Five Questions For … Katie Mehnert, Founder and CEO of Pink Petro

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every turn. It’s good we stay on our toes and hustle.

On the managing and leading end, you need to remember, if something doesn’t work out, someone will come along and fill the gap and everything’s going to be OK.

X: Where do you think your drive comes from?

KM: [Pauses to laugh heartily.] When I was a kid, my drive came from … nobody knew where it came from. My parents told me I was kind of born with this innate sense to do things, to go get things done.

Then, later in life, my drive came from a realization that one day I’m not going to be here, brought on by cancer. I had cancer. Anytime you’re faced with your own mortality; it doesn’t matter if it’s stage 4 or stage 0. Hey, you’re getting older and every day you take is a day towards your death. It’s a very morbid thing, but I really live for the day where people stand and say, “She lived.”

[My drive] has gotten me into trouble. People don’t know how to manage you. I had that problem working for people; they didn’t know how to handle me.

When men have drives, it makes sense. When women have drives, we’re bitches.

When I was a kid, I got thrown into the garbage can. I didn’t get along with my peers. They thought I was bossy or a nerd. Every single day in 1986, I got thrown in a garbage can. I never stood up for myself. My dad told me, you shouldn’t put up with that. You gotta fight back. Instead of going to girls bathroom, I went to the boys bathroom. When they tried to grab me, I knocked the [expletive] out of one girl. The boys started laughing. That was a way to outsmart them.

In high school, I ran for office and I lost all six [elections]. But on the seventh try, I won. The kids realized I was serious. When you’re consistently intense … “Oh, she really wants that job.” Authenticity counts.

I didn’t figure all this out until I went to work for a global company and my manager sat me down and said, you are a force and you’ve got to learn to regulate your energy. I’m a positive person but a lot of people out there are jealous. I still have problems with it. And it’s harder now as an entrepreneur. I will go 20 hours. People say, she’s overbearing. She’s showing off.

It’s just who I am. I have to embrace it and do something good with it. The more true I am to myself, the more … Next Page »

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