ADRIANA GASCOIGNE: GIRLS IN TECH FOUNDER

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m Adriana Gascoigne, the CEO and founder of Girls in Tech. We have 47 chapters with more than 62,000 members in 33 countries. I just wrote a new book, Tech Boss Lady: How to Start-Up, Disrupt, and Thrive as a Female Founder, about how I founded the largest organization for female entrepreneurs in the world. It includes true tales from more than 20 leading women in tech about how they got started in our industry and I’m very excited about it.

How did you get into the industry?

I zig-zagged into the tech and startup world. After graduating from UC Davis, I hung around LA for a year, working in marketing and advertising at JWT Hill & Knowlton. I landed in San Francisco for a quick year to work for Chase Communications before returning to Los Angeles for an opportunity in consumer brand marketing strategy. Later, I moved to Miami to work for a real estate development company for nearly three years. A later job was for an online video start-up in 2006 and I’ve stayed in tech ever since.

What should everyone try at least once?

Going to a developing country. It’s important for people to learn about other cultures, see how other people live and understand that other people may not live the same way they live. It’s also important for people to learn to have gratitude and appreciate what they have in life.

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Mariel Hemingway: Advocate, Activist & Author

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My Native Admission Statement: Though I started my career at 13 as an actress and have continued acting to this day, my true mission is as an advocate for mental physical and emotional wellness. Having come from an incredibly celebrated and prolific family that suffered from addictions, trauma and mental illness which lead to physical problems back in a time where no one knew the correlations of body- mind connections. My mission is to help others to realize that total health is a balance of everything you do from the water you drink to the thoughts you think. My mission, along with my life partner, Bobby Williams, is to create a curriculum that teaches people how to live in every aspect of what that means from the physical to the mental and spiritual.

How did you get into the industry?

I started my advocacy work after having written my second book Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out. After writing that and a cookbook, I then made a documentary that I co-produced with Oprah on my family and their mental health problems( along with their spiral towards suicide), called Running from Crazy. The film was released at Sundance in 2013. I soon began speaking around North America, sharing not only my story but my realization that a focus on the balance of mental and physical health is one and the same.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Leaving my marriage of 24 years was the most difficult thing I probably ever did because I left before I was truly able to acknowledge that my own happiness mattered. It affected my daughters though they were 18 and 20 and made me feel guilty for a long time. But it allowed me to find myself and love myself. Sometimes my choices didn’t serve others’ desires and that was a challenge for me to accept . Now years later I am a stronger and happier person for it.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I admire my life partner, Bobby Williams, for his integrity, incredible physical and mental strength, and for his unconditional love.

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Darby Cox: Smoke Cartel Co-Founder & CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: I think the most important thing I’ve learned – and continue to work on everyday- is fully embracing fear. Challenge is a part of life, and you’ve gotta learn to embrace and enjoy it if you want to build something great. Knowing that every day is an opportunity to improve on something I’m not yet satisfied with. I learned at this point the importance of forgiving myself for not having all the answers at the start. Everyone is growing and trying, myself included.

How did you get into the industry?:

My business partner [at the time, roommate], Sean Geng, came to me and said, “Darby, I think I’m going to start selling bongs.”. I told him he was insane. I didn’t like the idea of working for Smoke Cartel until I went to my first industry event, and I realized the impact this industry was going to have. Nearly six years later, here we are, and I could not be more of a proponent for cannabis legalization and further research into our products.

What do you love most about Your City?

Savannah, Georgia is a wonderful place to live. It’s up and coming, it’s changed tremendously in the past seven years I’ve been here. We have a great food scene, a growing beer culture, and tremendous southern hospitality.

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Betsy Wentz: Studio B Owner

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My Native Admission Statement: Betsy Wentz, owner of Studio B, likes to host clients to a collaborative and interactive experience. Her 3,000 square foot design studio stocks wallpapers, fabrics, rugs, and accessories. Betsy believes there’s a simple psychology behind allowing clients to have ownership of their design.

How did you get into the industry?

My mom was a designer. She ran a business from the carriage house at our home. Childhood served as on the job training, exposing me to all of the things I’ve come to love and appreciate about design.  Although I earned a Master’s degree in counseling psychology and practiced for several years, I missed a creative outlet! In 2001, I partnered with my mom. We had so much fun working together.  In 2011, an electrical fire destroyed our family home and my mom, diagnosed with early onset dementia,retired soon afterwards. I rented office space in the business district of our town, renamed the company Studio B and kept going from there.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Coffee by day/ tequila by night

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Ericka Spradley: Confident Career Woman Chief PowHer Officer & Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am the planner who didn’t have a plan; the woman who took a leap of faith after spending most of her career in her comfort zone and who quite honestly took 22 years to get a 4-year degree!! Although my bio and website will tell you that I’m the Chief PowHer Officer and Founder of Confident Career Woman – which is true, I believe it’s equally important to share aspects of my non-traditional career story so that other women feel compelled to define professional success on their own terms; not necessarily what society says success should be. In my role as Chief PowHer Officer, I coach women to do exactly that – leverage strategy to achieve career success based on their goals. In addition, I provide ongoing support and advice for my clients, I coach them to master the interview (at least 80% of my clients get hired) and I also partner with organizations who are committed to advancing women in the workplace by facilitating customized workshops, typically with their Employee Resource Groups.

What inspired you to start your own business?

As a senior in high school, I was advised to go to college, get a good job and save some money. The idea at that time was to follow the aforementioned blueprint and I’d be “alright.” What I discovered is that I wasn’t alright. I didn’t have as much money as I thought I should have so I knew something needed to change– starting with my mindset, my decisions, my actions and the information I was consuming. After researching entrepreneurship and reflecting on the success I achieved managing someone else’s business, I decided to bet on myself. I made a promise to myself which states: “The only way my business will fail is when I die or if my health fails.” With that being said, I refuse to quit on my dreams when I’ve committed most of my life to building someone else’s dreams. Being employed is a blessing that prepared me for where I am today; therefore, I’m grateful for every opportunity and each employer. I’m simply stating that abandoning my dreams is no longer an option for me – especially when I believe I am currently doing the work God created me to do.

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Liz Accles: Community Food Advocates Executive Director

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My Native Admission Statement: I have been the Executive Director of Community Food Advocates since 2013. My organization spearheads the coalition-based Lunch 4 Learning campaign. In 2017, we secured universal free school lunch that for all 1.1 million NYC public school students.We are now building on that success. For households with school aged children, there is no more effective anti-hunger program, that simultaneously addresses health and education equity, than school meals. I bring my 30 years of experience in advocacy, organizing, and coalition building, that is grounded in solid policy and budget analysis,to promote high impact public policies that strengthen  income and food support programs that are crucial to financially struggling New Yorkers.

Biggest Success?:

My biggest success has been spearheading the campaign in NYC for universal free school lunch for all 1.1 million public school students. This change reversed decades of public policy that had separated students by income in school cafeterias and imprinting a poverty stigma on the program that directly impacted student participation. Previously many students who were hungry and didn’t have other options just sat out from school lunch for fear of being shamed by their classmates. Right now an additional 31,000 students are eating school lunch each day – that is 5.4 million additional lunches being served per school year. We know that this is just the beginning. We are working to build on this foundation to make the school cafeteria a social hub that students seek out rather than avoid.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Two cups of coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon. Green tea on occasion.

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Michael Beber: Exiger President & CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: I would say I am most defined by my ability to think creatively with an open-mind around pretty much anything. Admittedly, I’m not good with rules, but I’ve used this to my advantage in business. I don’t perceive barriers; Instead, I look at everything in terms of how it can be bent or changed. At work, I am able to objectively understand and evaluate different actions, reactions and consequences, and this allows me to think freely to explore opportunities that others might have overlooked or written-off.

How did you get into the industry?:

My first foray into the governance, risk and compliance space was through forensic accounting. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, I was working on my Chartered Account (CA) designation and had already fulfilled all of my requirements, but needed to complete the remaining six months of work. That’s when I came across forensic and investigative accounting. I remember thinking how exciting that sounded. The job description included investigating fraud, bribery and corruption – some things Exiger employees do today – and that is how I landed my first job at Lindquist Holmes. The Canadian accounting, litigation and consulting firm became Kroll Lindquist Avey, was acquired by Marsh & McLennan, and eventually sold to Navigant.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

When people ask me whether I live to work or work to live, I tend to think they don’t understand what it means to truly love what you’re doing. To make the most of a career, I encourage everyone to find a business they fundamentally appreciate – one that plays to their areas of interest. In our industry, for example, I advise individuals to look beyond “compliance;” dig in and find out what the role really entails. Secondly, I suggest people find a growth-oriented organization, one where growth and change are central to the business’s culture. If you’re part of an organization where this is a focus, and you deliver high quality work, then you’re going to come across new opportunities that you never expected were possible.

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Pamela Hawkins: Organic Love Beauty Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am the Crafter and Creator of Organic Love Beauty. Organic Love Beauty is a skincare line that promotes healthy skin, wellness and relaxation using God given natural ingredients and encourages Love for Ourselves, Love for the Earth and Love for One Another. All of the Love I infuse into my business I infuse into my daily life. I aspire to be the most loving and patient mother to my children. I aspire to be the wife my husband doesn’t want to live without. I aspire to be a loving inspiration to everyone I meet. I aspire to have a business bigger than my wildest dreams.

Biggest Success?:

My biggest success in business so far is being one of ten finalists in the NY Start Up! Business Plan Competition 2018. Writing my business plan was a big hurdle for me. I had a lot of fear and doubt in myself and what I could accomplish. I also didn’t feel like a business woman, I was stuck thinking of myself as ‘just a mom’. And I had actually entered the competition the year before and withdrew because of those mental roadblocks. So, when I completed the plan and then had an opportunity to pitch my business to a panel of judges, it was surreal. And although I didn’t win I felt so accomplished getting over those obstacles that I put in my own way. That was when I transformed into a business woman.

My Goal of the Day: Wake up with prayer and gratitude, go to bed with prayer and gratitude. Everything in the middle I deal with as it comes.

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Samantha Brown: Celebrity Stylist

My Native Admission Statement: I am a NY based wardrobe stylist, dressing people of all ages, body types and lifestyles. My goal is to help my clients cultivate a unique personal style that makes them feel confident and ready to achieve their personal and professional goals. Each styling project is as unique as the person I am dressing. I also work on everything from runway shows to trend presentations, ad campaigns to commercials. I’m in the business of getting people dressed, no matter the occasion.

How did you get into the industry?

My background was in editorial styling at Nylon Magazine and in design at Badgley Mischka. I was personally trained and recruited by Stacy London of TLC’s hit show, “What Not To Wear”.

I always aspired to be in fashion, whether it was on the design side or the styling side. There’s no real road map to a career like this, so I took some turns along the way (like launching and shutting down a clothing consignment business called “The Missing Piece”). Ultimately, dressing people and helping them feel confident in their clothes became my ultimate priority. I have the best job in the world. I also offer private training lessons to aspiring stylists to help support them in their freelance journeys.

Motto?:

A quote by Steve Martin always resonates with me: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

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Kristy Wallace: Ellevate Network CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: My purpose in life is to connect women to their power, to help them succeed and invest in their ability to build businesses that positively impact the world.Personally, I aspire to be engaged in my community, which I define by my family, friends, neighbors, and the local people who surround me every day. I’m always thinking about how I can work to make that community stronger and better. I also push myself to learn more and be better; I strive to put myself in uncomfortable situations that push me to think outside the box, to improve, and to grow. Professionally I aspire to build and grow Ellevate and its impact in helping women succeed in the workplace – helping women make meaningful connections that provide the support and opportunities for them to succeed in the workplace.

Biggest Success?:

My greatest success is the Ellevate Mobilize Women Summit, for a variety of reasons. It’s an event that we created truly to disrupt the conversation around equality and amplify the voices that are often unheard in these conversations – the voices that don’t have the platform or the privilege to be heard. I say it’s my biggest success because as a parent, I bring my children to this event and know that I am exposing them to diverse ideas, people, and mindsets that will help to shape them as human beings. As a leader, I see impact on businesses globally where professional women are becoming stronger leaders and managers, and our organizations are working to develop inclusive workplaces. On a societal scale, it’s important to continue these conversations and to provide the platform that uplifts the voices of people who are marginalized, helping tomove our society to a place grounded in understanding and equality.

Motto?:

Fake it till you make it – like many others, I’m oftentimes in situations where I doubt myself, my abilities to be a leader, the importance of my voice in thought leadership. I worry that I will fail in some way, and I’ve decided to be intentional about pushing myself to rise to these challenges, to continue to use that self-doubt to propel me to a place of action and, ultimately, confidence.

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Erin Bury: Willful CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: I describe myself as an entrepreneur, speaker, startup advisor, and former technology journalist. I’m the co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform that makes it easy for Canadians to create a legal will online in less than 20 minutes. At Willful I’m responsible for driving the company’s mission to make it easier for Canadians to prepare for and deal with death in a digital age. I’m also a professional speaker with Speakers’ Spotlight, a board member at Save the Children Canada, and I was named one of Marketing Magazine’s top 30 Under 30 marketers. I’m passionate about travel, and in 2019 I’m traveling to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Scotland. My claim to fame is being retweeted by Oprah – twice.

How did you get into the industry?:

Willful was inspired by my co-founder (and husband’s) Kevin Oulds’s experience after a family member passed away. He realized so few people – about 56% of Canadian adults – don’t have a will, and even if you do, chances are it’s out of date due to a life event like the birth of a child or a divorce. Not only that, but we just don’t talk about end-of-life planning with our family, because of course it’s uncomfortable to think about death. Originally I was an investor in the company and a marketing advisor, and I ran a marketing agency that helped Willful with its naming, branding, and launch communications. When I was looking for a career change in early 2019, I decided to join the company as CEO.

Emerging industry trends?:

Estate planning is an industry that’s ripe for innovation. We plan for death the same way now that we did 50 years ago – by going to a lawyer during work hours and paying a lot of money for what is often a simple document. Just like Wealthsimple has changed the way we invest our money through a beautiful, user-friendly online platform, other financial processes like purchasing life insurance or getting will are also moving online. In the future, I imagine that not only will we prepare for our own passing using online tools, our executors will also be able to wrap up our life using online tools.

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

One big trend that is driving the industry is digital legacy – we leave a massive footprint when we pass away, from our emails to our social media accounts to our online subscriptions. I think a huge trend in the industry will be giving people an easy way to assign contacts to deal with our digital footprint.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

My husband Kevin, who is also my co-founder, had a family member pass away unexpectedly, and while he did have a will, he had never discussed other end-of-life plans with his wife of almost 40 years. Kevin and his family were left scrambling, asking each other questions about his burial plans and funeral wishes, and guessing at what he would have wanted. It made Kevin realize that it’s a broken process to wrap up someone’s life, and it’s even harder if you don’t have a will in place. That can lead to long, drawn-out court battles, and the government deciding on how your assets should be distributed. He decided to launch Willful to make it easy for people to create a will – which we see as the “Painkiller” in estate planning, the thing that every adult with assets or children needs – while also allowing people to include other estate planning information like their burial preferences and preferred funeral wishes. Our vision at Willful is to help every Canadian create a legal will online easily and affordably, so no family is left scrambling when someone passes away.

What's next for the Business in the near future?:

We’re currently participating in the FounderFuel startup accelerator program in Montreal, and we pitch on stage at demo day on July 9th. We’re also expanding across Canada, and launching partnerships with financial institutions and life insurance companies to get our platform in front of millions of people.

How do you motivate others?:

I prefer to motivate with empathy and positivity. I believe that the best leaders are empathetic, and motivate with kindness, constructive feedback, and mentorship. The best leaders have a mix of warmth and competence – you can’t have one without the other, so I strive to have a balance of both.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

My biggest tip is to pay attention to your personal brand, and put time into growing it. A strong personal brand can help with everything from networking to new business, and it’s something that most people ignore until it’s too late.

What do you do best?

I’m a great storyteller. I’ve spent a decade as a journalist telling startup stories and interviewing amazing entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, and as a marketer who has helped startups shape their stories.

What makes you the best version of yourself?:

The thing that makes me the best version of myself is getting enough sleep and getting enough exercise. Those two things don’t happen all the time – or happen consistently – but when they do, I always feel better.

Motto?:

Positivity is a choice! I’m an extremely optimistic person, and I truly believe that you can decide to look at the world as a half-full glass.

Favorite People/Role Models?:

My role model is my mom. She was a marketing executive at Nortel in its heydey, and she now owns her own communications consulting business. She taught me the value of hard work, and showed me what happens when you build an incredible career. She also imbued with a love for travel, and I’m very grateful for that.

Favorite Places/Destinations?:

It’s so hard to choose my favourite place! We just went on our honeymoon to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia, so I would say right now New Zealand is at the top of the list. It’s incredibly beautiful, and everywhere you go is a wine region (bonus). But I would say South Africa and India are two of my other favorite places. Going on safari is one of the most special things you can experience, and my favorite travel day ever was going on a tour of the Chandni Chowk market in New Delhi, which is an incredible place.

Favorite Products/Objects?:

My favorite product is my AirPods. They truly changed my life! They’ve changed the way I listen to podcasts, work out, and conduct business meeting.

Current Passions?:

My passion has always been travel. I’ve been lucky to travel to incredible countries like Brazil, South Africa, and India, and while I don’t care about fancy cars or expensive possessions, I am obsessed with spending my disposable income on travel.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

I’m from Toronto, but right now I’m living in Montreal for the FounderFuel startup accelerator, and I absolutely love this city. It feels very European, and it’s absolutely beautiful – every side street has colorful walk-up apartments, trees, flowers, and historical buildings. It also has an incredible restaurant scene, which I’ve been working on exploring!

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

If I have a breakfast meeting, my favorite breakfast meal is avocado toast from Soho House in Toronto. If not, I eat the same thing every date for breakfast: whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Sleeping! I usually wake up at 7am to go for a run or hit a workout class, and I’m at my desk by 8:30am.

10:00 AM – Working.

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal? My favorite lunch spot in Toronto (where Willful is usually based) is Le Gourmand, a cafe at Spadina and Queen – they have the best grab-and-go sandwiches and salads.

7:00 PM – Either at a workout class, at an event, or watching Netflix.

11:00 PM – I would like to say sleeping, but more likely, scrolling through Instagram.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

At least two coffees in the morning, and lemon-flavored Perrier at night (I can’t have caffeine after lunch or I bounce off the walls).

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I use Todoist, a to-do list app that helps keep me organized.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In any new city when I’m traveling. My favourite thing to do is explore a new neighborhood with my husband when we travel – walk around, grab a cocktail, and get lost.

Susanna Barkataki: Yoga Unity Activist, Speaker and Teacher

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My Native Admission Statement: As a mixed Indian-British woman from Assam, living in the U.S. I’ve often felt excluded in many of our yoga spaces. Yet I know this exclusion is the opposite of what yoga is meant to be. Yoga is unity. It is meant to be inclusive and transformative for all, but that isn’t what happens. I am a yoga diversity, equity and culture educator and activist. I know it is past time for the practice of my indigenous wisdom to get the authenticity and diversity it deserves. I speak for my ancestors and say we are no longer here to allow this corruption and lack of diversity of the healing path of yoga today. We all lose. Instead, we can lean back to yoga’s original aims while practicing forward to a future that includes everyone. I use my unique experiences and voice to help do this through writing, teaching and speaking. I love asking people, “does what you are doing cause more separation, or more unity?” Yoga helps us see that anything other than union is just illusion. And gives us the tools to heal division and separation and get to union with self, with others, with the world.

Any emerging industry trends?

Yoga and wellness is embracing diversity and inclusion! For better or worse, these are a lot more trendy now than they’ve ever been. However, we have to be careful to not just pay lip service to these ideas, but to truly explore them deeply and fully. To ask ourselves the hard questions, make changes, and go deep. Otherwise, the trend won’t stick. Or to say this another way, these concepts need to move beyond trends and become deep practice.

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Andy Mooney: Fender CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: A blend of left and right brain, inherently creative but analytical from finance training. I’m able to go from high concept strategy to tactical detail. The former’s exciting, but tactical execution creates results. Every good business idea I’ve had (e.g. Disney Princess) was a paradigm shift that got me close to being fired. I fight for good business ideas, whomever generates them and no matter how impolitic that can sometimes be. It’s been a high risk, high reward strategy for me personally.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

Successful business ideas often come from simple observation of human behavior. Limited Edition footwear at Nike came from someone pulling up beside me in my used black Porsche 924 in a shiny new yellow Sebring Edition 924 Porsche and me wondering if the concept of Limited Edition would work in athletic footwear. It worked. The Disney Princess idea came from waiting in line at a Disney on Ice show and seeing mothers and daughters decked out in princess regalia they’d made at home.

Motto?:

Two years ago, I met Phyllis Fender, Leo Fender’s widow. Late in Leo’s life, in one of his more philosophical moments, he told Phyllis that ‘All artists were angles and his job on Earth was to give them wings to fly’. This has now become Fender’s vision statement and the job description of everyone in the company.

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Fatima Zaidi: Quill CEO & Co-founder & Eighty-Eight Agency Vice President

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m inspired by making money! I know that may sound shocking and shallow to some, but at the end of the day, I’m a sales person. If that isn’t your answer as a sales professional, then I recommend finding a new calling! To clarify, I’m not only motivated by making money for myself, but also in a large part by contributing to a company’s bottom line. That’s another reason why I love working at startups, because you can see the fruits of your labor almost immediately. You can only connect the dots looking backwards and my career trajectory has been pretty unusual and non-linear.

My Thought of the Day:

Among other obstacles, I’ve noticed that women in business are paid less, less frequently hired, and definitely don’t promote themselves to the level that they should. On a practical level, I’ve found that we can end up being our own enemy when it comes to self promoting and self branding. While I acknowledge that the system itself is flawed, I think we can counteract this to some extent by putting ourselves out there and asking for what we deserve, learning to promote themselves and not worrying about coming off too strong or hurting other people’s feeling. Many women put an incredible amount of effort into branding for their clients, while forgetting to also take control of their own personal branding and career. At the end of the day, we are each CEOs of our own brand.

Favorite Places/Destinations?:

Mongolia specifically the Gobi desert, my country Oman, and South Africa

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Morgan Lashley: Vestique Co-founder

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My Native Admission Statement: My passion for entrepreneurship began nearly a decade ago when I left my corporate job to start Vestique, a women’s clothing and accessories retailer. Since that day, my partner and I have opened 9 retail locations in the Southeast, with no plans of stopping,and built a multi-million dollar e-commerce operation. I am a people person and an extremely hard worker. I fully believe that if you are in a management position, you should lead by example. My employees all know I am not above cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the trash or doing whatever it takes for the good of the company. In fact, you can still find me working the sales floor in one of my stores most days. Interacting with our customers is hands down my favorite part of the job!

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

I began my career in PR, which meant I spent most of my days in my cubicle writing or researching. Every now and then, I would take “creative breaks” and scour the web for the one thing that made me truly happy: clothes! At the time, back in 2010, online boutique shopping was scarce. Of course, the big box stores had e-com sites but smaller, and more importantly affordable, boutiques just didn’t. I reached out to my friend and now business partner and pitched the idea of us starting one. We both loved fashion and spent all of our free time and money buying clothes so it was a natural fit. A main goal of ours was to keep everything we carried affordable, so everyone could look and feel their best without over spending.

Motto?:

Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

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Persia Lawson: Author, Speaker + Love Coach

My Native Admission Statement: I’m an author, speaker and ‘one of the UK’s most successful love coaches’ – according to The Times magazine. Having once been a serial cheater and obsessive love addict, I’m super proud to now be in a healthy, committed relationship with my fiancé Joe, and I’mpassionate about helping millennial women achieve the same in their own love lives via my books, talks, workshops, podcast and my digital coaching program ‘Get Your Soulmate’. My core message is that, in order to find real love in the superficial world we’re living in, we need to stop looking outside of ourselves for the partner we want to get, and start looking inside of ourselves for the partner we want to be. Trained in cognitive behavioural therapy, reiki and addiction studies, I’m honoured to have supported thousands of women (including some well-known celebrities) in radically transforming all aspects of their lives, and delighted to have been deemed an “irreverent British guru” by Marie Claire magazine and “refreshingly honest, raw and relatable” by Sadie Frost. My work has been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Psychologies mag, The Telegraph, You magazine, The Daily Mail, OK magazine, Channel 5 news, The BBC and The Evening Standard, as well as in a documentary alongside Russell Brand. I also regularly write and consult for online dating platform eharmony.

Favorite People/Role Models?:

Entrepreneur Marie Forleo has such a brilliant work ethic and treats everyone she meets with some love and generosity. My fiancé Joe is the best people person I’ve ever met, and has taught me what real love is.

Favorite Places/Destinations?:

Pretty much every festival! I also adore Costa Rica, India and Nepal – oh and Italy and Cornwall!

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Andrew Tarvin: Humor That Works Founder & Best Selling Author

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My Native Admission Statement: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with efficiency. Even my name is efficient. My full name is Andrew, but I go by Drew because it’s only one syllable. Efficient. As an IT Project Manager at Procter & Gamble, I led multi-million dollar projects for a $350 million brand. As a super-nerd (computer, math, engineer, sci-fi and video game) I was all about getting results. While there, I discovered that you can’t be efficient with humans, you have to be effective. I didn’t have the skills I needed to be effective with people, but I had started doing improv and stand-up, and realized that work wasn’t just about what you did, but how you did it. So I left P&G to become the world’s first humor engineer, teaching people how to use humor to get better results and have more fun at work.

How did you get into the industry?

I have always been an engineer. As a kid, I liked to take things apart and put them back together again, things like clocks, radios, and my brother’s sanity. Becoming a humor engineer was much more happenstance. In college, my best friend wanted to start an improv comedy group, needed people, and forced me to join. And when I first started, I was not very good. But over time, with practice and repetition, I got better. Once I started working at Procter & Gamble, I found that some of the same skills you need to be effective as an improviser are the same skills you need to be effective as a leader. I eventually proclaimed myself the corporate humorist of P&G to combine my two passions: engineering and comedy. I assumed, at some point, someone would stop me. Someone from HR or legal would say, “Hey, you can’t just create your own job title.” But no one ever did. Instead, people just started referring to me as the corporate humorist. I fell in love with the work and started Humor That Works part-time in 2009. I spent the next three years building it into a business while also testing ideas through blog posts and internal training events at P&G. By 2012, I decided to take the leap from the corporate world and focus on the company full-time, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

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Aleksandra Scepanovic: Ideal Properties Group Co-founder

My Native Admission Statement: I am a co-founder of Ideal Properties Group, a leading real estate brokerage that focuses on premier New York City neighborhoods. As an individual, I thrive in environments that call for informed decision–making with a high tolerance for risk. I excel in the dueling roles of a modern-day leader of a decade-old business and a mom ofa magnificent seven-year-old child. When we set out to bootstrap Ideal, we knew that Brooklyn would soon became the next most sought-after market so we focused on building a technologically-innovative firm that focuses on friendliness, transparency and service.

How did you get into the industry?:

I am a journalist with investigative skills who has, upon moving to New York City, added interior design training to her repertoire of skills. It was in the hotbed of good looks, the Big Apple, that I discovered my passion for interiors... which has lead me to real estate. I aligned my nascent brand of a real estate professional with a boutique brokerage firm in Manhattan… and got my start in the industry.

Most Challenging Moment?:

When we launched Ideal, the real estate market was collapsing in the wake andaftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. While this was a challenging time – where confidence in the market was low and our money was tight – we focused on our belief in Brooklyn and with our enthusiasm, we were able to build a successful firm.

Biggest Success?:

Being a mother to a kind, talented daughter and a worse half to a caring, strong and dedicated partner.

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Patrik Hellstrand: by CHLOE. CEO + Founder/Author, thrivewired + Advisor, KingsCrowd

My Native Admission Statement: My passion lies in strategically optimizing customer experiences and unlocking the potential of teams in high-growth businesses. I learned what matters most in people-centric businesses from starting my career cleaning hotel rooms and in various food and beverage positions; the same principles serve me now as CEO.

How did you get into the industry?:

I got into hospitality almost by accident. At the age of 20, I wanted to travel the world and figured that hospitality would be the best way to achieve that, by working on a cruise ship. So I got a job at a small hotel and started cleaning rooms, helping in the restaurant and helping in the bar, which ultimately landed me a job as a bar waiter on a small expedition ship cruising Antarctica. I ended up falling in love with the hospitality industry and stayed with it.

Biggest Success?:

My biggest success is linked to letting go of my ego entirely to succeed. Having mid-career started over from zero and not being able to afford anyone to help with anything, and learning to ‘figure it out’ and finding success in new and different ways without any resources was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and, also one of the most rewarding and valuable things I’ve done.

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Bola Sokunbi: Clever Girl Finance® Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I’d describe myself as motivated, curious and committed. I love taking on a challenge and solving difficult problems. Once I start working on a problem, I have to figure it out – either on my own or by getting the right people or resources involved. I’m passionate about wellness in all aspects of life. I like to look on the bright side of things and focus on the positive outcomes. Doing this helps me stay focused and keeps my mindset in check. My goal in life is to be a good person (wife, mother, friend, sister etc) and to leverage my opportunities and platform to help others.

Motto?:

Choose to be happy.

Life is unpredictable but you are in control of the perspective you take. I choose happiness.

Favorite People/Role Models?:

Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Sara Blakely

Such incredible women – their life and business stories inspire me.

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