Women of the C-Suite: Kate Westad of Palette by Pak On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive

Alexandra Spirer
May 4 · 10 min read

The biggest piece of advice I can give at this time on my journey as an entrepreneur is that you were given this idea, this concept, this talent, this ability, these gifts for a reason. These ideas and gifts were not meant to be kept to ourselves, they were meant to be shared with the world.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kate Westad.

Kate Westad is the founder of Palette by pak and the inventor of a new to market product called Palette®️ The Original High Fiver. This litigation attorney and mom of four had been dreaming up inventions for years when she became obsessed with the idea of The Original High Fiver, the world’s first beauty reusable for all your goops, glops and glam!

As a solo female founded company, Palette by Pak has come out of the gate as an innovative startup, creating modern sustainable solutions for beauty and personal care. The company’s first invention and hero product, The Original High Fiver, allows you to take your favorite skincare, beauty, and personal care products from full-size to on-the-go size in seconds — all while skipping the tiny plastics. Washable, reusable and refillable, the High Fiver is the smart beauty and personal care tool you have been searching for your whole life! Plus, it is a product you’ll love and one that loves our world right back.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As a litigation and trial attorney, I spent my entire career helping people. While I absolutely adored my clients and it was a great honor to represent them, there was a bit of unrest in my soul during those years. After facing tragedy with our family, it became more and more clear to me that I needed to nurture and pursue these creative and innovative ideas.

When I could see The Original High Fiver so clearly, the design, the colors and even the name Palette — I knew that I had to do something about it, and bring the High Fiver to market.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you launched Palette by pak?

It’s not necessarily a story, but it’s definitely a repeating theme! When I started this project I was still working full-time as an attorney. Throughout the entire development process so many people said to me “this is so surprising because you’re a lawyer,” and “what a strange thing to do given your background!” I realize now looking back that we are so socialized to be one thing our whole lives, and that you should never let what happened in the past dictate or limit what you can do in your next ‘now’ moment.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh there were definitely a few of them along the way. One hilarious (and expensive) hiccup was when a prototype we had been waiting some time for came back completely unworkable. I definitely kept it around to remind myself to always stick to my guns as the inventor and insist that your vision is meticulously implemented!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes Palette by pak truly exceptional and fascinating is that the idea for the High Fiver (and every other invention I have in the hopper), has been literally pulled from the ether. I launched on nothing more than the deep knowing that this invention was needed in the world and was a problem solver, and that I just simply knew it would work. It very much is the story of me following my inner guidance and staying true to my exact vision of the product. And for Palette ® to be intersecting this massive upheaval in the beauty and personal care industry where refillables and reusables are the future of beauty, it is a bit mind blowing at times. It is a lesson in always following your gut. When you have an idea, know that you were given this idea for a reason.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are extremely excited to be sharing the High Fiver and having it out in the world. Most people do not realize that tiny plastics like minis and travel size are not recycled due to their small size. That means (gasp) … those tiny plastics go to the landfill, or worse yet, land up in our oceans and waterways. This is also why several states have taken steps to ban them, especially in the hospitality industry.

And the concept of a refillable on-the-go beauty reusable should not be so foreign. For example, we use reusables in other areas of our lives like reusable water bottles and reusable coffee cups. For whatever reason, when it came to beauty and personal care, the now outdated concept around packaging was disposability. In fact, most if not all of our future products will be refillables or reusables in some way. Elimination of waste is high on our priority list and we’re super excited about bringing those problem solvers into the world. We are just getting started!

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

The biggest piece of advice I can give at this time on my journey as an entrepreneur is that you were given this idea, this concept, this talent, this ability, these gifts for a reason. These ideas and gifts were not meant to be kept to ourselves, they were meant to be shared with the world.

Second, nothing will slow down or derail a project more than allowing people to take tiny bites out of your true vision. These tiny bites may seem harmless at first, but over time can amount to the consumption of your idea and vision. These can come by way of a critique that doesn’t align with you, yet you listen to it. Someone taking your project down a path that doesn’t feel right, yet you allow it, or even implementing small concessions along the way that will overall shift what you know is “end game.” There is something so miraculous about your vision as the leader. It is the glue holding the magic together. Protect your vision at all costs. Staying true to that vision and trusting it and believing in it and yourself and communicating that vision as clearly and as often as possible to your team is instrumental. It is true visionary leadership.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

While we are a fairly small, self-funded, bootstrapping startup, there are a lot of moving parts to any meaningful company. This is where my attorney skills have really shown through. As a litigation and trial attorney you literally had to have 100 balls up in the air at any given time — and that’s just on one case! Entrepreneurship and running a company are not much different. Entrepreneurs — like attorneys — are polymaths. No matter what your background is, tap into your strengths and apply it to leading your team. Oh — and never doubt your ability to quickly learn what you need to know!

I have also always felt very strongly that the people who were meant to join you on your path will appear. But we do have to make a conscious effort to cultivate a high vibration team from the get go. Having people who share your vision, people who want to be there, people who are excited about what you are doing, people who want to share their talents and gifts to create something beyond each of us individually and who have an amazing synergy and connection to the project is crucial in building teams and cultivating amazing results.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have had so much help. But most of all, I am extremely grateful to my four kids. They are my biggest cheerleaders. As an only parent, without their support I could never have done any of this. They understand why I am doing this and why it is so important to chase your dreams no matter your age, your experience or your background. When you learn at an early age that life is short like they did, and that we need to make the most of our time here, it makes for some pretty adventurous, understanding and supportive kids!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Despite it being uncomfortable at times, I believe that sharing my story as an only parent of four is important. I have been inspired by so many people and their stories have served to uplift me and give me hope. So I share my story with that in mind. If I can do this at this point in my life, others can do this too. Anything is possible.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We are all persons of great influence. I think we often forget this, myself included. I believe that love is the most important thing. But what I’ve had to work out and work on is applying that same love to myself. Believing in yourself so strongly and loving yourself so much that no one else can touch that place of inner light, strength, inner love, self-respect and self-empowerment.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how it is relevant to you in your life?

Wayne Dyer once said “The greatest gift that we all have, every single one of us, is our imagination. Everything that exists was once only imagined.” He went on to say “Nobody can take your dreams away from you. You can imagine anything you want.”

I think about this quote a lot and remind myself of this when I’m having doubts or feeling small. That no idea is too big and that there is no one better to bring these ideas into the world than you. It really is a beautiful and expansive concept when you think about it. That the computer or phone you are reading this on, the chair you are sitting in, the cup you sip your coffee from … all once imagined.

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 with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I would love to have breakfast and eat blueberry pancakes with Elon Musk. I will never forget watching an interview with him where the interviewer was questioning him about some of the naysayers of SpaceX who just happened to be astronauts … and perhaps personal heroes. The fact that he could trust his big vision over some of the most well-known and well-respected people in the world on that subject at the time — all the while experiencing a visceral human response to the outright judgment and criticism of that vision — was incredible to me. That is one of the biggest skills to bring forward revolutionary ideas into the world and something I would love to chat with him about.

How can our readers connect with you on social media?

On all social channels you can find us @palettebypak and my personal Instagram is @mostbeautifuldarling (after my favorite E.E. Cummings poem) and @katewestad on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Alexandra Spirer

Written by

I am an entrepreneur, publicist, journalist and event producer based in Sunny Florida. My passion is writing & giving back to others.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Alexandra Spirer

Written by

I am an entrepreneur, publicist, journalist and event producer based in Sunny Florida. My passion is writing & giving back to others.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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