We’ve often heard from founders that running a business can be a 24-hour experience. Still, recently, many of us are denouncing hustle culture for a balance of our own. As women who wear multiple hats, how we spend each moment of the day matters.
For Black women, time is precious, but often we forget that the time we spend outside of building our empires is just as important. In this ESSENCE.com series, we’ll get the scoop on how some of your favorite entrepreneurs and executives are spending time off the clock to refuel, recenter and to remember their north stars.
Meet Esi Johari Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO NA Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, New York City
Bracey has been an innovator and disruptor in the beauty and grooming industry for more than 15 years. She currently leads the growth and development of Unilever’s $5B beauty and personal care business in North America, including brands like Dove, Shea Moisture, Vaseline, Suave, Degree, Axe, Tresemme within the hair, body and skin categories. Within her work with Dove, she has been instrumental in passing the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) nationwide to end hair discrimination.
Her name is of Ghanaian origin from the Gha language. Esi is pronounced “Acey” and means “little girl born on Sunday,” and her family affectionately calls her Johari meaning “jewel.” The Chicago native is energized by spending time with people and teams to make personal care more inclusive and accessible to everyone. “Most days, I am problem-solving with teams focused on ideas and plans to accelerate our growth, business performance and solving a range of different business problems,” she shared.
Although Bracey has many responsibilities as a beauty executive, she is also a family woman married for almost 18 years and has two kids. To make sure both parts of her life run, she prioritizes and invests in her self-care and personal growth. For more than 15 years, Bracey has been intentional about focusing and managing her energy. Discover how this has been a game-changer for her.
Intentional morning routines.
Some mornings Bracey’s workday starts early due to a global meeting she must attend, but regardless of when her morning starts, she is intentional with her morning routines. For three years, the beauty executive has practiced Japanese Water Therapy, which involves timing your meals and water intake to cleanse your gut and heal disease. “I drink a full liter of water in about five minutes to cleanse my system. This practice helped me get rid of the eye allergies that started when I moved to New York,” she said.
To help set positive intentions for the day, Bracey practices speaking good vibes into her day. “I’ve also started a practice of saying what I’m looking the most forward to in the day ahead as my feet first hit the ground to get out of bed and declaring that today will be a good day,” she said.
As a mother of a 12-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter, Bracey also spends her morning checking in with her children as they get ready for school. She sometimes also uses her morning to work out and her home gym.
She invests in her “me time.”
“My’ me’ time is my reflection time,” Bracey said. No matter the activity, the personal time she sets for herself helps make her a better person. She doesn’t go without each week or month with her coaching sessions and manicures.
Even as a woman in the c-suite, Bracey values having a personal coaching session every Saturday from 9:30 am to 11 am. “It helps me be the best me I can be by grounding me in my purpose and helping me look at challenges in an empowering way. This is a no-miss for me,” she explained. Bracey started her coaching in 2021 after being inspired by the book, The Little Book of Big Lies by Tina Lifford.
Outdoor activities are her favorite retreat.
Nature’s beauty is Bracey’s family’s reprieve. “Vacations for me are non-negotiable. They are my family time, and I work hard to unplug,” she said. The Bracey family’s most recent getaway was a ski trip. “When out on the mountain skiing, taken in by nature’s beauty, I don’t think about email! It’s a great escape,” she said. The family has experienced the Swiss Alps at the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt, famous for its long ski runs. Bracey also shared that she enjoys scuba diving and traveling abroad to a place with at least a six-hour time difference. “It is easier to disconnect and spend quality time with the family,” she adds.
Beauty routine is self-care.
Bracey’s beauty routine is robust, and she makes sure it is a part of her mornings and evenings. She uses Simple cleansing wipes and Brown Girl Jane’s GLOW luminous facial serum for nighttime. She loves the brands that she works on and frequently uses Dove, Vaseline and Shea Moisture for her skin and hair. She follows up her shower routine with moringa oil and the matching cleansing butter. “It makes my skin feel so nourished,” she shared. For her face, she likes using Murad Renewing Eye Cream, Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, MELÉ Plump It Up Nourishing Cream, Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen and MELĒ No Shade Sunscreen Oil.
Her makeup always includes her signature red lip – SEPHORA COLLECTION Cream Lip Stain in #01 Always Red. “I just love beauty – the ritual, the look and the feel. When you feel good, you look good, and when you look good, you feel good, then anything is possible!” she exclaimed.
Why being off the clock matters.
“There is a fine line between on the clock and off the clock, so for me, it’s really important to be intentional about how I spend my energy more so than time, and what I want to include in my day, every-day,” Bracey said.
Since how she spends her energy matters, Bracey has developed six energy domains that she uses to organize her life to fuel energy and fulfillment:
1) Passion Power — Achievement and reaching goals in areas of passion.
2) Ooh La La — Fun and sensational experiences
3) Amour and Adore — Feeling close and connected to loved ones
4) Impact and Legacy — Making a meaningful and lasting difference in the world and on those around me.
5) Heart Soul & Whole — personal calm and well-being.
6) Smile High — kids thriving, feeling confident in their skin, with self-efficacy feeling that anything is possible if they work toward it.