Romi Neustadt is one of those people that you just instantly like. And it’s that personable, genuine nature that makes her so good at her job. As an independent consultant with Rodan + Fields Dermatologists, (the doctors who created Proactiv®), Romi helps women find the secret to anti-aging success. In this position for 18 months, she has a career path that is a testament to always following one’s passion, as she was a trial lawyer and award-winning public relations agency executive for years before she discovered her current career. When she’s not making new connections (and making women feel like the best versions of themselves), she loves spending time with her kids, Nate, 5, and Bebe, 2, and her husband, Dr. John Neustadt, an integrative medicine clinician, entrepreneur and the man she calls “the best husband and father.” She also has a soft spot for travel and Zumba.
Occupation: Independent Consultant, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists
Education: Journalism and Political Science, University of Southern California
+ Juris Doctorate, University of Virginia School of Law
How did you discover your current job?
A PR client of mine told me about Rodan + Fields. She had hired me to take her jewelry line national. When I asked her how she was funding her business without any investors, she said she was fully funding it through a side business — Rodan + Fields. That really got my attention.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
I was a trial lawyer in Dallas for a few years, and while I loved the courtroom, I hated the adversarial nature of the business. So I sold everything, moved to New York and got into PR. I was an award-winning agency executive for 12 years in both New York and Seattle. When I was eight months pregnant with our first child, my husband John and I moved to Bozeman, Mont. I’m a Montana girl, and we wanted to raise our kids in a smaller town near family. Soon thereafter I started my own PR consultancy working from home, still doing national work, but around my son’s schedule.
Then after the birth of our second child, I found myself looking for a new challenge. Even with my husband’s successful medical practice and my nationally recognized PR consultancy, after paying the monthly household expenses and med school loans, we were still unable to fully fund our retirement accounts and college funds and feed our travel bug. That’s when my client told me that I could start and grow my own business leveraging a billion-dollar brand and the resources of a multi-million dollar corporation. I got in and started running, with jets on my shoes!
In less than a year-and-a-half, I built a team of thousands of consultants in 42 states and a multiple, six-figure income working from home, around my kids. I’m the Top Recruiter in the company and also received the Body in Motion Award for excellence in all aspects of our business. And I have one of the fastest growing R+F teams, all from my home office in Bozeman.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
There has been a collection of experiences throughout my career that taught me two important things. First, to always be open to new things, because we never know what path will lead us to something that makes our heart sing. And second, that professional joy and increasing success comes from stretching oneself. One of my favorite quotes is from Neale Donald Walsh, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Every day I get to help others start their own economic recovery and create professional lives that fit into the rest of their lives. Each week I get cards, e-mails and calls from people on my team thanking me for my mentoring and help. I have consultants who have been able to quit jobs they hated, others who have saved their homes from foreclosure, moms who have been able to attend their kids’ school field trips for the first time because of their new, flexible schedule. And the list goes on. That’s a direct, positive impact on people’s lives that I never had as a lawyer or a PR executive.
What is the most challenging part?
Keeping up with the demand! There are so many people who want to start using the first, real over-the-counter solution to aging skin, and so many others who want to learn how to grow a business with the doctors, that it can be challenging to keep up with my exploding team. It’s a great problem to have, and thankfully, Rodan + Fields gives us the tools and infrastructure to serve customers and our teams effectively and efficiently.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
My sacrifice is no different than any other working mother entrepreneur growing a business, especially with young children — sleep!
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
Never pre-judge. Don’t prejudge an opportunity, don’t prejudge a person and where their interests may be. Had I prejudged people I now have the honor of working with, I may have thought a successful financial analyst or real estate broker or business owner might not have been interested in doing what I do. I’ve learned to just talk to everyone with skin.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I think women in network marketing have the biggest advantages, not challenges! There’s no glass ceiling, unlimited potential for advancement and earnings, and since we’re running our own businesses, we get to control our own schedules and fit our work in around the rest of our lives. A number of mothers I’ve talked to have always wanted to build their own businesses, but because of family responsibilities felt they couldn’t invest the time and money to create the infrastructure. In the network marketing industry, there’s a low cost of entry and an immediate infrastructure to tap into. That makes it doable for everyone.
Who are your role models?
Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields. These two women did something revolutionary in their industry — they brought dermatology to the masses without prescriptions. And despite being told “no” more than once early on, they persisted to build an $850 billion company, while still maintaining clinical practices and raising kids! I also admire that, even though they could’ve rested on their success, they still had the desire to change more skin and change people’s lives with their new company.
I greatly admire Oprah Winfrey because she’s done more than any other person in this country for inspiring and empowering women to become better versions of themselves and active members of our local and global communities. And like Drs. Rodan and Fields, she doesn’t stop. She keeps reinventing herself and what contributions she can make. I think that’s an incredible lesson for all women — that we can keep reinventing ourselves as our lives and goals change.
Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
“Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations.” Ralph Charell. That’s hanging in my home office. It reminds me to continue to dream bigger, because if you dream it and take steps every day to make it a reality, it will happen.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Find a great company with a strong brand and an accomplished executive team that offers a product or service that you can believe in. Then find a mentor whom you trust and respect (and with whom you can have a whole lot of fun building your business), and start running. Be coachable and fearless and make new goals all the time.