The Best Advice Jessica Alba's Ever Received

Jessica Alba and Rachel Zoe
Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty

No doubt Jessica Alba gives us major career goals (and mom goals, and style goals, and...). So when the uber successful actress-turned-Honest Co. founder offers up advice, we listen.

Alba moderated an intimate panel discussion at the Honest Co.’s Los Angeles headquarters last night as part of Refinery29’s Her Brain series. Panelists for the “Pursuit of Self”-themed talk included fellow multi-hyphenate entrepreneurs: stylist-designer Rachel Zoe, celebrity hairstylist and Ouai haircare founder Jen Atkin (you know, the one responsible for the long and short of the Kardashians’ locks), ClassPass founder Payal Kadaki, Revolve clothing chief brand officer Raissa Gerona, and Refinery29 chief content officer Amy Emmerich.

VIDEO: Hear Jessica Alba's Best Career Advice

The six women candidly discussed motherhood (or the decision to not become a mother), self-confidence, female leadership, and advice for the next generation of girl bosses. But the real gems came when asked about the best advice they’ve ever received themselves.

Alba, who began Honest Co. in 2011 and has since helped grow it into a billion-dollar brand, said she found inspiration in a woman from the past. “I read ‘Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way’ and man, she went through all the walls and climbed all the hills. One of the quotes I carry with me is, ‘Don’t allow anyone to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes.”

That piece of wisdom allowed Alba to push through the hurdles of starting her own company and find the strength to stand up for the ideas she believed in.

Jessica Alba - Refinery29 - EMBED
Stefanie Keenan/Getty

So what other advice boosted these business women?

Jen Atkin: “Nobody knows what they’re doing. Literally, it’s helped me so much. Nobody knows what they’re doing. I don’t know what I’m doing. We’re all figuring it out as we go.”

Rachel Zoe: “You can be kind, honest, and loyal and still succeed. In the past, it was always if you are not vindictive and climbing and backstabbing then you won’t succeed, and if you are kind you won’t make it. And I don’t believe that at all, I actually believe quite the opposite. I believe if you're good people and if you’re honest then you will succeed in the right way.”

Amy Emmerich: “Progress not perfection. Make sure you’re always progressing forward. And ‘Walk with the confidence of a white man.’ I should make a T-shirt with that on it. Really think about that and notice some white men when you sit in a room with them. Where does that confidence come from? It’s just pretend.”

Raissa Gerona: “My husband would always tell me when we started dating, if I was like, ‘Should wear this?’ or if we were going to Coachella or some place and I had some crazy shoes on, he would just be like, ‘You know what? Do you. If that’s your look then that’s your look.’ It always just made me feel like, if this is what I’m feeling right now then this is what I’m feeling. It’s something I carry with me all the time. If this is what I want to do and I feel good about it then it’s OK if other people don’t agree with me, I'm just gonna keep doing me.”

Payal Kadaki: “Surround yourself with only people who lift you higher. It’s our choice who we hang out with and who we want to be around and it’s your choice who you don’t want to hang out with. I think that keeps you sane and helps you keep bright teams around you.”

To view the entire discussion, check out the video on the Honest Co.’s Facebook page:

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