Female Founders: Noreen Butler of RUBI On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman…

Female Founders: Noreen Butler of RUBI On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

…Founders may have a great idea but no one person ever has all the answers. I’ve worked hard to surround myself with a team that not only complements my skill set, but also has the courage to challenge me and offer solutions.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Noreen Butler.

Noreen Butler was a single mom in search of help to support the busy schedules of her children. With a mission to create a community of drivers for families in need, RUBI was established and has since maintained the highest standards to select its drivers. RUBI understands that transportation is critical to advancing health equity and is dedicated to integrating technology, community, and new solutions to help kids and families by providing a safe, dependable mode of transportation. She resides in Washington, D.C. with her children and enjoys giving back to her community.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I started RUBI because of a personal need. When a home-based childcare provider left to pursue an educational opportunity, I had no way of transporting my children while maintaining a full-time job. Solving this problem for myself, and others in the community, became a passion and then a mission. RUBI’s real objective is to provide families with a comfort knowing their loved ones will be transported safely and reliably from one place to another.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The answer to that is easy but defining your brand and establishing a meaningful name is not. Without a budget or a branding specialist on staff, RUBI went through multiple name iterations that ultimately led to a name we love. RUBI has significant meaning to me. Ruby is my birthstone, and I wanted a name that expressed the precious commodity that we are transporting and is encompassing of all ages from seven years old and expanding into seniors as well. We designed a unique ruby pin drop to symbolize the location of your precious gem and in the app you are able to watch your loved ones that are en route from the palm of your hand. My children played a critical role in this process and were not only my focus group, but also a part of my marketing team.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I take the role of transporting children very seriously so there honestly aren’t any funny mistakes I’ve made. Mistakes for sure, just none that I would characterize as funny. To be honest, my math skills have never been a natural strength because of my dyslexia. So, when I started on this mission to create RUBI, I knew I needed to surround myself with a small and trusted team with skills and expertise that would complement my weaknesses. I am not very technical, but I knew what I wanted my app to do. Finding them took a long time, but I now have a rock star CTO and app development team that gets my vision. When I set out on this mission, one of the things that gave me such peace of mind when I hired a driver for my own kids was that he would send me a text when he was en route to get them, standing by waiting for them, when my kids were in the car and when they were dropped off safely. I created a 1,2,3,4 system with my drivers to communicate with me when all of these moments were happening in real time. When we were beta testing, I would relay the same updates to the families and everyone loved the constant communication and reassurance that their precious gems were safe every step of the way. Now that our app is complete, it is amazing to have all of this automated and to not have to hear my phone dinging nonstop! Without making mistakes and validating ideas it is hard to have a business model that is meaningful.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve been incredibly fortunate and blessed to have the guidance, support and mentorship of a very seasoned, humble and well-regarded professional entrepreneur and worldwide motivational speaker. I will forever be grateful to Jeff Hoffman (Priceline.com/Booking.com) for encouraging me to put one foot in front of the other on the difficult days that every entrepreneur encounters.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Because of statistics similar to the one you quoted, many women, unfortunately, lack the confidence to take the first step. It’s a daunting process for anyone but when venture capital firms, technology vendors, bankers and lawyers are dominated by males, walking into those spheres is intimidating. Surrounding myself with mentors and investors who have a track record of supporting female entrepreneurs has been critical to my growth as a professional woman.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

I really believe that sincere mentorship is critical. Sincere in the sense that a mentor truly understands the personal and professional hurdles in front of someone not only trying to grow a business, but also manage the personal responsibilities of a family.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

I think female founders, and those in positions of leadership, are empathetic, intuitive and naturally supportive as a team is developed. While this may mean there should be more women defined as founders, it also means there should be more women in positions of leadership at established companies. Women make great leaders and as I was interviewing CEOs in the transportation space, I learned it is a male-dominated industry. In fact, someone said to me, “I don’t like being around a conference table unless there is a woman present.” He then went on to say women make great leaders. That resonated with me. I am seeking female investors and advisors. I believe that more women need to empower each other and help work together so we have more of a presence around conference tables, especially in male-dominated industries such as tech and mobility.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

Founders may have a great idea but no one person ever has all the answers. I’ve worked hard to surround myself with a team that not only complements my skill set, but also has the courage to challenge me and offer solutions.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Not everyone is meant to be a founder. Founders of a company need to be comfortable failing, leading through periods of uncertainty, able to embrace criticism and willing to work hours outside of the norm.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Self-confidence with a belief in oneself. Without any expertise or experience in the transportation industry, I needed to educate myself and develop a network of relationships that could be leveraged as the business model for RUBI took shape.
  2. Confident communication skills. With safety at the forefront of everything RUBI does, I am crystal clear in any communication with my driver network about my expectations to provide safe rides for a community entrusting us with their loved ones.
  3. Ability to question the status quo. Many people, family included, questioned my ability to develop a company that would simply transport children from point A to point B with strangers behind the wheel. By developing a comprehensive interview and training process, I confidently can represent to the community that RUBI’s driver network is safe and reliable.
  4. Empathetic. My role as a mother has absolutely helped guide my interaction with RUBI clients. Families of all shapes, sizes and resources need safe transportation for their loved ones and I’ve built a team uniquely qualified to provide this support and peace of mind.
  5. Authentic. I’ve worked diligently to build a driver network that is respectful, reliable, motivated, and eventually an extension of the families that they serve.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

RUBI works in a calculated way to support organizations where transportation is an identified challenge. Relevant examples include after-school and sports-oriented organizations that need to transport inner city or economically disadvantaged communities without direct transportation services.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

One of the biggest barriers for many is transportation. If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people it would be for those who are able and can afford to donate rides to those in need. I would like to be able to offer our service to those that need rides to go to medical appointments, to work and job interviews to help make the world a better place.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Oprah Winfrey has always been an inspirational hero of mine. She is from humble beginnings, independently minded and just so thoughtful about the communities she influences. I have a vison of creating a network of safe and trusted drivers around the country to help Bigs and Littles of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization to service their needs to get to and from activities, school and any destination to help them be the best versions of themselves. I would love Oprah to be a part of this mission with me. I feel it could be tremendously impactful and is purpose-driven. Incredible endeavors like this take a special village to achieve.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this


Female Founders: Noreen Butler of RUBI On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Founders: Teresa Heath-Wareing On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman…

Female Founders: Teresa Heath-Wareing On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

You have to learn stuff fast — Most people go into business because they are really good at something, normally the service or product they are selling. However, I completely underestimated how much other stuff I needed to know. Things that I didn’t even think about such as systems, finance, managing people or selling! Doing my actual job was the easy bit, it was all the other stuff that was challenging. ⠀⠀⠀

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Teresa Heath-Wareing.

Teresa Heath-Wareing is an online business & marketing expert who works with small business owners from across the world, helping them to build a business and life they love. An international award-winning speaker, TEDx speaker and podcaster, Teresa is recognised alongside some of the world’s digital marketing thought leaders and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading marketing influencers. Teresa hosts a popular weekly podcast called ‘Marketing that Converts’ and has interviewed the likes of Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, Michael Hyatt, Jasmine Star, James Wedmore, Mike Stelzner and Dean Graziosi. For more visit https://teresaheathwareing.com.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I have been in marketing for about 17 years now. I did a degree in it and started my career. I was always happy being an employee and never dreamed about having my own business. However, after ten years in various marketing roles I found myself as a single parent of a four-year-old. I was head of marketing for a local agency and after coming through a separation I thought I needed a change. I joke I must have gone through an early midlife crisis because without getting another job I handed my boss eight weeks’ notice, thinking “I am really good at my job I am sure I will get another”. One thing I overlooked was that I was on a good salary and lived in a small town and jobs like that weren’t often available. Three weeks into my notice and no job offers I started looking at other options, including starting my own business. My boss found out this might be the case and understandably asked me to leave! Within one week I had started my new marketing business!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

This is a tough one to answer because so much happens and as business owners we tend to have a really short memory when it comes to achievements or milestones as we are quick to move on to the next one! I guess one story which springs to mind is when I was at university doing my marketing degree, we were taught from a book written by Dr Philip Kotler, who is known as the father of marketing. A few years back someone got in touch with me after watching my TEDx talk and asked if I would speak at an event. It turned out that it was Dr Philip Kotler’s event and the first and only one he has done in the UK! It was one of the most surreal things ever, standing on the same stage as the father of marketing whose book was my bible when at university.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Well, I made all the mistakes. No plan, no idea what I really wanted to offer and naming my business after my ex-husband’s name and now I am remarried you can only imagine how that goes down when we go somewhere, and people call my husband Mr. Heath-Wareing (which is my ex-husbands name!). Also, when I started my business I set it up as an agency and called it THW Marketing (THW my initials) however when you type that into google it thinks you have made a mistake and auto corrects it to The Marketing! I told you I made all the mistakes.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

One of the things I found when I started my business was the general lack of support or even interest. I didn’t have anyone in my world that had their own business and that can be really lonely. However, along the way there have been many people who have supported me get to where I am and it’s really hard to pick one! Firstly, having a cheerleader on your side is super important and for me this is my husband. He is my biggest cheerleader and some days has more faith in me and what I can achieve than I do! I know lots of business owners who don’t have the support of a loved one and that is so tough.

But the other person I must mention is my coach and now dear friend Mary Hyatt. I knew I needed some help and extra support for myself and the business and after listening to a podcast of someone I admired they talked about their coach Mary Hyatt, so I decided to take a look at her site and it just spoke to me. She has been so very important in my world and for my personal development. We worked so much on mindset and self-development and that felt like the key that unlocked lots of my success. If you don’t have a coach then I really recommend getting on and checking out Mary!

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

This is such a complex area as I think there are loads of things that stop women starting their own companies, however, I don’t think that is helped that males have had almost a 2000-year head start on us! If you look back as recently as the 1960s, American women needed their husband’s permission to open a bank account in their own name. And as Deborah Sweeney in her Forbes article explained — until 1988, women entrepreneurs could not get business loans without a male relative as a co-signer.

It is going to take some time to change that tide, which is why it’s so important for women business owners to stand up and show themselves so they can inspire other women to do the same.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

I think starting in school is a great place to start as when I was at school starting your own business was never talked about, let alone encouraged as an option. As a mum of a 12-year-old girl I actively encourage her to look at how my business is run and include her as often as I can, so that she knows this is an option open to her.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Having my own business is the best thing I have ever done. I get to manage my time and what I do with it and who I work with. I worked in many male-dominated industries before starting my own business and the way I was treated as a woman was very much different to the other men I worked with. I was not as well regarded or thought to be as capable and in some cases was often there for show! Now I have my own business I feel like I am in control of me, my business and how I am treated on a daily basis!

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

I think when you first start your own business free time is a myth. When I first started I thought “great I get to work my own hours that I want to work and I can take time off as I need”. That’s not necessarily true! As I said in the last question, I get to manage my time, that is very different from having free time. I worked so many hours when I first started and it is only seven years later and having a team that has allowed me to start to take some of the time I need. But there is always stuff to do and even when you aren’t working your brain never turns off from thinking about what you could be doing!

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

This is an easy answer — NO not everyone can and will do this and that’s fine — it’s not for everyone. To be a business owner you need tenacity, you need to be able to motivate yourself and get the work done even when you don’t want to. You need to be flexible and quick thinking as things change all the time. And you need to be able to manage your mindset when know money is coming through the door, because these times will happen!

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

#1 You have to learn stuff fast — Most people go into business because they are really good at something, normally the service or product they are selling. However, I completely underestimated how much other stuff I needed to know. Things that I didn’t even think about such as systems, finance, managing people or selling! Doing my actual job was the easy bit, it was all the other stuff that was challenging. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

#2 You may lose friends — Having a business changed me and I found that some of the things I had in common with some of my friends changed. We found ourselves not knowing what to talk about. And some of them didn’t like the new Teresa that was running her own business and reaching for the stars and that was ok. People change and move on and I noticed this happened because of the business. However, I would also like to add that you can’t do it alone — Running a small business can be tough and you need people around you to help. These may not be currently friends and family and you may have to look for new groups to support you but you need those people. ⠀

#3 Your brain never turns off… ever — I never stop thinking about my business and everything surrounding it. In the shower, falling asleep, cooking dinner, on the school run, doing the food shopping, I mean all the time! And this can be really hard to manage, switching off has been very difficult for me especially because I love what I do. You have to make sure you find some way to have down time — Gin helps lol! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

#4 You need to have a good mindset — You need to gather together some good tools, tactics and strategies to use when your mind doesn’t want to. So many things in business can make us stumble and block us from being successful. So mindset work is key! And as part of this you should learn to embrace failing — My resilience has gotten better as time has gone on. The more things went wrong or didn’t go as I had hoped. Or the times that it straight up failed! In business you turn each failure into an opportunity to learn.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

#5 You need systems and processes — Over the first 2/3 years of my business I must have wasted so much time and so many opportunities, through being unorganised and not having the right systems in place. I know systems and processes don’t feel very exciting, but honestly I could not run my business without them. If you do something more than once in your business it can be a system and when you grow someone else can do that thing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Over the years I have helped hundreds of women business owners create the business and life they dream of. I have watched them grow and achieve things they never thought possible and that is amazing. Within the business, I have an amazing team who get to grow with me and benefit from our joint success through weekends away and gifts for their children. I have also volunteered my time and expertise to help many charities.

One of my plans for the future is to start my own charity.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

My movement would be around helping people in marginalized communities start their own business that would not normally have the opportunity or where it is not as encouraged.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love nothing more than to sit down for lunch with the amazing Glennon Doyle — the world is a better place for her being in it.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this


Female Founders: Teresa Heath-Wareing On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Sarah MaHannah of Pure Dharma: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis…

Sarah MaHannah of Pure Dharma: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis or CBD Business

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Becoming an advocate for self care and the planet is met with such resistance in a world that promotes the glorification of ‘busy’. It’s often challenging to maintain balance between “wellness” and “founder” even with all the tools — the days I’m feeling great as a mom are not usually the ones I’m kicking butt at work and vice versa, but persevering and staying consistent with effort in all areas leads to results that I can feel good about when I take a moment to put my life in perspective. It’s really easy to get sucked into the business or stress of work, but when I take time to see myself from the outside I really am creating the life of my dreams.

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah MaHannah.

Founded by Sarah and her husband Sean MaHannah, Pure Dharma was created with the mission to optimize personal and planetary well-being through ritualized beauty and wellness practices. By inspiring a conscious lifestyle through intentional practices and sustainable choices, the duo hopes to give others the tools to live a healthier, more joy-filled life. As someone who has long been passionate about beauty and wellness, the evolution of Pure Dharma came naturally to Sarah after years of working in the spa industry and seeing the need for high-end, luxury skincare that blends botanicals with cutting-edge ingredients in a beautiful, clean and non-toxic way.

Sarah was always fascinated with face masks, salt baths and anything pertaining to skincare. In 2006, she began work as an esthetician, and it was at that time she began a deep dive into learning about ingredients. Having sensitive skin herself, she knew first-hand how irritating and harmful ingredients could cause skin to be reactive on a surface and superficial level, but as she did more research, she began to learn more about the effects on a person’s overall health and body. Sarah discovered the lack of safety regulations in personal care products in the US compared to other parts of the world. She delved into continuing education which then led her to open her own skincare studio with a focus on organic and non-toxic treatments in 2019.

A few years later, Sarah had children of her own and became a mother, prompting her to expand her standards of using non-toxic, clean ingredients for household and lifestyle goods as well. Sarah’s background in yoga (both as a student and a teacher), her journey as a clean beauty practitioner, as well as a passion for plant medicine all stem from a personal desire for health and wellness. For her, these aren’t just products to sell, this is the lifestyle she lives and embodies day in and day out.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As an esthetician and yoga teacher, self care rituals have become a way of life for me over the years and I know how important it is to take care of myself to bring the best version of myself into the world every day. I am passionate about non-toxic ingredients and have an affinity for luxury skincare products and routines. The idea for Pure Dharma was born when I noticed the emergence of CBD and THC topicals coming to market early at various cannabis shows I attended with my husband Sean, a cannabis industry veteran. I saw the unique opportunity to marry my love of modern and cutting edge skincare with my passion for the healing power of

botanicals, but do it in a beautiful and sustainable way.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The most interesting story is that the pandemic happened and the world completely shifted after we decided to launch Pure Dharma. It was something I didn’t anticipate but it also highlighted the need for self-care and wellness rituals even more. In our personal lives and as a society, we are all being asked to show up in new ways and it can be challenging to move through life with ease and grace. Recognizing the importance of building a brand that can be supportive, one that can give people the tools they need to feel good as they navigate life’s challenges — is more essential than ever.

This is a lesson in trusting in divine timing and not to second-guess my gut instincts. There is always room for excellence and there can only be one you! We are completely self funded and do everything in-house ourselves so it has taken several years to get from inception of the idea to product on shelves. Seeing a surge in CBD products on the market during that time has led to many disheartening moments of second-guessing myself and the vision for the brand. While it’s true there are many CBD companies out there today, there are very few that are doing it to the level of quality and caliber we offer. What makes us unique (in addition to doing everything in-house where we only have high vibrations and high intentions) is using Nano CBD for a greater effectiveness so the absorption of our topicals penetrates deeper, truly setting us apart. Our products undergo third party testing to ensure the CBD isn’t contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides, demonstrating that we hold ourselves to the highest standard and also being transparent about it. We also strive to be as sustainable as we can not only when it comes to ingredients and sourcing but also packaging.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Maybe not funny as in ha ha, but the funniest mistake is probably the level of naïveté I had about what it takes to manufacture your own skincare line and do it all in house — now I understand why the majority of companies use white-label formulations and have co-packers, it’s really hard work! Being an independent brand with conscious values is often at odds with our mom-and-pop budget but I am proud of what we have done so far and the concessions that we didn’t make to save costs at the expense of the environment. Our integrity and values are clearly on display and I also see how the ability to have complete oversight lends itself to a certain level of quality that is unmatched. We have nothing but high vibrations and high intentions in our space, I will even play kundalini mantras to keep the frequency elevated in the warehouse!

To recognize personal strengths and weaknesses early on and not try to do it all! Leaning more into the importance of community and having a good one around you. We all see how society suffers when we are alone and isolated, so doing my best to surround myself with people that elevate and enhance my life experience more, I try to do the same for them, so we can in turn all get more out of this life experience together. When I think back to the early days of planning I see that it would have benefitted Pure Dharma to get help in certain areas sooner because once the right people with the right energy and skills were in place, things just started to click. I am a wife (running a business with my husband which in itself is no easy task, who also has another business he runs!), mom to two small kids, I’m also a daughter, sister, and a friend — I can’t do it all and am still only one person. So even though I want to do so much, trying to prioritize what I am good at AND what I enjoy while getting help with the rest as much as possible proves most beneficial. That’s why more than just products, I want Pure Dharma to become a brand that’s able to serve the community with tools that uplift and elevate the collective as a whole.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are currently working on several formulations to round out our offerings into a more complete skin and body line. We are also looking to expand possibly into gummies because we understand that wellness starts within, so to be able to offer some high-vibe, healthy and unique CBD formulations as an ingestible would be another fun way to serve the collective as a lifestyle brand.

There is still a large population out there that hasn’t been educated on the effectiveness of CBD and why it works so well with our bodies and the ability to enhance overall wellness/ wellbeing, so we are hosting retreats both online and in-person, going to pop-up events, and curating wellness experiences to continue to grow awareness and to promote destigmatization of the cannabis plant as a focus in 2022. Our products are experiential so having that in person opportunity to connect with the community and grow our brand is key.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I wouldn’t be here or have any of this without my husband, Sean. He has been a constant support of me and my dreams over the past 24 years and being able to co-create with him has been the supreme blessing and also teacher. Having the love and support of those closest to you in life is crucial for creating the life of your dreams. I also receive tremendous support-both emotional and physical — from my parents that live nearby who help out often with the kids. That is priceless support — for real! It really does take a village.

This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

We are still in the early stages of our brand and wouldn’t consider offering advice at this stage of our tenure to legacy brands.…but what I will say as a young, dynamic, and creative brand is we are trying all of the things! Our team is very small but also diverse in age and demographic so learning as we go with traditional approaches in marketing as well as new ones out of my comfort zone (hello TikTok). It’s challenging to know what the next best move is and what will be the best strategy to optimize reach and be able resonate with your particular community so staying open and fluid is what we are doing.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

1) On a personal level what excites me the most is an opportunity I have in an industry I love and to do something fun that can truly serve the people.

2) I’m also excited about the availability and accessibility of a plant that can uplift and elevate humanity with so many potential health benefits — when I discovered the plant (I just turned 45), I very much had to do it in secret with only trusted friends! There is a positive groundswell happening in regards to cannabis and CBD that has come with legalization and education and that has been great to see over the years.

3) The industry has been a boom for employment and job-creation, in fact cannabis was deemed essential (as it should be!) during the pandemic so was able to remain less affected during the shutdowns. I would have never predicted this years ago!

1) The inability of the federal government to decriminalize cannabis federally as well as seek expungements for people with prior cannabis convictions as was promised during the campaign by the Biden administration. The fact that people remain imprisoned over a medicinal plant while others profit over it is just wrong.

2) The excessive taxation of the cannabis industry results in the continued proliferation of the black market and greater hardships being placed on small mom-and-pop businesses trying to operate and succeed.

3) The massive influx of purely financial predatory motives and operations in the industry since legalization has brought a whole new, negative energy — the ones who love cannabis for plant medicine and who are true stewards of the plant and the planet are far and few between.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

1) How the pandemic would affect everything — sourcing ingredients, packaging from overseas, labor for construction, and the state of the world. Things have taken more time and more money to launch than we could have guessed given the current climate.

2) Banking would still be an issue in 2022. Traditional banking and financial services are still not within reach for cannabis business, stemming from the fact that cannabis is still considered illegal on the federal level. This proves costly and inefficient.

3) The cannabis industry moves faster than any other industry I have worked in with new trends emerging constantly. We are unable to reach consumers with traditional advertising and with so many brands emerging it’s difficult to stand out. Having unique points of differentiation in a saturated market is key- it’s not enough to have a great product!!

4) There is still a real need to educate consumers on the healing potential of cannabis as an alternative to conventional healthcare. While I would love to spend all my time being creative and coming up with new formulations, unfortunately we are still dealing with the negative effects of old stigmas and so many people have misconceptions and are misinformed. Even in a culture that glamorizes and embraces alcohol (and so many other substances) to be used as self care and part of bonding and rituals, there is still a resistance to plants from societal conditioning.

5) Becoming an advocate for self care and the planet is met with such resistance in a world that promotes the glorification of ‘busy’. It’s often challenging to maintain balance between “wellness” and “founder” even with all the tools — the days I’m feeling great as a mom are not usually the ones I’m kicking butt at work and vice versa, but persevering and staying consistent with effort in all areas leads to results that I can feel good about when I take a moment to put my life in perspective. It’s really easy to get sucked into the business or stress of work, but when I take time to see myself from the outside I really am creating the life of my dreams.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

As a yoga teacher (and mom), the advice or guidance I give all humans no matter their occupation to help them thrive is to connect with yourself, and develop a life of excellence. Become a lighthouse so that your presence and your frequency is one that lights you up from the inside and elevates and inspires everyone you come in contact with. Be the light for yourself and those around you! When we work on ourselves, we

have the choice and opportunity to become brighter, shine brighter and show up as our best selves — truly living our dharma. Being of service in a way that feels good and connects us with humanity at large helps us in all areas of life — not just work.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m a kundalini yoga teacher and if I could inspire a movement it would be to have everyone connect with themselves via their breath and have a personal meditation practice. Our world needs supportive, nourishing practices more than ever so for everyone to tap into their best self. It would help us all live in a way feeling vital and connected. Breathwork is the bridge to wellness and it’s something we all have access to, and it’s free!

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Instagram : @puredharmaofficial

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Sarah MaHannah of Pure Dharma: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Elle Cole: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Be adventurous even in a small way. If you’re a person that doesn’t like a lot of color in your home, try using one or two colors you like in a space. Possibly a pillow or accessories that have the colors you like. You may discover you like it or you don’t. But, either way you’ve stretched outside of your comfort zone — which is always a good way to help us with personal growth.

As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elle Cole.

Dallas-native Elle Cole, Owner and Principal Designer of Elle Cole Interiors, brings strong architectural and interior design training, a sincere love for creating beautiful spaces, and a healthy dose of Southern hospitality to the table when bringing her clients’ vision to life. She believes that our strongest and fondest memories are made in the home. Elle and her team deliver sophisticated yet approachable interiors that honor the client and their space, while recognizing that this work should be fun!

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

All my life I’ve been lead to this point in my design career, even though I majored in economics. It’s my childhood that set the desire in motion of creating a beautiful home. Since I was young, I’ve always had a love for creating, but it was the downturn of the market that lead me to seek what I felt I’d really been missing, because I wasn’t happy. And, I knew at that point I needed to make a change in my career.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

When I started my firm, I knew I always wanted to hang my own sign up. I’d been praying for God to lead me to where I needed to be for months. Little did I know the next morning, dreading looking for spaces again that were either too big, wrong location or I couldn’t afford. I happened to go into one of the design showrooms for fabric memos and as I was leaving I had a gut feeling to ask my sales rep (Jayne) if she knew of anyone that had a space available close to the design center. She immediately said, “Yes! Call Richard, he just had someone move out and is looking for a new tenant.” I called him as soon as I left the showroom, met him that afternoon at the office and signed a new lease that day. It turned out to be the perfect design studio…lighting, price, location and size. Call it coincidence or miracle, it was one of best things that has happened to me.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My goodness, suppose we all make mistakes! I’m can’t say it was comical at the time, but it certainly has been a lesson I’ll never forget. We had a large fabric order to upholster chairs, it was a 22 yard order. I waived getting a CFA (Cutting For Approval) of the fabric — this is when we confirm our memo fabric to the fabric coming from the mill to ensure the dye lots match. Well, we received a call from our workroom asking if we changed the fabric on the chairs. Of course we didn’t! Well, we thought we were receiving a grey fabric and what arrived was lavender in the same pattern. Now, the interesting part is that there was not a lavender colorway to select from, the mills dye lot was way off from the original memo we sourced. So, lesson learned was…always request a CFA or you’ll own 22 yards of fabric you don’t need!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Every project is exciting and brings with it its own challenges. Currently, we’re working on decorating projects — this is the fun part where you select fabrics, furnishings, etc. and really make the space shine, because you have good bones to work with. I absolutely love every aspect of design, but it is a nice treat when all you have to do is dress up the room to make it beautiful vs. create a foundation to make it pretty. The best advice I can offer to help people is taking the time to create a plan for the room. Meaning, decide on the colors that you’d love for the room, how you want the space to feel, the furniture layout, financial investment before going out to buy furniture. Make a plan first in order to achieve the result you’re seeking.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Action breeds more clarity than thought, you can’t think your way into a new life, you have to act your way into one.” Taking action towards the life that you think you want will breed more clarity into the life you really want. So many people think, read, think, read — but they never do. It’s only by leaning into your dreams and being brave enough to take action when you truly find out what’s right for you. Your dreams will never come to fruition by you waiting for them to show up. All you need is the where not the how — you’ll figure things out while you’re flying. I’m still applying this life lesson in my business today. If there’s a business opportunity I want to venture into I keep this quote in mind, it helps me move forward rather than allowing my fears to drive my actions.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many people that help you along the way. But, when I look back it would have to be my husband. He’s been the oak tree that has been a constant in my life. Never wavering of his support in my toughest moments and always believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. When I first started thinking of opening my design firm, he never doubted its success. He always had the strongest faith, having enough faith for both of us. But, I remember him saying, “you must do this or you’ll regret it. And, don’t worry, because I got you.” Something so simple, gave me all the courage I needed to launch. And, now I’m happily standing strong years later.

What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Fill it with the things you love. When you love something it brings you joy every day.

Be adventurous even in a small way. If you’re a person that doesn’t like a lot of color in your home, try using one or two colors you like in a space. Possibly a pillow or accessories that have the colors you like. You may discover you like it or you don’t. But, either way you’ve stretched outside of your comfort zone — which is always a good way to help us with personal growth.

The area of your home that is a paint point, try to view it with a different perspective. Take a moment to envision the beauty it could be vs. what it isn’t. If you change your perspective you may discover a new way to use the space and learn to love it. Or, you may gain clarity around what’s needed to make it more inviting.

Invest in functional items, like good lighting or a professional organizer — when your home functions and you have for example a good reading spot or an office that’s organized it makes a world of difference in your life. Having a functional space will give you time back and provide support when you need it the most.

Clean out the clutter. Give away items that are not serving you well and donate them to a local charity. Giving is always better than receiving.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Getting others to feel passionate about the written word, hand-written letters. Everyone sends texts, emails, etc. — the art of writing well or even writing in cursive is being lost. I believe partly to blame is that our society has become too accustomed to instant gratification. It would be lovely to see a shift in our communication style, where people began to enjoy the art of the hand-written letter again.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

The author Malcolm Gladwell — any scenario (breakfast, lunch or dinner) would be amazing. I’d have so many questions for him. But, what I love about his writing is that he finds magic in the smallest of details and creates a story that allows people to engage and understand the most complex subjects in a simplified manner. How could you not want to be in the presence of someone who has this incredible gift of storytelling?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!


Elle Cole: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Dr Lynn Anderson On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s…

Women In Wellness: Dr Lynn Anderson On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Your Wealth is Your Health — rather than focus on the accumulation of material things the focus would shift to the accumulation of health. When we are healthy in body, mind and soul we have wealth. Clarity, vitality and creativity are biproduct of good health and are also needed to accumulate material wealth. Material wealth can always be created, but without your health everything else is meaningless.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Lynn Anderson.

Dr. Lynn Anderson is a naturopath, yoga therapist, fitness professional, karma master, published author, international speaker and video producer with over 30 years’ experience in the field of natural health and fitness. She has been featured in Redbook, Reader’s Digest, Huffington Post, Shape, SELF and various other national publications, TV networks and Podcasts. She is the author and producer of the Soul Walking series; How to Master Karma.; How to Master Prosperity and How to Master Vitality; Doctor Lynn’s Proactive-Aging Workouts; Burnout — it happens to all of us; Sex Matters, and other health and fitness courses.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I grew up on a small island off the coast of Maine. At one time there was only one telephone on the island and to see a doctor took over an hour’s ride over rough roads and across a causeway. So many people on the island, including my grandmother, used what was known as folk medicine for minor things like infections, flues and colds. My grandmother taught me how to use herbs and plants, as well as how to make medicinal tinctures, tonics and wines for healing. Everyone had a root cellar with bottles of healing potions. I took it all in stride until I found myself deplete, exhausted and burnt-out as a young single mother struggling to put myself through school while working and raising two children. My collapse (burnout) led me to seek out alternative and natural methods for healing myself and this led to me becoming a naturopath, yoga therapist and wellness professional. Physician heal thyself — Hippocrates

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

At one time I had toxic people in my life. I asked my Guru what to do. He showed me the tip of his finger and said,

“If you have poison on the tip of your finger and you don’t remove it the poison will take over your whole body. Cut it off and move on otherwise it will destroy your health body, mind and soul.” And so, I did. As I teach my students if it is not useful, meaningful and beautiful let it go.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest mistake I made was listening to that voice of self-doubt and fear that played inside my head. When I began to study Naturopathy, herbology and aromatherapy, these were considered quackery by the main stream. What’s funny is how mainstream it has all become today. Life is a circle. I’ve replaced that voice with trust and courage.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I have been teaching Karma yoga for over 30 years, as well as Cycle and dance. As a naturopath and yoga therapist I have combined physical movement and exercise with diet and soulful teaching to help my students and clients reach a higher state of health body, mind and soul. The world will always need vital and thoughtful energy to both survive and to thrive. I hope my workshops and classes help. I try to show my students where to look, but not what to see. The journey should be about self-growth and not about a dogma. Teaching healthy self-growth body, mind and soul has the potential to make a big impact on the world.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. At the top of my to do list every day I put workout and eat healthy — it’ the most important thing you can do in a day — Put this at the top of your list and work it into your schedule just like any other task, or appointment
  2. Find a fitness/health class, or a group you can commit to and show up
  3. Pay attention to the three pillars of health — diet, exercise and sleep — all three of these are essential to health and vitality.
  4. Keep practicing and when you think you got it — practice some more.
  5. Be proactive — you are aging from your very first breath to your very last breath, so take charge of your health. Be proactive. No one knows your body, mind and soul as you do.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Your Wealth is Your Health — rather than focus on the accumulation of material things the focus would shift to the accumulation of health. When we are healthy in body, mind and soul we have wealth. Clarity, vitality and creativity are biproduct of good health and are also needed to accumulate material wealth. Material wealth can always be created, but without your health everything else is meaningless.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Time really flies — I wasted so much time
  2. Romantic Love is fleeting — I could have avoided a few heart aches
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff — I took on too much stress worrying about small stuff
  4. Be grateful everyday — it creates happiness and good health
  5. Enjoy it is life’s greatest pleasure — joy fills the soul

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental Health: I believe it is at the root of all our problems — karma — the effect is a result of true cause. When we see the effects of violence, greed and horrific crimes the root cause is mental health.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

http://www.doctorlynn.com ad follow me on Instagram http://instagram.com/doctorlaa/

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Dr Lynn Anderson On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women Leading The Cannabis Industry, With Shatoia Robinson of Budzy

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

One of my goals is to break the stigma around hemp and CBD culture through education. When administered appropriately, cannabis can have a positive effect on one’s health, including reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and fighting cancer.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shatoia Robinson.

Shatoia Robinson was raised by women who taught her to roll up her sleeves and get to work. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a Bachelors in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Her strong work ethic and motivation have given her the drive to succeed in the medical sales industry for more than a decade, and while working in the industry, Shatoia discovered the benefits of CBD firsthand. The more she educated herself on the power of CBD, the more she wanted to share her knowledge and empower women of color to embrace a holistic, healthy life infused with CBD.

This passion, along with her entrepreneurial spirit, led her to launch Budzy, the first Black woman-owned monthly CBD subscription box that introduces women to a world of high-end CBD products that are beautiful to behold and backed by research. With the experience she brings from her medical sales career, Shatoia possesses the skills to take complicated scientific jargon and express it in relatable terms. This, in particular, has been an important differentiator for Budzy, as one of Shatoia’s goals is to break the stigma surrounding hemp and CBD culture through education.

Shatoia has recently taken her venture with Budzy to the next level and has developed the first CBD infused dry cookie mix to hit the market — The Cake Cookie by Budzy. Her desire to develop a product line of her own intersects with her passion for baking. In fact, back in 2010, Shatoia was the first African-American woman to launch a food truck in the City of Chicago called Mama Green’s Gourmet Goodies, in which she baked and sold delicious cookies based on her family’s heirloom recipes.

Shatoia’s mantra is “attitude is everything” and we see that play out through every aspect of her life, including her business. She’s motivated by the fact that she’s able to inspire other women to take charge and lead their lives in a positive direction, just as her mother and grandmother have inspired her.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?

I became interested in cannabidiol (CBD) products while working as a pharmaceutical and medical sales representative. The more I educated myself on the power of CBD, the more I wanted to share this knowledge and empower women to take control of their health and wellness in a natural way.

After losing my job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I launched Budzy, a monthly subscription box service that elevates the CBD experience with our ever-changing curation of premium products from food to fashion to lifestyle.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started out, I had deliveries delayed and shipped to the wrong address because I was moving too fast and didn’t take the time to double check my every step. I learned very quickly that attention to detail is incredibly important when it comes to logistics, and this alone has the potential to make or break you when you’re in the subscription box business.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Carrie Solomon of Greater Goods has been a wonderful help to me. She helped design and co-manufacture our first branded product — The Cake Cookie by Budzy.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are very excited about the launch of The Cake Cookie. It is the first CBD infused dry cookie mix on the market, allowing people to make edibles at home in a safe and fun manner!

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?

First and foremost, it’s platforms such as this interview that give us a voice to educate other women on what the possibilities are. Sharing our stories and educating women on how to lead in a male-dominated industry is the first step to breaking down barriers.

Additionally, I believe there is boundless potential in collaborating with larger brands for activations. The idea that a well-established brand can shed light on women-owned brands is very powerful.

And finally, there are several ways that women can enter the cannabis industry through ancillary business, including transportation, banking/finance, etc. As a woman inspired by the industry, I took it upon myself to use my skill set to forge a place within the industry that I could call my own. Now it’s up to other women who are interested in breaking through to harness their strengths and do the same.

You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.

  1. Always being willing to pivot. It’s absolutely essential!
  2. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you come across an idea, put your own spin on it and go for it!
  3. Network like crazy. There are a lot of women in the industry with tons of experience, but sometimes, for whatever reason, they are afraid to share. It’s okay to put your guard down and reach out to connect with the women you admire.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?

  1. More diversity in the industry.
  2. More women in the industry.
  3. Seeing more non-violent drug convictions for people of color being overturned.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

I’m most concerned about big business coming into the industry and making everything cookie cutter. It also really grinds my gears that local governments are doing more to open up opportunities for people of color that want to come into this industry. It’s exhausting seeing the same type of people win licensing lotteries. Cannabis was built on diversity and independence. Now it seems like there are too many former naysayers jumping on board just to make a dollar.

What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?

Cannabis is medicine and it can help people heal naturally in so many different disease states. The power of this plant has the potential to heal people all over the country.

Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?

One of my goals is to break the stigma around hemp and CBD culture through education. When administered appropriately, cannabis can have a positive effect on one’s health, including reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and fighting cancer.

On the other hand, cigarettes contain toxins and have been linked to a variety of diseases, including lung cancer. One of the biggest advantages of cannabis is that you don’t have to smoke it. In fact, edibles have been growing in popularity and are one of the most popular items among the products offered in Budzy’s subscription boxes.

That being said, I truly believe that comparing cigarettes to cannabis is like comparing apples to oranges. With my experience in the medical industry, I’m grateful to be able to leverage my skills to take complicated scientific jargon and express it in relatable terms to help redefine cannabis culture in our country.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Attitude is everything. Everyone has a choice about how they want to go through the day and respond to the things that happen to them. A good positive attitude can help you throughout that journey.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want to inspire young Black women to think outside the box.

Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!


Women Leading The Cannabis Industry, With Shatoia Robinson of Budzy was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Founders: Jacqueline Elkouby of Heatless Hair On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and…

Female Founders: Jacqueline Elkouby of Heatless Hair On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Some people will try to intimidate you or doubt you because you’re a young woman. I wasn’t really prepared for the skepticism I would face from people just because I’m a soft spoken woman. A lot of people initially didn’t think I had the bandwidth to run my own business. I was approached by a group of investors that essentially wanted to take over and didn’t think I was capable of growing the business myself. I had to decline their offer to maintain control of my company.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacqueline Elkouby.

Jacqueline Elkouby is the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Heatless Hair. https://heatlesshair.com/. She invented the Curling Ribbon™ — an innovative beauty gadget made of silk that you wrap your hair around for beautiful, bouncy curls overnight without having to use appliances that damage hair with heavy heat.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I don’t have a background in business but when I was 23, I was in school to be an esthetician. I’ve always wanted to be in the beauty industry. Most recently, before the pandemic I was working at a spa as a facialist. During the lockdown, there was a beauty trend going viral — people were using bath robe ties to curl their hair. This is when I got inspired to create the Curling Ribbon. I designed a prototype with silk and a cotton filling and had my friends and family test it out. I was really amazed with the results and how many different hair types it worked on. From there, I was launched on my new entrepreneurial path.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

One of the most interesting things that has happened to me and also contributed to the growth of the company was my overnight come up on TikTok. I posted a tutorial video of me using the Curling Ribbon. It was my first post ever on TikTok. I woke up the next morning to a mass of notifications on my phone and discovered my video was going viral. I hadn’t originally intended on being the face of my brand, but TikTok has become a very important platform for us to advertise as well as showcase other influencers who use our product. Through collaborations with other Tik Tok influencers, I’ve noticed that both of our followings grow symbiotically. Now we can help other influencers grow just as they’ve helped us.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the funniest mistakes actually led me to creating a new product. I accidentally ordered the wrong size of cord, which is what fills the Curling Ribbon. It was a couple sizes smaller than what our Original Curling Ribbon is. At first, I was mortified. What was I going to do with all this inventory? I decided to get a little creative and make a new size. It turned out that the thinner curling ribbon yields different results and is actually better for thinner and medium length hair. The lesson I learned was that not every mistake Is a mistake.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My whole family has been extremely supportive of me turning our home into a Curling Ribbon factory. My mom and sisters have stayed up all night helping me ship orders, but I’m particularly lucky to have a sister who just graduated accounting school. She has been my right hand woman, keeping our books and making the operation seamless. She triple checks everything, and makes sure every dime is accounted for. I am extremely grateful to have her.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I think a lot of women can feel intimidated or discouraged when starting a business venture because historically it’s such a male dominated field. Luckily for me in the beauty industry there are many successful woman entrepreneurs that have paved the way for young women like me. Nowadays there are also many resources for women founders that set out to fund and support female entrepreneurship. I think this is a great step towards leveling the playing field and encouraging more women to create their own companies.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

I think as individuals and a society we’ve been making steps in the right direction with the increasing focus on creating funds and communities that support women founders.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

I think that if you have an idea, you are passionate, and you believe in your product then nothing should hold you back from trying to achieve it. If anything, I think being a woman founder has motivated me even more to achieve my goals. I don’t come from a business oriented background, but I knew I had a product that could make people’s live a bit easier and I felt I had no choice but to pursue it. Women are generally very detail oriented and thoughtful and I think this is an important strength that a founder should have.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

I truly believe that anyone can be a founder. I don’t think there is any formula that makes someone a successful founder other than creativity, hard work and discipline, which I believe everyone has in them and is capable of.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Get a notebook or a planner. I tend to think of myself as a pretty organized person. I mean my closet is color-coded. But when I was being overwhelmed with a mass of orders, which admittedly is a pretty good problem to have, I soon realized that I didn’t have enough product to fulfill them. I had to get organized fast. My email was being flooded with customers wondering where their orders were, and I had to keep track of both the production and the outgoing shipments. Keep in mind, I’ve been running this business out of my home and hand packing every order myself. It doesn’t get much more bootstrapped than that. Now I keep a schedule and my thoughts organized with a planner. Don’t underestimate it!
  2. There is never enough time in a day. 8 to 10 hours is not enough time to get things done. Sometimes you might need the full 24. You’ll sleep someday. I’ve definitely had many sleepless nights but as long as I keep my customers happy, I am happy.
  3. Some people will try to intimidate you or doubt you because you’re a young woman. I wasn’t really prepared for the skepticism I would face from people just because I’m a soft spoken woman. A lot of people initially didn’t think I had the bandwidth to run my own business. I was approached by a group of investors that essentially wanted to take over and didn’t think I was capable of growing the business myself. I had to decline their offer to maintain control of my company.
  4. For every 100 No’s there will eventually be a Yes. This is a life path that is filled with obstacles and a lot of No’s. In the beginning it was easy to get discouraged by constantly hearing No. But if you keep going eventually someone will believe in you and your product as much as you do.
  5. Be ready to get married to your business. My business has become my best friend, boyfriend, and child.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Part of what I value in my company is that we are produced locally in Los Angeles. I was approached by manufacturers overseas who wanted to mass produce my product, but I ultimately turned them down. I felt strongly that the integrity of my company lies in keeping our operations local and creating jobs here at home.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would love to one day use my platform to create a charitable foundation like Locks of Love.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Around the time I was starting my company, I watched Sara Blakely’s Masterclass in being a self-made entrepreneur. I was really inspired by her story and it really helped keep me going through some of the obstacles and opposition I’ve faced. I would love to have lunch with her and get her secrets to creating her empire.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.


Female Founders: Jacqueline Elkouby of Heatless Hair On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Virna Lichter On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s…

Women In Wellness: Virna Lichter On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Don’t make decisions on the spot: When you need to make important decisions for yourself and your business, sleep on it. People will tell you that you must take swift action and pressure you to make purchases on the spot. It may be that it’s best to take action — but intelligent, thoughtful action. I have signed up for so many courses that I didn’t need because I didn’t think it through.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Virna Lichter.

Virna Lichter is a certified meditation coach, bestselling author, and the creator of Beyond Mindset, a complete wellness and mindfulness mentorship program for individuals and corporations. She is the CEO and founder of Energia Wellness, established in Tampa, Florida, in 2013. Virna has a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and more than two decades of experience in the wellness field. She is an ACE-certified personal trainer and a weight loss, sports conditioning, and fitness nutrition specialist. She launched her career as a wellness director at multi-billion-dollar corporations such as Transamerica, TECO Energy, and Verizon. Her vision is to bring mindfulness and meditation to the workplace to empower employees to use effective tools to reduce stress and improve health and wellbeing.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Thank you for having me! I have been involved in wellness since I was thirteen years old when I joined a local martial arts school in my hometown in Brazil. I perceived being fit as only having a strong and healthy body. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that something was still missing when I had accomplished everything I thought would make me happy. I became very depressed. Life pushed me to discover that the physical body is just part of who we are. There was so much more to explore. I was introduced to meditation through a couple of clients from India. I started meditating daily and noticed how I was happy, fulfilled, and at peace. It also created a deep sense of purpose, and I was completely depression-free after six months. How could something so simple be so effective? I studied under great meditation and spiritual masters, and it was from my desire to share what I had learned with others struggling with stress and mental health issues that I founded Energia Wellness.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

When I opened Energia, my daughter was only nine years old, and when I wasn’t working, we would bond by playing Barbie and watching reality TV shows. There was a particular show about female wrestlers that she loved to watch. We played Barbie stories based on it. One night right before I closed one of my studios, I realized that the floors needed cleaning before our six a.m. class the following day, so I had to stay late to mop the floors. It was one of those many moments that business owners have when everyone goes home and you are on your own to deal with whatever is going on at your business. I was a bit sad because I wouldn’t be home on time to have dinner with my daughter. That triggered a whole stream of thoughts. I started to wonder how my daughter would feel and if I was missing out on precious moments with my family. As I was having my Cinderella moment, feeling a bit sorry for myself, the phone rang. I usually don’t answer calls that late, but something told me to answer it. It was a TV producer inquiring about the possibility of filming a reality TV show at the studio — the same show my daughter and I watched and based our Barbie play on.

It was a great experience to have the wrestlers at Energia, and my daughter was very proud of me. Most of all, it was a reminder that we are never alone, even when we think no one is noticing our hard work. I felt it was the Universe’s way of saying, “Hey, I got your back; you are doing good in the world.”

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I started Energia, I knew I wanted to include more than just physical fitness. I offered a variety of holistic services such as massage therapy, nutrition, yoga, and meditation, in addition to fitness training. I needed ample space to handle all of that, so I decided to lease off the main road in an office building. It was a state-of-the-art wellness center. It seemed like I had checked all the boxes for a successful business. Days, weeks, and months went by, and we only had a handful of clients. Although the location was not difficult to find, people had to go out of their way. We ended up having to spend more on marketing to grow. I learned that you must have a vision, but there is nothing wrong with starting small. Choose the best suitable location for your type of business. Migrating to the online platform was the best move for our company. We reduced our overhead, and I can make a much more significant impact.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

For the past decade, I shared wellness with my community, but moving my business to a digital platform has provided me the opportunity to serve thousands. It all started when the pandemic hit. Like many others, I was forced to pivot my business. I am the type of person who focuses on the silver lining. I went from working sixteen hours a day to eight hours, which gave me time to write my first book, Beyond Mindset.

As an immigrant, I never thought I would write a book in English, let alone that it would become a bestseller. Being a bestselling author is not just a fancy title. It means that you are making a major impact on people’s lives. The book is a compilation of my coaching program, which is now accessible to the masses.

The book teaches the readers step-by-step techniques to release years of stress accumulated in the body and mind. Stress is responsible directly or indirectly for eighty percent of all diseases. The word itself shows us that we are in a state of dis-ease, and to bring that ease back into our lives, we must take care of ourselves as a whole.

True health and wellness is not the absence of illness but the complete harmony of body, mind, and spirit.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Practice silence: From the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep, we are constantly exposed to noise from the environment or the mind. Most people don’t even notice this, but at the end of the day, you may find yourself exhausted even when you haven’t done a whole lot during the day. Start to spend some time in solitude, in silence. Avoid talking, texting, checking social media, reading, and writing to just be with yourself. Get a chair or blanket, and head outdoors. You don’t have to make a mental note of everything you see. Just breathe and be. Nothing else is needed. Over time, you will notice that a sense of peace will start brewing within you. In reality, that state of “being” is always there. When we take away the distractions, we realize that and feel more at ease even during challenging situations.

Practice mindfulness and meditation: It is very natural for new meditators to be concerned about their overactive mind. We have thousands of thoughts every single day, so most likely, the mind won’t go blank when you sit to meditate. Thoughts are part of the process. Mindfulness and meditation are life skills. Like everything else, you will need to practice, and you will get better at it with time. Start slowly with five to ten minutes. You can even keep your eyes open. Start by being mindful of the five senses. Notice what you see, what you hear, any taste lingering in the mouth, what you smell, and the sensations on the skin, such as feeling the clothes touching your body.

Meditation and mindfulness keep the mind on the present moment. A present mind is not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, which is our lives’ source of worry and anxiety. When we learn how to be present without feeling engaged by thoughts, we start to see the beauty in every moment.

Make peace with food: As a coach, I have been helping people lose weight for decades, so they assume that it comes easy to me. It does not. I am just like everyone else, and I had many struggles in the past. I was an overweight child, and I binge-ate off and on until my teenage years. After dinner, we would feed our family dog leftovers. I don’t know if they even made dog food back in the day. I loved feeding our dog because I would get to eat a bit more straight out of the pot. My weight went up and down more times than I can count. But then something happened. I heard a “click.” That click was my body telling me that I was full. I ignored that signal and kept eating because it tasted good or because I was anxious. Today, I listen to the meaning behind the “click.” It is an inner sense of “you are okay, you are satisfied, and there will be another meal soon.” Sometimes I still get distracted and forget to listen to it myself, so it takes perseverance and consistency. Find your inner click, and the days you don’t hear it, it is okay. Take one meal at a time, and always be kind to yourself.

Movement is the fountain of youth: Nothing can keep your body feeling and looking young the way that exercise can.

When I was a child, I watched my grandmother struggle moving around. She was a wonderful woman. Unfortunately, she couldn’t kneel due to some knee issues. Her dream was to be able to kneel in church to pray. That stayed with me. Keeping your body young is not as much about vanity it is about health. It is about all the things that you can do and enjoy and the things that you love without having to worry, can I make it through? I remember one of my clients arriving at her session telling me how happy she was when, instead of the elevator, she took the stairs at the theater with her husband. There are many things you can do to improve fitness. If going to the gym is not your cup of tea, ride a bicycle, go swimming, or take a walk. If you need help, hire a fitness expert to help you find a program that you will love and look forward to.

Fall in love with yourself: I remember my teenage years when I would fall in love with everyone. It could be a celebrity, a cute boy at school, or a new friend. I always choose to see the beauty in people, so it was impossible not to fall in love. The excitement inside, heart pounding, butterflies in the stomach, eyes lighting up — it was an exhilarating feeling! That kind of feeling that makes you want to move mountains resides inside each one of us. As we grow older, we fear loving like that because we know it could come with a high price — heartache. If you love hard and deeply but that love is not returned, you may start to feel that you are not lovable or worthy of love. But there is one type of love that will never disappoint you, and that is self-love. The name itself points to the real “you” — the Self. That part of you that is whole. You see, that immense love that feels like your heart will explode is not coming from the object of your love; it is coming from within you. Whenever you hear that little voice telling you that you are less than lovable or worthy of love, look in the mirror. Gaze into your own eyes to see that you are beautiful and lovable; you are love itself.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I love this question! At Energia Wellness, we have started a movement by bringing mindfulness and meditation to the workplace. Work-related stress matters, and it has increased since the pandemic began. We have created a program that is accessible to any business size. We see excellent results from the participants in as little as twenty-one days. The program benefits the employees and the employers by decreasing absenteeism, increasing job satisfaction, and reducing healthcare costs — a highly stressed employee can cost an additional $2,000 per year compared to a less stressed peer, according to a study by Aetna and Duke University. The best part is that the participants can continue applying the techniques they learned during the program and see even more significant benefits over time.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Practice smart networking: When I started, I found myself in a networking group focused on home improvement. It was not a good fit or the best investment of my time and resources. Network with other wellness professionals with a similar mission and target market. More than ever, people are struggling with their physical and mental health. They need our support. So the larger your network, the more lives you will impact.

You don’t have to do everything on your own: I am a problem solver by nature. Give me one problem, and I will come up with ideas for ten solutions. There will be many hurdles in business, and it is easy to want to take care of all of them yourself. You become the IT department, cleaning crew, HR, and accounting. Instead, delegate those tasks to others. As an entrepreneur, it is so easy to want to wear many hats, but that prevents you from growing and focusing on what matters — your mission.

Don’t make decisions on the spot: When you need to make important decisions for yourself and your business, sleep on it. People will tell you that you must take swift action and pressure you to make purchases on the spot. It may be that it’s best to take action — but intelligent, thoughtful action. I have signed up for so many courses that I didn’t need because I didn’t think it through.

At Energia, we send our prospects — both companies and individuals — customized proposals so that they can make an informed decision before hiring us. We never pressure anyone to hire us on the spot. It creates a much more positive client experience, and they feel inspired to work with us.

Learn to let go: There is no need to keep trying something that is just not working. You will reinvent yourself many times over, and that’s good. It means that you are evolving. I have held on to certain projects much longer than I should have. That happened when I had invested so much time and money that it felt like I would be giving up and wasting the investment. Learning when to keep trying and when to fold is essential in life and business.

Don’t forget about yourself: As much as you plan for your business, you must also have a plan to take care of your physical and mental health. When I started Energia, I was working too many hours, and in my free time, I would still be brainstorming ideas. That is very normal for entrepreneurs, but I missed out on what would have been important moments in my life and became stressed and anxious. Add downtime to your calendar, make that time with yourself sacred, and treat that blocked-out time the same way you would for your dearest client.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

They are all so important, but mental health is the dearest to my heart. Having a history of depression and anxiety, I know from my own experience the impact on one’s life. Depression is tough because it feels like there is nowhere to run. You are locked in your mind with your thoughts. Having overcome postpartum depression and depression — which I permanently overcame twelve years ago through the practice of meditation — it has become my mission to share what I’ve learned with others.

My goal is to teach my clients to experience themselves beyond the mind to a deeper and more real part of themselves. When we find that we are more than the constant stream of thoughts in our minds, freedom comes.

As a certified meditation and fitness coach, I recommend to my clients a combination of daily meditation practice, exercise, proper nutrition, and breathwork. This type of work can be very helpful in complementing traditional therapy. Most of my clients see a mental health provider once a week. Using the tools that I teach not only leaves them feeling empowered to continue working on their psychological and physical health between office visits, but also speeds up their progress.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

www.virnalichter.com

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirnaLichter

https://www.linkedin.com/in/virna-lichter-meditation-634b3078/

https://www.instagram.com/virnalichter/

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

My pleasure!


Women In Wellness: Virna Lichter On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Founders: Lauren Cohen of e-Council On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a…

Female Founders: Lauren Cohen of e-Council On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

I have impacted entrepreneurs and investors around the world by giving them options, opening doors for them to invest, live, work and play globally and painlessly and taking their businesses across borders to improve their lives and those of their families. I love helping others and have been involved in a variety of philanthropic and charitable pursuits at many levels. Giving back is a part of my daily life, whether in kind or through actual donations, and I strive to teach my child to live by the same code.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Cohen.

Serial entrepreneur Lauren Cohen is an International Lawyer, Realtor and Cross-Border Expert. She is also a best-selling author and sought-after speaker. Real estate investors and entrepreneurs hire Lauren to help overcome obstacles and navigate business and investment across borders so that they are able to invest, live, work and play — anywhere. Find out more at https://ecouncilinc.com/realestate/

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

As a Canadian immigrant, I received my US green card in 2007 and started my own business the following year. Two years later, I gave birth to my son, Zevi, at the age of 43. As a single working mom and entrepreneur, I initially struggled in my career, hitting many obstacles and dealing with many frustrations along my path. However, with the help and advice of trusted advisors along with my determined and gutsy approach to life, I managed to refocus my energy to become the successful business owner I am today. I have transformed my company, e-Council Inc., from a one-woman business to a small, but thriving organization focused on assisting entrepreneurs and business owners to expand and grow across borders and to utilize foreign investor capital, while helping investors achieve legal immigration status to ultimately achieve their version of the American Dream.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

There are so many stories, but I think the most interesting one is the one that brought me to creating my company — my ex-husband’s deportation on the return trip from our honeymoon! After slogging through the initial devastation, I felt compelled to find solutions so I turned to the crazy world of immigration and international law to help others avoid a similar fate. I found my silver lining and now I help others find theirs!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Wow. I am not sure about a “funny” story, but perhaps the biggest mistake was in thinking that I knew a lot more about running a business then I knew, until I realized that I needed help — and sought out accountability partners, mentors and coaches to help me hone my skills and build my team!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Interesting that this falls in line with my answer to #3. Yes. My dad’s best friend, who has since passed away, played an instrumental role in getting me on track and staying the course. He was a very successful entrepreneur and celebrity in his own right and I was privileged to learn from him and benefit from his guidance and mentorship.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Ongoing pre-conceived notions about women being the “weaker sex”; not having the right to have a “seat at the table”; being “emotional” and less powerful than our male counterparts. Unfortunately these pervasive attitudes towards women continue to exist today, despite facts demonstrating their lack of truth. Women have to fight harder, be smarter, and generally go the extra mile to be included. I myself continue to experience it, working with the highest echelons of developers and business owners around the world and certainly this lack of empowerment is even more evident outside of North America. Shall I start a list?

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

Treat PEOPLE as equals regardless of gender. Don’t include GENDER in the consideration, just take each person at face value. Eliminating stereotypes is going to take a lot of time, persistence and perseverance but eventually, the truth that we are all equal will shine through.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women have an intuitive side that men simply lack.

They can see things that men often overlook. They look at each person as a person rather than as a man or a woman. They bring passion and compassion to their role as founders and more women are impact-driven than their male counterparts, which drives their success. Women are focused on much more than the bottom line — success for us is about much more than money!

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

That all founders are successful or money-driven. Being a founder really means that you need to think outside-of-the-box and be willing to pursue your dreams despite the odds, that you are willing to face obstacles and overcome them.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

In all honesty? No. Spearheading a company requires a certain fortitude that few people possess. You have to be a visionary, be able to roll with the punches, have a strong stomach for the ups and downs every business goes through, be a risk taker and a strong networker. A founder needs to make decisions and then stand behind them, come what may. Most people prefer stability, not walking on the razor’s edge, and would rather take a job where they know exactly how many hours they’ll be working each week and how much they’ll be receiving every paycheck. Quite simply, few have the head and stomach for starting a business.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Balance — The need for work/life balance is real. When you’re working, be all in. When you’re not working and spending time with your family, friends or yourself, turn work off. Otherwise, you’re never really putting your full attention to anything you’re doing.
  2. A team/support — No one can go it alone.Build a strong support network and team. Hire for what you’re not good at so you can focus your energies on your sphere of genius.
  3. A massage therapist (and I am not kidding) — Book a standing massage every week or two and do your body some good. Not only does it feel great and you’ll have some time where you are completely disconnected from work, massage has various health benefits, such as lowering stress and improving your immune system as well as increasing mental alertness.
  4. An Amazon Prime account — Running all over town to purchase supplies for the home and office is not a good use of a Founder’s time. Amazon Prime saves me money and time, our most precious resource.
  5. Confidence and Chutzpah — Being a Founder means never being shy or unsure. As a wise Jedi Master once said, “Do, or do not — there is no try.” Confidence can get you into a lot of meetings and open a lot of doors.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I have impacted entrepreneurs and investors around the world by giving them options, opening doors for them to invest, live, work and play globally and painlessly and taking their businesses across borders to improve their lives and those of their families.

I love helping others and have been involved in a variety of philanthropic and charitable pursuits at many levels. Giving back is a part of my daily life, whether in kind or through actual donations, and I strive to teach my child to live by the same code.

I have big goals. I lost my beloved dad to the horrific disease known as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2013. My dream is to create a legacy in his name that will have a huge impact on finding a cure and treating this disease — it is all currently in process!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

It would be twofold: one, teaching people, especially single moms, that they CAN achieve their dreams and can even achieve them across borders. Helping them to stop thinking small and to start believing in themselves and having the confidence to take risks and pursue those dreams, no matter how crazy they may seem.

And two, turning my business success into ways to truly impact and help people struggling with ALS.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or I might just see this if we tag them.

Mel Robbins (she endorsed my book but I want more) . She knows what it takes to persevere through hard times and speaks to people where they are presently.

Oprah — just wow!

Michelle Obama — I loved reading her book, My Story. I love that she was a First Lady and love how she shows up in the world — always gracious, always a lady, but with her priorities straight!

Elon Musk — I absolutely adore his ideas and creativity and the fact that he is an immigrant entrepreneur. I love how he built a movement around a vehicle!

Jeff Bezos — another immigrant entrepreneur who built what I consider to be one of the most amazing companies in history as AMAZON has revolutionized the way people shop (especially me)!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this


Female Founders: Lauren Cohen of e-Council On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dr Deepa Pattani of Cadillac Health Services: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your…

Dr Deepa Pattani of Cadillac Health Services: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Exercise can help improve mental health. Exercise releases endorphins which is a feel-good hormone. It also helps to keep cortisol levels in check which is released when we are stressed.

As a part of our series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Deepa Pattani, Certified Functional Medicine Specialist and a Doctor of Pharmacy.

Dr. Deepa Pattani is a Certified Functional Medicine Specialist, aspiring author, as seen on Forbes, featured in Authority Magazine, CBD specialist, LDN compounder, pharmacy owner, wife and mom of two. Dr. Pattani equips frustrated, stressed professionals with tools to stop feeling fatigued, anxious and hopeless and feel sustained energy, in-control and healthy with her 7 step PATTANI protocol that utilizes diagnostic testing and 1:1 coaching so they can live their best life yet.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India, came to the US at the age of 13 and started high school. Culture shock is an understatement but I have always been the person that figures things out. After graduating from pharmacy school, I practiced in the retail setting for about 5 years. During this time, I also married my husband and we were living the life: married, finally making a decent paycheck and no big financial responsibilities. As much as I enjoyed pharmacy, being in retail made me miss the important transitions in my patients lives, such as hospitalization, onset of diseases, being able to help them live healthy etc due to the sheer volume of prescriptions needing to be filled. It hardly left any time to actually counsel my patients. After retail, my career path turned towards hospital and critical care pharmacy. It was a fantastic opportunity and provided a lot of learning.

This was the first time I saw a lot of cracks in our current healthcare system. Western medicine is very heavily focused on symptomatic treatment and does not look at the root cause of any problems. We would help treat patients and discharge them, only for them to return a week later. After years of observation, I saw a trend. We never were trying to get to the root cause of why that patient was hospitalized in the first place. Therefore, their triggers went unnoticed and untreated. We give people the correct advice: lose weight, reduce stress, eat well but we are not showing them the path to get there. This is when I realized, western medicine doesn’t focus on prevention and so none of us are trained to help prevent diseases.

That is when in 2016, I started my own consulting company with no background in business, marketing, PR or any essentials on how to run a business. All I knew then was I wanted to help people live a healthier life, reduce the number of medications they were taking and help them be healthy naturally. We had relocated to Dallas, Texas and here was my chance to really spend time with my 2 younger ones while doing something I enjoyed. However, without the correct mentorship, there were several holes in my plan. Although I was able to help hundreds of people, I was not able to translate that into financial success.

In 2019 I started my own pharmacy and continued helping my patients in the best way I knew. As a new pharmacy owner, I came across CBD and did tons of research on its amazing healing properties, saw first-hand, how it healed my own carpal tunnel that western medicine claimed would only be fixed with surgery. I was finally having the impact I had always envisioned. As the compounding pharmacy grew, I came across another special compound, LDN (low dose naltrexone). At first, I did not give it much thought but as our compounding with LDN grew, I had no choice but to learn more about what this compound was and if it really was worth all the hype my patients would rave about. Here started my dive into functional medicine.

I had been exposed to functional medicine on and off since 2011 and had found several ways to heal my own family, not knowing what it was called or if there was any special training even available. My research into LDN revealed that there was hardly any mention of it without the term functional medicine or integrative medicine attached to it. As I learned more, I was intrigued to know more and I gave into my curiosity, joined Functional Medicine Business Academy that would not only teach me about functional medicine but how I would bring this knowledge to the masses.

I am not very comfortable being on camera, and putting myself out there. It is still something that I struggle with periodically. However, growth doesn’t occur in comfort zones and my passion to help people heal naturally outweigh my insecurities. So, when I tell my clients to change their habits and do things they are not used to doing, I understand what that takes. I want to be the cheerleader in their corner motivating and inspiring them to walk that path of health and wholeness where a full world of health, travel, and joy awaits them.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

One interesting story that stands out is during my hospital work. I was given the opportunity to precept some pharmacy students and we needed to counsel a patient that was started on warfarin (a blood thinner) and was getting ready for discharge. Our patient was a 42-year-old female who was admitted because she had multiple clots all over her body and while we were treating her with infusions that would dissolve these clots, her body kept forming new ones, even while she was hospitalized. No one knew the reason for these new clots to develop so unexpectedly and therefore this patient was likely going to be on warfarin therapy for the rest of her life.

As I was counseling this patient on proper use of warfarin, its side effects, drug interactions, etc, she happened to pour herself some liquid from a jar. I questioned her on the contents of her cup as it did not appear to be water. This is when the patient revealed that she was drinking green tea and that she had completely stopped drinking plain water and that she only drank green tea. She further revealed she drank about 3–4 full jars of green tea every day. Apparently, her family was also bringing it for her from home while she was hospitalized. Aha moment!!! Our jaws dropped as the root cause of her clots was finally revealed. We immediately paged all her doctors to get her the appropriate treatment and turned out she would not need to be on warfarin for the rest of her life. Upon further conversations, she revealed that no one had asked her about any dietary changes and that she felt since green tea was natural, she did not think it was important to tell anyone. This patient was lucky, very lucky. Let’s say she left the hospital on green tea and warfarin and someday decided to stop drinking green tea, she would have likely suffered an internal bleed and possibly died from massive internal hemorrhage.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

This is not a mistake but it is humorous. I was a new pharmacist and my now husband and I were still dating then. It was a long-distance relationship and he was very sick and down with something. He was given a prescription for a very commonly prescribed antibiotic called Z pak. Of course, I wanted to know what was prescribed to him so I asked him to read me the paper prescription. This was before electronic prescriptions and pre smart phone days so he couldn’t just send me a picture. He said it all looked gibberish to him and could not tell me what he was prescribed. I tried to guide him over the phone for what to look for and to try anyway. Well, after a few minutes of back and forth, he tells me he was prescribed 2 pac (as in the rapper). We both got a good laugh out of it and I identified the medicine as Zpak but it taught me an important lesson. For a non-medical person, the names of the medications can itself be so difficult to understand, let alone the entire slew of directions, side effects etc. that most health care personnel will just rattle off when speaking with patients. This practice leaves patients with so much confusion. As a common practice, I try to ask open-ended questions that will force my clients to speak up and give us a chance to address their concerns.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I believe I am an authority figure in the fitness and wellness field because my experiences have led me here. As a pharmacist, I worked in every area of pharmaceuticals whether that was retail, hospital, industry, consulting and as an independent business owner. I have had the opportunity to witness the life trajectories of both people: ones that rely on pharmaceuticals and those that questioned the norms and healed the root causes.

My unique contribution to the world of fitness and wellness is my seven step PATTANI protocol which has been carefully planned and executed to help clients get to the root cause of their diseases using diagnostic testing and 1:1 coaching. The PATTANI Protocol is a method of helping people naturally, without pharmaceuticals, and live a life full of health, wellness and joy.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

We all need help from time to time. I am a firm believer of 2 things:

  1. When your passion and vision are bigger than yourself, the universe will align itself to help you.
  2. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

As such I found my first inspiration when I started to listen to the LDN radio show podcast. It was here that I first heard about functional medicine. I had been practicing functional medicine for years, not knowing what it was really called.

I have found tremendous support and learning from the Dhru Purohit podcast and from the teachings of Dr. Mark Hyman. “Functional Medicine is about causes, not symptoms. It is getting to the root of the problem”. This quote really resonated with me as I had always felt it and laid the foundation for everything I have accomplished since.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

In my opinion the 3 main blockages that prevent us from integrating the useful information into our lives are:

  1. Simplicity: Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes the most impactful habits are the simplest. However, we are used to making things complicated. So, when we hear a simple change, such as chew your food before swallowing, we waive it off as insignificant.
  2. Lack of knowledge: We may have heard of a lot of ideas and no one can implement them all. If we knew how powerful small changes can be and how it can positively influence our lives, we would be more inclined to implementing the change. For example, everyone knows sugar is unhealthy but knowing that won’t make a change. However, if we explained what that means: Less inflammation, no more brain fog, better sleep, more energy- now there may be more implementation.
  3. Converting motivation to habits: Motivation only lasts for so long. We have all created resolutions that we haven’t stuck with before January even ends. That is why we need to adapt micro habits (small changes in daily behavior) that can slowly be changed into permanent habits incorporated into our daily life. Implementing new habits is a tedious process and the amount of time it takes to instill a new habit is directly proportional to how complicated the new habit actually is. I recommend start small: 1 extra glass of water a day, broken down into exactly when you would drink it and do not skip any days while incorporating the habit. Motivation can help us get started, but habits will keep us going.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

1. Hydrate. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration can also disguise itself as hunger which can make us overeat. Hydrating simply with water helps to flush out the toxins that otherwise cause inflammation. I’m sure we have all heard of friends that gave up alcohol, caffeine or sugary sodas and replaced those with good old water and lost a ton of weight. That is not hype, that simply is the power of hydration.

2. Rest. Yes, rest is underrated. Sleep is a time when our bodily systems repair themselves. Building a healthy sleep routine is a foundational step to improving wellbeing. It is a crucial time to detoxify our organs. Our stressful lives make us feel guilty or incapable for resting, however, we cannot pour into others if our cup itself is empty. Rest is important for mental healing. I have been helping people heal for over 17 years, and during that time, I have seen countless women over stress, over extend, put themselves last, all for the sake of others. However, when they learn about self-care, rest and sleep, there is a shift in mindset which is extremely powerful as they take the time to rest and heal.

3. Eating a balanced meal. Eating clean, unprocessed foods is just the beginning. Functional medicine teaches us that food is medicine. Our chronic diseases are a result of years of junk food at the end of our forks. It took years of neglect with food to put us into our current situation. If we want to turn our lives around, we absolutely can, by putting real food inside us. Real, unprocessed food can provide the nourishment you need to function, thrive and be your best self. Also, it is important to note that just because a food item is healthy, does not mean it is right for you. I had several clients that believed they ate well and healthy but upon further diagnostic testing, it was revealed that they had allergies to avocados, corn, eggs and nuts. These foods, although considered healthy, were adding to their inflammation and disease.

4. Movement. Exercise can be a huge stress reliever. 30 minutes of exercise a day can significantly improve your overall health. No one exercise fits the bill here. Find what you enjoy doing whether it’s walking a pet, a jog, dancing, pilates, stretching, aerobics, strength training or yoga. I tend to utilize a client’s interests and medical ability and try to meet them where they are when designing an exercise routine. Another thing I like to recommend is to commit to any changes for a minimum of 90 days. 90 days is enough time for people to see results from their actions and it continues to provide the motivation to keep going. 90 days is also enough time to help turn that motivation into habits that can last a lifetime.

5. Mindfulness: In today’s world, we are all glued to our screens and the majority of us are operating on auto-pilot. Small tweaks such as family screen free time in the home an hour before bedtime and an hour after waking up can have tremendous health benefits. It is the difference between quality meals, real conversations, proper melatonin production, restful sleep, waking up rejuvenated, having time to meal prep or exercise in the mornings, and that is just the beginning.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Exercise has tons of benefits besides just weight loss. Some non-conventional benefits of exercise include:

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease, helping to manage blood sugar levels and maintain insulin levels.
  2. Exercise can help improve mental health. Exercise releases endorphins which is a feel-good hormone. It also helps to keep cortisol levels in check which is released when we are stressed.
  3. Exercise promotes better sleep, helps improve energy and can also put the spark back in your sex life. Now, who’s up for some push-ups?

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

I am a firm believer of doing anything that you actually enjoy and doesn’t feel like work. Rule number 1 is to have fun!! For those that need some sort of structure, here are my recommendations:

  1. Aerobic exercise: Brisk walk, jog, Zumba, spinning, etc.; pretty much anything that gets the heart rate up.
  2. Strength training: helps to build muscle that protects our bones as we age and protects us from arthritis, fractures, joint pain, etc.
  3. Yoga: whether it’s flow yoga or breathwork. Yoga teaches us to focus on our breath and remain calm and composed under pressure and helps us in our practice of mindfulness. Yoga helps us deal with the stresses of everyday life by keeping our central nervous system in the parasympathetic mode which is crucial for healing and relieving inflammation. The practice of yoga is very beneficial for spiritual health and overall wellbeing.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

One of my favorite books of all times is Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. I love that the book is divided in 3 sections: Fitness, Financial and Spiritual. Tim Ferris has tons of examples in the book where he has interviewed the best in the world of fitness, finances and spiritualism. On any given day, I can read any one example and just learn something new. It talks about daily routines of these titans and is very relatable. It somehow makes me feel that if they could do it, so can I. One of the quotes that deeply resonates with me is “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion” -Tim Ferris.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is an exciting question. If there is one thing that I feel very strongly about is the number of medications we take as a society. We are only one-third of the world’s population, yet we consume over 90 percent of the medications in the world. Yet, we’re not the healthiest bunch. Clearly, we are doing something wrong. If I could encourage people to do one thing, it would be to always ask the question “why”? For example: Why do I have high blood pressure now when I did not have it the first 40 years of my life? Why do I need to take this medication for the rest of my life? Do I need to continue this anti-depressant that I started 5 years ago when I went through a divorce?

If we can get into the habit of questioning the norms, we will be able to get to the real problems and then maybe begin to heal them. We all need help at times and need to take the prescribed medications for us to remain healthy, however, we need to question if the purpose for starting the medication has been met. If so, do things need to continue or can we explore alternatives with our doctors and so on.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

My all-time favorite quote is by Paul Coelho: “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you”. This quote really helped me when I was going through a pretty rough time. It helped me understand that I am enough just the way I am. Instead of focusing on doing more, and changing, maybe we can focus on doing less of something that doesn’t help us in our journey.

Unbecoming is like peeling the layers of an onion and shedding and leaving behind all the things that are holding us back. Maybe it’s a bad habit, a toxic relationship, whatever it may be. It’s about recognizing those items that are not fulfilling and letting them go so we can finally step into becoming the person you were always meant to be. I am a sociable person but enjoy my quiet time just as much. I don’t think I quite understood that until the pandemic. In our busy go, go, go lives, there was no time to slow down or smell the roses. When the world shut down and we all had to turn inward, I learnt so many things about myself that I had known for a while but had just forgotten in the busy pre-pandemic lives. I finally had the time to tap into my creativity and my vision and was able to create this incredible business I have today. We all have just this one life, if not now, then when?

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to meet and have breakfast or even a coffee with Mark Cuban. I am a huge fan of shark tank and I owe a great deal of my entrepreneurial nature and curiosity to shark tank. Meeting Mark Cuban would be a huge dream come true.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Website: DrDeepaPattani.com

Facebook: @Deepa Pattani.

Instagram: @Dr.Deepa.Pattani

Linked In: @Dr.Deepa.Pattani

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview!!


Dr Deepa Pattani of Cadillac Health Services: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.