99 “Limit Breaking” Female Founders Share The Most Significant Lessons Learned from Their Experiences

Yitzi Weiner
Jan 22, 2018 · 220 min read
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Jessica Naziri, TechSesh.co, Founder and CEO

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Recently named one of INC’s 30 Inspiring Women in Tech, Jessica Naziri is the ultimate combination of geek and chic. A true multi-hyphenate in trade, Jessica is a tech and social media expert and a women empowerment powerhouse. She started her career as a technology reporter for CNBC and the LA Times and later as a tech exec at a local start-up in LA. After seeing the gender gap in technology first hand, she decided to make a difference by starting TechSesh.co, a modern woman’s destination to all things tech. Her mission is to be inclusive, to inspire, to educate, and equip girls with the tech skills and knowledge to pursue 21st century opportunities.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1) I’m okay with knowing that not everyone is going to like me, especially in a male-dominated field. When working at the start-up, I realized men don’t apologize or ask for permission, they just do it. I learned quickly to do the same. So take it from me and do yourself a favor, eliminate “I’m sorry,” “excuse me,” and “if it’s alright” from your vocabulary. You don’t need apologize for someone bumping into you, being passionate, asking for permission, raising children or saying no.


Jillian Michaels — President and co-founder of Empowered Media

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Jillian Michaels is the world’s leading fitness expert, renowned nutritionist and wellness entrepreneur. With an international community of followers exceeding 100 million, Jillian’s dominance in health and wellness extends to hit television series, her award-winning My Fitness by Jillian Michaels app (recently awarded best of 2017 honors from both Apple and Google), successful fitness DVDs, a popular exercises streaming platform, 8 New York Times bestselling books, live speaking engagements, popular social media channels and a list of key business partnerships and investments. In the past decade, her company, Empowered Media, has become a monumental wellness empire dedicated to total-life solutions comprising all aspects of living well, including nutrition, fitness, self-help and overall lifestyle. From strategic partnerships and investments in Thrive Market, Greensbury Market, Lucky Jack Coffee and AquaHydrate to her athletic apparel line and healthy food line, Jillian’s brand has touched every facet of nutrition, fitness and self-help.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“My greatest learning experiences always come from failure. Hence the reason people say that “failure is the greatest teacher” or, “there are no mistakes, just opportunities for learning.” That said, I have had so many failures it is tough to pick just one, so I will pick one of the more public failiures from which to share my knowledge bombs.


Ashley Wellington-Fahey, Founder/CEO, The Relish: A Digital Sports TV Network for female fans

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

I am a rising entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, breaking the ceiling across multiple male dominated spaces: sports, venture capital and tech. My inspiration in building and launching The Relish came from my own disenfranchised experience both as a female fan and as a woman working in sports. As a mission-focused company, we seek to revolutionize the female fan experience by offering women who like or have an interest in sports both a better way to engage with them beyond the game and to have a impactful voice in this heavily male dominated space that so often treats us as secondary to men. In addition to breaking barriers for female fans and women in sports, I also see this as an opportunity to showcase the importance of implementing diversity and inclusion into the fabric of a brand and company culture from day one. Currently, The Relish is an all-female staff, employed by majority women of color and represents women of all diverse backgrounds and interests across our programming. As we enter into the next phase of our business, I am heavily focused on taking these foundational components of the business and applying them into a transformative way of approaching sports media and digital television for women.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“In my experience thus far, a few core things I have learned are first and foremost, that I am worthy of belonging in these spaces. Oftentimes as women, whether directly or indirectly, we are told from a very young age that we are either not worthy of, enough or not allowed to be in these spaces. We are often made to feel like we don’t belong in environments where men tend to take up the most space. I am oftentimes the only woman or at minimum one of just a few women, in a room filled with men. Sometimes these are men who are incredibly influential and in high positions of power. Rather than feel intimidated by that experience, I choose to be empowered by it.


Penny Green, President, COO and Co-Founder of Glance Technologies Inc.

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Penny Green is a serial entrepreneur with over two decades of experience building successful companies. Currently, she is Co-Founder, President and COO of Glance Technologies Inc. (CSE:GET) (OTCQB:GLNNF), a leading fintech company recognized for its payment platforms and anti-fraud capabilities. More recently, Glance has gained recognition for its cryptocurrency strategy that is set to boost mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. Penny has been instrumental in building Glance to a valuation in excess of $280,000,000 and Glance is now recognized as the #5 top valued company on the CSE25Index.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Never lose your cool


Orit Shifman, CEO and Founder of OSR Enterprises AG

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Ms. Orit Shifman is the Group CEO & Chairman of the Board and founder of OSR Enterprises AG. Ms. Shifman is an entrepreneur and Attorney at Law (L.L.B & L.L.M), with additional studies in computer science & statistics- but most of all a technological autodidact. Ms. Shifman leverages her vast business experience and vision to build a bridge between cutting-edge technologies and business, merging them for practical use in the new era of mobility.”

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Listen to your intuition, don’t believe the naysayers.


Krystal Covington, CEO & Founder of Women of Denver

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“As a new resident of Denver, Krystal Covington found herself in a new city with no connections. Knowing that having a strong network is the #1 key to career success, she set out to build one for herself. As an off the charts introvert, she struggled to find connections while networking with other groups, so she built her own, tailoring the experience to her ideal way of meeting new people.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

Krystal says her goal this year is to reach 3,000 members and see the magazine become a household name throughout the state of Colorado.” “From her journey, Krystal was able to garner several powerful lessons.


Tami Halton Pardee, Owner and Principal Broker of Halton Pardee + Partners

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Tami Halton Pardee’s expertise in Southern California real estate and entrepreneurship is unrivaled. As owner and principal broker of Halton Pardee + Partners (formerly Pardee Properties),Tami is the #1 agent in Los Angeles and the company is the #1 brokerage on the Westside. Responsible for selling over $2 billion worth of residential and commercial properties since beginning in 2005, Tami has built a new model for real estate to better serve clients.


Jessica Herrin, CEO and Founder of Stella & Dot

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Jessica Herrin, Author, CEO and Founder of Stella & Dot, is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded WeddingChannel.com, the world’s leading wedding site.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1: Buddy up. Even though I technically started Stella & Dot on my own, it was only a rough idea before I met the right partners to really grow with. I waited until I found the best of the best — those with the talent, mission and drive to do it well. Surround yourself with positive people who are big dreamers, not naysayers. You will fuel one another to success.


Kathy Vegh, President/CEO of Danny Vegh’s and Co-founder/CEO of My Heart Wall

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

I started my journey with receiving a BS in Political Science/ Pre-Law from Allegheny College. From there, I went straight to Law School. However, I realized in my first year that this was not my calling. Therefore, I transferred to the MBA program at the University of Baltimore. I pioneered their Entrepreneurship program within the graduate business school. After graduating, I returned home to Cleveland to take over operations for my family’s business, a retail establishment selling gameroom products in 2011. From there, I was promoted to president of the business. Under my leadership, the company experienced impressive growth. We went from one location to 5 business locations. Within the first few years, we received more than 5x sales increase. Furthermore, the business gained recognition with many awards including Best Store Design for all 4 stores that I opened and the Weatherhead 100 Fastest Growing Companies in 2005. I was so proud that my company was one of the two oldest on the list, in addition to being retail. Furthermore, we were a Top Brunswick Billiard Specialty Dealer in the US for multiple years in a row. Furthermore, I earned personal awards such as Cleveland Crain’s Business 40 under 40. I was just 29 at the time, making me the youngest person on the list. And, I was elected to be the VP of the Billiard Industry for 5 years. In a male dominated field, I was the only industry leading female to not only exist but thrive. While running this business, I gave birth to a wonderful daughter who unfortunately was born with a congenital heart disease and required multiple open heart surgeries. From this challenging personal time, my daughter and I founded a new company called My Heart Wall to help others who are in her shoes. My daughter was lucky and is doing great. However, there are many children out there who still need help. My Heart Wall creates personalized photo wallpaper to help us all celebrate our lives while also giving back. This new venture brings a whole new excitement to me that I love sharing with others.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“My original journey was filled with lessons about how challenging it is to be a young woman in a man’s world. I was and still am the only female to own a retail chain in this industry. The beginning days of my career were difficult but seem completely irrelevant after living through the challenges with my daughter. It was with these experiences, that I have taken to heart lessons not only in the business sense, but also in life. Counting down these lessons below:


Stacey Morgenstern, Co-Founder, The Health Coach Institute

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Stacey is a Master NLP Practitioner, Certified Health Coach, Certified Money Breakthrough Coach, international public speaker, author, adventure seeker and poet. In less than five years, she built two highly successful socially conscious businesses from scratch: the first as a health coach specializing in emotional eating, and the second with business partner Carey Peters in their one-of-a-kind Holistic MBA™ training program. Since joining forces in early 2010 this unconventional, sassy duo have educated and inspired more than 8,000 health and personal development coaches from 27 countries create truly sustainable money-making businesses they love while deeply serving themselves and the world.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Lesson 1: It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey.


Carey Peters, Co-Founder, Health Coach Institute

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Carey is a Certified Health Coach, a Master Certified Money, Marketing and Soul Business Coach, a Certified Money Breakthrough Coach, a Certified NLP Practitioner and a Certified Intuitive Coach.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

Along the way, I learned 3 things that changed my life forever.


Nancy Zayed, Co-Founder & CTO, MagicCube

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Nancy is the co-founder and CTO of MagicCube, a mobile and IoT security company based in Silicon Valley. The technology Nancy and her team are building at MagicCube is poised to be an integral part of mobile payments, connected cars and other IoT uses.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“It’s never too late. Life comes in chapters, and as a woman, you don’t have to choose between building a career in STEM and being a mother. I went to graduate school when my daughter was graduating from high school while my son was starting the process of college applications — all while my husband was stationed half-way across the globe! It was at this later stage in my career, too, that I started thinking about founding my company. My husband was working at a big payments company and we’d just become empty nesters, so the timing was perfect. We finally had the bandwidth and experience to build something important that we believed in, something that brought value through solving a real problem, something that could be our legacy.


Fiorina Benveniste-Schuler, CEO, Selec.to

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Fiorina gave herself 10 years to learn all facets of the fashion industry, leading her to carve out a niche with leading B2B marketplace, Selec.to. Fiorina speaks 5 languages (French, English, German, Italian and Spanish) and has lived in a multitude of countries including Switzerland, England, France, Italy and USA.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Always stay authentic and believe in yourself. It sounds obvious, but people can tell when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin and are trying too hard. Knowing yourself comes hand in hand with finding your passion and identity, and being able to fiercely lead and stand out in a male-dominated industry.

Heather Sanborn, Co-Owner, Rising Tide Brewing Company

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Heather Sanborn is the Co-Founder, Co-Owner, and Director of Business Operations at Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. Heather was a former public school teacher and then a successful attorney at a large law firm in Boston, when she and her husband Nathan co-founded Rising Tide as a tiny “”nano-brewery”” in 2010. After a trip to California in 2011, Heather realized that there would be enormous opportunity for growth, not just at Rising Tide, but in the Maine’s craft beer industry as whole, if Maine’s laws were changed to allow customers to sample and purchase beer directly from the breweries themselves. She led the effort to change the law, legalizing brewery tasting rooms in Maine in 2012, and the growth she predicted has followed. Following her efforts in this male-dominated industry, she was elected by her peers to serve as President of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1) If you look around and wonder why no one is doing something about a particular issue — in business or in politics — you should probably just do that thing yourself! Don’t wait for someone else to invite you to be the leader of the effort; if you step up and start leading, people will follow you.


Sara Rodell, CEO & Founder, Loop & Tie

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I am the CEO and Founder of Loop & Tie. I’m a graduate of UVA, and spend my time in New York City and Austin. Before starting Loop & Tie I worked at UBS in Institutional Equity Sales. I had the good fortune of volunteering to handle client holiday gifts and was struck both by how inefficient the process was and how much money we spent on unexciting items. The gift industry felt like a low tech, low efficiency world where I could make an impact. My first product was a consumer gifting app that didn’t mature into what I’d envisioned, but it provided the market validation and inspiration I needed to create Loop & Tie.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Use your emotions along with facts.


Samantha Holloway, Co-Founder, GoSpotCheck

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Samantha Holloway is a co-founder of GoSpotCheck, a SaaS-based field execution management platform. Samantha attended the University of Michigan where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 2003. She also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Denver.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“ “GoSpotCheck was my first time founding a software company but it is not my first entrepreneurial endeavor. Prior to GoSpotCheck, I co-founded DS Additions, a high-end women’s boutique, where I learned firsthand about working with brands, but more importantly, working with customers. Each and every one is so important, not just to revenue, but to understanding the business and what value you need to provide. A lot goes into successfully running a retail business and it quickly became evident that customer development is the key to selling the right products. Gaining knowledge of the retail industry through this experience directly led to my involvement and co-founding of GoSpotCheck, where we try to bring transparency to these operational difficulties. If it wasn’t for the lessons I learned in my previous business ventures, I wouldn’t value the transparency that we work towards providing our customers at GoSpotCheck.


Jennifer Paquette, Executive Director/Founder, Green Beret Foundation

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Ms. Paquette, asked by the GBF’s original board, has served as Executive Director of the Green Beret Foundation beginning 1 August 2011. Initially in 2009, Jen served on the GBF’s Board of Advisors helping establish the Foundation and later as Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer since January 2010. She has identified and developed programs and services, planned and executed GBF’s numerous fundraising events raising millions of dollars and awareness for the US Army Special Forces.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“• Vision. Mission. Go!


Sama Jashnani & Anuja Shah, Co-Founders DownToDash

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Sama & Anuja are the 25-year-old co-founders of DownToDash, an app that connects people in the same location to do an activity together. Being young girls who moved halfway across the world and started from scratch, they have come a long way in building a company that is making a difference to people’s lives and are working towards spreading DownToDash all across the world.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“ “1. Marketing starts from the product: Building a superior product is extremely important for any company to be successful. We spent more than a year talking to people, taking feedback and understanding what people want. We regularly revamp our product based on what users love and what gets them to keep coming back to the app. A great product is what automatically creates a group of brand loyalists who talk about you to everyone. This is also the key factor that acts as a barrier to entry in your market.


Dr. Orie Achonwa, Founder & Creative Director, Nourish

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I was diagnosed with an incurable condition known as PCOS in my late-20s and immediately adopted a natural lifestyle to balance my hormones and mange my symptoms. Over time I noticed improvements in my condition and a shift in my overall vitality. Knowing that nutrition is at the root of many health problems I was inspired to create a plant-based wellness brand to help more people take charge of their wellness.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1. Create the simplest message possible. When you and your brand are new to the market you don’t have people’s attention. If people don’t get you and what you’re offering in 10 seconds they move on. This is one of the hardest lessons that I’ve learned in business. You have to learn how to curtail your passion for your own product and just tell people what they want to know in as few words as possible.


Ximena Hartsock, co-founder, Phone2Action

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Ximena came from Chile to the US in the late nineties looking for opportunities. She was raised in a dictatorship and wanted to seek the American dream. With $500 in her pocket, no English, no connections and no job, she convinced her parents to fly to the US. Ximena was born in a very humble household in Santiago but she was also Indian. Her father was 100% Mapuche. Zip code in Chile was destiny at the time but being Mapuche was much worse because Chile, more than other Southamerican countries, does not embrace indigenous people. Despite this, Ximena graduated first of her class in college.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1) Starting over is not as hard as it sounds. When I left government I realized I could transfer many skills to entrepreneurship. It is easy to be scared when you are starting a company; you leave the coziness of a job with a salary. I did not draw a salary for almost a year. I think being an immigrant helped me because I had nothing when I came here so I knew how to be poor again. I knew the switch would pay off and it did, transitioning to technology was the best decision I could make. Immigrants are survivors as entrepreneurs are.


Meghann H Gunderman, Founder , Executive Director, The Foundation For Tomorrow

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

The word “bold” should be Meghann Gunderman’s middle name. The entrepreneur and philanthropist started changing lives while others her age were still playing with dolls. At 12 years old, the nationally competitive runner, wrote and published an athletic log and diary for children. It also raised funds to feed her first non-profit, The Charlotte Youth Sports Foundation. CYSF provided athletic opportunities for disadvantaged youth in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Later, as part of her studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, Meghann traveled to East Africa to do research. That experience grabbed her imagination and later called her away from her job in Global Sponsorship at Barclays Capital. In late 2006 she founded and became Executive Director of The Foundation for Tomorrow (TFFT), an East African based NGO. TFFT offers individual orphaned and vulnerable children the opportunity to succeed through access to quality schooling, health and psychosocial support and life skills. TFFT’s acclaimed work also improves the quality of instruction, resources and school management to ensure widespread, sustainable impact through teacher training. To date TFFT’s efforts have raised over 5 million dollars, enrolled 134 children in boarding school, and has served over a thousand of teachers through their in-service training program. Meghann currently leads the development of a first of its kind state-of-the-art learning center that will include a technology and computer training center, higher education advisory and scholarship center, teacher training and literacy lab, and NGO and Social Entrepreneurship Incubator.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Dream Big/Shoot Far/Don’t be afraid to fail. Not being afraid to bruise my ego or fall short of my goal has enabled me to go after big visions, bold goals. I’ve pushed further faster with this mindset.


Mary Biggins, CEO & Co-founder, MealPal

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Forging her own path to success, Mary Biggins is the ultimate entrepreneur, founding not just one, but two of the fastest growing tech start-ups: ClassPass and MealPal. Her career at MBI, Vistaprint, & Betterment propelled her on an entrepreneurial journey; the next step was to be a founder. Mary continues to take risks and create high-quality solutions to everyday problems by providing value for both businesses and consumers. Motivated by building and seeing the results, she raised over $100M for ClassPass and MealPal combined. With no signs of slowing down, her ability to push beyond her own limits, and take two established industries with her, has successfully changed the way people exercise and eat on a daily basis.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Surround yourself with Smart and Optimistic People.


Kimberly Reyna, CEO/ Founder , PoshPort Travel Inc.

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I am the founder of PoshPort Travel. We curate unique and exhilarating experiences for stylish, young professionals who are fun and adventurous but still value comfort (that means no hostels!) We travel with passion and with purpose because we are passionate about seeing every corner of this world and leaving it better and stronger than we found it. And we want to share that same vision with our guests. That is why we donate a portion of each tour’s proceeds to local nonprofits we partner with who are impacting their communities positively and on a grass roots level, and we go a step further by featuring them on many of our tours.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Never underestimate the power of networking. It can be nerve racking, but whatever industry you’re in, we can all agree by now that it is a necessary evil. Often organized networking events become the norm, but one rule of thumb I have always lived by is to see every aspect of your life as an opportunity to network. A few years ago, I was traveling thought out Belgrade, Serbia and met a local named Nina at a bar. After speaking to her for a few minutes we connected on a people level and realized we had a lot in common. The next day she suggested we grab lunch and offered to show me the city from a true local’s perspective. Besides getting a cool private VIP tour of the Belgrade, I got to know more about Nina. We not only became friends, but now years later and as I’m developing my international business, she has connected me to the half of Serbia. People can surprise you and connect you, no matter where in the world you are, always remember that!


Ashley Merrill, Founder & CEO, Lunya

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Ashley Merrill is the CEO and Founder of Lunya, sleepwear for the modern woman. Ashley is passionate about empowering women through education and business opportunity with a keen focus on impact investment in education and female entrepreneurship sector. Ashley holds a BA and MBA from UCLA Anderson.


Maia Haag, Co-Founder and President, I See Me! LLC

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Maia Haag is the Co-Founder and CEO of I See Me!, the largest publisher of personalized books in the U.S. I See Me! has sold millions of copies of its personalized children’s storybooks through its website www.iseeme.com and through high-end retailers including Pottery Barn Kids, Nordstrom, and others. The company has developed an extensive line of award-winning personalized books and gifts that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine and other media have given I See Me! accolades for its very high quality, unique personalized books, and the company has developed an A-list celebrity fan base that includes Jessica Alba, Brooke Shields, Courteney Cox, and Rachel Zoe.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1) You can have the best marketing in the world, but at the end of the day, your company’s success comes down to your product or service. When I was at General Mills, my new product development team and I spent so much time developing the advertising plans for a new snack called the Roadrunner Bar that we didn’t focus enough on what would make the product itself unique in the marketplace. After a year of work, the company never launched the product because the sales force couldn’t see what made it different.


Veronika Scott, CEO and Founder, Empowerment Plan

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I founded The Empowerment Plan 5 years ago as a 22 year old college art student. I am doing this work now because both of my parents have been unemployed for over 20 years and have struggled with addiction for just as long. As a child raised in that situation I was looked at as a worthless extension of my parents, doomed to repeat their life of poverty. I want to prove that poverty does not define me, or anyone else, and that no one is worthless. With Empowerment Plan I was able to finally create an opportunity that I wish had existed for my own family.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1. Don’t be afraid to say no! This is so important but is something that I struggle with. Whether it is because of my age or my gender, I constantly get people telling me what they think I should do or what my business needs in order to be successful. While some advice is valuable, I’ve had to trust my gut and the mission of what I’ve created so that I don’t get pulled in a million different directions. Saying “no” gives you the ability to stay focussed and the power to control your destiny.


Kimia Kalbasi, Founder, KimiasKravings.com

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Kimia Kalbasi (@KimiasKravings, KimiasKravings.com) has broken the barrier as a blogger and influencer in the oversaturated world of content creation. She’s killin’ the game and has exceeded the limit by going the extra mile with no end. Not only has she has expanded her niche from a small food blog to a restless traveler and lifestyle expert having grown on Instagram exponentially by 5x in the past year alone, she has aligned and branded herself and her skills as a social media guru, strategist and consultant by offering a series of services to clients including but not limited to: branded content campaigns to influencer placements to customized media kits.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Throughout Kimia’s riveting experiences and journey as an entrepreneur, she has gained countless valuable lessons since day 1 but the three most important ones that have changed her life are:


Ania Kubow, Co-Founder at Nimbla.com

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I stumbled into being a women in tech, when I started my first e-commerce business in 2014. We were using a ‘ready to use’ online selling platform which was very basic in terms of UX and I felt stifled by the limited design options. I decided to self-teach myself html and css coding to create the exact website look and feel I wanted. Since then, I have been teaching myself ever since. Even more so now that I sold that company and am now co-founding app Nimbla, dedicated to helping small business thrive with affordable trade cover.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“The number one thing I learned is that if you have the motivation, you can self-teach yourself almost anything. The internet has so many useful and free tools for learning the basics of coding there is almost no excuse not to get yourself up to speed. Always stay curious and develop a sponge like approach to soaking up information.


Alison Maloni, Owner of Alison May Public Relations

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I am a media expert, President and CEO of Alison May Public Relations and public speaker. I am a former news reporter, who has worked throughout the Northeast at television stations in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1) As a former reporter, I learned that you keep going until you meet your deadline or goal. We don’t stop until the story is written. The news does to wait for you and nor do your clients. You must be ready to work 24/7. If you aren’t, then you and your clients will miss out. 2) As a woman business owner, it can be scary to take center stage and lead a presentation in a boardroom full of men. You let you mind take over and wonder if they will take you seriously. But again, through reporting, I have learned that build up my confidence. I told stories to thousands of people and I had to appear confident. People can see if you are scared or doubt yourself. You must not let that show. I always tell myself that I’m the expert. They invited me to educate them and I am own the stage. As women, we need to build our self confidence in our professional and personal life. 3) Delegation is key. I failed as a delegator when I first started my business and I almost lost many clients. I was burnt out and couldn’t do it all. I thought that I could do everything myself and I refused to ask for help. The reality is that we can’t do everything ourselves. We must focus on what we are good at and trust employees to handle the rest. I hire men and women who are smarter than me and it’s been a huge success.


Julie Frederickson, CEO & Founder, Stowaway Cosmetics

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Julie Fredrickson is the founder and CEO of Stowaway Cosmetics. With a background in e-commerce and digital marketing, Julie has worked with clients including Ann Taylor, Gap, Equinox, Nike, and Coach. As an established entrepreneur — Julie’s first company, Coutorture Media, was a pioneer in the fashion blogging and affiliate marketing space. Before Stowaway Cosmetics, Julie found herself constantly hoarding sample-sized cosmetics, the perfect fit for her gym bag or carry-on for last-minute getaways. The samples were usually difficult to find, impossible to purchase regularly, and rarely the items she wanted. This led Julie to the realization that the market for smaller makeup wasn’t being met by existing brands. An inveterate optimizer, Julie is always looking for new ways to make her life easier to maintain and uses her knowledge to help Stowaway’s customers face that same problem. She believes beauty should fit into your life, instead of making your life fit your beauty products.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1. Never be afraid to be embarrassed- Being bad is the first step on your journey to being great. So you will find yourself constantly feeling a twinge of embarrassment as you work to improve. That’s normal! Be embarrassed if you must and then let it go it is completely fine to not have all or even 10% of the answers you will need to be successful. The secret no one tells you when you get started is that all of your heros and inspiration started out not knowing a thing either! So unabashedly ask all of the questions you think are stupid or basic. I promise you that they are not and every answer to even the most mundane thing will teach you something.


Kari DePhillips, Owner, The Content Factory (contentfac.com), Co-Host of The Workationing Podcast

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“In 2010, I started The Content Factory with just $500. I now have a dozen employees spread out over seven different states, and my little digital marketing agency that could now represents several national brands and some very cool tech startups.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Lesson 1: If at all possible, figure out a way to work from home (and allow your employees the same flexibility). As a founder, it enables you to source the best talent from all over the country — you’ll be able to hire better, and for less money, when you’re aren’t geographically restricted to your local area.


Melissa Tavss, Founder and CEO, Tipsy Scoop

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Melissa’s Italian ancestors brought ice cream to Scotland in the 1800s.The family business continued with her great grandfather, Federico, who opened shops throughout Scotland and England and eventually became the President of the Ice Cream Alliance of Great Britain. Following in the ice cream tradition, Melissa began to experiment with putting a modern boozy twist on ice cream. Melissa wanted to combine the best of both worlds and infuse traditional ice cream flavors with different liquors. She finally perfected the recipes and came up with creamy, tipsy and delicious treats- Tipsy Scoop!

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Be Persistent- Persistence was key for growing the Tipsy Scoop business. We kept getting push back from liquor boards who didn’t know how to define the product, grocery stores who didn’t know how to sell it, and consumers who were hesitant to even give the product a try. Being persistent allowed us to give people time and push people to understand the value of our products.


Ilse Valfre, Founder and Illustrator, Valfre.com

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Valfré is a LA based women’s apparel and accessories brand that was founded by Mexican-born artist, Ilse Valfré. The brand launched in late 2013 and has quickly become a global source for the creative and wild-at-heart. Valfré’s mission is to bring her art to life by creating unique products that are a direct reflection of the psychedelic world that she has created. Her work explores the poignant tension between vulnerability and confidence as she transports her audience into the hearts and minds of the characters that she creates.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“It’s easy to cast a huge shadow of doubt on ourselves when society often treats us as 3rd class citizens. Know your value, celebrate your differences, stand up for yourself, don’t take no for an answer and create your own path if there’s not one.


Celeste Bonin, Founder & CEO of Celestial Bodiez (and former WWE Diva)

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I Grew up in a broken home, played sports my entire young life, started working at the age of 14 (maybe broke some child labor laws?). I passed up a college Soccer scholarship home and help with a family situation and chose to do go to college close to home. While trying to pursue a fine arts degree (What was I thinking???) I randomly had a chance to try out for the WWE at age 23. I got signed and never looked back. So basically, I got my education in the school of hard knocks…and fake fighting. Clearly, I’m not formally educated.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1) I’ve learned that you are never ready for anything — ever. You’re never ready for that next big opportunity. You can’t pass up once-in-a-lifetime opportunities or moments because you think you’ll fail. Honestly, sometimes you just have to fail. That’s how you learn. More than likely, you’ll rise to occasion. Learn to thrive under pressure and embrace all of the shitty moments.


Lilia Stoyanov, CEO, Transformify

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“2017 First Women Award winner (UK), 2013 Finance Excellence Award Coca-Cola Enterprises, Professor at Zigurat Business School, Barcelona, Director PTP Europe at Coca- Cola Enterprises, GM&CFO Skrill/ Paysafe (USD 800mio exit)

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“The team comes first. If you don’t hire the right people, no matter how brilliant your business idea is, it is likely to be a failure.


Leanne Jacobs, Holistic Wealth Expert, HealthyGirl Inc.

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Leanne Jacobs is the author of BEAUTIFUL MONEY and the founder of HealthyGirl. She has her B.Sc in Biomedical Toxicology as well as her MBA. She is a certified yoga + pilates instructor as well as a certified clinical nutritionist. She is a detox specialist and a passionate advocate of holistic wealth, wellness + entrepreneurship. Leanne has been featured on the Marilyn Denis Show, Fox News, The Morning Show, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Success Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Women’s Health, Entrepreneur and Marie Claire. She is also mom to 4 Children. She experienced first hand the very direct relationship health has with money. At the age of 28, she experienced both emotional and physical crisis in pursuit of success. Today, Leanne mentors on her philosophy of a new era of wealth creation- holistic wealth. She calls this the beautiful money movement. Leanne’s book BEAUTIFUL MONEY (Penguin Random House. 2017.) guides readers through a very strategic and simple 4 week program for holistic wealth creation.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“There were several lessons I learned along this journey. First and foremost that more isn’t always better. I was always chasing the next promotion, the next achievement, the next great challenge. This pattern which drove me for over a decade resulted in anxiety, adrenal fatigue and spiritual starvation (along with an unhealthy relationship with food). Doing less with more connectivity and with more presence leads to a much more fulfilling life and sustainable state of joy. The second lesson for me was that addictions are gifts. When we become more in tune with our bodies, addictions (work, technology, food, alcohol, exercise, etc.) are ways for our physical bodies to get our attention. These addictions are physical reminders that we are out of alignment and reminders that choices we have made or are making may not be aligned with our true selves (or our intuitive nature). Today, when food addictions or work addictions appear, they are indicators that there are some choices I am making that are not in alignment with my intuition or highest self. Third, I have learned that my vehicles for making money must be in alignment with my core values. If my health suffers in pursuit of cash, it is simply not sustainable wealth. The key to holistic wealth is to learn how to master the concept of leverage in everything we do (especially for women and for moms).


Kavita Channe, Founder & CEO of Channé Rosé

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

In the summer of 2016 my boyfriend and I went on a summer trip all over Italy with a few stops in France. Both the foodies that we are, on top of sightseeing it seemed like a majority of our time was spent eating amazing local food and drinking delicious, authentic wine. What stuck out to me was the rosé wine from Provence. I couldn’t get enough! I’m talkin’ gorgeous French weather… beautiful music… stunning South of France views…. a pale peach colored glass of rosé to pair with a tasty bite… nothing like it! Mind you, I was not a rosé drinker prior to this trip. So we come home to the states and I crave my delicious glass of rosé. However, there was only one problem… most of the restaurants had subpar rosé on the menu. Now, I did not want to give up my new favorite beverage… so we had this bright idea to go to France in search of the best rosé we could find and bring it to the US. And here we are.


Estee Goldschmidt, CEO & Co-Founder, ShopDrop App

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Estee is the CEO & Co-Founder of ShopDrop, an app that is a one-stop solution to all sample sale shopping. Estee started working on ShopDrop while pursuing her MBA at the Stern School of Business over a year ago. Now the app has thousands of monthly active users who follow the app, blog and social for affordable fashion updates.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Figure out the cheapest way to prove concepts (or in technical terms: develop MVPs). Then test, learn and implement. Repeat that cycle again and again until you have the perfect product validated by your customers. For ShopDrop, that meant testing different design options and monetization strategies.


Christina Stembel, Founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Christina isn’t your typical entrepreneur. She doesn’t have a fancy pedigree or even a college degree, making her stand out from the Silicon Valley founder image that has become commonplace. While some may consider this a negative, she believes her atypical road to entrepreneurship has been a positive asset. She has tenacity and intellectual curiosity in spades, and an insane work ethic — which she firmly believes are fundamental requirements for success.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Remind yourself that most people won’t think like you. So change your thinking and expectations early.


Alexandra Isenegger, Founder and CEO, Linkilaw — The legal Platform for Startups.

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Alexandra Isenegger is the founder and CEO of Linkilaw — the legal platform for startups. While working in a corporate law firm, Alex spotted a gap in the legal sector and inefficiencies in the fees charged by large firms for services provided to startups. Leaving a secure job and founding her own company at the age of 21 was no mean feat. From not having enough staff to cater to client needs to being nominated as one of the top tech startups at LegalGeek, Alex has had quite the journey. Speaker of seven languages, Alex is also passionate about meditation and the effect it has on all aspects of life and believes in honest, effective communication as the key to success in both business, and our personal lives.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1) Choose who you work with wisely. That can make or break your startup. Communicate. Make sure that your expectations of one another correspond.


Rachel Sumekh, Founder and CEO of Swipe Out Hunger

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Rachel Sumekh is the Founder & CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. The organization is a leading force in addressing hunger amongst college students. Her work has been recognized by The Obama White House, The New York Times and landed her on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Stay committed to your end goal yet be willing to adapt.


Kelly Gasink and Jill Burns, Co-founders, Austin Cocktails

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Austin Cocktails is a family-owned by independently accomplished entrepreneurs and sisters, Kelly Gasink and Jill Burns. Jill and Kelly come to Austin Cocktails with previous beverage experience, business acumen and highly successful entrepreneurial backgrounds. Jill gained ground floor drink development experience working with a beverage company that was bought by Post Holdings. Importantly, Jill understood where big companies cut corners in drink development and knew that seeking the finest ingredients grown in various soils and temperatures was the cornerstone of creating superior drinks. She also knew that innovations were making the time ripe for the development of something craft in the ready-to-serve space. Jill brings a wealth of experience in marketing and PR which she developed working for legendary sports agent, Leigh Steinberg, and later at her own firm. Jill graduated from Santa Clara University where she played on the golf team. While Jill primarily manages the consumer marketing side, Kelly manages distributor and retailer strategies and oversees corporate finance. As a co-founder of three successful start-up businesses, two of which were sold to publicly traded companies, Kelly leverages her extensive experience growing sales and overseeing channel development. Kelly manages the needs and interests of numerous supply chain members starting with ingredient suppliers, bottlers, distributors, retailers and every other entity involved linking Austin Cocktails, ultimately, to the retailer floor manager. Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Stanford and her graduate degree from Harvard and was named one of The Wall Street Journal’s “Faces of a New Generation of Leaders and Entrepreneurs.”

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

You can’t be a leader by following.


Jordan E. Dollard, Owner and CEO, Elsa Fine Brands

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Jordan E. Dollard was laid off at 23, leaving her with an internal fire to never get left in the lurch again. She started Elsa Fine in 2014 to bring a little color into an otherwise dull world. Over a three year period, Elsa Fine has evolved into so much more, a lot due to Jordan’s eagerness to succeed. In addition to the women’s clothing store, Jordan leads the way in the Charlotte temporary retail scene, creating open air markets, pop-up shops, and other temporary retail opportunities. The idea of temporary retail has been trending for a few years now, but Jordan is swimming furiously in uncharted territory by creating a career out of it. In addition to her shop which regularly engages in these events, she oversees the Charlotte Ballet’s retail program and directs and curates open air markets and festivals around the city with plans to expand the category to new locations in 2018 and 2019.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

I’ve learned a lot of lessons from the positives and the negatives of starting a company, many of which I still feel the pushback of to this day. First and foremost is the financial lessons I’ve learned. Understand and know what kind of financing is out there for a business. I jumped at the first offer I had, which ended up being the wrong one. Elsa Fine still feels the ramifications of this today, but because of my resilience and honestly, fear of failing, we succeed in spite of it everyday. I also believe in surrounding yourself with people who believe in what you’re doing. They can be hard to find, but they’ll help you grow in ways that you just can’t do yourself. And third, take NO with a grain of salt. I get a lot of no’s. A LOT. When you’re doing something new and unfounded, that’ll happen. No doesn’t mean never and true leaders find a way to make that no a yes.


Suelin Chen, CEO and co-founder, Cake

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Suelin Chen is the CEO and co-founder of Cake (joincake.com), an online platform for advance care and end-of-life planning that is used by companies including Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, Harvard Pilgrim, Liberty Mutual, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“My journey as a founder has taught me a great deal, but here are 3 lessons that I’ve learned along the way:


Ermelinda Manos, founder, EM Creative Group

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Ermelinda Manos was born in Southern Albania and raised in Athens, Greece. She moved to Las Vegas at the young age of 12 and has called Sin City home ever since. As a DACA young immigrant, Manos overcame any limits by receiving her college degree, debuting a women’s evening wear line at LA Fashion Week, working with world-renowned designer brands, authoring and self-publishing a book, and launching her own manufacturing brand, while advocating for young immigrants.


Felicia Jackson, Inventor and CEO, CPR Wrap

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“On October 4th, 1971, I was born into a loving family that taught me I could be and do anything in life. As I grew older and became a participant in everyday life I met people that made me feel the opposite. While growing up, I never knew about African American inventors because we were not taught about these people in school. I always knew I was meant for more.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

In a span of 2 years I have went from a company of 1 to having 2 employees, a great investor, a finished product and paying customers. My journey is far from over because I have something to prove…not to others but myself. My goal is the be the blue print for other minority, poor, innovators of the world to follow a path of entrepreneurial success. There is no limit to success with passion, purpose, and determination.


Cuyana

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Founded in 2011 and launched in 2013, Cuyana was a pioneer of the modern luxury movement. Co-founders Shilpa Shah and Karla Gallardo launched the collection with the ethos “fewer, better things” — inspiring women to invest in quality wardrobe essentials made by skilled artisans from around the world.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Finding the right business partners: When we were first raising investment, we would talk to male investors who didn’t get the concept of a fashion brand, let alone a fashion brand that celebrated women and female empowerment. Female investors however immediately got our vision and recognized fewer, better as something that would appeal to women customers looking for brands with meaning.


Shari Buck, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Doximity

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“In a world where females in both leading and technical roles are scarce, Shari started her entrepreneurial journey unphased by these facts. With Jeff Tangney and Nate Gross, Shari founded Doximity in 2011 with the goal of building a free, secure social network for physicians. At Doximity, Shari manages cross-functional departments to lead all product management operations and has broad experience in mobile software design, development, QA, and user testing.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Define what the measurement of success is early on. In the start of any project, initiative, or company — knowing what success looks like is the most important thing. Keeping a clear focus on what you’re working towards will act as the guiding light to your success.


Lyde Spann, Founder and CEO of netamorphosis, an award-winning digital agency

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Between the rise of the #Me2 movement and a strong economy, 2017 was a good year for women in the business community as a study also found the rate of women entrepreneurs saw the biggest increase in almost two decades. Relatively few women-owned firms smash through the $1 million barrier and one of them happens to be the female pioneer and former head of ecommerce for the retailer Zara: Lyde Spann, Founder and CEO of n e t a m o r p h o s i s, an award-winning digital agency whose data-driven approach has helped more than 60 retailers grow traffic and drive revenue by +70%/ a year. Lyde is regarded as a pioneer within the digital industry; known for leading and developing dynamic eCommerce and omnichannel operations for some of the most ambitious organizations in the world. With more than 20 years experience carving out data-driven, technology-forward solutions for Fortune 500 companies including; HSBC, New York Life Insurance, west elm, The Museum of Modern Art (NY), and Inditex, the largest fashion retail in the world; Lyde founded netamorphosis, a growth focused consultancy meets digital agency that has tested and proven a metrics-driven growth process on more than 60 companies, to drive organizational performance to unprecedented results.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

netamorphosis, the growth-focused digital agency that I founded in theory in 2011 and launched in November 2014 serves as a strategy-based growth engine supporting both core business operations in the format of traditional business consulting in tandem with devising and implementing cutting-edge digital and omnichannel marketing strategies for industries ranging from healthcare to not-for-profits to global retail leaders.


Simona Vaitkune, CEO, Fast Invest

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Simona Vaitkune is the CEO of Fast Invest. Under her leadership, Fast Invest has expanded into 36 countries across three offices in the UK, Poland and Italy with over 8,500 daily active investors. As a Millennial CEO, Simona has been able to use her innovative perspective to disrupt the male-dominated world of FinTech across Europe. Simona took her personal experiences working in the finance industry and as a member of the Big Credit board of directors to help guide her strategy in the creation of the platform. She holds degrees in Business Management and Fine Arts.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1. Think creatively. As a young female CEO, I have a different perspective than a lot of tech leaders, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a male-dominated field, and most people that participate in the cryptocurrency marketplace are young men. I knew that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to this demographic alone. Part of our success comes from trying to reach out to different demographics. We have a large number of female users, showing that with creative thought, demographics aren’t destiny.


Vicki Holt, CEO, Proto Labs

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Vicki Holt is a gutsy CEO in an industry chock full of men: manufacturing. Not only did she take the helm of Proto Labs, a $185M company — she raised it to $300M in no time flat. She doesn’t shy away from risk or innovation either. Vicki convinced the leadership team to invest heavily in 3D printing for parts (before 3D was much of a “thing”). This bold move boosted revenue by 160%, helping Proto Labs crack the top 5 Forbes list of America’s Best Small Companies not once, but twice.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Lesson #1: Everyone goes through different experiences in their career and this allows us to each bring a different perspective to any conversation. My first lesson is that you should actively seek out these perspectives. Don’t limit yourself to your own views. I’ve been fortunate to have some outstanding mentors and coaches who have had a significant impact on how I view the world, my role in it and how this applies to business. If you don’t have someone like this in your life, get one.


Carin Luna-Ostaseski, Founder of SIA Scotch Whisky

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I am the first American woman in history to create a brand of Blended Scotch Whisky. I didn’t grow up in a distilling family, I’m not Scottish, and until I started my business, I never held a job at a liquor company. What I did have was a deep passion for this amazing spirit and the burning desire to share it with people and change the perception that Scotch is “your grandfather’s drink.”

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“I can answer this question in three words: Never. Give. Up.


Monika Elling, CEO and Founder of Foundations Marketing Group

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Monika Elling is the CEO and Founder of Foundations Marketing Group, a New York based brand development agency created to address the strategic marketing communications and brand-building needs of the wine and spirits, and luxury product sectors. She is also the CEO of the Paradigm Collection, a newly launched, U.S. based, National Importer of fine wines and craft spirits. Experienced in developing and implementing global marketing programs, Monika has decades of expertise in the trade on the supply as well as the import/wholesale sides, having most recently served as Director of Public Relations at Lauber Imports, a division of Southern Wines & Spirits, America’s largest wholesaler. Prior to joining Lauber, Monika held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for Monarchia Matt International, where she launched the European company’s American division. She is a thought leader and innovator in the global wine & spirits industry, and with FMG, created a unique platform to embrace the latest market innovations in the U.S. wine and spirits sector. Monika is a noted speaker and author, and recently published her book Wine 123: “”All You Need to Know About Wine in 90 Minutes or Less”” which is now available on Amazon. “

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“As I watched the global wine business undergo unprecedented growth and challenges, I decided it was time to strike out on my own and create a unique, turnkey solution for global suppliers looking to build their U.S. market presence. The challenges I faced were as follows:


Amanda Greenberg, CEO and co-founder of Baloonr

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Amanda Greenberg is the co-founder and CEO of Baloonr, an app that removes bias from collaboration, decision-making, and innovation so that companies gain access to otherwise unreachable insights. Their tech (web/iOS/Slack) levels the playing field, by removing the most costly cognitive biases (e.g., groupthink, pattern recognition, anchoring, gender bias) from the workplace. Prior to founding Baloonr, she was a public health researcher and evaluation specialist in DC, managing projects for the U.S. EPA, CDC, and DOE. Amanda designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated national public health behavior change campaigns. She was in the inaugural, QIT Health Innovators Fellowship class and co-led a showcase-winning team in the national Health Design Challenge. She graduated from Dartmouth College (2007) and received her Master of Science in Public Health degree from UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health (2009), graduating first in her class.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“If you’re really pushing hard enough and stretching people’s understanding of the world and future, then you will get a lot of “no’s.” You will also get several big “”yes’s”” that will change the trajectory of your company and future. There are a lot of strategies to get through the disappointments, and I think that you eventually realize what works for you. For me, it is identifying any areas of improvement that would have potentially resulted in a different outcome, and then (and most importantly) diving right back into the work.


Abianne Falla, Co-Founder, CatSpring Yaupon

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Abianne Falla is the co-founder of CatSpring Yaupon, one of the largest producers of yaupon in the world. CatSpring Yaupon is the world-wide leader in sustainable yaupon production and is committed to ethical labor practices through its people first employment program. Prior to life as a Yaupon Entrepreneur, Abianne was a CPA for Ernst & Young, and later supported community development for lululemon athletica. At lululemon, she learned the value of building community relationships for a rapidly growing company, and how to maintain them. In 2013, she earned her MBA in entrepreneurship from Acton, where she became passionate about learning fundamentals of business formation from other founders and CEOs.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Know your story. Spend time seeking to understand who you are and what’s important to you. Have conversations with your co-founders and customers about your brand story. Since JennaDee (my co-founder) and I are sisters, we started the company with a lot of things being understood between us. It wasn’t until we had to articulate some of our brand that we realized how much went unsaid. We also had to share our story with different audiences. What were the follow up questions? Where did people want to know more? Where were people seemingly confused? It’s the most important part of your brand so it’s worth honing.


Karen Osborn, CEO and founder, Re-Stream

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Karen Osborn is the founder of Re-Stream and is a serial entrepreneur (Rentacrate was another of her smashingly successful ventures). The company is a one-stop, white glove green logistics company with additional offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, IL. Re-stream is a certified woman-owned business based in Waltham, MA and servicing North America. Gross revenues exceed $2-million.


Deborah Whitby, Owner, Austin Plumbery

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

The owner of the only woman-owned and operated, independent plumbing services company in Austin, Texas, I am taking a dated and male-directed industry to a new level of innovation, thought and service. In our market, most aspects of this industry, from technology, customer expectation, to branding, is “business as usual.” With a modern and smart approach, my team and I are pushing limits to best serve the way the new generation of homeowners and businesses are living today. As we approach my 2nd year in business, I have grown the company over 65% in revenue! Money has always been a game I’ve been willing to play and master. As a former high school English teacher, I knew there was untapped potential and purpose within me. I left that career, one I knew I’d wanted since 2nd grade, in pursuit of “the next big thing” for myself. After a couple of flops, I recognized a plumbing company as the best opportunity and I went all in. My plan to dominate and take market share is underway, but this is just the beginning, and part of the story. My divine purpose is to evoke in others a sense of urgency that is a catalyst for change in their life. I want others to choose themselves and to live a life of intention not of default. I want others to push their own limits and let the world know that they are here. We are all here — fully showing up for our lives. I am here — living, impacting, and doing better than the best I can every single day.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

During the transition out of my teaching career and not knowing what was next, I felt aimless, purposeless and I had no clarity. I was past 30 years old and felt I was wasting valuable time. Looking back four short years later, I realize that it was okay to be confused. It’s okay to try new things only to realize you don’t like them. It’s okay to follow your passion only to realize you’re broke and there was no scalable business model behind it. Its part of the process and you need to trust that process. The “wrong things” will eventually lead to the “right things.” Another lesson I have learned is the power of knowing and remaining true to my inner self. This is where confidence comes from: confidence to make and standby decisions, confidence to pivot after you’ve chosen a path and confidence to live a life you’ve chosen for yourself. I made and changed my mind about a lot of things in my process of self-discovery and many people were witness to it. Some thought I was flaky, uncommitted, and unfocused. Maybe I was, but the point is I never let that bring me down or dim my shine. I knew I was making the best decision for myself with the information I had at the moment. And, if new information caused me to make a new decision, this is all part of MY journey and I had to continue paving my path. Finally, no one succeeds alone. Understand some people in your life need to just stay on the bleachers. They show up and mostly cheer you on but they aren’t on your team, in the nitty-gritty of the game with you. You don’t have to share the play-by-play with them. But your team, they are in the game with you and are pushing towards the same winning goals. Get the best players on your team and you will be unstoppable.


Jessica Higgins, COO, Gapingvoid Culture Design Group

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Becoming a female entrepreneur was the only way to achieve what I wanted to do and avoid the politics that keep so many young, driven, female professionals from succeeding in our current business environment.


Selin Kurnaz, Co-founder and CEO, Massive Bio

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

After emigrating from Turkey and completing a PhD at the University of Michigan, receiving multiple engineering degrees, Selin spent more than a specializing in delivering revenue enhancement, margin optimization and capital efficiency improvements for Pharmaceutical and Life Science companies. Her startup, Massive Bio, brings the latest knowledge in cancer care to patients treated at community practices in the US and worldwide. Selin has written and spoke extensively about life sciences in tech and how to deliver information in creative ways.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1) Being an entrepreneur is about resilience and constantly solving difficult problems and there are always rocky steps along the way.


Lee Caraher, President & CEO, Double Forte

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Lee McEnany Caraher is the founder and CEO of Double Forte, a national public relations and digital media agency, based in San Francisco, that works with beloved consumer, technology, and wine brands. Lee is a highly sought-after communications expert known for her business building acumen and insights, and her books and public speaking are informed by helping organizations around the country successfully create high performing, positive, intergenerational workplaces. Her first book is titled Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making It Work at Work. Her new book, The Boomerang Principle: Inspire Lifetime Loyalty from your Employees (Routledge), addresses the new employee paradigm of lifetime allegiance regardless of employee status.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Limit was the business model which we all know is broken and has been broken for decades and is really now imploding


Dr. Neela Sethi Young, Co-Founder, Jaanuu

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Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Dr. Neela Sethi Young is as passionate about her patients as she is about empowering doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to feel confident and do their best in the workplace.

Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I could never have imagined that a far-fetched dream I had when I was a medical student would someday turn into reality. In a way, Jaanuu represents so much more than a contemporary fashion- forward scrub line. It represents the idea that with passion, perseverance, and faith anything is possible. I have learned so many lessons on this journey, but I want to share the three that resonated with me the most, especially for the young female entrepreneur out there who may have hit a bump in the road and may be doubting herself at this very moment.


Audrey Henson, Founder & CEO, College to Congress

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I founded College to Congress to address our nation’s need for diverse (and female) leadership. It is impossible to be the change you want to see when you can not access the experiences you need to get there because they’re unpaid internships and you are not coming from a background of means or connections. As a congressional intern when I was a college student, there were times when I would be facing tough choices because I was still working 30 hours a week and taking out loans to pay for this experience of a lifetime that I was so passionate about. Seeing others face similar hurdles, I was inspired to create College to Congress (C2C). C2C is a nonprofit dedicated to helping exceptional students from disadvantaged backgrounds have the access and means to begin their careers in public service careers.


Kristi Piehl, Founder/CEO, Media Minefield

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“It’s time to change the conversation about real news and workplace culture and I’m on a mission to do both. After a 12-year career as a TV reporter, I launched Media Minefield and developed our Newsability process. Now, seven years later, we pride ourselves on our 100% placement record, meaning we have secured media coverage for every client we have ever worked with. Our national success is fueled by our commitment to culture. Media Minefield has won numerous awards for being one of the best places to work as rated by our employees.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Think like a journalist! As a reporter, I was trained to track down experts and ask them pointed questions. As a business owner, without any formal training, I continued the practice of defining a problem and asking someone, with more expertise, for answers. Based on my experience, women entrepreneurs have a much bigger goal than their current P&L, they want to see more women take the reins of companies and join the C-Suite. Ask!


Frida Polli, CEO and founder of pymetrics

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

I’m Frida Polli, founder + CEO of pymetrics, where we use neuroscience and AI to match people to their best fit jobs. We do this through a set of games that measure cognitive and emotional abilities, resulting in more efficient, effective, and diverse hiring for our global clients such as Unilever and Accenture. Our work disrupting hiring status-quo has taught us 3 important lessons about breaking the mold.


Miry Whitehill, Founder, Miry’s List

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Miry Whitehill started Miry’s List in July of 2016 when a friend introduced her to a family of new arrival Syrian refugees resettling in Los Angeles with children the same age as her own. As a stay-at-home mom and community activist with 10 years’ experience in digital marketing, seeing a family struggle to make ends meet encouraged Miry to get involved.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“ “I’ve been thankful and privileged to be in a position to welcome new refugee arrivals to America, often during their first day(s) in the country. What I’ve found from getting to know these new arrival families is that the news often disconnects us from the truth.


Jill Krishnamurthy, CEO and President, DUO Venues

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Jill has a background in finance, operations, and venture capital. She is a partner in operating $50M+ private equity fund with concentrated portfolio. Holds investments in high-growth mid-market consumer product or service companies. Is an active operator having held numerous roles in portfolio companies managing finance, operations, sales, marketing, customer experience, IT, corporate governance. Investment management including due diligence, deal structuring and strategic planning. Has experience with leading successful integrations of mergers. Is analytically-driven including development of KPIs, dashboards and financial reporting. Financial management; debt and equity fundraising. Received education in Business Management: Finance, Entrepreneurship. Has a passion for travel, rugby, family, supporting education.


Jennifer Hyman, Chief Executive Officer & Co-­‐Founder, Rent the Runway

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Jennifer Hyman is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rent the Runway, a company that is disrupting the $1.7 trillion fashion industry by introducing clothing rental as a utility in women’s everyday lives. In her role, she sets the strategic priorities and leads the company in growing all areas of the business, including marketing, technology, product, logistics and analytics. She co-founded Rent the Runway in 2009 with Jennifer Fleiss, and has since raised over $190 million in venture capital, growing the business to 8 million members, 1,200 employees (which is over 70% female and 70% minority) and 500 designer brands. As the CEO, Jennifer has built Rent the Runway from an idea into a profitable, high-growth company valued at nearly $1B and one of the most beloved brands in the U.S.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

Focus on the big picture and the ‘whys’ behind your work. If your work isn’t mission driven or emotionally resonant to you, it will be very hard to maintain passion and focus over a long period of time, which is critical in entrepreneurship.


Abbe Fenimore, Owner & Principal Designer, Studio Ten 25

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Abbe Fenimore is a lot like her work: energetic, imaginative and full of surprises. The designer loves to talk, and loves a space that sparks lots of conversation, too. Abbe’s never met a vibrant hue she didn’t love or a detail to small to fuss over. Her passion for color, drama and glamour combine for jaw-dropping interiors. As quick to laugh as she is to embrace a challenge, Abbe has distinguished herself — and her firm — as a leader in the design community. The award-winner is devoted to creating spaces that people love coming home to. Her work is playful, without sacrificing sophistication; elegant, yet accessible; luminous and bold. Abbe’s infectious enthusiasm for design has inspired thousands online, as well as editors at leading publications and media outlets who have featured her work. Her innate desire to create was fostered from a young age and continues to attract her to adventurous projects and designs. When she’s not designing memorable interiors, Abbe is scouting for art, furniture and accessories for her online boutique, Shop Ten 25. As passionate as she is about helping others fill their homes with style and personality, Abbe’s even more passionate about those she shares her own Dallas home with: husband, Dru, and beloved bird dogs, Caddo and Ivy.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Surrounding myself with likeminded people. One of the best decisions I made when starting my interior design firm, was to surround myself with likeminded people. This started when I began building my business. I knew exactly what direction I wanted to go in and spent months planning every last detail, from the logo and how my website would function to the signature on my email. But I knew that in order to make my new business a reality, I needed to enlist the help of others. I couldn’t do it all myself. It was as important for me to work with those who aligned with me then, when I was launching my business, and it is today, 10 years later. I continue to work with those who understand my business while enhancing it with their skills today.


Catherine Kowalski, Founder & Designer, Catherine Kowalski Bridal

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“To those who know her best, Catherine Kowalski has always been a trailblazer; not one to follow rules, but forge her own path. At just 17, she traded her hometown of San Francisco for the urban jungle of New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a designer. Catherine studied at the renowned Parsons School of Design for Fashion Design, specializing in couture and bridal. But it wasn’t until her senior thesis in 2007 that she began dreaming about her own bridal couture line.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“The importance of manufacturing in the USA (or even better, locally). When I was first starting out, I was balancing a full time job and my line. And because my days were completely taken, I chose to work with factories in China, out of what I thought would be convenience. I attempted to make a small collection overseas but quickly learned the importance of working with local manufacturers. Between the time lost due to time zones, different working hours, and the inability to speak to someone in person while looking at the garment together, I really came to understand the value of having personal relationships with talented partners that work in your community.


Yasmin J. Mattox, Founder & CEO, Arkatecht, LLC

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Arkatecht’s Founder & CEO, Yasmin J. Mattox, was raised in Harlem, NY and attended Hunter College Elementary and High Schools on the Upper East Side, and graduated from a residential high school on Long Island. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Alfred University (2007) and an M.S. in International Studies from St. John Fisher College (2011).

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

The most powerful lessons I’ve learned from my challenges with pursuing what seemed (to others) to be incompatible intellectual pursuits in my career and those I’ve had while working to advance my career as a mother is to be intellectually curious about everything because this can help you become resilient and stronger by exposing you to different strategies and tactics for tackling problems, personal and professional. I have become more resilient by participating in lots of different activities, personal and professional, in different spaces, with people of different backgrounds, and interests. Doing this one thing has allowed me to continuously learn from others. It’s allowed me to learn about how people live, think, behave, feel, and problem solve in different environments, contexts, and under varying constraints. To learn about what motivates people and, on the flipside, what paralyzes them by building meaningful relationships with them and observing more than acting. By doing this, I’ve been able to better figure out how I can exist in and maneuver within different personal and professional spaces and problem solve to achieve optimized outcomes for the greatest number of people both in my work and in my personal relationships. By exposing myself to different environments, I’ve been able to see that, growing up, what others saw as divergent intellectual interests, actually are interconnected and my understanding of phenomena in different fields is incredibly useful to my understanding of how to impactfully innovate. It’s also been invaluable in helping me ground myself and weather the mental distress that can inevitably set in when you’re an entrepreneur and especially when you’re an entrepreneur with a young family. Ultimately, I’ve learned that it’s key to always be thirsty for knowledge, no matter where the information comes from. To soak it all up, write tidbits of information as you learn it, and keep it all. I have ridiculously small notes on receipts, for instance, from when someone taught me something fascinating at a lunch and I had nothing else to write on. I’ve learned that the more diversified your information intake, the more useful. You can’t excel at problem solving, especially for the marketplace, if you don’t position yourself to interact with and learn from people from all types of segments, and not just your targets. God knows that this is easier said than done, but I’ve found it to be the truth.


Maria Alegre, CEO, Co-Founder of Chartboost

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Maria is the CEO and co-founder of Chartboost. Prior to founding Chartboost, Maria was an early employee at mobile game studio Tapulous (#1 music game on iPhone and acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2010 to become Disney Mobile), where she oversaw product launches and marketing. Maria holds a B.A. in Business from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. She was named in Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” in 2013 and 2014 as one of the top disruptors and innovators in marketing and gaming.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Being an Immigrant, Mother, and Founder in Silicon Valley is about being determined to make your voice heard


Shireen Thor, CEO and Founder, Maria Shireen

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Shireen Thor is the CEO and Co-Founder of Maria Shireen®, the creator of the original hair tie bracelet. Maria Shireen is a functional fashion accessories company headquartered in San Diego, CA. Her flagship hair tie bracelet is patent protected and has been featured in over 100 fashion and beauty print, online publications, and national broadcast. Thor has been awarded 9 utility patents, 9 design patents, 24 trademark registrations and won the Red Herring North America Top 100, Red Herring Global Top 100, 3 Stevie awards for Company, Startup and Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and Entrepreneur Magazine Top 360 Small Businesses and Retail Innovation finalist. In just two years, Maria Shireen® has expanded sales of its bracelets to over 45 countries, grown into a $6 million business through e-commerce alone. The company conservatively estimates its omnichannel strategy pivot (to include mass and specialty bricks-and-mortar retail) will drive an 80% or more year over year growth rate. Thor is a very determined individual that is not afraid to make decisions and promote progress of her team through her positive attitude and resourcefulness. This leadership style is what has helped Maria Shireen become a major brand in functional fashion. Shireen started the company as a team of two when Shireen was 8 months pregnant and took the company to $2.3M in the first year of the company’s inception. In 2016 Shireen expanded her team to 4 people while continuing to grow over 35% ending 2016 at $3M in sales. Her company mission is to redefine versatile accessories for every occasion and design solutions for everyday life that complement an individual’s personal style and interest. She has become an inspiration to other women by combining motherhood and family with great professional success that truly aligns with her company’s mission. In 2017 Shireen continues to lead a team of now 7 employees and her positive and thoughtful leadership inspired her small team to go above and beyond the call of duty to achieve this major milestone. Shireen is a strong believer in educating and empowering women on things that make a difference in their lives — both at work and personal. Through her personal experience of postpartum depression, Shireen had a profound sense of urgency to educate women on the far-reaching effects of postpartum depression. She created a social good initiative called CHARITY TIES™ at her company to further this cause to show solidarity and for the collection to stand for a symbol of support and awareness for multiple women’s health and wellness issues. She is one of the few women who is using her company’s success to break barriers for women in the taboo maternal mental health space.


Dr. Jennifer Miles-Thomas, Founder, Dr. Jenn MD

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

She was lucky to be born into a middle class, professional, loving family. She married her college boyfriend, matched in Urology and found a great job near family after graduation. She was doing work she loved with the people she loved.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

What have I learned from my experience?


Kate Bagoy, Business Coach (katebagoy.com) and founder of Sixfigurefreelancers.com

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Kate Bagoy is an award-winning consultant and coach for entrepreneurs, and founder of sixfigurefreelancers.com.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

If I could only share 3 lessons it would be:


Elin Elkehag, CEO & Founder, Stilla

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Elin Elkehag is a Swedish born serial entrepreneur. She founded the Internet of Things company company Stilla in 2015 and went from an idea to a patent pending hardware product in 100 days.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Three key learnings from my entrepreneurial adventure with Stilla


Caroline Danehy, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Fair Harbor

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

At 21 years old, Caroline Danehy is the co-founder and creative director of Fair Harbor. Still a student at Colgate University (’19), she’s a member of Colgate’s Student Entrepreneurship Program: Thought Into Action. Through this program, Caroline and her older brother, Jake (also a Colgate alum), pitched their business idea to the school’s ‘Shark Tank’ competition with a panel of celebrity entrepreneurs, including: Jessica Alba, MC Hammer, Neil Blumenthal, Jennifer Hyman, and more. Winning this competition allowed the duo to launched Fair Harbor — a sustainable lifestyle brand producing swimwear out of recycled plastic bottles. Caroline also completed a 200HR Yoga Teacher Training (2016) which she utilizes to teach 2 yoga classes per week at Colgate University. She loves to travel, and recently returned from Sydney, Australia, where she drew much inspiration for a highly-anticipated Fair Harbor collection release this Spring. In her spare time, when she’s not at the beach, surfing, practicing yoga, or cooking, Caroline volunteers for Sunrise Day Camp, the only international free-of-charge day camp for kids with cancer and their siblings.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“My brother and I started Fair Harbor over three years ago when I was a senior in high school and he, Jake, a junior at Colgate University (’16). When we first came up with the idea to create a sustainable lifestyle brand, and make swimwear from recycled plastic bottles, many people told us that our idea for Fair Harbor wouldn’t work. Since we were (and are) young, we were judged by our age that we didn’t have the professional experience that it would take to start a company. However, Jake and I both believed in it and our passion pushed us to persevere through those doubts. I’ve come to realize that people will always tell you you’re wrong, but it’s up to you to trust your gut and to emphasize on the reward of succeeding instead of the possibility of failing.


Noelle Rose Andressen, Professional Contemporary Ballet Dancer-Choreographer, Rubans Rouges Dance

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I’m Noelle Rose Andressen, a professional contemporary modern dancer and choreographer for Rubans Rouges Dance which I founded in 2009. Through dance, I use my true life stories to speak healing to audiences so they can overcome.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Heal Your Past So You Can Have A Future. Our pasts, especially our wounds can be great catalysts for progress and effective tools of learning. However, past wounds can also hinder us like unwanted anchors when not properly healed. I implore others to “Heal their pasts so that they can have a future, a good and fruitful future.” The first portion of my life was very challenging due to circumstances and unhealed wounds. I had to heal my wounds to move forward. If the first portion of your life was horrible, your second act can be better, it can be different. We can all be major players in our “second act” if we have hope and do the work needed to heal and succeed.


Sandy Rubinstein, CEO, DXagency

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Sandy Rubinstein, CEO of DXagency, oversees all operational divisions as well as marketing strategies and execution. Sandy came to DX with 20 years’ experience in various senior Marketing, Management and Advertising roles at television networks and consumer brands including: TVLand, General Motors R Works, Lifetime Television and Nick at Nite. DXagency has been listed on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies for three years, has opened a Florida to focus on the Latin American market, and is certified for both the Women Owned and National Minority Supplier Diversity Council.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“In my career, I’ve experienced sexism, racial discrimination, religious discrimination, body shaming, slanderous stories- you name it. The importance is not what the issues were, but how I overcame them. If you let everyone hurt you who sets out to do so, they will. You mustn’t listen to the noise in your head. Remember who you are, what you want to accomplish and let the rest of it be proved wrong by the exceptional work you produce. All the silliness I have experienced in my career with people who tried to hurt me is irrelevant, because it just makes me stronger and makes me fight harder to succeed. As I tell me kids, my staff and people I mentor- failure is not an option.


Laura Dweck, Co-Founder, Basic Outfitters

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“A Merchandising graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Laura Dweck was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Laura understood her desire to work in the fashion industry from a very early age and got her start with coveted internships in the Fashion Office at Bloomingdale and the Accessories Editorial Department at Women’s Wear Daily. These internships laid the foundation for an incredibly well rounded career in the industry, which included working her way up at Sam Edelman to Fashion Director.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“One of the most important lessons I learned pretty early on was the importance of “showing your stripes” and having a strong point of differentiation from the many sock and underwear brands on the market. We focused on what made us different — that we weren’t just another brand selling basics but we were a brand who was changing the way people shopped for basics, all while offering an unbeatable price point and high-quality combination. That point of differentiation along with the story of why we created Basic Outfitters, out of a real need for a convenient way to refresh men’s basics, has proven to be extremely successful for our brand.


Arielle Tepper Madover, Founder, What Should We Do?!

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Arielle Tepper Madover is a lifelong New Yorker, Broadway producer, philanthropist, mother, and consummate New York City insider, who has always had her finger on the pulse of the city’s vast cultural offerings, dining, nightlife, hospitality and family activities.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Work hard, stay focused on what you want and never give up. You can do anything you put your mind to.


Tonya Bruin, CEO of To Do Done Renovations and Handyman Services

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Tonya Bruin has a degree in Biology and Environmental Policy and is an accredited project management professional. She had 16 years of experience working in the public sector for four different federal departments before leaving all that security to take the leap into business ownership.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Most important lessons learned from running To Do-Done:


Nicole Liebman, Commercial Real Estate Salesperson, Hudson Real Estate

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Nicole Liebman is your ‘go-to’ creative deal maker with an eye for emerging trends. She is extremely attentive, service oriented, and cares about the future of retail. Her mission is to add value to the real estate market with innovative tenants, bringing life to New York and worldwide.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Here are my three top lessons:


Mercer Henderson, CEO/Founder, 4Girls Tech LLC

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Born and raised in San Francisco, 15 year old Mercer Henderson is carving her own unique path as one of the youngest and most talented teens on the music scene today. The multifaceted singer has just entered high school, and is already an accomplished teen having been featured in many business & tech publications like Forbes Magazine, Fast Company, and USA Today for her own tech company called Founder 4Girls Tech. Mercer is also a guest contributor writing about topics like branding and social media for Entrepreneur.com. In between juggling career aspirations, Mercer considers herself to be a normal teen who loves to hang out with her friends, write songs on the piano, and spend time with her younger sister. Taking inspiration from her experiences as a teen, Mercer has created a sound and an image that is refreshingly age-appropriate. Mercer describes her music as “vintage-pop”, combining catchy hooks with relatable lyrics as demonstrated in her latest single “Could’ve Been Me”, which talks about not being chosen to be part of the in-crowd. The accompanying music video features her best friend, Dance Mom’s star Kendall Vertes, who is a frequent face on Mercer’s Instagram page. The video has already garnered over 400K views and growing across all social networks.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“ Three things I have learned include- it is important to know your audience for example I was able to secure quite a bit of tech and business coverage for my tech company and conferences. However, what would have really helped expand my brand is if my coverage reached 11–16 year olds. Another lesson, prioritization is critical. I juggle full time school, tech company and music. There are the must do’s like homework, review a product update and the fun to do’s like write new music. School comes first. Final lesson, which is pretty well know is do what you love, what is fun. I would add to that “ask your friends” for me my friends provide input on most things I create. If I am creating something that is a need I think I see — my friends can tell me right away if I am on to something or not.


Veena Gundavelli, CEO and Founder, Emagia Corporation

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“I am Veena Gundavelli, a serial tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley. Currently, I’m Founder & CEO of Emagia, a software company focused on empowering finance operations at large global companies with artificial intelligence, and Co-Founder of Solix, a big data information management solutions company.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Have A Purposeful Ambition


Johanna Mikkola, CEO & Co-founder, Wyncode Academy

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Johanna Mikkola is the Co-founder and CEO of Wyncode Academy a leading accelerated learning program and the first coding school in the nation to be licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education. In 10 weeks the program transforms ambitious individuals into computer programmers with business acumen.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Throughout my professional career, I’ve learned you have to ask for what you want, but you also have to work hard for it. From my time working in the National Hockey League (NHL), I’ve learned that preparation and consistency are cornerstones of anything or anyone successful. Being surrounded by high performance athletes, I’d observed that preparation many times meant practice, and doing so consistently and routinely is what set apart the best from the rest.


Cali Estes, PhD., Founder, The Addictions Academy

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Cali Estes, Ph.D is a highly sought after Celebrity Addiction Therapist and Life Coach who blends talk therapy with forward and positive change to assist her clients in unlocking their true potential. She works with individuals, drug and alcohol treatment teams and addiction professionals looking to advance their knowledge base.


Lauren and Rachel Piskin, Co-Founders, ChaiseFitness

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

Lauren and Rachel Piskin make up the mother/daughter power duo that created ChaiseFitness. Their respective backgrounds in competitive figure skating and New York City ballet are the roots of their lifelong passion for health and wellness. As a long-time professional Pilates instructor, Lauren always wanted to “get Pilates off of its back and bring it into the modern upbeat vibe of New York City,” but it wasn’t until Rachel’s ballet career came to an end that she started developing a way to make that happen. Rachel was struggling to maintain the healthy lifestyle she always had from dance, so she and Lauren began to experiment and create a new type of fitness that eventually gave her an even stronger and healthier physique. ChaiseFitness and the Reinvention Method were born from Lauren’s professional experience and refined by Rachel’s personal journey to help everyone create long lean muscles, increase flexibility, and transform their bodies.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1. Everyone fails at some point when growing a business, but it is how you turn it around and move forward, that is where the real lessons are learned.


Dora Lau, founder, Curvy Couture

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Dora Lau is an entrepreneur, international businesswoman, and lingerie expert.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1) My experience taught me that if someone looking to make it in an industry that they are passionate about, you must do what you believe in and then the business will flourish. Breaking the limits means that you have a solution to a problem and believe in your mission and purpose keeps you wanting to succeed.


Anna M. Gould, Founder & Board Chair, Camp Sunshine at Sebago Lake, Inc.

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“When Anna Gould arrived in America from Italy in 1958, she did not speak a word of English. Anna would not only master the language and culture, but go on to become a successful businesswoman, visionary and philanthropist dreaming of and brining to fruition Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“I have learned many more than three things, so it is a challenge to synthesize all the wisdom I have gained.


Gay Gaddis, CEO and Founder of T3

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Gay Gaddis is CEO and Founder of T3 — The Think Tank. In 1989, she started her company after cashing in a $16,000 IRA. Today, T3 has offices nationwide and creates innovative digital marketing programs for Fortune 200 clients. T3 is a top ranked innovation firm and one of the largest agencies owned by a woman. Gay has been nationally recognized for the unique family-friendly policies she has initiated at T3.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

Lesson 1: Sometimes you have to trust your gut, know that you’re right, and go for it.


LOREN ROCHELLE, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, NOM [NOT ORDINARY MEDIA]

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Loren is the Co-founder and CEO of NOM [Not Ordinary Media], a media technology powerhouse revolutionizing the way video campaigns are planned, optimized and measured across social properties. NOM’s mission is to equip brands and agencies with comprehensive data intelligence across all social platforms to deliver the most successful video advertising campaigns. We connect brands with humans, data with deep insights and service with transparency.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“1) Rarely anyone achieves success alone. I always find the phrase “self-made” or “self-made man” humorous. The vast majority of successful people have achieved their goals because of the people who work for them. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. One of my strengths is knowing my weaknesses, and finding someone to fill in the gaps. Find a yin to your yang.


Kelly Stickel, Founder + CEO, Remodista

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Kelly started Remodista to help retailers examine the fast paced evolution of global retail through collaborative research and analysis. Understanding the layers of disruption in retail and translating insights into actionable items for retail brands using community as a business model. By using community as a business model, she has been able to approach the research in a new light. Kelly is dedicated to cultivating women leaders, and serves as an advocate for the importance of women in executive roles and breaking through being limited in the workforce.


Christine Bronstein, Founder, Nothing But The Truth Publishing

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Christine Bronstein is an entrepreneur, a mom, an author, a philanthropist, and a wife. She is the founder of Nothing But The Truth Publishing, an independent publishing house specializing in works by diverse female authors. Since 2012 Christine has given a voice to over 100 women through publishing their anthologies, memoirs and children’s books.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Sometimes God has a very different plan for us and that plan is a better one, no matter how much we may fight it. The only way to get in touch with that higher intuition is to sit in silence at least once a day.


Amy Hutchins, Chief Product Officer, Unearth Technologies

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“As the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Unearth, a documentation and collaboration platform for the construction industry, Amy Hutchins is helping to accelerate productivity in one of the largest but most inefficient sectors of the economy. Prior to founding her current company, she led Product Management for buuteeq, a digital marketing platform for the hospitality industry acquired by The Priceline Group in 2014. She’s also held various roles at Microsoft, the most recent being a Senior Program Manager for Microsoft account, their consumer identity service. Amy is a graduate of Duke University where she split her time (and degrees) between her two passions, computer science and Roman history.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

1. Choosing the right people to work with is one of the best things you can do for your professional, personal, and career growth. Finding capable, talented people for your team is easy, but if they don’t share your values and aspirations, you won’t create the dynamic that propels you and your company forward. You could be the most talented businesswoman in the world, but if you don’t have a unified team behind you, you won’t get very far.


Shivani Siroya, founder and CEO, Tala

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“A childhood spent between Udaipur, India and New York City and gave Shivani Siroya a firsthand understanding of how global systems impact individual lives. After graduating college, she began her career in investment banking, then earned a master’s in public health and joined the UN Population Fund. While there, she interviewed thousands of microfinance borrowers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to better understand their financial lives. When she realized how difficult it was for many small business owners and entrepreneurs to access credit, she began lending to some of them out of her own pocket — and stumbled on a solution that would become her fintech startup, Tala.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

I’ve learned a ton over 6 years building Tala, and from my career and upbringing prior to that. One of the most important lessons is to listen. To be a good listener, you have to be humble; you can’t presume to have the answer. When I first began building our company, I did hundreds of cold calls and emails to experts and advisors who would listen to my crazy idea, and I learned a lot about the problem I was trying to solve. I also learned that no one was out there solving it, and that’s what gave me the confidence to quit my job and found a startup. Today humility is an important part of our company culture. For example, customer feedback and research is central to how we make decisions. We don’t assume we know what’s best for our customers — we actually listen to what they want and build around that. We basically built our first Android application because one of our early customers told us to; if we’d been too proud to take his advice, we might not be where we are today.


Deborah Santana, Founder, Do A Little

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Deborah Santana is an author, seeker and activist for peace and social justice. She is founder of Do A Little, a nonprofit that serves women and girls in the areas of health, education and happiness. In 2005, she published a memoir,


Pembe Candaner, Founder and President, JobzMall

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“Pembe Candaner is founder and president of JobzMall Inc., an entrepreneurial venture she believes is destined to disrupt the employment industry. Pembe is no stranger to disruption for she has been pushing the limits for women in business and society-at-large for many decades.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

“Lesson #1: Success has no sex.


Kari Skogland, Writer, Director, Producer Mad Rabbit Inc.

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

As CEO of Mad Rabbit (a Red Arrow Studios company), award-winning director and showrunner Kari Skogland is committed to producing high-end one-hour dramas for the international market. Named by Hollywood Reporter as one of its “Ten Directors to Watch” for her debut as writer-director of Liberty Stands Still, Skogland has since become one of the world’s most prolific female directors of one-hour dramas and feature films. Her TV credits include Emmy and Golden Globe winning The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), The Borgia’s, Penny Dreadful (Showtime), Boardwalk Empire (HBO), The Killing, The Walking Dead and Fear of the Walking Dead (AMC), Under the Dome (CBS), Vikings (History), The Americans (FX), House of Cards and The Punisher (Netflix), Condor (Audience), and more. Feature film credits include Fifty Dead Men Walking, Stone Angel, and more. Kari has received numerous awards including the Directors Guild of Canada award for best director of a television miniseries (Sons of Liberty), Canadian Screen Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Leo award for best feature drama and DCG for best director (Fifty Dead Men Walking). For her body of work, Kari was honored at the BIRKS-TELEFIM 2015 Diamond Tribute to Women in Film. In addition to her remarkable work in television and film, Kari is a dedicated mom who has done a tremendous job building a prolific career (in a field that is very tough for women) while juggling her roles with her family.

Here Are The 3 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My Experiences:

I am fortunate to be spending so many of my waking hours doing something I love. The first and foremost lesson I live by is to “follow your bliss” and then when you find it, hang on with a vice grip. From day one it meant challenging “rules” if I was to survive. I came into a very male dominated business where women were simply not present because access to meaningful work was seriously road blocked, particularly if you wanted to include children in your life goals. The glass ceiling was a reality. Of course we all face our trials and are affected by sexism, ageism, racism and plain heartbreak, but, an important lesson I hold dear; get over it, move on and move up. I have learned to leave the questionable people behind and then I plan to side step them next time they cross my path. I’ve always believed that how you recover from a personal or professional sucker punch is critical to maintaining your momentum. I discovered how important it is to grow past people not aligned with me and my goals but also to identify if. at times, it’s actually me getting in my own way. I was tremendously complimented when a colleague said how much she valued a lesson she picked up while working with me which is to remember, it’s all part of the adventure. We spend more time on the journey than settled into the destination so how we spend that time is the very essence of success. Of course some days have unique and sometimes catastrophic challenges but trusting that it will all make sense in the end, has really helped me to shake off the negative and get curious about what wonderful door is about to open because the dead wood has just been cleared away. To sum up, I suppose I try to find a reason to laugh in the face of adversity and to remember that our most precious commodity is time so be careful how you spend it and who you share it with.


Alyssa Rapp, CEO, Surgical Solutions, Lecturer-in-Management, Stanford University Graduate School of Business

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Who She Is and How She Has Broken Limits:

“As of January 2018, Alyssa J. Rapp is the CEO of Surgical Solutions, a health care services provider owned by private equity firm Sterling Partners. As such, she is breaking major limits having been a seasoned start-up CEO of venture-backed businesses in the consumer categories to now running a $30MM+ B2B, private-equity-backed business in the health care space.

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