We met as awkward multiracial middle-school kids growing up in New York City. We connected because we came from complicated family structures and were looking to escape life at home. Back then, we created a support system for ourselves through friendship.
We bonded, trying to find our way through middle school social dynamics, hormonal changes, reshaping bodies, and developing minds. At a very young age, we were out in the world, exploring its edges together and creating a new path for ourselves.
Today, we are two women who have carved out successful careers for ourselves in tech and fashion. Leaning on her love of systems and service, Ali has worked for companies such as; Huge, Hot Studio (acquired by Facebook), frog, and SAP. She is currently writing a book for MIT Press detailing those experiences. Delia works in fashion as an operations consultant. Throughout her career, Delia has produced shoots for clients such as; Prada, Vogue, Calvin Klein, and Tiffany & Co.
We started Forty Fifty because many of us spend our lives building, collecting, creating, and consuming. For us, there was a moment when "it" didn't feel like "it" anymore. We believed there must be something else. The more we allowed those thoughts into our lives, a value shift began, and we started to ask ourselves questions we didn't have the space or awareness to ask before. Questions like, what do we want our life to look like? What if we want a life outside our former definition or other people's definition of us? Where do we even start? What is happening to our bodies?
We found asking questions and talking about what was going on had a transformative effect. We experienced this moment together, and it was powerful. So we started opening up the conversation beyond ourselves, and we found many wanted to be a part of it. We are having conversations that allow us to explore all parts of ourselves. For example, sharing critical information, like which doctors to go to and why, and how to approach our time with them. We are also sharing our own stories and the stories of others. We have found that personal storytelling is empowering and can help others feel connected and informed.
Our generation wasn't taught to be open and vulnerable with each other. We were taught to muscle through, and when things got hard, elders told us to keep it to ourselves. There is an antiquated expectation that you don't talk about anything, especially the uncomfortable stuff, and you have to suffer in silence. We were told we could have it all, balance a million things, and make it all look easy. We are here to acknowledge its not easy. A lot needs undoing, and generations after ours are cracking it open.
We hear about radical honesty, radical empathy, radical everything. What if we just got radically real with each other? What if instead of filling this space with more shame, we filled it with kindness and information?
Now that's interesting.
Ali Rand (She/Her)
Growing up in New York City and Puerto Rico, Ali's background is steeped in multiple rich heritages and none at the same time. Enveloped by the authenticity of her surroundings from a young age and circumstance, Ali learned to navigate the world's challenges independently. This experience created a curiosity to explore all of the edges, understand where the boundaries were (or were not), and push them to discoveries.
Her desire to build Forty Fifty is rooted in the experience of navigating without a clear path forward. Having built and led Strategy and Design Operations in both big tech and storied design firms, Ali profoundly understands how to create products and teams in service of a better human experience.
She resides in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, a blended family of five children ages 7-23, and two completely untrained dogs.
Delia Kelemen (She/Her)
With over twenty years of experience, Delia has proven success working with businesses to develop thoughtful management practices and prioritize streamlining operations. In addition, as the founder of Culture and Practice, Delia acts as an advisor to creative business owners.
Before starting Culture and Practice, Delia was Chief Operating Officer of VS+Company, leading its financial, operational, and human resource activities. Delia started her career as a post-production manager at Box Studio, quickly rising to Vice President. In 2007, she joined Art + Commerce, launching PRODn, the company’s highly successful internal production division, developing relationships with a range of globally renowned photographers, artists, and clients. Delia is widely respected for her capacity to build teams and create and oversee efficient systems.