I’ve Never Liked the Idea of Having To Choose ONE Path for The Rest Of My Life.
The biggest risk I ever took was believing in myself and investing my own money into my idea!
Ivana De Maria was born in San Diego, California, raised in Mexico City and educated in Switzerland. After spending three years at Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland she moved to Boston, MA where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Law at Boston University, while spending summers at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York.
Since becoming a Los Angeles resident in August 2014 Ivana has specialized in Storytelling as a whole as a writer, producer, and actress for Film and Television. She has starred in a number of films as well as TV shows such as La Bella y Las Bestias, The Best People, La Negociadora, and Women Is Losers. Ivana is currently focusing on creating content based on true stories and is currently a producer on the Netflix television series MONARCA as well as an Executive Producer on an upcoming Television Series based on the life of renowned journalist Oriana Fallaci.
Ivana’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for true stories led her to create STORYPLACE, an empathy-driven digital platform where you can write and read stories from people all around the world. StoryPlace launched in 2019 and is now available via Web and as a Mobile App. Currently, StoryPlace has over 25,000 users in 92 countries who have shared over 10,000 stories.
A big believer in social responsibility, Ivana is actively involved with multiple organizations including Visionary Women, This is about Humanity, and Justice for Migrant Women. She also serves as the Vice President of the San Fernando Valley Children’s Refugee Center, which receives unaccompanied minors who flee their homes and seek political asylum.
As a fan of the arts and always eager to learn about different cultures, Ivana is now fluent in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and is on her way to learn Russian.
Whether she is acting, producing or developing empathy-driven technology, Ivana’s goal remains the same: to promote empathy through the most basic and powerful form of education, STORYTELLING.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement so far would have to be that we have had over 10,000 comments across stories on StoryPlace, and not a SINGLE one has been negative, proving that an empathy driven social media is in fact possible.
You are an actress and a tech entrepreneur — talk to us about how you’ve managed to have a fluid career and why this is important to you.
I love telling stories, and although it seems as if I do many different things, I feel like that’s always what I’m doing. Whether it is through acting, writing, producing, or through my tech startup, I am always telling stories. It has always been important to me that I can do many different things, mostly because I like many different things. I’ve never liked the idea of having to choose ONE path for the rest of my life and forget about the rest, I believe that we are living at a time where being a multihyphenate is not only possible but necessary. Of course it requires being organized, determined, disregarding office hours, amongst other things.
VC, Angel or Bootstrap? And why?
Bootstrap + friends and family. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way of doing it, it really just depends on the scale of the project, the entrepreneur, and their specific situation.
What’s the biggest risk you ever took?
The biggest risk I ever took was believing in myself and investing my own money into my idea. The first dollars I spent on StoryPlace were terrifying but also a beautiful feeling. The result is what StoryPlace is today, but aside from the result, the fact that I bet on myself was rewarding in itself.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other women entrepreneurs just starting out?
The best advice I can give is “find the way in which you can connect to your intuition, then find the time to listen to it, and don’t question it.” Across the board, when I listen to people’s stories, it always comes down to a moment when they followed their intuition, even and especially when it was difficult to do so. I have to remind myself of this constantly, and I genuinely believe it’s the most challenging yet important thing to do as an entrepreneur. The skills, specialties, formulas, etc., you can find online or ask an expert. Still, your intuition is the secret ingredient in the entrepreneurial recipe, and it’s the only one that you can’t find anywhere else but within.
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