Morra Aarons-Mele is the founder of award-winning social impact agency Women Online and its database of women influencers, The Mission List. She hosts The Anxious Achiever podcast for Harvard Business Review, which was a 2020 Webby Awards Honoree and is a top 10 management podcast. A (mostly) happy, successful person, Aarons-Mele also identifies as an extremely anxious overachiever. Even during the best of times, she can be found hiding in a bathroom to avoid people, experiencing a panic attack before a flight, and waiting for bad news to arrive. Built on her decade as a “hermit entrepreneur” Aarons-Mele is passionate about helping people rethink the relationship between their mental health and their leadership.
Aarons-Mele’s book, Hiding in the Bathroom: How to Get Out There When You’d Rather Stay Home offers wisdom and practical tips to help readers build strong relationships and achieve their own definition of professional success. Thoughtful and practical, it is a must-have handbook for building a fantastic, prosperous career and a balanced, happy life—on your own terms.
Aarons-Mele has helped individuals and organizations rethink the ways in which work life balance can be attainable and achievable for all. In this uneasy and continuously changing world, she also understands the ways in which anxiety can impact your confidence to lead and how to avoid burn out. Through candid and practical messages, Aarons-Mele tackles the sometimes-thorny emotions that accompany a career and helps audiences of all levels instill a restored confidence and new skills to succeed.
Prior to her current work, Aarons-Mele worked in digital marketing and politics, helping Hillary Clinton log on for her first online chat and founding the digital public affairs team at Edelman, where she worked with Fortune 50 clients. She has written for the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Slate, InStyle, O, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Guardian.
Aarons-Mele has degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and Brown University. She and Nicco Mele live in Boston with their three children.
Praise for Morra Aarons-Mele:
"Morra Aarons-Mele gave a powerful speech about self-confidence and what it means to be a woman working in a professional field given the barriers that are still present today. She spoke about the importance of inclusivity of all needed in order to overcome these barriers and her focus on mental health which many attendees identified as a highlight of the day. Morra did not hesitate to address the important subjects which really mattered to the audience while also serving as an inspiration for all of us to pursue our goals."
-- Ayesha Ali, Co-Director of University of Toronto Rotman School of Commerce Women’s Leadership Conference 2016-2017.
“Morra Aarons-Mele brought inspiring and highly practical life skills to the student entrepreneurs in Brown University's Breakthrough Lab. To build a professional personal brand, she described essential concepts and tools to cultivate an intentional digital presence that lasts beyond the successes or failures of their ventures. Morra's unique perspective on being an introvert in a realm that reveres extroverts was a welcome relief to many. She left our aspiring students empowered, but also with permission to feel comfortable in their own skin as they navigate the complex world of entrepreneurship.”
--Liz Malone, Program Manager of Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University - Brown University and Jason Harry PhD, Associate Professor of the Practice School of Engineering Breakthrough Lab (B-Lab)
“Thank you SO much for an excellent program last night! We’ve heard nothing but wonderful feedback from audience members as well—they felt heard, they learned something, and they were in a room with their niche! Your book really spoke to everyone, and gave them the bias to action our attendees love. The mix of personal story and practical recommendations made for an evening that was both educational and entertaining. It felt like our favorite vibe: listening in on a nerdy cocktail party conversation between two great minds.”
--Marisa Levine, Director, Inforum at the Commonwealth Club of California
“Morra Aarons-Mele was one of five inspiring female entrepreneurs who contributed to our International Women’s Day Celebration. She spoke about fear and self-doubt and how women can push those feelings aside to be fearless, successful and professional. Morra’s transparency and authenticity left attendees feeling confident and inspired!”
--Courtney Nagle, Verizon, International Women’s Day Celebration 2018
Praise for Hiding in the Bathroom:
“Morra Aarons-Mele has written a great guide for anyone who’s feeling the anxiety of introversion and ready to find a way to be true to yourself and feel successful and connected at the same time.”
--KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times Well Family columnist
“This is THE book for Human Venn Diagrams who identify as introverts (and those who love them)...the perfect guide to help you put yourself out there as well as grant yourself a little grace when you need to recharge.”
“In this insightful and enjoyable book, Morra Aarons-Mele offers useful guidelines for creating a schedule and work life that you can control, allowing your ambition to shine while taking the space you need.”
--Leslie Perlow, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School
“Ambitious introverts finally have a career coach! Morra Aarons-Mele knows from personal experience that we shy people have burning desires to build businesses, brands, and careers, too. Her expert playbook shows how to leverage every opportunity—without sugarcoating some of the trade-offs we need to make to succeed.”
--Lisa Stone, cofounder and CEO emeritus, BlogHer Inc.
“Introverts will love this practical and moving guide to building a career, network, and life you love.”
--Susan Cain, author of Quiet
“[A] riveting look at redefining personal approaches to work…bolstered with helpful tools including quizzes and worksheets...The author’s attention-grabbing headlines and subheads...keep the pace quick, while her willingness to share illustrative personal experiences, both good and bad, adds vivid color to the strategies she shares.”
“It took me twenty years to understand that I could focus on my strengths as a leader and skip the schmoozing. If you read Morra’s book, you won’t have to learn the hard way.”
--Arvind Rajan, former VP international, LinkedIn; cofounder and CEO, Cricket Health