot of pride in my involvement with this great organization.

Can you share a mistake or failure which you now appreciate, and which has taught you a valuable lesson?

One of the biggest regrets I have in my career was taking a job after the interview left me with an unsettling feeling. Three months into the job, I knew it wasn’t a good fit and started my job search again. I should have listened to my gut and I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t stand up for what was right. The lesson I learned was my gut is right and I should follow it more.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Drive: I have big goals for myself and my team. Staying focused on the biggest goals helps our team accomplish great things.
  2. Compassion: I try to connect with people in real and authentic ways and be a real person. I am not perfect and I have struggles as well. I found that being open and vulnerable allows for deeper relationships and trust.
  3. Empowerment: I do my best to empower my team with training and coaching so they can make decisions on their own. I believe its important to foster an educational environment instead of keeping knowledge close to the vest.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am currently growing two babies in my belly — if that’s not interesting or exciting, I don’t know what is! There’s a 1/250 chance of conceiving twins naturally. Should I play the lottery? My story could empower more women to take on the unknown of balancing motherhood and an executive role. Or it could be an incredible learning experience.

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care for me means prioritizing holistic health for myself and my family. Ensuring my family has safe air, water, and food to help our bodies function better.

As a successful leader with an intense schedule, what do you do to prioritize self-care, and carve out regular time to make self-care part of your routine?

To make room in my life for true self-care, I started taking things out that do not fit into my long-term goal of holistic health. For example, removing social media from my phone and removing alcohol from my life were necessary changes I had to make for both my mental and physical health. I have also become more minimalistic to prioritize health. For example, I only display a limited number of seasonal decorations in my home to cut down on in time and money spent.

Will you please share with our readers 3 of your daily, or frequent self-care habits?

  1. I open the curtains and windows in my house every morning and night (no matter the temperature) to increase air flow in our home and allow the sun to reduce harmful bacteria.
  2. I take morning shots of lemon, apple cider vinegar, elderberry, and vitamins (C, D, and Zinc). This is a family activity as well.
  3. I love to meditate (facing the sun) with crystals.

Based on your own experiences or research can you please share 5 ways that taking time for self-care will improve our lives?

Below is what has worked for me and my family. I believe everyone has the right to choose what is best for them and their family and you should feel empowered to make changes as you see fit.

  1. Reduce burn-out: taking time to focus on self-care can reduce feelings of burn-out. You can’t take care of others if you aren’t at your best. Thanks to my husband for this reminder!
  2. Health: The more you prioritize yourself and your self-care, the heathier you’ll be! I have started sitting outside to eat my lunch to soak in the sun and its benefits. I sit with my feet grounded in the grass and I feel more refreshed for the rest of my day.
  3. Happiness: I find happiness in prioritizing my family’s health. I enjoy finding new ways to incorporate coconut oil into our lives.
  4. A Hobby: My families’ health has become my hobby. It lets me escape from work and everyday parenting. I will try anything to improve our health which includes some really fun and unique things: making my own deodorant, putting garlic in our socks, and investing in natural fibers. It’s given me a new purpose that also improves my life and theirs.
  5. Something to Look forward to: I have been loving my new organic bedding and silk pillowcases**. I put a lot of time into researching and saving to make these changes. To see it come to life has been amazing. I look forward to enjoying these things as I spend time alone and decompress from my day.

** I 100% recommend buying a silk pillowcase — it does amazing things for my hair.

Sometimes we learn a great deal from the opposite, from a contrast. Can you please share a few ways that NOT taking time for self-care can harm our lives?

When my life becomes imbalanced, I can feel a change. I have no creativity, no patience, and no purpose. I lose sight of why I am here. When my priorities shift, I shift. Losing sight of myself and my long-term goals puts me in a hole and I have to work extra hard to pull myself out. That hole is not good for me or my family.

What would you tell someone who says they do not have time or finances to support a regular wellness routine?

Wellness is all about priorities. Yes, I spend money on organic food, organic mattresses, and a long list of vitamins, but I make my own deodorant, lotions, toners, and use vinegar as a cleaning agent. I choose to not spend money on alcohol, fashionable clothes, seasonal décor, candles, and harsh chemicals so I can buy stainless steel and glass items for our kitchen. Instead of scrolling social media, I choose to spend my time reading about the best brands and reading ingredient lists. I started my holistic health journey in 2013. It’s been a very slow process and did not happen overnight. But it’s been well worth it.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 😊

Britney Spears. For my bachelorette party, my friends and I dressed up as our favorite versions of Britney Spears to celebrate my love for her. 15 Britney Spears walked the streets of Louisville and it was the best weekend ever.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

Follow my company’s TikTok!: https://www.tiktok.com/@ziplinelogistics

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at angelova@rebellious-intl.com. To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.