How the Co-Founder of I Am a Voter Mandana Dayani Starts Her Mornings

May 28, 2021
feature image

Welcome to our monthly editorial series A Day in the Life where we ask successful women we admire to share the daily minutiae of their professional lives, from the rituals that set them up for success to their evening wind-down routines. This month, we chatted with Mandana Dayani, the creator and co-founder of I am a voter., on how she tackles her never-ending inbox, sets work-life boundaries, and unwinds at the end of the day with President Bartlett and the rest of the cast of “The West Wing.”

Tell us a bit about I am a voter. and what inspired you to launch this initiative. 

I am a voter. is a nonpartisan civic engagement movement that I founded with some of the most brilliant women I have ever known. As an immigrant, I have always felt incredibly privileged to be an American, and I was really heartbroken seeing our country so divided the last few years.

After making the decision to just dive in and learn what I could do to help, I quickly saw that there was an opportunity for a modern voting brand that really spoke to our generation. One that was positive, empowering, captured how cool it is to be an active participant, and more focused on what unites us. And I knew that if I could get these incredibly talented and inspiring women together in a room we could build a meaningful message and leverage our relationships and skills to create true impact. 

After doing lots of research, I learned that identity was an important predictor of voter turnout, which is where the name came from. From there, we all leaned on our skills and networks to create as much impact as possible. 

You’re also the co-host of the podcast “The Dissenters” alongside Debra Messing. What compelled you to start this podcast and what do you hope people take away from it?

Debra Messing and I have been activists for most of our lives and we wanted to learn about the people that inspired our own journeys. When we got the idea to start “The Dissenters” all we wanted to do was inspire people to get off of the sidelines. We thought that if we could share the amazing stories and journeys of these people, we could empower others to find their purpose and passion. 

Over the course of our activism, we have both met countless people who were afraid to pursue their passion because they didn’t know where to begin or doubted their ability to create meaningful impact. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Almost all of the Dissenters we interviewed had no intention of becoming a hero or building a foundation. They started because they experienced injustice and they took action. And through it, they committed to learn and grow. And that’s what it’s really about—taking a step forward, helping the helpfuls, challenging the status quo. 

Let’s talk about your workday routine! First, are you a night owl or a morning person? When do you do your most important work and why?

I am my most productive and clear first thing in the morning (after I have my second cup of coffee). 

What time does your alarm go off, and what’s the first thing you do upon waking? What does your morning, pre-work routine look like?

My husband and I usually wake up around 5:45 a.m. when our daughters, Anderson and Miller, run into our room. I immediately take a shower and then make my first cup of coffee. Then, it’s all about packing lunches for school, making breakfast, and getting them to their pods. Next, I go upstairs. Put in my AirPods and watch the news (catch up on Jessica Yellin’s stories on Instagram). I start every morning I can with my Ryse + Shyne Facial Serum and Pept Eyes Biocellulose Eye Mask from Sundree.

Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk?

I cross-reference my many lists to catch up as much as I can and then I tackle my never-ending inbox. 

What are you working on this week?

Planning this year’s Register a Friend Day on July 25, 2021, with the amazing I am a voter. team, and working on season two of “The Dissenters.” I am also advising on a few projects that I can’t wait to share soon.

What’s been the most rewarding part of running your business? The most challenging?

The opportunity to learn from the incredible women I work with while making a true, meaningful impact in our communities. It’s really awesome when you find your people! 

The most challenging part is just managing it all and continuing to figure out how we can drive participation in civic engagement. The next few years will definitely be more focused on local politics.   

Do you ever reach inbox zero? How do you handle the constant influx of inquiries and communication founders are so familiar with?

No, I have yet to reach zero. But, I do my best and I know that it is all I can do. Managing our expectations of ourselves is such a critical component of self-care. 

What is your go-to work lunch?

Sushi and sparkling water (currently, Topo Chico).

What advice do you have for balancing the minutiae of day-to-day tasks with big-picture planning?

I use lists for everything I do. Evernote is my go-to list-making tool. And, when it comes to managing tasks, I plan ahead as much as I can and then delegate as much as I can. I am so privileged to have such an incredible network of support.

What are some work habits that help you stay healthy, productive, and on track to reach your goals?

Setting boundaries. I always allocate time to have breakfast and dinner with my kids and make sure I am there to put them to bed. And I learned that I sometimes need to literally time for self-care, whether that is going on a walk or exercising. I also block off lots of time during the week to brainstorm and create. 

Any favorite apps you use regularly?

What are you watching right now to help you wind down at the end of the day?

“The West Wing,” “The Real Housewives of (everywhere),” “Baker and the Beauty,” and “The Morning Show.”

When do you go to bed? What’s your “optimal” number of sleep hours?

Lights out by 11 p.m. Optimal sleep would be 7 hours.

What’s the most rewarding part of your day?

Bedtime with our kids. We end each night taking turns sharing 1) Our act of kindness for the day, 2) What we are most grateful for, and 3) Who we want to send extra good dreams to. It is such a beautiful ritual.

MORE ON THE BLOG

Return Policy

All sales are FINAL. No refunds on purchases, no exceptions. By completing this purchase from Create & Cultivate, you agree to this policy.

Terms of Service

By completing this purchase from Create & Cultivate, you agree to our Terms of Use and forfeit your right to dispute charges.

Privacy Policy

By completing this purchase from Create & Cultivate, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Policy.

Small Business, Big Influence.
Order Summary
The HR Bundle
$29.99
$22.49
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Venture Capital Bundle
$24.99
$18.74
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Bootstrapping & Budgeting Bundle
$24.99
$18.74
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Marketing Bundle
$24.99
$18.74
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The PR Bundle
$14.99
$11.24
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Branding Bundle
$24.99
$18.74
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Launch Your Business Bundle
$24.99
$18.74
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Grow Your Instagram Bundle
$29.99
$22.49
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Podclass VIP Download
$399.00
$199.50
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Growth Hacking Bundle
$17.99
$13.49
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The WFH Bundle
$14.99
$11.24
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Job Hunting Bundle
$14.99
$11.24
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Grow Your Email List Download
$9.99
$7.49
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Career-Boost Bundle
$14.99
$11.24
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Podclass Download
$299.00
$149.50
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.
Order Summary
The Self-Care Bundle 2.0
$29.99
$22.49
Billing Address
Review your information and purchase when you're ready.