This week’s Meet a Mom interview is with Asya Geller, who recently joined the Greenwich Moms team! A Greenwich native, Asya will be working with Greenwich Moms founder Layla Lisiewski, a close friend since their days at Greenwich Academy. She will be spearheading partnerships, events, outreach and more. We spoke to Asya about her family life in Greenwich, her professional background, and her plans to make Greenwich Moms even more of a go-to resource for local parents.
Can you please share a bit about yourself and your family life in Greenwich?
I was born in Moscow and at the age of 5 moved to the US with my Mom, Dad and Sister. We moved to Greenwich when I was 12. After graduating from Greenwich Academy I went to college and then lived and worked in NYC.
Currently, I live on Copper Beech Road in Mid-Country with my husband of 6 years, Mike Geller, owner of Mike’s Organic Delivery and our two children, Nathan (5), and Charlie (3.5), who attend GCDS. Mike (like me) also grew up in Greenwich and we decided to live here because we love the community and get to be close to both our families. Being part of the community and giving back are things that are deeply important to me, and I’ve been fortunate to be involved with organizations including: The Bruce Museum, Bruce Contemporaries, Temple Sholom, United Way, CAGV and Reach Prep among others.
You and your husband Mike are a true Greenwich power couple! How did you meet each other?
Awww I’m blushing…Mike and I lived in the same town but only knew of each other and didn’t even meet until way after college! He was a few grades ahead of me and in the same class as one of my (and Layla’s) best friend Katie Kessler’s brother Rob. We met Shahryar Oveissi (Mike’s best friend) through him. Ten years later, Shahryar introduced Mike and me at Rob’s engagement party! It took another year for us to go on our first date, but just 14 months after that we were engaged.
Such a great story! What is your professional background, and what were you doing before you joined Greenwich Moms?
After graduating from Cornell, going straight to Cardozo Law School, and passing the bar, I decided to do something outside of law and joined a trainee program at Sotheby’s Auction house. After 10 incredible years at the company and working my way up to Head of Department, Client Development, I left in December 2019. A combination of the inflexible lifestyle of the corporate art world and a desire to be a present parent and do something where I could help make a positive change led me to partnering with Talia Friedman to launch WERKZY. We identified an opportunity to do something we loved, and in the process help small businesses, the heart and soul of so many communities. We created WERKZY as the one stop shop for small businesses looking to hire professional talent.
My secret dream however has always been to be a makeup artist. I think make up is transformational for a woman’s confidence and I even have done many of my friends’ make up for their weddings!
Why did you decide to join Layla to work on the platform?
As I mentioned, being part of the community is very important to me. I couldn’t think of a better way to utilize all the skills I’ve learned throughout my professional career than coupling them with a brand like The Local Moms Network that is all about strengthening connections within our community.
The philosophy we had at WERKZY was all about empowering moms and that fits so perfectly with everything Layla and the talented team TLMN have created.
You launched a start-up during the pandemic—what lessons as an entrepreneur did you learn that you’ll bring to Greenwich Moms?
Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding and exhausting jobs I’ve ever had. It’s funny because in many ways it reminds me of being a mom. You are giving all your time and energy to help something grow while simultaneously balancing a hundred other things and making sure everything gets done. It also gave me such a deep appreciation for small business owners and all that goes into running your own company. Having come from the corporate world, I’m very glad I was able to have that experience.
You and your family emigrated from Russia when you were very young. How has their story influenced you?
Like many people my parents have been a huge influence on me. They left everything and everyone they knew behind to come to America and seek a better life for themselves and their children. They were both doctors in Russia and my father became an entrepreneur when we moved here. Seeing how hard he worked to become successful definitely inspired me to start my own business and follow in his footsteps.
Can you tell us about your friendship with Layla?
Layla and I met at Greenwich Academy in 6th grade and have been friends ever since. It’s crazy to think we were awkward middle schoolers when we first met, have been friends for over 25 years, and are now both Moms living in Greenwich together. She is one of the most genuine, kind, loyal, hard-working, not to mention incredibly athletic, people I know. So it hasn’t been hard to stay close for as long as we have because she is the best friend someone could ask for!! We both lived in NYC in our 20s and I joked that if Layla hadn’t moved to Greenwich before I did, I wouldn’t have moved.
Ha! You’re both graduates of Greenwich Academy. How do you think GA helped encourage you both to create new businesses, take risks, etc.?
Greenwich Academy is an incredible school that really helped me be an outspoken and confident woman. Not to mention, their Alumni Career Resources center is sensational!! They introduced me to so many other fabulous entrepreneurs in Greenwich who had built businesses as I was launching WERKZY.
As a working mom, you’ve been in the corporate world and are now in the startup/entrepreneur world. Is one “easier”?
While both roles have their challenges, the amount of time I have been able to spend with my children as an entrepreneur has been priceless. I’m a night owl so I can pick up my kids from school, bring them to a soccer practice or karate class, and then get my work done once they are asleep. That flexibility is crucial! I feel that a corporate culture where you need to be in an office just to show face is extremely unproductive. Also, being at a startup means you are constantly learning, innovating and building which is exhilarating. I feel like I have learned more in the last 1.5 years with WERKZY than I had in a long time. But a great quote I love is that ‘Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week,’ Sums it up perfectly.
What are you most excited about in terms of your new role?
Layla has built a powerful platform in Greenwich that has been an incredible resource to our community!! I will continue to build on this and build relationships with the small businesses in our town as well as finding more and more ways to give our moms the gift of time by providing additional resources for them. There are SO many fantastic Moms in Greenwich and I can’t wait to meet all of them!
How can local businesses get in touch if they’d like to partner with Greenwich Moms?
Email me at [email protected] or [email protected] so we can create a unique partnership campaign for your brand! We love to partner with our neighboring town platforms and to create bespoke plans for each local business depending on their needs.
We love to support local businesses. Can you please share your favorite places in Greenwich to:
Go to dinner as a family: Boxcar Cantina – great atmosphere, easy to go with kids
Go for date night: Elm Street Oyster House – best oysters
Go for girls night: Hinoki or East End and for the past 1.5 years, a nice outdoor firepit
Have fun as a family: We love Tod’s Point and go as often as we can. My boys are also huge fans of the Byram Splash Pad and they love hiking in the Audubon.
Get your hair done: Hopscotch, have been going since I was in high school!
Get your nails done: Cozy Nails
Work out: Last year I started playing for an amazing tennis team at Grand Slam and have fallen in love with tennis again. I try to play as often as I can.
Go shopping for yourself: Roller Rabbit, Fred, Splurge, Hoagland’s, Home Boutique
Go shopping for the kids: Funky Monkey and Smart Kids