24 Hours with Launch Project

How does the founder of a leadership development and coaching firm start her day? In Lisa Rogoff’s case, early—and with intention. The woman behind Launch Project, which helps clients grow, navigate work challenges, and design inspiring careers, recently relocated to San Francisco from Charlottesville, Virginia, for her husband’s transplant surgery fellowship—which means she’s busier than ever juggling running a business and a family in a new city. But as one might expect of someone who has logged hundreds of hours training to become a certified coach, Rogoff’s daily routine still manages to allow for work, being a mom, and mindfulness. Here, she takes us through a typical day in her life, from prepping for a women’s tech leadership workshop to listening to podcasts to evening story time with her two children.

5:30 a.m.: I love my mornings, but nothing happens before coffee. While I’m tempted to dive right into work, I begin with a mindfulness activity, such as reading my Shine text and setting an intention for the day. I also try to keep up with what’s going on in the world (I have a Master’s in International Affairs, which I try not to completely disregard!). Since having kids, I’ve struggled to find enough time to read the news, so I rely on Morning Brew and The Skimm most days.

6:00 a.m.: It’s time to get down to business. I go through emails and try to use this time when I’m at my best and when there are few interruptions to do my deep work. Today, I’m designing the curriculum for a women’s tech leadership workshop. It will be an experiential learning program that will help a group of talented women find their voice in a male-dominated industry.

7:00 a.m.: My son, Oliver, who is almost five, typically wakes up first and helps me make breakfast. The commotion wakes up my threenager, Maddy. She demands waffles, and we settle on applesauce, fruit, and well… a waffle. She’s a good negotiator! We listen to the Hamilton soundtrack on the way to school and Oliver asks non-stop questions about the founding of our country. Once I drop them off, I use my ride home to listen to The Daily and Marco Polo with my friends in Charlottesville, a tradition we started when I moved across the country to San Francisco last year.

9:00 a.m.: It’s back to my home office for my first coaching session with the CEO and Founder of a healthcare company. We go over his 360-review, a survey that his direct reports, board, and peers have filled out about his leadership. It’s a challenging call, but one that results in greater self-awareness and new learning about how he’ll focus his learning and development. I love helping my clients gain comfort with feedback and build awareness and action from their 360 reviews.

11:00 a.m.: I meet another client, a leader at a start-up building self-driving cars. We discuss how he can deliver challenging feedback to several of his team members without hurting morale, and in a way that actually builds relationships. This client has been focused on how to create greater psychological safety and wants to ensure that this feedback conversation supports the trust he has already built.

12:00 p.m.: I’m energized by my clients and ready to go! I head out on a run up Mount Davidson, the highest point in San Francisco, and soak in the view. I do the first part of this run in silence, trying to recharge and let my mind wander. As I head down the mountain and through Stern Grove park, I listen to a podcast or book on tape. Today, I’m just starting Becoming by Michelle Obama (#girlcrush).

1:30 p.m.: Feeling refreshed from my run, lunch, and a shower, I hop on a Zoom call to co-lead an online leadership workshop. We’ve been covering a series of topics, and today we’re looking at how to build a coaching habit. I love teaching newer leaders about how to lead from behind. So often, when we take on a leadership position, we think we have to have all of the answers. Today is about demonstrating that leading from behind—supporting team members to find their own answers—is an empowering stance for the whole team. The participants are excited to begin putting the coaching tools into practice.

3:00 p.m.: I’m really excited about some consulting work I’ve been doing with an early stage start-up that is trying to bring more scalable leadership training and coaching support to emerging leaders. I hop on the phone with the CEO to give some feedback on a product they are building. I love this work because I’m able to combine my previous experience in product management with my current focus on coaching, and in particular, developing high quality coaches.

4:00 p.m.: I’ve been procrastinating on an article I’m writing for the International Coach Federation, so I take my CPO (Chief Puppy Officer), Winston, for a quick spin around the block and then sit down and put pen to paper, cranking out an outline and doing some research. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy to have something down!

5:30 p.m.: Time to fight through evening rush hour and pick up my kids. We head over to my son’s guitar lesson, and while he’s practicing, I get a little quality time with Maddy. We watch the sun set over the ocean (West Coast living ain’t all bad!). Tonight is “kids night,” the evening when Oliver and Maddy pick where we have dinner, so we go to their favorite place in the Inner Sunset neighborhood, Marnee Thai, where we gorge on Pad See Ew noodles and dumplings.

8:00 p.m.: When we get home, it’s a rush to read books and get everyone ready for bed. While it’s crazy trying to manage two kids, I love this special time as we read—tonight it’s The Giving Tree and Curious George Gets a Medal—and tell stories. My husband, Zach, who is in his first year of a Transplant Surgery Fellowship at UCSF, makes it home just in time to give the kids good night kisses.

8:30 p.m.: Zach and I spend some time catching up on our days as he enjoys our leftover Thai food. Tonight he recounts a story about a young man who donated part of his liver for his brother. Just another day.

9:30 p.m.: We both catch up on work and prepare for the next day, including my least favorite activity: packing lunches. I make a few notes in my five-year journal about what my kids said that was funny today. It’s so much fun now that I’m four years in to look back on what they’ve said and how much they’ve changed in such a short time.

10:30 p.m.: Zach and I break all the rules about sleeping, and stay up way too late watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

Photograph of Lisa Rogoff by Bekah Erkel. Launch Project is featured in The Scout Guide Charlottesville.