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48 minutes | 4 months ago
“Working Twice as Hard to Get Half the Credit” With Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
Kimberly Ellison-Taylor is an advocate for inclusive leadership, and what it means to create an equitable workplace environment. It’s not as simple as giving everyone the same opportunity — you need to meet people where they’re at. We are, unfortunately, not all created equal. The first Black woman and the youngest person to act as chairperson of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, on top of a career including roles at NASA, KPMG, and Motorola, Kimberly Ellison-Taylor is a pioneer. On #BlackLivesMatter, Ellison-Taylor doesn’t care if your business is buying into it for commercial purposes: Net net, if you are creating opportunities for people of color who would not have them otherwise, it’s a move in the right direction, she explains. Listen as Ellison-Taylor talks about diversity in the workplace, being a woman in a man’s world, structuring your business so diversity is not only doable but also scalable, and having to work twice as hard to get half the credit on this episode of SheVentures.
51 minutes | 4 months ago
Overcoming Racial Trauma in Business With Makisha Boothe
Spoiler alert: If you want to eavesdrop on a candid conversation about being a black female entrepreneur, this is a must listen. Imagine being told repeatedly that no market or need for your business exists — yet your experience and social and financial acumen tell you otherwise. Makisha Boothe experienced this firsthand; now she helps other black women navigate their business lives. Raised by strong women who were adamant she wouldn’t get stuck in the “system,” Boothe has spent five years building a black female entrepreneur community with Sistah Biz. “If just one woman crosses the six-figure line and breaks the cycle of poverty in her family, it’s empowering.” A nonprofit accelerator for black female entrepreneurs, Sistah Biz offers free and low-cost business coaching sessions and courses. In 2019 alone, the company provided 151 free coaching sessions, 12 weeks of free business bootcamps, and scholarships to aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out Boothe’s work, and if it’s close to your heart, you can make a donation. Listen as Boothe discusses the landscape of black women business owners, dealing with racial trauma, and acknowledging how the #BlackLivesMatter movement impacts her work and life. Boothe also emphasizes self care, pacing oneself, and creating a sustainable business plan supported by a community that supports you. “We are building success on our own terms and in our own way,” says Boothe. Listen to her candid tips on being a black female entrepreneur on this episode of SheVentures.
44 minutes | 5 months ago
From Biz Dev Exec to Mentor and Investor With Sima Gandhi
As the daughter of first-generation immigrants, Sima Gandhi is no stranger to hard work. Her father encouraged her to succeed, and her desire and drive to take risks and break down barriers may come from her humble but stable early family life. Determined not to define female business acumen by the 90s pantsuit — Gandhi found her own direction. With an industrial engineering degree from Stanford University and a J.D. from NYU School of Law, Gandhi’s career has spanned from the U.S. Department of Treasury to American Express to being one of the first 20 employees and head of business development at fintech giant Plaid. Now, Gandhi is using her experience to advise fintech start-ups through mentoring and angel investing. She’s also focused on helping marginalized populations become more visible through technology. Listen as Gandhi discusses the potential impact of fintech on financial literacy (but how it’s not there yet), the importance of building great business partnerships, and how diversity in the workforce is essential on this episode of SheVentures.
52 minutes | 5 months ago
Fashioning a New Future With Ngozi Okaro
At the age of 6, Ngozi Okaro knew she was going to be a lawyer and change people’s lives. Growing up, Okaro’s clothes were mostly handmade by her mother to accommodate her towering 6-foot-tall figure. While she resented it at the time, it instilled an appreciation for design and inclusivity within her. Now, with a law degree from Georgetown and 14 years of experience in organizational development in NGOs under her belt, Okaro has pivoted back to design. Okaro is executive director of New York City-based Custom Collaborative, a development program that combines teaching design skills with empowering women from low-income and immigrant communities. About 80 percent of women who study at Custom Collaborative live below the poverty line. Okaro and Custom Collaborative provide life-changing opportunities for women to break out of the poverty cycle. Listen as Okaro talks sustainable fashion, the challenges of fundraising as a Black woman, and the inherent problems in the fashion industry on this episode of SheVentures.
64 minutes | 5 months ago
The Importance of Representation and Giving Back With Marcia Cole
For 25 years as a writer and editor for large magazines like Suede, Essence, and Latina to name a few, Marcia Cole embraced the editorial realm and conquered it. Now, as founder and CEO of Ivy Digital (a content, technology, and data-driven marketing agency) and as the founder of nonprofit organization Passion Meets Purpose (a service that empowers the homeless), Cole is constantly learning to better meet the needs of those her companies serve. And that’s not all: Cole is also a certified career and life coach using her own experience to help other professionals succeed. Listen as Cole discusses the evolution of pop-culture media in the ’90s, the rise of hip-hop and how it brought a voice to the previously unheard Black community in more ways than one, the importance of giving back to your own community, and helping yourself, too, on this episode of SheVentures.
54 minutes | 6 months ago
This Condition Affects 1 in 5 Women Yet No One Talks About It With Kaitlin Maier
From a young age, Kaitlin Maier’s parents were huge advocates for her pursuing a career in STEM, which still sees female participation at a paltry 28 percent of the workforce. A mechanical engineer, Maier wanted to do something in the often-overlooked field of women’s health. While in college, she stumbled upon pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition that affects 35 to 50 percent of women — of all ages. In severe cases of POP, the uterus can protrude from the vaginal opening. With such high numbers, it’s surprising more women don’t know about the condition. Maier and her team want to change that. The current most popular form of treatment for POP is called a pessary, a silicone device inserted into the vagina to support the surrounding organs: the bladder, vagina, uterus, cervix, and rectum. But current iterations of this device are often difficult for women to use, according to Maier’s research, resulting in doctor visits every few months and even surgery in some cases. Enter Reia, the femhealth company of which Maier is co-founder and CEO, and the company’s innovative product that wants to reshape the industry around POP. Maier and her co-founders have developed a new form of pessary that women could potentially use themselves, reducing the total number of doctor visits per year, thereby reducing their healthcare costs as well as increasing their self-confidence and autonomy. Reia recently received a grant of $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Listen as Maier discusses POP, the process through which medical devices get funded, how femhealth entrepreneurs can seek NIH grants, and advice for small business owners in the medical field on this episode of SheVentures.
51 minutes | 6 months ago
#QueerTheCensus and Affecting LGBTQ+ Change With Stacey Long Simmons
Advocacy runs in this woman’s blood. As the current director of advocacy and action for the National LGBTQ Task Force, Stacey Long Simmons has dedicated her life to helping others. The LQBTQ task force website reflects the current state of affairs in America. The homepage reads: “Stonewall was a riot. #BlackLivesMatter. We support and protest and revolutionary fighting for the dignity of black people.” A lawyer, political strategist, and civil rights lobbyist in Washington, DC, and a woman of color, one of Simmons’ — and the tasks force’s — current initiatives is #QueertheCensus, the goal of which is to ensure the LGBTQ and other under-represented and under-served communities are counted in the 2020 Census. Simmons is a realist who recognizes that affecting change at the legislative level starts with being counted, gaining visibility, and representation. Listen as Simmons candidly discusses the real issues that the LGBTQ community are facing in the current political climate and what you can do to help the community on this episode of SheVentures.
53 minutes | 6 months ago
Greeking Out on Recipes With Kelly Salonica Staikopoulos and Joanne Staikopoulos-Marzella
Whether you’re an amateur cook or a master chef, we bet you’ve never thought of “Greek-ing” up your favorite dishes, right? Kelly Salonica Staikopoulos and Joanne Staikopoulos-Marzella, two sisters formerly in the editorial and accounting worlds respectively, are now cooking up a storm with an innovative twist: Using recipes largely gleaned from their Greek mother, Mary — aka Kukla (“doll” in Greek) — with their blog Kukla’s Kouzina. Well-known in NYC’s fashion district, Mary Halkias Staikopoulos worked with fashion icons Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta and styled Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy. While she was known as “Kukla” to the fashion world, what she brought to her daughters in the kitchen inspired a legacy of love, family, cooking, and the seeds of a business. Now, with two cookbooks out, and a YouTube series in production thanks to Joanne’s daughter Jacqueline, Mary’s Greek food legacy lives on. Discover how heritage is a key ingredient to this sisterly collaboration, the pitfalls of starting a business, what Kelly and Joanne have learned from their mistakes, and so much more, on this episode of SheVentures.
49 minutes | 6 months ago
Developmental Difficulties in Kids? There’s an App for That With Carissa Tozzi
Almost 7 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 in the United States have a developmental disability, the CDC reports, and the community is still largely under-served. Carissa Tozzi is changing that. From an iconic New York City life as the entertainment editor of CosmoGirl and Seventeen to a publicist for social media influencers to the co-creator of an app for moms of children with special needs — Carissa Tozzi has done it all. Tozzi saw a gap in the market: a community where moms could interact with other nearby moms — the app asks for your zip code — as well as vetted experts. True to her sense of style, Tozzi also created a virtual apparel outlet full of cool, fashionable clothes, toys, and interior decor, for this overlooked and often stereotyped community. After her son, Wolf, was thought to have sensory issues as a toddler (later proven false) Tozzi became more aware of the challenges that parents — particularly moms — face when raising children with special needs. When Tozzi moved the next town over from a former colleague and power mom of two children on opposite ends of the autism spectrum, Wolf and Friends was born. The app is designed to build a community for moms of children with special needs, both from a shopping and lifestyle perspective. The app also provides access to experts in the space with whom you can engage on Zoom, a store to browse brands that cater to children and moms, and much more. On this episode of SheVentures, find out what it’s really like working with celebrities, the value of influencers, and how more brands could stand to accommodate this under-served community on this episode of SheVentures.
51 minutes | 7 months ago
Tips on How to Build a Hair-Care Brand With Lynn Power
After more than 25 years as CEO of advertising giant J. Walter Thompson’s American division, an alleged scandal involving her boss during the #MeToo movement began to monopolize Lynn Power’s time. As a result, she began wilting in her role, which was no longer about creativity, rather crisis. The pivot into starting her own strategic consulting firm, The HMS Beagle, was a natural one, but Power didn’t stop there. Masami, a premium vegan hair-care line, was born from 10 years of research on her business partner’s behalf. Now, having recently launched the product, Power and her partner want to give back to the ocean from which they source their ingredients with their own fund: The Masami Institute, which will help research rebalancing the aquatic ecosystem off of Japan. Listen as Power delves into the sexism inherent in advertising and how the industry has changed over the years thanks in part to the #MeToo movement. Bonus: Power includes a wealth of tips for small businesses (including free apps!) on this episode of SheVentures.
52 minutes | 7 months ago
Embracing Islamic Law and the Quran to Win Human Rights Cases With Kimberley Motley
This woman was not only the first foreign lawyer to practice law in Afghani courts — but she also won the first-ever presidential pardon of a moral case in the country’s history from former President Hamid Karzai. Seriously. From standing up for her Korean mother on the streets of Milwaukee to fighting against human rights abuses in Afghanistan and other countries, Kimberley Motley is an unstoppable social justice force. A former U.S. beauty pageant winner turned international human rights litigator, Motley has changed the lives of countless men and women around the globe. From overturning guilty sentences to freeing a pregnant 16-year-old rape victim from the clutches of an “adultery” charge (yes, really), Motley continues to take on both corporate and pro bono work to improve people’s lives. Discover firsthand what it’s like for women in Afghanistan through Motley’s vivid recollections. How did this one woman earn the respect of a patriarchal culture? She is outspoken, tenacious, and driven. Most important, rather than imposing another legal system on Afghan legal cases, Motley embraced Aghani and Islamic laws to litigate her cases and win the respect of locals. This episode of SheVentures is one of our most riveting installments to date.
49 minutes | 7 months ago
$45K to Become an Urban Homeowner With Janelle Briggs
Feminist scholar turned real estate entrepreneur, Janelle Briggs wants to ensure the American Dream of homeownership is affordable and accessible to everyone. An idea that may sound far-fetched and futuristic — one that most architects have only dreamed of on paper — Briggs and her cofounder/partner are making a reality. Stackhouse, a real-estate development company, is creating building structures — called stackhouse towers — in which shipping container homes can be stacked one on top of the other in a communal living space, with shared areas such as a roof deck. These tiny container homes can be customized and moved city to city in the United States. A basic container home will set you back about $45,000. Yep, you can be a homeowner for a fraction of regular costs. Briggs and her cofounder are helping people who otherwise couldn’t afford to live in an urban space by creating these tall buildings with a small physical footprint, requiring only modest land space to be built. The first stackhouse tower is planned for Tucson, Arizona, with others being slated for Texas and Colorado. Listen as Briggs talks managing mental health and workload, being overlooked in the boardroom because she’s a woman, and using her privilege to stand up for what’s right on this episode of SheVentures.
56 minutes | 7 months ago
What It Takes to Be a ‘Vagipreneur’ With Rachel Braun Scherl
What makes a ‘Vagipreneur’ anyway? From working in public relations to earning an MBA at Stanford, Rachel Braun Scherl had an untraditional foray into the world of marketing, so it’s no surprise she later trademarked the word vagipreneur. Her start in PR led to her greatest lesson: the power of building business relationships. From there, Braun Scherl ventured into the world of female sexual health with her takeover of Semprae Labs. The idea behind her book Orgasmic Leadership came from a boardroom meeting at which participants giggled at the “titillating” subject matter of Semprae’s product — made for female arousal — rather than pay attention. Worse, while erectile dysfunction was considered a bona fide medical condition worthy of advertising money, female arousal was not. Today, Braun Scherl and her consulting company, Spark Solutions for Growth, focus on female sexual and reproductive health innovations, a market expected to explode in the upcoming years. Listen as Braun Scherl discusses the inherent inequality of male vs. female sexuality, what it takes to be heard in a pitch meeting, and tips for raising capital for female entrepreneurs on this episode of SheVentures.
54 minutes | 7 months ago
Get Paid to Save. For Real. With Leigh Phillips
Before COVID-19 forced everyone to take a microscopic look at their finances — Leigh Phillips was helping Americans save. As unemployment claims skyrocket, it’s clear just how fragile Americans’ personal finances are. Roughly 40 percent of Americans don’t have an emergency fund of even $400. So how can anyone think of retirement savings when the day-to-day budget is already a struggle? Enter Leigh Phillips and her nonprofit SaverLife. Starting in local government, Phillips served as director for the office of financial empowerment in San Francisco, spearheading programs for the “unbanked” like “Bank on San Francisco,” which has taken off nationwide. Phillips also oversaw the implementation of the nation’s first publicly funded universal children’s savings program, through which 100 percent of public school elementary students have a college-savings account in their name. Now, as CEO of SaverLife — a nonprofit organization whose mission is to establish savings habits and incentives for the under-served and for employers — Phillips continues to try to improve the financial lives of people everywhere. On this episode of SheVentures, listen as Phillips discusses the systemic setbacks many face, the spirals of poverty, challenging yourself to pivot careers, and so much more.
53 minutes | 8 months ago
From Sex Worker to Trans Activist With Cecilia Gentili
Oppressive dictator regime. Sexual abuse. Drugs. Sex work. Incarceration. Transitioning. Actress. Trans rights and sex worker rights advocate. Positivity embodied. Fighter. Cecilia Gentili grew up in an oppressive dictatorship in Argentina and fled to the United States in her 20s for a better quality of life. She’s battled drug addiction, imprisonment, and ICE; now Gentili is fighting another battle: trans and sex worker rights nationwide. Gentili founded Transgender Equity Consulting in 2019 after having served as the director of policy at GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy. Listen as she discusses the reality of sex work and sex trafficking, transitioning in a time when there was barely a word for it, and finding beauty amidst fear and persecution on this episode of SheVentures.
47 minutes | 8 months ago
Nixing Work-Life Anxiety for Good With MaryAnn Jones
Eleven million women or 28 percent of all caregivers provide unpaid help to an aging adult as well as to children, according to the National Alliance on Caregiving. MaryAnn Jones — a 20-year-veteran magazine art director — lived this struggle: balancing a high-powered career, a daughter with type 1 diabetes, and a mother with an ovarian cancer diagnosis. All this while grasping for the precious moments of self-care her life afforded her. It took a layoff in 2008 to provide a full-fledged opportunity to pivot to creating a health-coaching business, ThriveNaturally, which has changed Jones’ life and has afforded her the chance to help others. Today, as a certified functional health coach and an on-site workplace wellness coach, Jones talks about balance: caring for your kids, your parents, and yourself. Jones also consults in many companies, and emphasizes the importance of workplace wellness, how to change your habits, outlook, and behavior for good on this episode of SheVentures.
45 minutes | 8 months ago
Win Your Pitch & Fund Your Niche with Roshawnna Novellus, Ph.D.
Never tell Roshawnna Novellus, Ph.D. she can’t do something. At age 15, she raised $600,000 in scholarships to fund her education. And after being told by an educator she “couldn’t do math,” Novellus earned a doctorate in engineering with a minor in finance. So it’s no surprise that Novellus keeps breaking barriers today. Though she got her start in corporate America, Novellus realized her skills could be better utilized with underserved communities in Atlanta — and later in counterterrorism. Today she is helping to solve “the 2 percent problem” with EnrichHER, an SEC- and FINRA-approved lending and support platform for women in business. Novellus hopes to improve the paltry 2 percent of what women-owned businesses receive in angel and venture capital — women of color receive even less. So how did a shy girl learn to become a total boss? Novellus, who wins 50 percent of the pitch competitions she enters, provides tips on how to improve your pitching skills. Discover how an accelerator can help your startup — and how EnrichHer provides a community for women to learn and support one another on this episode of SheVentures.
27 minutes | 8 months ago
HR Tech Making Benefits Simple With Amanda Lannert
Amanda Lannert raised $20 million in venture capital for Jellyvision, a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that helps employees make financially sound choices about their benefits. Lannert gives smart tips for other women trying to make headway. Lannert managed global brands for global advertising giant Leo Burnett before becoming CEO of Jellyvision. She completely changed the direction of Jellyvision with her sharp instinct and talented team. Lannert’s pivots come from reading the marketplace and not being afraid to adapt in order to survive — a huge feat for anyone following the tech crash of 2001. (Yes, Lannert has been at the helm for that long!) The company has grown to serve hundreds of mostly Fortune 1000 clients with ALEX®, the most helpful employee decision support platform on the planet. In 2017, nearly 17 million employees and $101 billion dollars’ worth of premium decisions were entrusted to ALEX. How did she do it? Find out on this episode of SheVentures.
54 minutes | 9 months ago
Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos’ Career Catalyst Sara Steinweiss
She’s a former Brooklyn high school English and theater teacher who transitioned to founding a conflict resolution business. Who is this incredible woman? Sara Steinweiss takes center stage when she talks to SheVentures about how she coped with her father’s death, her debilitating anxiety disorder, bullying — and the importance of getting help. Steinweiss provides wisdom for meeting one’s teen where she or he is and discusses how the arts saves lives.
43 minutes | a year ago
The System is Broken: Make Your Own With Vicki Saunders
What if you could receive a 0 percent small business loan from a group of SheEOs? It’s called #radicalgenerosity, created to focus on time-sensitive world issues through entrepreneurship. That’s what today’s guest, Vicki Saunders, has dedicated her life to by founding the transgressive SheEO. With a society more focused on the financial return of an investment than on its environmental or social return, Saunders has vowed to blow up the system and press the reset button. SheEO has rejected the traditional business loan paradigm and created a community of mostly female “activators” who collectively fund loans at a 0 percent interest rate. How can this possibly work, you may ask? Saunders will tell you how simple it is on this episode of SheVentures.
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