Alex West Steinman: Embracing the Ambiguity
Despite the path to her career not always being clear, Alex West Steinman (BA ‘11, journalism), co-founder and partner of The Coven, found her way to her exceptional achievements by making the most out of her time at the CLA.
“I spent a lot of time investigating how I could get the most out of my experience at the University of Minnesota. There are so many people there that want to see you succeed,” Steinman says, a recipient of a 2021 College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Emerging Alumni Award.
Seven different internships over the course of her undergraduate career were a big part of her strong preparation. That kind of engagement also points to her entrepreneurial drive. Steinman met her Coven partners in the Twin Cities advertising industry where they saw a lack of representative voices in agencies. After speaking with hundreds of local women, non-binary, and trans people, they determined that space that honors all lived experiences needed to be created. That led to creating, in partnership with the community, The Coven in 2017. The community involves two locations and a growing online community and has garnered attention from CNBC, Architectural Digest, Forbes, and Fortune, among others.
Though being an entrepreneur comes with many challenges and responsibilities, 2019 Bush Fello Steinman is glad that she has been able to share her experiences with her children. “I feel really proud of demonstrating for them what resilience looks like, what challenges are, and how to navigate them. I think giving them real-world entrepreneurial experience supplements their academic learnings with practical applications,” says Steinman.
Recently elected to the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation board, Steinman also helped create the annual FeMNist day, which celebrates the empowerment of women and nonbinary folks.
Steinman values the plentiful resources that CLA offered her on her journey. “Maybe there’s no right answer to the problem that you’re trying to solve, but there’s definitely an opportunity to learn new perspectives, think of things globally, and research," she says.
"I felt lucky to go to a school that really embraced the ambiguity that is key to starting a business,” Steinman says and urges CLA students to "try everything," because there are endless opportunities out there waiting to be discovered.