Beauty Entrepreneurs And Executives Share Advice From Women Who Inspire Them
To mark International Women’s Day, we asked 49 brand founders and executives to identify women who are an inspiration to them and answer the following question: What great advice did they impart to you?
- PURVISHA PATEL Founder, Visha Skincare
As I think about all the females in my life that have influenced me, I recall Ms. Steele, my 5th grade homeroom teacher that would let me rip apart old National Geographic magazines to make vision boards. She encouraged my dream and told me that there would be times in my life that I would be the only person in the room that would look like me, and that it was a privilege to be different and bring my uniqueness to the table.
She said, “You will always be able to bring your uniqueness to the table. There is only one of you. You are like nobody else.” This advice has been important when bringing Visha Skincare to market, as the brand is an extension of myself, it is like nothing else.
- Niambi Cacchioli Founder, Pholk Beauty
Someone I really look up to is Desiree Verdejo, founder of Hype Skin. Several years ago, I sold my products at Vivrant Beauty, a cult beauty destination in Harlem. It was the first time my products were on shelves outside Jersey City (a big deal for me!). Desiree was the boutique owner at the time. Desiree had included my products in some PR mailers going out to beauty editors and influencers, and suggested that I follow up by directly reaching out to them.
At the time, I was very new to beauty and contacting beauty writers filled me with anxiety. She must have read my mind and further explained the importance of engaging with the press, giving me the confidence to do it myself. That convo helped demystify the press and encouraged me to go out there and make my own relationships.
One of my best friends and mentors, Margaret O’Leary, the clothing designer/retailer, always reminds me that, unlike fine wine, overstock/excess inventory does not improve with time. Best to donate, write down or off, and move on.
- Ashleigh Cortes Founder, The Stay Beautiful Foundation
One of my dearest friends, Vivianne Castillo, founder of Hmnty Cntrd, has been a powerful and inspiring mentor throughout my journey as a young entrepreneur. We have many conversations around what it means to choose courage over comfort, which as a woman can be challenging.
The best piece of advice she has shared with me is the idea of challenging the quote, “If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,” with the thinking of, “Why bring a folding chair to a broken table when I could build a more inclusive table with ergonomic seats to support the work of dismantling systems?,” a powerful statement that serves as a constant reminder that we still have many tables that need to be built.
- Shani Darden Founder, Shani Darden Skin Care
I’m lucky to have a network of strong women who are building their own businesses that I can reach out to for advice and support. Jessica Alba was actually the person who convinced me to go out on my own and open my first studio in my old guest-house. Without her encouragement, I might not have ever taken that leap of faith. I’ve never built a skincare company before, so I really trust and value the advice I get from these women who have succeeded in building their own businesses.
- Tracy Adkins Founder, Jivana
I love, love, love Bobbi Brown. Since she started, I have read about her, watched her on the "Today" show, and participated in her webinar. She is so real, honest and humble in addition to being an entrepreneur, mother, wife, woman, advocate, leader and businesswoman. To me, that is the pinnacle of success.
- Sulin Chung Founder, Hedera Spa
Although I haven’t developed a traditional mentor-mentee relationship with anyone in a familiar sense, two women in the industry I truly admire and take guidance from are Erin Jensen and Megan Pattison. These two women are sisters who co-founded The Treatment, a successful skin boutique in California and, then, started a podcast called “Through Thick and Skin” to share their experience of building their business while demystifying the beauty, skincare and medical aesthetics industry along the way.
When I founded my company, I was starting off with only a clinical background and minimal know-how in building a business. I found myself overwhelmed with the sheer amount of tasks I had to perform, and the new skill sets I had to acquire in a short timeframe. It was around this time that I listened to the first episode of Erin and Megan’s podcast in which they look back and, with good humor, detail their own humble and bumpy beginnings of starting their business.
Their advice that resonated most with me is that it’s OK to bring the people in your inner circle, especially family members, into the professional fold if you think they can be an asset to the business because the ability of your team to work well together can be the strength of your brand. Listening to these two women who developed a successful brand from a small business while keeping their close relationship intact allowed me to look to the people in my life for the strengths I didn’t naturally possess and build a team I could believe in, and feel truly supported by. It reinforced the idea that I don’t have to go it alone to feel successful because, at the end of the day, success is never as sweet without the people you want to share it with.
- Teju Owoye Founder and CEO, Clean Rebellion
I'm super grateful to have a tribe of female friends and mastermind members who have been powerful allies, advocates and mentors. One of the best pieces of advice that I've received from my tribe of powerhouse women is to "own my worth." Jen Sincero also drives this point home in her book, "You Are A Badass at Making Money." It is so important to feel confident about your value and to make no apologies about pricing your products and services accordingly.
- Joni Rogers-Kante Founder, SeneGence
The female who most influenced the direction of my life was Mary Kay Ash. Not only did she show me and thousands of others that women could indeed become successful working from their home offices, but she also made it OK for a woman to choose to spend more hours at home raising their families instead of choosing other careers that took time away from home.
The best advice she ever gave me? Well, some people may think it harsh. She once told me, “If it’s broken, fix it. If it can’t be fixed, get rid of it.” Think about it, all the unresolved broken issues in life build up and drag you down over time. Who can carry that much weight around year after year as it builds and still succeed? It’s the best advice I’ve ever received. I follow it to this day and pass it on to others who are in search of their passions.
- Sally Mueller CEO and Co-Founder, Womaness
I’ve had three incredible women leave a lasting impression on me at various points in my decades-long career. They have, in one way or another, inspired me to get to this point today, gearing up to launch my own brand. Here are they key takeaways they’ve imparted.
Katherine Power of Who What Wear, Versed, Avaline and Merit: “If you believe in something, you’ll find a way to make it happen.” Trish Adams of Target: “There’s immense power in listening and leading without an ego." Nancy Carruth of Kohl’s and formerly of Target: “Innovation above all else. Think big, and do what is right for the brand…and that doesn’t necessarily mean following a playbook."
- Liz Kirby Founder and CEO, Betoken
I have a very core group of fellow female small business owners in the CBD and cannabis world who I look to as mentors. Jess Cadmus from Rogue Paq, Mia Reddy from Dehiya and Leigh Carr from Hari Om Hemp are among them. We help each other much in the same way as this column helps people, by asking not-so-stupid questions when we face challenges in our business. We've helped each other with everything from credit card processing to wholesale and PR contacts to packaging design questions and everything in between.
The best advice I've received recently was from Mia Ready, who told me to trust my audience and be transparent about our recent rebrand. Learning from her that this kind of thing happens more often than I realize was also really helpful as I had felt really alone in the process. I had been really worried about how people would perceive the news that we were changing our name (from Good Jane to Betoken), and she told me to just be honest and up front. She was right, and I'm so glad I listened to her about it!
- YOKI KIVA HANLEY Owner and President, Itiba Beauty
Lisa Price has been an inspiration for me. I see what she has done with her business, and the steps she took to grow it and ensure its longevity. That is what I want to be able to do as well. When I first started out on this path, everyone would always say that my story reminded them of Carol’s Daughter, Mrs. Price’s company. Some would jokingly call me the Carol’s Daughter of the Caribbean.
A friend gave me her book, and I read it on a plane ride to Los Angeles for a meeting for businesses that operate within the Insular Territories expo. [The book is a about] moving from her kitchen to a little larger space and, then, finally to her own facility and stores! I saw the parallels with my own company and the path that I am on, and it gave me the motivation to continue down this path.
Another person who has become a business mentor of mine and friend is Patricia Reinders of SULA NYC. We met at an event for Caribbean business women that was sponsored by Caribbean Posh Magazine in the British Virgin Islands. It was so inspiring to see a fellow Caribbean woman in beauty who has made it. I was so excited and grateful when she came up to me and said she would love to be able to help me get my business seen on a larger scale and decided to be my mentor. She has given me, and still does, great advice and guidance as I move along this path in natural skincare and how I can best make the necessary next steps as I grow my company.
- DARA LEVY Founder and CEO, Dermaflash
The sharpest woman I have ever met is Blythe Jack from TSG Capital. Blythe has spotted and been responsible for the success of some of the most iconic consumer brands on the market. She literally has the Midas touch. I honestly cannot pinpoint one piece of advice Blythe has given me that was most impactful as I turn to her often as a sounding board and advisor. I am lucky enough to run things by her, from the very simple to the most complex when it comes to business. Not only is she a mentor, but she is an amazing visionary and friend.
- Alycia Washington Owner, Cobalt Honey Skincare
I participate in a few Facebook Groups that are geared towards women in business and Black entrepreneurs, and I’m motivated every time I hear someone else’s story and success. Beauty Entrepreneur Inner Circle Facebook Group is a great resource, especially in the early stages.
I also often turn to my close friend Alana Thomas, a baking business expert, even though she is an entrepreneur outside of the beauty space. We turn to each other for encouragement, motivation, tips and resources. It’s tremendously helpful to have someone who understands the struggles of getting a business off the ground and a friend who is supportive whenever there are setbacks or hesitations.
- Ada Polla CEO, Alchimie Forever
When I started my brand, I wrote a letter to Leslie Blodgett, who was at the time the CEO of Bare Escentuals. In this letter, I expressed my admiration for what she had achieved with Bare Minerals and told her that her story was an inspiration for what I was hoping to achieve with my brand. I mailed the letter without any real expectations as I wondered if it would even make it to her desk.
A few weeks later, she called me on my cell to thank me for my note and to ask if there was anything she could do to help. I couldn’t believe it! I asked for the best advice she could impart as I was starting on my entrepreneurial journey. She told me to stick with it, always stay focused and to hire a team that would feel as passionate about my brand as I did. I think about both of these pieces of advice often. They ring as true today as they did then!
- Shirley Billot Founder, Kadalys
Vera Wang, because she was a late entrepreneur. She decided to start her business at 40 years old. I started my business when I was 37 years old because, approaching 40, it was important for me to give meaning to my life and try to realize my dream. I’m sure she will be best to give advice about how to build a successful company at 40 and manage, at the same time, our personal life.
- Diana Shneider Co-Founder, Bella Skin Beauty
One woman that I have always considered a mentor is Oprah Winfrey. I feel that she speaks to everything that rings true to my soul. Her work and the work of the other amazing people that she has highlighted has had a tremendous impact on my personal and professional life. One piece of advice from Oprah that has had the most significant impact on my life is to set an intention for everything you do, big or small. Set an intention for every meeting, for every experience, for every relationship, etc. It’s not just, “What do I want to come out with?” Rather, it’s, “How do I want to feel?” This has changed my perspective on so many things.
- Connie Lo Co-Founder, Three Ships Beauty
I am blessed to have an amazing female founder network to share this entrepreneurial journey with. A few that come to mind include Lulu Liang (CEO, Luxy Hair), Salima Visram (founder, Samara), Taran Ghatrora (fo-founder, Blume), and Claire Moses (founder, Verb Haircare). Chatting with them about our business and personal struggles makes me realize that we are not alone in the problems we face.
One of the best pieces of advice I received while starting Three Ships was to trust my intuition. Starting a business entails encountering challenges on a daily basis, ones that you may not have experience with. More often than not, trusting your gut instead of just relying on numbers has led us to the best outcomes.
- Adodo Robinson Founder, Delali Robinson Cosmetics
I have few amazing people I look to for encouragement and inspiration. I am also part of several Facebook Groups that share great content and tips for entrepreneurs: Pat McGrath, Joyce Dawkins, 25_BWB and Private Label Insider, to name a few.
- Trinny Woodall Founder and CEO, Trinny London
Natalie Massenet. When I first went to chat to her about Trinny London, she said to me, from day one, imagine you are a global brand, and everything that you put out there, imagine there is a global audience. That's what's going to help you to get international straightaway, with that headset. That was brilliant advice from her.
I love Iris Apfel. She might be in her 90s, but she's always had this passion for never hiding away in her clothing, her bright lipstick, in her glasses. You see her, and you feel joy. I think anyone who does that, where it's not manufactured, and it's not styled out of its box, I adore its intuitive style. She has it, and there are very, very few people that I think have that. Online now, so many people take forever preparing a look which they photograph and curate, and I think that's a very different approach from people like ourselves.
- BRITTA CHATTERJEE Co-Founder, Odele
I can’t imagine how different the course of my career would be without the many female mentors I’ve had over the years. I find so much value in working with women who are a decade or so ahead of me, living the life and values that I myself strive towards. The best, most consistent advice I’ve received is to be true to myself. But the greatest value I’ve received from my mentors is their honesty and vulnerability they’ve shared in hopes that I might learn from things they wished had gone differently.
The best part of long-standing mentorships is, when the value goes both ways, we all help one another. The right mentor creates a safe space to vent, explore and grow, for both parties. Carly Broderick continues to be such a valued friend and mentor to me. Through each stage of my career, she always took the time for me and, now, she's an important and influential mentor to Odele as well.
- CHARLOTTE KNIGHT Founder and CEO, Ciate London
Margarita Arriagada, ex-chief merchant at Sephora and now a fearless founder of her own brand Valde Beauty, gave us the platform to launch in the U.S. back in 2012 with our Caviar Manicure. Marg is a beauty and retail trailblazer, so naturally became my go-to mentor and confidant as Ciate continued to grow and expand into new categories.
Her best advice has been, “No matter how challenging it can be/become, keep believing in myself, my vision for the brand, the company, our innovation and surround myself with people that encourage this thinking.”
- Lori Leib Marketing Director and Creative Brand Director, Bodyography
In 2017, I made the decision to move across the country from LA to NYC. I was greeted in Brooklyn by my new "internet" friend, creator and makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes. Over the next year, Katie and I became extremely close, spending our days together when we both had the time between work.
Katie opened my eyes to another aspect of the beauty industry and introduced me to so many people who have brought such value to my life and my career. Katie encouraged me to stay true to myself and Bodyography, [and taught me] how to closely work with influencers and be sure that everyone involved is seen and heard. I am constantly inspired by her open heart, talent and genuine care for our industry as a peer, colleague, friend and mentor.
- Andrew Sotomayor Founder, Oracle Jayne Station
There are lots of brilliant women who've taught me so much, from actor and humanitarian Sasheer Zamata, journalist Ying Chu and astrologer Susan Miller. More recently, Nicole Hollis, creator of artificial intelligence company Emma Intelligence and BeautyVotes.org, told me "Technology should be used to improve our lives offline, not keep us online." I know we're spending so much more time than ever online as part of social distancing and COVID safety, and some moments are probably better spent than others. I'd like to see us use technology to empower each other to stay strong and to help us hold our politicians accountable. If we do that, we can get through this global crisis together.
- DANIELLE GRONICH Co-Founder, CLEARstem Skincare
We love our media coach Abbey Gibb! She is a badass reporter turned media strategist who is helping us fine-tune our message and make sure we are always on point so we can make the most out of every opportunity. She helps us remember what resonates with people and how to show up as our best, most influential selves because we are thought leaders, not merely skincare enthusiasts!
- LISSETTE MONZON Founder, Lilly Be
I have so many. Let’s start with this outlet itself, Beauty Independent. I joined BI when it launched and have learned so much about this industry since. Currently, I am loving the weekly webinars with Nader [Naeymi-Rad] that launched during COVID. The entire BI team definitely knows how to motivate, educate and inspire the indie beauty entrepreneur. I also get inspired by stories and posts from successful entrepreneurs who faced challenges yet overcame them: Sara Blakely, Gary Vaynerchuk, and many others who were told no, but pursued their dreams anyway.
Ultimately, I gain the most inspiration from my immediate family. My parents are my greatest supporters and help me overcome challenges. I look up to my parents and their many accomplishments. They have instilled qualities of perseverance and focus in myself and my three sisters. Perseverance and determination are requirements of being an entrepreneur because it is not always a smooth road.
- ALLISON MOSS Founder and CEO, Type:A
The last role I had was supporting an indie beauty brand led by a strong female CEO, Margaret Kress of Toppik. Her vision, passion, determination and resilience were inspiring. She remains someone I can call on for encouragement and advice.
- JENNI TUOMINEN Founder and Creative Director, Henua Organics
Oh, tons! Being a startup entrepreneur, mom and woman, I breathe inspiration from people! Especially during this time (COVID-19 and all), when everything is uncertain, you really need encouragement. I just saw a very powerful speech of Elizabeth Gilbert talking about spiritual practices. I read a lot, currently "The Energy Codes" by Dr. Sue Morter. I listen to different podcasts (Goop lately) and watch YouTube Ted talks and, then, just watch how the heck my sister, co-founder of Henua does all she does!
She is doing thousands of things at the same time, from being CEO, an entrepreneur, training for triathlon, riding horses, taking care of an old huge farmhouse, a really good mom, and just being there for me and everyone else. I mean, wow. She is very inspiring, and I am so lucky to run this business with her.
- ANNA PERSAUD CEO, This Works
Our brand founder Kathy Phillips because she is ageless with a timeless sense of style and has never limited herself in terms of new adventures or activities. She is one of the most forward-looking women I’ve ever met, at the forefront of major trends, hugely resilient and with an endless reservoir of creativity.
One of Kathy's key principles when she founded This Works was to trust your gut over focus groups when developing products and have faith that if it was a product you would genuinely use then others will too. That ethos was at the heart of our business 15 years ago and continues to be just as relevant today.
- Alison Romash Deputy CMO, BH Cosmetics
Two female mentors jump to mind, although I’ve been fortunate to work with a ton of amazing girl bosses over the years! The first is Dr. Brooke Carlson from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Since my time as her student in the cosmetics and fragrance marketing and management masters program a decade ago, through my tenure serving on the FIT Alumni Association Board and during my career since then, she has continuously supported my professional development. The best advice I received from Dr. B is to constantly maintain a passionate hunger for learning—never be afraid to push yourself to keep growing, and you’ll be amazed at how far it can take you.
- Dillon Peña Creator, Leland Francis
When Leland Francis was in the brainstorm phase, I met Susanne Langmuir, the founder of Bite Beauty. I was doing her makeup, and I told her about my idea for a face oil. She told me to go for it. That bit of encouragement led me to bite the bullet.
I think many people look at Bobbi Brown as a source of motivation. As a makeup artist and entrepreneur as well, I think she serves as inspiration not only for me, but a lot of brands. When I see brands that launch with five to ten lipsticks, I think of her automatically. I was lucky enough to work with her for a few years, and she has posted about Leland Francis. I’ve also been lucky to meet the lovely Cristina Carlino who started Philosophy, and she has been a great sounding board and has given me amazing direction.
- Cherie Hoeger CEO and Co-Founder, Saalt
Jessica Rolph, CEO and co-founder of Lovevery and Happy Family Organics, once told me, “Success will draw out your biggest supporters and critics, so don't sweat the naysayers.” It was timely advice during a time we just had a product recall a few months after launching. She heard my struggles, recounted going through her own product recall and told me, “Just keep hustling and enjoy the journey.”
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to make a notable difference in the world. I remember reading Mother Theresa’s biography and thinking that I wanted to be just like her. I’ve since found that the greatest potential for impact comes by empowering others through education, and women and girls as a global demographic have the largest strides to gain. Female philanthropists like Melinda Gates and Sheryl WuDunn are my heroes for the incredible work they’ve done in women’s empowerment and advocacy.
- Heather Wilson Director of Brand Development, InstaNatural
I think the belief that a mentor always has to be someone older, wiser and with more life experience under their belt is a bit dated. While I’ve had women throughout my life that have filled that traditional role of mentor—and I am forever grateful for those women—when I ask myself who I look to as my mentors today, my best friends come to mind.
I have two that have been by my side since grade school and a handful that came into my life as an adult. Because they’ve all had different experiences and challenges throughout life, they each provide a unique perspective to every situation. No matter what, they are always there to support and love me. They continually inspire me to grow and become a better friend, wife, mom, colleague and overall human. Each of them have provided various advice throughout the years and, while they may not have said the words verbatim, I think the best advice they’ve given me is to simply trust my instincts, even if it means doing the unpopular or hard thing.
Anytime I am in doubt or seeking support, their guidance and opinion is always there, but, at the end of the day, their advice pushes me to decide what feels right for me and stay true to myself. That advice may not seem profound or unique because we’ve all heard it. But, in a world where we are constantly told what we should believe or how we should behave, especially as women, being reminded that our intuition is valuable and worthy is priceless, and can never be said too often.
- Stephanie Stahl CEO and Co-Founder, Ace of Air
One of my very first female mentors, when I shared the news that I was engaged, said, “Beware of growing in the shade of another tree.” Not to throw a wrench in the piece, but that taught me to take pretty much all advice with a grain of salt.
- Ann Somma Founder, Undone Beauty
It sounds so simple, but one of my mentors, a former boss, told me: “It’s just work.” She worked for a family business and was extremely driven, so she definitely didn’t mean to treat your career like a 9 to 5! She was reminding me to put in perspective that my career was just one part of my life. There are going to be ups and downs, and it’s not worth letting the downs negatively affect your entire world. Sometimes, it’s OK to compartmentalize!
- Naomi Furgiuele Founder, Nuria
Early in my career, I had an amazing mentor who taught me the power of creating a community of trusted and empowering women. While her wisdom certainly made an impact on some of my choices, one particular piece of advice she gave me has resonated powerfully for me throughout my career and has, I believe, impacted the women I have helped develop in turn: “Don’t tell me what you think you should do with your career, tell me what you love, tell me what is worth spending time away from your family.”
That advice forever changed the way I looked at the roles I was taking, leading me to build a career in areas where I felt the impact I could make was worth my time away from the most important people in my life. This guidance has shaped the way I developed and partnered with women who shared that approach, and has led to the most rewarding and enriching relationships throughout my career.
- Annabella Joy Founder, Blessed Beauty Makeup
"Don’t quit. Don’t quit. Don’t quit.” These were wise words from my favorite law school dean. While law school was a different mental exercise than entrepreneurship, the lesson is the same and always relevant—persistence is key to success. And, when you don’t quit, you win.
- Sarah Moret CEO and Founder, Curie
Curie was named after Marie Curie, famed scientist from the 1800s. Marie Curie was a mover and a shaker. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, and the only person to ever win it in two different sciences. She broke down barriers in the 1800s, when women didn’t have the rights and opportunities we have today. She represents the kind of woman that I built this company for: strong, powerful, doing things.
- Courtney Somer Founder, Lake & Skye
I work in an office building in Upstate New York with other female founders that are also friends. We are all running businesses while raising kids and navigating these in a new pandemic world. We get together once a month for lunches to share ideas, network and give each other advice. This small, but significant sense of community has been a great relief in knowing that struggles you face are not yours alone.
- Jasmine Wicks-Stephens Founder, Faace
Excellent, strong female bosses that have shaped my development and ultimately my brand. Working at top agencies that have spanned across the health, fashion and beauty sectors, each of these women have been under different pressures and, therefore, had different things to offer in terms of advice. However, there’s always been a common thread in the way they’re all very creative, driven, extremely hard-working, like next level hard, direct and strong, but also compassionate, kind and understanding.
Some of the things they taught me include how to make a product stand out, how to sell a story, why it’s important to have an understanding of the consumer you’re trying to target, why it’s really important to be up to speed with the latest trends, culturally and industry-wise. These things ultimately prepared me to make a brand that would stand out.
- JAMILA POWELL Owner, Maggie Rose Salon
My brand evolved through real-life experience, and brainstorming with friends and family. I have a core group that has been a great sounding board and support system for all my endeavors. This group also includes other entrepreneurs who understand the ups and downs of running a business, and have input on how to move my business forward. When I feel stuck, instead of keeping these emotions in, I take a moment to express my frustrations, and it helps to clear my mind. Once I let those out, I can tackle the obstacle.
- JAMIKA MARTIN Founder, Rosen Skincare
I've gained mentors in so many different places, and I always recommend young, bootstrapped founders do the same. Pretty soon, that new person you're connected to traces back through this convoluted path to someone you met two years ago. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
- Kelley Martin CMO, Skyn Iceland
I have a strong network of former colleagues from my previous roles at Clinique, Bare Minerals and Shiseido who continually serve as a resource and sounding board. My former managers in these roles now serve as my mentors to provide encouragement, motivation and inspiration.
- Jasmine Lewis Founder and CEO, Vie Beauty
I feel it is imperative to have a few that serve different purposes like a business mentor and a spiritual one. I draw inspiration and motivation from those that find a way when all of the odds were against them and people that consistently show up for themselves. There are so many amazing women that have paved the way for me to excel -- like Myiah Hughes, Shavone Riggins, Erica Dias, Tie Cooper and Mia "Mimi" Johnson -- and I hope to do the same for others.
- Jaleh Bisharat Co-Founder and CEO, NakedPoppy
So many! To keep it short, I'll just tell you about one. Her name was Arynne Simon, and something she taught me when I was pregnant changed the way I've worked forever. She taught me that, with proper strategies and the courage to communicate clear boundaries, the work that matters really can get done while mindfully raising a child.
So, I adopted three new approaches: 1.) Communicated my boundaries (in my case, being a present mom) before accepting any new job or assignment. That clarity is critical to removing stress and focusing on results. 2.) Learned to ruthlessly prioritize and focus on doing the work that matters really, really well. Here's the question that I find to be the best: What is most likely to move the needle on the business this week, this month and/or this year? Do that. 3.) Schedule everything, not just meetings, and time-bound each task. I decide how much time a particular effort is worth and mark my calendar accordingly. When the time is up, it's up.
- Priyanka Ganjoo Founder, Kulfi Beauty
There are so many! Two mentors and angel investors whose advice I'd like to share are Ju Rhyu, co-founder and CEO of Hero Cosmetics, and Anita Balaji, MD Consumer at Carlyle. Ju's advice on going deep with few SKUs and owning a niche before expanding really informed my launch strategy. Anita helped me gain the confidence to continue building Kulfi despite the COVID pandemic. In April 2020, when there was a lot of uncertainty, she told me that some of the best companies are built in times of crisis. I’m so appreciative of the guidance and support I’ve received from both of these amazing women.
- Dimitra Davidson Principal, Indeed Labs
Early on in my career, I was guided and mentored by many brilliant women that I have had the privilege of working with. I worked in both banking and luxury goods and, in both cases, I have fond memories of strong women who taught me to pay attention to detail, know what the ultimate goal was and is, and also showed me that you can have a career and a family and a good work-life balance.
- Christine Martey-Ochola Co-Founder, Nuele
Jen Croneberger is a mentor to me, and she works with global companies that are intentional about creating cultures of belonging. The best piece of advice I’ve received from her has been on the importance of partnership, where she often says, "...Because we aren’t meant to do this alone.” Through this, I’ve been able to relish the value of a partnership mindset as a strategy for growth and sustainability.
- EVELYN SUBRAMANIAM Founder, Bija Essence
"Stay true to yourself" and "Be passionate about what you do" are two consistent pieces of advice I receive from women across the world. I would like to continue to express these valuable quotes to every woman and anyone out there thinking of starting a business. I look up to many women around the world from all walks of life as mentors because I truly believe that every woman has something special to offer.
Today, I will focus on three particular influential ladies: Oprah, Diane von Furstenberg and Kamala Harris. Be true to yourself, find passion in what you do because only then will you find purpose. Have perseverance, and don't be afraid of failure because this is how you will grow and find success. Interestingly, all three women believe in the latter four characteristics, therefore that must be good advice coming from three very successful women who have faced adversary.
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