What Natalise Kalea Robinson Learned On Her Way To The Top

If you listen to what the naysayers and detractors believe about you, your career will sink before it takes off. As a woman on top of her industry today, it’s a lesson Natalise Kalea Robinson understands very well. Natalise is the founder of Parallel Health, a clean, science-based skin microbiome health company providing effective, personalized skincare powered by genomics. The award-winning entrepreneur is also the co-host of the aptly named “The Unlikely Journey” podcast and is a visionary and multi-talented musician. She was the class valedictorian in high school, graduated summa cum laude from Stanford University, has graced the cover of the SF Weekly, and was also featured in the New York Times and the SJ Mercury. Natalise’s endless list of accomplishments was not by chance.

The child of immigrant parents, Natalise learned the value of hard work at an early age. Born and raised in San Francisco, she started piano and opera lessons at the San Francisco Conservatory for music when she was ten years old. At 16, she joined Stanford University as a physics major. Before she graduated, she caught the attention of music executives from a major record label. They offered her a recording deal but she decided to finish her studies first. Natalise graduated from Stanford in three years, signed the deal, and started touring.

From the beginning of her career, Natalise knew that talent was not enough. She recalls getting a call from one record label and listening to the A&R rep telling her that even though he liked her voice, the country wasn’t ready for an Asian-American artist. Aware that nobody would ever believe she was good enough unless she took charge of her career, Natalise decided to change tactics. Meanwhile, she signed with a smaller Indie label and toured the country. After her first album, Natalise started her own record label and licensing house. From that experience, Natalise learned that to make a viable career, you have to take charge and relentlessly pursue your dream.

The value of knowing who you really are and what you want out of life was another lesson Natalise learned. Despite the glitz and glamor of the music business, deep in her heart, she knew she hadn’t fully explored her potential. Though she enjoyed touring the world and being on the stage entertaining thousands of fans, Natalise knew she’d regret it if she didn’t follow her passion to create positive change in the world. Consequently, she took a break from music and went back to Stanford for her MBA before working her way up in the biotech field and finally establishing her own company.

As an entrepreneur, Natalise says the vision should always guide you. That means you have to know what you want, and honestly evaluate whether you are the right person for it. “If you are, you then have to dig deep to harness the confidence and perseverance to make it happen, while also having the self-awareness to know what you need to improve,” she says. In the entrepreneurship and music arenas, Natalise had to learn how to trust her gut instincts and sharpen her tools.

Life is a windy road, and that’s the other lesson Natalise has learned so far. She says life happens fast, and that your life can be very different in 5-10 years from what it is today. From her experiences, even one year is enough to bring rapid change, so you have to be open to the big (and small) waves of life. Her advice is not to be too tied to one identity or another but rather to embrace life as it happens.

Written in partnership with S99