Female Disruptors: Carrie Martz of Clean Light Laboratories On The Three Things You Need To Shake…

Female Disruptors: Carrie Martz of ‘Clean Light Laboratories’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Perseverance– I have had to be relentless to overcome all the hurdles to launch this business from social media to manufacturing, to when our product got stuck in China during the outbreak of COVID-19. We are constantly hitting new roadblocks and how we overcome them or develop work around is the way we will grow.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie Martz, CEO and Founder of Clean Light Laboratories.

Carrie Martz is a nationally recognized and award winning senior level executive and entrepreneur. She has over 35 years’ experience within the startup, consultancy, product marketing, PR, and manufacturing industries. During this time she has founded several companies and nonprofits while demonstrating a knack for product development, marketing communications, brand development, developing diverse distribution and marketing channels, business growth, preparing businesses for sale, advertising, and social media marketing.

Currently, Carrie is CEO and Founder of Clean Light Laboratories. She founded the company to develop unique sanitizing solutions for the growing hygiene conscious population. The company began by designing and manufacturing the world’s first sanitizing, charging and storage system for intimate products but after receiving their patent expanded the line in to all household products including baby and beauty.

Carrie also consults on marketing and branding issues through another company she founded called Carrie On Consulting.

Carrie began her career by building the Martz Agency from scratch and over three decades grew it into an award winning, highly profitable company. She went from a single client to a Top 10 advertising agency and one of the top women-owned businesses in the southwest. What made Martz Agency unique was its dedication to community causes in tandem with national product launches for its main clients. The primary focus was on real estate developments, home building, golf resorts, and master planned communities.

Carrie sold the agency to Bob Parsons, founder of Go Daddy in 2013. She remained on board of the newly re-named Martz Parsons Company, acting as CEO and President for an additional 18 months and helped to double the size of the staff during its transformation into a nationally recognized agency. During this time she retained 100% of the agency’s clients and was recognized as the Bronze Winner of Woman Marketer of the Year nationally by Stevie Awards.

Outside of work, Carrie has garnered a reputation for working on non-profit boards, advisory boards and helping with charities. She is currently on the Western Board of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a non-profit focused on the safety of children called Maxie’s House. Previously, she has sat on the boards of numerous companies and nonprofits including being the founder and Chair of Celebrity Sock Hop and Bachelor Bid for Cystic Fibrosis, Marketing Co-Chair for Super Bowl XXX, and a Foundation Board Member of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital as well as Childhelp USA.

Carrie Martz graduated Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and was honored with the Most Distinguished Alumni ASU Marketing Award in 1997. Throughout her career, Carrie has been honored and recognized for her business acumen and position as one of the leading women in business today. She is the recipient of the Athena Award for Business Woman of the Year (1998) and Phoenix Chamber’s Athena in (1996), Golden Heart of Business Award (1997), and the Women of Distinction Award (1998).

Carrie is a mother of two adult children and grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters.

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 an advertising agency in my 20’s, funded by selling my mustang. I sold the agency thirty+ years later to Bob Parsons, Founder of Go Daddy. During my agency days, I helped bring several products to market that became nationally recognized brands. I was also very involved in non-profits especially focused on women’s causes. After selling my business, and not being ready to retire, I looked at a variety of industries focused on women’s health. Women were inventing all types of products to feel younger, healthier and more vibrant. I saw a need to provide a system that would safely sanitize intimate care products thus keeping women healthier. Knowing UV-C light had been used in hospitals for decades I understood that it killed germs, but had not seen any product available for home use. I invented, and brought to market, the worlds’ first locked sanitizing system that was scientifically tested and proven to kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs that may lead to disease. A year later we received our patent for Sanitization of Complex products, and quickly pivoted our efforts to develop more applications for all types of products that are difficult to sanitize yet harbor serious germs and bacteria. This all happened before the pandemic.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We took hospital grade technology and figured out how to make it affordable for everyday home use. We were also the first company to market a sanitizer in the intimate health category. Even though we were only selling the sanitizer, not the products, we were banned from advertising on Facebook and other social media platforms. And if truth be told, even manufacturers of intimate products were hoping we would go away. But we didn’t. We found alternative ways to tell our story and we sold thousands of our first products. To my surprise, we are facing the same problem now on various social media platforms, based on scientifically proven claims we’re making that relate to killing SARS-CoV-2, with our new product “Puritize”. Shortly after the pandemic outbreak, dozens of cheap untested UVC sanitizers came on the market. We had been manufacturing since 2017 and had scientifically proven results. To continue to highlight our differential and focus on consumer safety, we have proven that our system kills more than 99.9% of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, through an independent lab study. Puritize kills COVID-19 on things you touch and we can’t promote this because social media channels are afraid it supports fear with consumers and may be political in nature. Again, we are working through these hurdles to get our message out so we can provide safe, proven solutions to the public. Additionally, we have created several adapters, using our patented advanced refraction technology, to penetrate and sanitize other daily use items that harbor bacteria.

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?

Early on we were having trouble in China with our manufacturer. Of course, I thought I will go over there and straighten these people out. And while I was smart enough to hire a translator, even she didn’t understand what they were talking about. Two weeks in China, lesson learned. Hire someone with experience in manufacturing in China and stay in the US where I understand the language and know what I am good at.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

One of my first mentors was Cristina Carlino, the founder of philosophy. She built a company around an amazing brand and created a huge following that even 15 years after she sold the company, her fans are still trying to reach out to her and beg her to bring their favorite product “Grace” back. Cristina taught me about being authentic and true to your brand and to listen to and appreciate every customer. Recently, I have had the great fortune of working with another powerful, smart, and accomplished woman, Deb Henretta, a former president at P&G, one of only two female presidents in their history. Deb has not only helped me navigate the many challenges of a start-up but has reminded me to celebrate the little wins along the way.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I believe that disruption, just by its meaning, is uncomfortable. However, it is necessary to advance our economy. Disruption creates hard conversations about status quo. Telemedicine is a disrupter that benefits so many and ultimately should save Americans thousands of dollars but has changed the way people think about healthcare professionals. And without the one on one relationship with a doctor, how does trust develop? Crowdfunding is a great disrupter for bringing new ideas to market and forwarding entrepreneurship, yet it has a risk for purchasers. I would look at being disruptive as a good thing if it adds value to the industry and ultimately the consumer.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Patience — something I lack. I expected that we could get a product designed, manufactured and on the shelves within a year or so. I have learned that my timeline is not anyone else’s.

Perseverance– I have had to be relentless to overcome all the hurdles to launch this business from social media to manufacturing, to when our product got stuck in China during the outbreak of COVID-19. We are constantly hitting new roadblocks and how we overcome them or develop work arounds is the way we will grow.

Shift — Be prepared to make important adjustments to your business strategy as conditions change. Prior to COVID-19 breaking out we were preparing to announce and bring to market the world’s first Menstrual Cup and Sanitizing Kit using our UV-C patented technology. When the pandemic hit, we quickly repositioned all our resources to produce PURITIZE Home to help families stay safe by offering a system that kills the coronavirus on things they touch everyday.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I believe that if you do for others, good things will happen. I am committed to making a difference in the health and well being of women’s lives, in particular. I intend to create more ways to give back through unique cause related programs. I learned early on that people will give if they believe in the cause and are given the opportunity.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

It is absolutely our lack of confidence. When a man goes to pitch an idea or company, he is confident. His ego drives the presentation and ultimately the confidence of investors that drives the market. Women pitch differently. As much as we believe in our product or solution, we do not sell hard enough. We have been taught to not show emotion and now to the point that we aren’t demonstrating to our potential supporters that we believe and we have what it takes to get the job done. We have to own the power of the words we choose while being true to ourselves.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

There is no one who has made a bigger impact on my life than Gerda Weissman Klein, humanitarian and Holocaust survivor. Her book, All But My Life -One Survivors Story, in it’s 86 edition worldwide, changed my thinking. Out of all the motivational and inspirational podcasts and books I have read or listened to, Gerda’s messages gets to my core. When I am afraid I won’t be good enough or successful enough and I feel a bit sorry for myself, I ask “How bad can it be?” We have our freedom. I have my health and I own my outcome.

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. 🙂

Firstly, more mentorship for young women, and more support by women for women’s advancement with more female representatives on national boards. Secondly, more support for manufacturing incentives in the US to reduce our reliance on China but still being able to bring affordable consumer solutions to market.

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

You are tougher than you think! Over the years I have faced significant ups and downs in business and in my personal life. Right before the great recession, in 2007, I had 60 employees, two offices, owned a 15000 sq ft. building, and 90% of my client base was in real estate. Literally over a 30-day period my client base dropped to less than 10%. The next year was extremely difficult to manage through the building, layoffs and a divorce. My attorneys told me to declare bankruptcy, of which I did not take their advice. I powered through and rebuilt, started over financially, as well. Three years later I sold my agency for a nice multiple which gave me the opportunity to start another business, Clean Light Laboratories.

How can our readers follow you online?

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carrie-martz-198951/

Puritize’s Instagram and Facebook: https://www.instagram.com/puritize/, https://www.facebook.com/Puritize/

For more information about Puritize please visit Puritize.com.

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


Female Disruptors: Carrie Martz of Clean Light Laboratories On The Three Things You Need To Shake… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Alysia Helming of Earthfund On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your…

Female Disruptors: Alysia Helming of Earthfund On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

When I published my first novel “Protogenesis: Before the Beginning”, I was surprised by some of the reviews. While on average, I had 4.5 star reviews, some people attacked me as the author, for no good reason and even though the book was fiction. It was as if they did not even read the book. Not everyone will like you, nor will they like what you’re doing. Feedback is important, but, at the end of the day, you need to stick with your gut and your vision to do what you believe is best. No one else can do it for you.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alysia Helming.

Alysia Helming is a true pioneer of wind, solar & biofuels in the US. Co-founded, CFO & sold companies with projects >$6B. Pristine Sun was the largest developer of small utility-scale solar in California. TradeWind Energy, which was sold in 2019, made Enel Green Power the largest wind and solar company in the world. Featured as a Keynote Speaker in Sustainability, renewable energy and women’s empowerment. International bestselling author of the Protogenesis series (set in Greece), Executive Producer of short films made in collaboration with the Greek Minister of Tourism and Discover Greece. Former Big 6 C-level Consultant to fortune 50 companies and Wells Fargo Bank Finance. UCSC, UCLA.

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?

Almost twenty years ago, my husband (Troy Helming) and I disrupted the fossil fuels industry in the Midwest when we started the first locally based wind farm company in Kansas, which became one of the largest wind developers in the US, Trade Wind Energy, and was recently acquired by Enel Green Power, the leading developer of solar and wind energy in the world. During these early years, we were like David trying to take on Goliath, because, as it turned out, our first wind farm site was the favored hunting grounds of billionaires Charles and David Koch. Back then, it was not widely known, but of course now, most people know that they lead much of the opposition against clean energy in the US today! But we persevered. Ultimately, we paved the way to change the laws in the Midwest to encourage power plants to clean up existing power plants and build wind farms instead of coal power plants.

Besides wind power, we also built a 10 million gallon biodiesel plant from used cooking oil from restaurants from scratch, which started with garden hoses in our garage; and in 2009, we started what became the largest independently owned utility scale solar development company in California, Pristine Sun.

At the beginning of all this, I was very much a reluctant environmentalist. As a former Big 6 and Fortune 50 finance executive, I was initially skeptical that wind energy could be profitable. Politically, I was a Republican and had close friends who worked in gas and coal power. I did not recycle. I was not used to taking big risks, not at all the person to quit my lucrative career to become an entrepreneur! I was nervous to speak out in public. Wind power was profitable, even twenty years ago; but making money was not enough reason for me to risk my professional reputation to join my husband’s crusade to start what was essentially an energy revolution back then. What, then, did convince me?

In the area where I grew up in Kansas City, we lived along the Missouri River, where, just across the river, were coal-fired plants. It was around this time that we discovered a troubling correlation: a disproportionately high number of children who lived in my neighborhood had been diagnosed with autism. My 3-year-old nephew was one of them! Of course, there had been many hotly debated studies that linked mercury exposure to autism. Back in 2002, the coal plants were polluting the air and water with high levels of mercury. Common sense told us that something needed to be done, for the sake of our children.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Earthfund Global is a non-profit organization that is focused on helping countries achieve climate neutrality ASAP, through the lens of highly strategic, technology-enabled solutions which enable more deployment of capital and cut down on bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Our global model is customized to the specific needs of each country. What is specifically disruptive is that EarthFund partners with cutting edge clean technology companies, like EarthIndex, the world’s first clean energy platform designed to accelerate a country or state’s ability to rapidly scale to 100% clean energy by 2030. To achieve this, EarthIndex works with world-class technology companies, such as ESRI, and advisors from Google, Tesla and EIT-Climate-Kic Silicon Valley, to develop a country/state level solution to change the game in clean energy development, starting in Greece and in California.

EarthIndex teaser video:

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?

As I mentioned, my husband Troy and I have worked together for many years. It is not always easy working with your significant other, especially when you are first starting a venture. One time, during a board of directors meeting over the phone, we placed the call on mute and began arguing over something insignificant, like most couples do. Unfortunately, we hit the increase volume button instead! The board directors, whom were thankfully also our friends, proceeded to advise us on our personal issue.

We learned that it is important to keep our personal matters at home. From that point on, we did this so well that people we met often did not know we were married. Later, when our companies grew from just a few people to developing billions in clean energy projects, it served me best to keep my own professional identity.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Through the years, my mentors in renewable energy include Jigar Shah, the LinkedIn Top Energy/Climate Voice and with whom I have known since we first started our wind company back when he founded Sun Edison. More than a few times during the progression of our companies, he has offered us sound advice which led more growth. Mark Jacobson, Professor & Director of Atmos Energy Program at Stanford inspired me with his ambitious plans to convert the world to 100% clean energy. This gave me the idea that we need a boots on the ground whole-country initiative follows his theories with actionable, customized solution to make those plans a reality. Debi Ryan, Head of Commercial Direct Sales, Americas from Tesla Energy, has been by my side as we created our logos, branding and core strategy for EarthFund and EarthIndex.

As I’m also involved in entertainment, I’m specifically interested in how media can impact sustainability. Neil Hunt, former Chief Product Officer and the second largest individual shareholder of NetFlix, has been a great mentor. As I was in the early stages of forming EarthFund and EarthIndex, Neil was a sounding board for me. Bill Bridge of Global Green USA is also a strong mentor, as he has helped me understand the non-profit world and offered key insights into our holistic strategy which includes for-profit, non-profit and governments.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

What I hear time and time again from investors is that if you are going to create something the world has never seen before, then it better be something that has been successful before in some form, somewhere. Why I say this: there may be a very good reason the product or service has not been offered yet. Not every business plan is a good one. In every business I’ve started (nine in total), its not smart to reinvent the wheel.

An example of this is the EarthIndex platform. We are combining components from the world’s best technology companies to create architecture which aggregates, analyzes and streamlines clean energy data and utilizes machine learning, virtual reality, and all the buzz words we say in the tech world to offer insight and foresight to all of the key stakeholders involved in building clean energy projects. Similar platforms exist for other industries and for a sub-set of the clean energy industry. Our platform differs as it is for an entire country (or state) and for all renewables — and we’re tied to a powerful network of non-profits through Global Green and Green Cross International, to engage and educate each country’s community around the platform — to make the maximum impact possible, as fast as possible.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“If you have an idea that you genuinely think is a good one, don’t ever let some idiot stop you from doing it.” — wise words from Stan Lee. Everyone will have an opinion, both good and bad.

When I published my first novel “Protogenesis: Before the Beginning”, I was surprised by some of the reviews. While on average, I had 4.5 star reviews, some people attacked me as the author, for no good reason and even though the book was fiction. It was as if they did not even read the book. Not everyone will like you, nor will they like what you’re doing. Feedback is important, but, at the end of the day, you need to stick with your gut and your vision to do what you believe is best. No one else can do it for you.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

EarthFund and EarthIndex started a year ago, so now, the planning stage is done! But this is just the beginning. Now, we’re ready to roll out our country level initiatives in Greece and state-level in California. From there, we are evaluating other countries and states. Each country will be a bit of a shake up and unique adventure, because it is the action and input from the people, including understanding their history, economy and anthropology, that will ultimately determine the success of our initiatives.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Today, I believe that the world is more accepting of women in disruptive roles. For me, as this was twenty years ago and I founded and grew companies together with my husband, I often found myself operating behind the scenes, while he was the public “face” of the company. Even today, I think women who work alongside their husbands are easily labeled as a “mom and pop”, where the mom is viewed as performing some menial support role. For me, as I have worked with CEOs of Fortune 50 companies as a strategic advisor and for the CFO of Wells Fargo Bank, I was very much involved in defining the strategy and engaged in raising millions of dollars for our companies. I was well qualified for the role that I had as CFO for our companies, regardless of my also being a Founder with my husband. I have a great deal of respect for any woman who can work alongside her husband or partner. It’s incredibly rewarding, but also quite challenging to maintain a balanced home life when you work together as well. On top of that, as I mentioned, it is a challenge to maintain your own sense of identity, as a reflection of your true contribution to the company, to the outside world.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

“Change your Thoughts, Change your Life” by Dr. Wayne Dyer had a huge impact on me. The book utilizes Lao Tsu’s words from the Tao Tse Ching to apply to today’s world. I learned from this that you can’t control everything and that life is about balance. If something horrible is happening right now, then that means something positive must be right around the corner. During those years where we had very little money, death threats, sabotage, you name it, it helps to know this. If you truly want to do big, fantastic things in life, then sometimes, bad things will happen too. It’s inevitable. It’s how you view those hard times that determines your ability to stick with it (or not).

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 already living that movement! 😊 We also have plans to engage the media to shine a spotlight on the countries that we will work in, to further our mission as well. Global Green has a long list of celebrities as Board Emeritus or Advocates. Most are looking for real world, action-based initiatives where they can maximize the reach of their influence for the greater good.

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

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

This has been true for me, particularly with my writing, which is much more than just a hobby. When I wrote strategic plans for Fortune 50 companies, if they followed those plans, they were almost always a success. When I faced overwhelming odds in my quest to transform the Midwest to build wind farms instead of coal plants, I enrolled in a UCLA’s extension screenwriting class as a form of therapy, where I wrote my real-life story into a feature length screenplay. Since no great ending was in sight to that story, I wrote the end that I wanted to happen. It was a crazy ending! Like that wind farm company might just become the largest in the US someday. And guess what? A few years later, that ending happened! Lastly, when I wrote the Protogenesis novel series set in Athens, Greece, I wrote most of it from my home, having not been there more than once before. When I had almost finished the first draft, I finally went there. And almost immediately, some of the fictional characters I thought I had created in my head, were eerily similiar to real life people I met there! It was this experience that led me to visit Greece so many times that I understood there was an opportunity right now to help the entire country move to clean energy. And this, inspired EarthFund and EarthIndex!

How can our readers follow you online?

www.earthfundglobal.org, https://www.facebook.com/earthfundglobal, https://twitter.com/EarthFundGlobal

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


Female Disruptors: Alysia Helming of Earthfund On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Emily Hochman of Wellory On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Trust Your Gut — When I went through my first round of fundraising, there were so many investors who told me what I needed to do. “Get a male co-founder, get a chief technology officer, build a different type of business..” At first, I took their advice and spent a lot of time trying to find a CTO and force a co-founder fit even though I felt that was against what I really knew what the business needed. I ended up trusting my gut and not moving forward with any of the forced candidates. Instead, we found the best team and have been running at our dreams ever since.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Hochman.

Emily Hochman is the Founder and CEO of Wellory, the anti-diet nutrition app on a mission to make personalized nutrition accessible for all. Wellory is a venture-backed startup based in NYC with a network of over 600+ health coaches, nutritionists, and dietitians all over the country. She is a certified health coach, founder of the Movemeant Young Professional Board and native New Yorker. Hochman has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider and named “13 Under 35 Innovators” by her alma mater, Bucknell University

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?

Wellory was started out of personal experience and need. It started in college, terrified of gaining the freshman fifteen. So I began dieting. And I’m a type A, so I really started dieting… and dieted and dieted and dieted. The outcome: none of the “guaranteed” results I wanted, and even worse, a horrible relationship with food. Then I got sick. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetic kind of sick. Chronic illness, medicated, threat of infertility kind of sick. “Take this medication” doctors said. With trust and respect, I just wasn’t ready to embark on a lifetime of medication at the ripe age of 22.

So, “no, thank you,” I said.

Fast forward 4 years, I turned to the health and wellness industry and dove head-first into nutrition to find a solution. Determined to answer the question “how do I get healthy?” I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a certified health coach. Most importantly, I learned over 100 dietary theories, the study of bio-individuality, and the power of a healthy relationship with food. And guess what? Food actually worked. No more sick.

Then (like the Pisces I am), I became obsessed. Obsessed with helping people learn about the power of food as medicine. Obsessed with helping others learn how to eat, what to eat and why to eat. Obsessed with the power that food has to transform the body in ways most don’t even think possible. The more I talked about my experience, the more I learned that everyone has their own relationship with food and yet, no one knew where to turn. Everyone wanted someone to talk to, to clear up confusion on diet trends and mostly, to provide education, support and accountability to make change that actually lasts.

So, I quit my job working at a tech startup in New York to answer the question: how do we connect the hundreds of millions of Americans who struggle with healthy eating with the hundreds of thousands of nutrition experts who can help?

And then Wellory began.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

With a distinct anti-diet approach to nutrition, we’re disrupting an antiquated nutrition space. For years, food apps have focused on meticulous ingredient logging, calorie counts, macros, and do’s/don’ts when it comes to what we eat.

At Wellory, we’re taking a drastically different approach, focusing on qualitative nutrition over quantitative tracking. And at the core of what we do, are strong, 1–1 human relationships between our coaches and our clients.

The client experience is designed to be flexible, because no two clients are the same. Think unlimited Q&A, personalized recipe ideas and shopping lists, and progressing habit by habit at your own speed. With this new approach to nutrition, we’re helping clients make sustainable, incremental nutrition changes over time.

Not only are we building a new category for consumers, but we’re also disrupting the age old antiquated nutrition industry and serving licensed nutritionists, registered dietitians and certified health coaches with new tools, science, and resources to help them do their jobs best.

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?

Hmmm — I have to be honest, this is a tough question for me! I take my company probably too seriously and so I can’t think of any funny mistakes I’ve made.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Liz Wessel, CEO and Co-Founder of WayUp has been a huge mentor to me, as a female founder, CEO and innovator. She’s always been so honest with me, understanding the founder perspective and fundraising landscape.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

For the first time in American history, life expectancy is declining due to a poor diet. According to the NYTimes, 88% of American adults are considered high risk of COVID-19 due to diet-related disease. 82% of people who go on a diet end up gaining more weight within 2 year than they lost back. With these stats staring us in the face, it’s clear that the nutrition industry is in need of disruption. This is when disruption is a positive thing — because by reimagining the way things are done, we can create a more effective approach to better nutrition and change these statistics.

I’m a big believer in continuous improvement. To me, disruption implies that something is broken, and that rather than continuing down the same path, it’s time to break off onto a new one and create change. We’re currently in a national nutritional crisis and something has to change!

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. Never Quit — My mom is an entrepreneur and has always told me the #1 best thing I can do is to never give up. It’s my job to continue learning, building, and breathing life into the business. It may take different forms over time as we grow but the most important thing is to just never quit.
  2. Trust Your Gut — When I went through my first round of fundraising, there were so many investors who told me what I needed to do. “Get a male co-founder, get a chief technology officer, build a different type of business..” At first, I took their advice and spent a lot of time trying to find a CTO and force a co-founder fit even though I felt that was against what I really knew what the business needed. I ended up trusting my gut and not moving forward with any of the forced candidates. Instead, we found the best team and have been running at our dreams ever since.
  3. Do The Work — Business building means doing the work. I believe so much in rolling my sleeves up and diving in to make sure I have all the answers necessary to make decision moving forward. This usually means doing the hard work — even when I don’t want to.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up, we’re just getting started, We’re hiring for a ton of roles in early 2021, expanding our product offering significantly and starting to partner with some incredible companies. Be on the lookout for tons of updates and growth from our team.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

“Women disruptors” have to show so much more value and traction. We have to prove concepts to get conviction instead of just talking about it. This is evident in the amount of capital that goes to female founders and the amount we have to prove to get that capital.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I’ve listened to almost every episode of “How I’ve Built This” by Guy Raz. Listening to other founders stories is so inspiring to me and has helped me think through a lot of the early day opportunities. I get inspiration from how other entrepreneurs think about problem solving and the steps they took to get to where they are.

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. 🙂

Eat healthy! Focus on eating real whole and start eating real whole foods. And sign up for Wellory while you’re at it to get the help you deserve. 😉

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

“Don’t quit.” This is something I subscribe to every single day and truly believe in the power of continuing to grow, learn and evolve. As long as you don’t quit, you will figure out what steps you need to take to get to where you need to be… and everything happens for a reason, so keep going!

How can our readers follow you online?

I’m most active on Instagram (@ebhochman) or Twitter (@ebhochman).


Female Disruptors: Emily Hochman of Wellory On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Vivian Panou of EarthFund On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

“Don’t let the hell you might be going through stop you from moving forward.” That advice gave me the courage to present myself in a positive manner when I was the most vulnerable as a single mom. When I randomly met my former employer on the soccer field, he asked me what I was up to and what my career was. After I gave him a glimpse of my background he asked “with credentials like that why aren’t you working for us?” My response, “well, I don’t know why I’m not working for you”? He smiled and invited me for the interview and employed me within a week; a decision neither of us would come to regret.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vivian Panou.

Vivian Panou, is a marketing and communications professional with over 20 years of experience building relationships and executing fundraising efforts for non-profits focused on health and wellness, climate change, and water conservation. She spent ten plus years working with ECOS® managing company partnerships with organizations including Global Green, Grades of Green, The Wyland Foundation. During this time, Vivian has built and presented educational programs to students about the importance of eco-conscious stewardship and leading a toxic-free lifestyle. She has also been a featured speaker for sustainable business appearing on local and national television and radio in the US and Greece. Vivian has several board positions in Southern California including at the American Cancer Society, Network of Executive Women, and Women’s Cancer Research Foundation. She earned her BA in Broadcast Journalism at Columbia College in Chicago.

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 had many careers in my lifetime. First as an on-camera and print reporter and producer in Chicago and Greece with a goal to share balanced reports to allow the public to decide their position about each of my stories. Sensationalism drove me out of that business and into a more “normal” career known as legal marketing. After having kids, I decided I wanted to do something a little more meaningful. Something that would make me feel ok with the fact that I was a full-time working mom of two toddlers. My babies were the real reason I chose a career (or perhaps it chose me) that helped make a positive impact on our planet.

Becoming a mom was definitely the gateway to green and sustainable living. In 2008, I found myself going through a destructive divorce, dealing with the economic crisis, and in need of new employment. So, I announced to whoever would listen that I wanted a career that would improve the environment. One day my then five-year-old Katerina had her first soccer game and while there, I met a pioneer in green cleaning product manufacturing, the late Dr. Van Vlahakis, founder and owner of ECOS®. He and his daughter Kelly (who has been running the company since her father’s passing) were kind and bright and eager to learn more about my professional experience. Van asked if I’d meet him for an interview and I said yes; a few days later I found myself in their California plant for an interview and tour. Within a few days, I was offered a job to help them with their solar division which I accepted and, instead, found myself heading up the marketing department for the cleaning products brand. I knew nothing about green cleaners, but I did know how to market, sell, and write. We did great things and I found myself learning more than I had ever imagined possible about sustainable ingredients, manufacturing, and living. My enthusiasm and commitment to sustainability and the company became infectious and I quickly became a sought-after public speaker and educator on behalf of sustainable living and cleaning. I was very proud of the work we did there and proud of my accomplishments. But, once ten years passed, I knew in my gut that it was time to make a change for something that would potentially be even bigger and more impactful for the health of our planet and its people. Suddenly, Covid-19 hit and I knew my full-time job as the special events and program director was at risk. All business travel, meetings and events were canceled for the remainder of the year. I could hear a ticking time-bomb and began to meditate and open myself up to issues that mattered most to me. As I looked at my two daughters whose lives had just been interrupted, who were no longer able to play their sports because of COVID and wildfires, fighting Climate Change became the most important issue. So, the “backstory” is really all about finding the silver lining from Covid-19. As I imagined would be the case, my full-time job came to a sudden halt. At about that same time, the founder and co-chair of EarthFund, Alysia Helming, reached out, shared her vision, and asked if I’d be interested in joining her as her business partner. With her experience in renewable energy and contacts, and my experience in marketing, communications, sustainability, and contacts, we knew we were a winning team. The only answer I could give her was YES, and I’m so glad I did! I knew it was time to further my career into an even more meaningful role, and by joining EarthFund we stood a great chance at making a difference for people at large.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Our work is disruptive because it truly has never been done before! EarthFund Global is a non-profit that’s focused on helping countries reach climate neutrality rapidly through the lens of strategic, technology-enabled solutions which enable more deployment of capital and cut down bottlenecks. The global model is customized to the specific needs of each country. What is specifically disruptive is that EarthFund partners with cutting edge clean technology companies, like EarthIndex, the world’s first clean energy platform designed to accelerate a country or state’s ability to rapidly scale to 100% clean energy by 2030. To achieve this, EarthIndex works with world-class technology companies, such as ESRI, and advisors from Google, Tesla and EIT-Climate-Kic Silicon Valley, to develop a country/state level solution to change the game in clean energy development, starting in Greece and in California. Disruptive is a most appropriate word for what we’re up to!

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?

When I first started working with EarthFund, Alysia was getting me up to speed with the technology for-profit business, EarthIndex, and our non-profit EarthFund. One day after a variety of meetings, I was talking to my daughter about our accomplishments and the next steps, etc. As I was building momentum sharing exciting developments with her, she said “Mom, you need to get the businesses straight. EarthFund is the non-profit, not EarthIndex!” My13-year-old daughter, Aria, was correcting me about my own projects! We laughed and laughed and then went back to work. I love the fact that she listens in on my calls, asks questions, and keeps me straight!

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve been blessed with exceptional mentors in my lifetime. First, my parents. They exemplified pure love to me as a child and a grown woman. Their years of nurturing enabled me to draw from experience how to get through some pretty tough times as a mom. I’ve been passionate about my career, but my greatest passion and accomplishment is my daughters. My parents’ love and support fueled my stamina as a working (many times overworked) single mom of two active, smart, and accomplished girls. Vaso and Argyri Panou were my role models as a professional parent. My Godmother, Valerie Kazamias, was a professional fundraiser for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Madison Symphony. I looked up to her for guidance on fundraising and grants and taking time-out for a silly night making snow angels after a storm hit in Madison. Godmother taught me that asking for money is necessary for the advancement and preservation of culture. We had to do it and the worst thing that could happen is someone might say no, but with a good plan, many more will say yes! My journalism professor, the late Les Brownlee, was my writing mentor. He believed in my skills and always told me “You’re a Winner.” And so, I believed him and dared to become a reporter. He was the first black reporter in the City of Chicago so adversity was familiar as was reward following hard work and perseverance. On many occasions I have felt unable to perform at my best, mostly due to egos and weaknesses of others, and in those moments, I imagined myself in the shoes Les walked in and find strength to keep moving and doing what I do best. Dr. Van Vlahakis, founder of ECOS® was my mentor until he passed away. He taught me everything I know about solar energy, green chemistry, and the importance of asking questions and “when you go into business, do something everyone needs” which is why he made laundry detergent and other cleaners. Van believed in supporting his employees and shared his profits with exemplary bonuses and he was always there to answer questions. Currently, Subriana Pierce, Managing Partner, Navigator Sales and Marketing is one of my top mentors. She’s on the Board of the Network of Executive Women and whenever I need insight or have the desire to map things out visually about programs or anything under the sun, I turn to her. She’s also the epitome of a strong, hardworking, equality based professional. I strive to be like Subriana. Finally, a gentleman I will refer to as “Bruiser” is my mentor for so many things. He’s an accomplished father and entrepreneur and the greatest cheerleader a person could ask for. His positivity causes me to only find solutions and believe in my every action, even if it results in something unexpected. Whenever I need business solutions and someone to help me weed things out, I turn to him, and remarkably, he helps me figure things out. My respect and appreciation for everyone who has helped me through this lifetime is immense.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disrupting is good, even if it’s bad, so long as we learn from it and find better solutions. Take for example GMOs and insecticides like DDT. The goal was to introduce genes into our crops to lessen the burden on farmers and to help bring an end to hunger. I remember being a young teen and hearing on the news that GMOs will rapidly grow crops and enable us to protect people from world hunger. DDT would help our crops grow more quickly because it would kill off insects that would otherwise cause harm to the crops. Well, that was a big mistake. Yes, crops grew more rapidly and demand was met quickly, but the adverse health effects it caused in people and the harm it caused to the environment was not worth the gain. DDT is no longer used and communities are engaging in more local farming initiatives than ever before. Organic farming has become more common and individuals are making their own gardens to ensure they and their families have healthier food on their plates. Even I had vegetable beds placed on my balcony where I grew the most delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, basil, and oregano!

Positive disruption is what organizations like Global Green have been doing. In the past, they’ve helped rebuild cities like New Orleans after it was struck by Hurricane Katrina. When they rebuilt the city, they introduced sustainable building materials, instead of going with cheap and harmful materials for a quick fix.

What we’re doing at EarthFund, is positive disruption. We are helping a country achieve carbon neutrality and empowering students to be the solution to a brighter and cleaner future.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“Don’t let the hell you might be going through stop you from moving forward.” That advice gave me the courage to present myself in a positive manner when I was the most vulnerable as a single mom. When I randomly met my former employer on the soccer field, he asked me what I was up to and what my career was. After I gave him a glimpse of my background he asked “with credentials like that why aren’t you working for us?” My response, “well, I don’t know why I’m not working for you”? He smiled and invited me for the interview and employed me within a week; a decision neither of us would come to regret.

When I was in 6rd Grade I had a creative writing assignment where I wrote about a world where freeway exits would be on the left lane instead of the right and as you entered the exit lane, you’d have the opportunity to purchase drinks and even food without getting out of the car and doing so with a card that would take money straight out of your bank account so you didn’t need to waste money on paying back high interest credit cards. My teacher laughed at me, gave me a “B”, and told me I should think more realistically since cards like that would never exist. “A bit far-fetched for even a writer. You may think about studying something else in college.” So, I became an on-camera reporter instead and enjoyed using my debit card about a decade later. 🙂

“There’s no such thing as free lunch!” That came from my first love who was a cameraman for CBS when I was a reporter. He was talking about how people will try to push me into inappropriate situations and I should never stoop low to acquire a bigger seat at the table because it would never lead to a good result. I never had the desire to go down that route, but that phrase stuck with me as other situations arose through the years.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I think I’m shaking things up quite a bit right now! Let me get past setting up EarthFund in Greece and then we’ll talk!

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Access to capital is a challenge that I believe faces “women disruptors” more often than men. I do feel that’s changing dramatically for the better. Time is typically a challenge because women still are mostly responsible for the home and their children’s needs.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

“Not Even My Name” by Thea Halo is a book that resonates with me and gives me strength as a single mom raising two daughters on my own. In this book, author Thea Halo writes the story of her mom, Sano Halo, a woman who survived the slaughter of 2-million Pontic Greeks and Armenians from the Turks post WWI. The book, which is the work of Sano’s memoirs, takes the reader through the death march that she (10) experienced and survived through Turkey. During the march Sano lost three of her four sisters. For the next five years she was at the mercy of people who treated her poorly and finally at the age of 15, Sano was sold to marry an Assyrian man three times her age who brought her to NYC where they raised 10 wonderful children. This eloquent account of this tragedy that was impressed upon Greek’s and Assyrian’s in Turkey reminds me of how precious our democracy is and how fortunate we are to be living in a country where we are truly free. It also keeps me in check and reminds me that my bad day, would most definitely be a good day by far to too many women even in today’s world. It also gives me the energy to persevere and also celebrate the small victories.

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. 🙂

What we are doing at EarthFund along with EarthIndex is truly the best movement we could support for the most amount of people. Bringing one country at a time to climate neutrality will help reduce the negative effects of climate change, will enable us to breathe a little lighter and will bring sustainable learning across all sectors. With our business model we will also be uniting local government, with civil society, non-profits/NGOs, business leaders and the church because we know that when we work together everybody wins. We need to end the use of fossil fuels. Coal, oil needs to go away, and those who are working in those industries need to be trained for new work opportunities. There’s a place for everyone, even if you were trained in a different field. I’d love to find a way to help trade-in gasoline fueled vehicles with electric cars. That would be amazing!

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

My favorite life lesson stems from a very negative comment that was made to me long ago. A co-worker and I were heading up a project that required me to check and edit her work which resulted in me working long hours into the wee hours of the night. After reading something she had written I was a little puzzled as it didn’t add up scientifically. Before I questioned her about it, I looked up the matter on the EPAs website and found that indeed her quote wasn’t accurate. I kindly shared the evidence and asked her for her opinion. Her response: “This is most unprofessional! You need to leave the science to the scientists and just stay out and do your job!”

So, I did my job as an editor and eliminated the false entry in the book. From that day on, she avoided me at all costs. Her immaturity and hatred ate her from the inside out. It was devastating to watch. I tried speaking to her about it, but it only made things worse. I actually felt very sorry for her. The lesson I learned was multi-faceted. Check your ego at the door and work with people, instead of against them because in the end this attitude will only hurt YOU. Ultimately, I turned that experience into a positive. It inspired me to learn more about science and eventually teaching specialized lessons that inspired young kids to seek out degrees in chemistry and professions in sustainability!

How can our readers follow you online?

www.earthfundglobal.org, https://www.facebook.com/earthfundglobal, https://twitter.com/EarthFundGlobal

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


Female Disruptors: Vivian Panou of EarthFund On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Sejal Joshi of ‘Sunshy Jewels’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your…

Female Disruptors: Sejal Joshi of ‘Sunshy Jewels’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

…The first and most important one is to make your life decisions based on the kind of life you wish to create for yourself. We all have people around us who genuinely care for us and their protective instinct often keeps their loved ones from reaching their full potential. People judge opportunities through their own capabilities and what might seem impossible for some had already been done by someone with lesser resources. So if you have a purpose and you feel passionate about pursuing it, take the leap of faith and go all in to create your ideal future.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sejal Joshi.

A young female entrepreneur who turned her passion into a fruitful business while thriving to bring change for good through her philanthropic approach. Sejal Joshi is a Social Entrepreneur driven to support talented artisans through her business endeavors. She is the Founder of Sunshy Jewels & Sunshy Digital Media Agency. She is known for assisting brands and businesses in building their influence and reaping the benefits of a strong social media presence for a sustainable future of their business. When it comes to lead generation, advertisement & Influencer marketing no one does it better than her. She is a pageant winner, a business graduate, owner and Chief Operating Officer of a leading marketing and branding agency and now founder and CEO of a social startup, set to disrupt the industry with her unique business approach, all at the age of 21. In this interview with Sejal Joshi, she talks about her journey of trembling excitement, experiments, the creative pursuits and inspirations that helped her bridge the gap of conventional beliefs till becoming the women disruptor in the industry and unveils the secret of her success by sharing resourceful insights for aspiring young entrepreneurs.

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?

Thank you for having me! I was born and brought up in a middle class joint family in a small town to very supportive parents. When I was in high school I got an opportunity to participate in a pageant in which I was crowned as Miss Indore at the age of 18. After that, I was invited by many fashion brands as a judge in their shows and events which introduced me to the insights of the industry.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind and as I built some influence by being a titleholder, I decided to open a women apparel store with my mother. Using my contacts in the industry, I was able to get a lot of promotion and content through collaborations. Soon it started to grow and demanded more of my time and input which I was willing to give because I enjoyed the whole process from designing clothes to marketing the brand and collaborating with influencers. I had plans to take it to a bigger level but my parents always wanted me to pursue a career through my education because I was a bright student, they were supportive of my other endeavors as long as they were not coming in the way of my education. While pursuing a college degree and preparing for competitive exams to study abroad, I was not able to give the store as much time as it required, and eventually, my mom had to take over.

I witnessed the influence I was able to create by being a pageant winner and I loved the position and voice it gave me and for that reason, I wanted to go big. I then went to a top pageant training studio in order to prepare for the upcoming pageant of Miss India. This was the time when I met my partner from where things changed for me. He is an entrepreneur and works in the digital space, when I told him about my store and how I got clients using social media promotions and collaborations he was really impressed and proposed that I work with him and provide these services to his clients. From there we started working together and helped several clients in bringing them leads for their business and creating a strong social media presence. While working with some clients from the fashion industry, I realized that I could do the same for my own brand as I already have marketing and branding figured out and I would really enjoy the creative side of designing and presentation. We didn’t want to create just another jewelry store, our purpose was to support a cause and wanted our customers to own beautiful jewelry while contributing towards an attempt to bring change for good. That’s how the idea of Sunshy Jewels was born.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I wanted to have a product that is timeless and can become an essence of any woman’s personality regardless of her age, size, race, or nationality which is jewelry. Having a cultural background from an ancient state of India, I had seen a lot of small artisans and their beautiful creations which travelers from all over the world would buy to collect and wear. With our brand, we support these artisans by providing them an online platform to make their creations reach the world and get them a golden value for their unmatchable skills and hours of hard work. We have a collection of uniquely handcrafted jewelry pieces that are one of a kind. 20% of net profit on the sale of every article goes straight to these artisans and the remaining amount is put back into the business to make our brand reach every corner of the world to eventually get more business to the artisans. Creations of such talented artists deserve to be seen by the world and thus we went for an online store where we ship worldwide. Every piece of this collection gives the owner a one of a kind, uniquely made jewelry piece and the fulfillment that comes with supporting exceptional talent and providing for their families.

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?

When we were just starting out, I was focused more on the collection, website, and marketing of the brand and totally underestimated the process of order shipment and delivery. We priced the product such that all costs can be included in the final price and our customers only pay the amount that they see on the product page, basically no additional cost. As soon as we launched we started getting orders and I failed to realize that local couriers have different price ranges for shipping to different locations and on a few orders at the beginning, we barely made anything and the delivery took longer than the promised timeline, that whole process was too complicated to manage.

What’s funny is that I shop online so often and know so many International courier companies yet I was struggling to figure out how to manage the order completion after-sales. Then I contacted a few companies who deliver my orders and was able to put a cost-effective and well-managed order shipment procedure in place. That made me realize that every aspect of a business is equally important and it takes a lot more than just good products to build and sustain a successful business.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Of course, there are so many. I don’t believe in following the footsteps of anyone and my mentors are not restricted to a few people. I observe and evaluate lessons and decisions of every successful personality that I get to know. Clichè as it sounds but I believe there’s something to be learned from everyone. I have taken a lot of inspiration about business and life in general from Patrick Bet David, Huda Kattan, Michelle Obama, Gary Vaynerchuk, Vishal Jain, and many more.

Ever since I met Vishal, he has been my business partner and mentor all along the way. We had an interesting conversation when we first met, I was telling him all about my plans for the future on how I wanted to build influence online and graduate from a top business school overseas then get a job to acquire the resources it will require to start a business of my own. He said if your goal is to eventually start something of your own then the best time is now. All these plans sound like excuses to create security because you don’t have enough faith in your plans. He shared his story with me about how he started from nothing with no money and was able to build a business using just a laptop and internet. He explained to me that I’m young and I should stop trying to play safe and create back-ups in case it doesn’t work out. That stuck with me and I decided to believe in my dreams and take the plunge. Some of the most important lessons I learned from him was to be fearless- focus on what you want and clear all the distractions, find a purpose in business that is bigger than money to keep going through those rough patches, and to be the best at what you do and never sell yourself short. I am still working on incorporating these values into my life and business and can witness a huge impact already.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Being disruptive is always good. According to me even if there’s a system that has ‘withstood the test of time’ there’s still a need to challenge it from time to time. Oftentimes some assumptions and beliefs have been in practice for so long that it’s been so deeply wired in our system that we don’t even question its relevance in today’s world. While thriving for a better world we need to challenge the traditional practices whenever applicable. Old ways can never bring new results.

Although, I believe disrupting is essential, what’s more intimidating is its effects which the entire industry and humanity as a whole experience. Thus, my advice to anyone determined to disrupt an industry would be to perceive it as the greatest responsibility rather than an opportunity. Bringing change in an industry or society, in general, is incredible as long as it’s done for the greater good. Disrupting an industry with the sole purpose of making personal gains and the effects of such disruption would leave the industry in a worse place than what it was when you got in is a ‘not so positive’ disruption.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Yes, the first and most important one is to make your life decisions based on the kind of life you wish to create for yourself. We all have people around us who genuinely care for us and their protective instinct often keeps their loved ones from reaching their full potential. People judge opportunities through their own capabilities and what might seem impossible for some had already been done by someone with lesser resources. So if you have a purpose and you feel passionate about pursuing it, take the leap of faith and go all in to create your ideal future.

The second is to “Never stop learning.” As simple as it sounds it requires a lot of discipline and dedication to put consistent effort into your personal growth especially after one achieves certain milestones in business or in life. Whenever you start to get into your comfort zone and your goals start to seem achievable, that’s the time when you need to reassess your goals and set the bar higher to keep pushing yourself further. The purpose of life is to grow wiser and once you stop learning you start getting just older. Wisdom comes from experiences and learnings, not age.

And finally to find a purpose in life and build a legacy that will continue to grow with or without you. I understand as young entrepreneurs striving to create a place for themselves in the competitive world, the initial goal is survival followed by a comfortable lifestyle but once you get these things out of the way, that’s when you decide what legacy you want to leave. What people are going to remember you for? There’s only so much fulfillment materialistic things that can provide a person. Thus, attach yourself to a purpose that’s bigger than you and create the change because this world needs people like that.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Well, the initial goal with Sunshy jewels is to expand our operations and get artisans from other parts of the country on board. We don’t want to stay restricted to helping talent from a certain part of the world. Thus, the goal is to create a platform where these artisans could display their incredible handmade jewelry piece and have the entire world as an audience to appreciate and own their creations. India being a traditional country is famous for a lot of such skills and talents and our goal with this would be to bring them out to the world and get them the appreciation and recognition they deserve.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Disruptors, regardless of their gender face challenges around every corner, and being a women disruptor in male-dominated surroundings, challenges are never-ending. However, the biggest challenge would be to struggle to be taken seriously. The part of the world where I come from, women still have to fight for their basic rights to education, to make their own decisions, to choose a different career path. They are expected to perfectly balance their professional and personal lives, and still hold full responsibility for their family according to traditional gender roles. But talking about the wider part of the world where women are in a comparatively better place rightfully yet they are not perceived as strongly as a man would be in a similar position. They need to be overqualified or perform extraordinarily well to get the appreciation from their surroundings which leaves women with almost no scope for making mistakes. That’s the biggest reason why we see so few women in business or in executive positions as compared to men.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

While nothing’s better than a good read but podcasts/shows are a great source to consume knowledge and information while multitasking. A few of my favorite shows/podcasts would be-

The Patrick Bet David Show: Patrick has turned his youtube channel into an online academy for entrepreneurs and comes up with a new video every week providing suggestions and solutions for real world problems in business for entrepreneurs which are not taught in any universities. I uncover various tactics and tricks to grow as an individual and expand my business operations through his valuable content.

Jay Shetty would be my other recommendation for indulging in the world of wisdom. Basically, he is famous for “Think Like A Monk”, where his podcasts and reads are mostly about tackling life and growing peace of mind and soul. We as humans witness multiple challenges and inconveniences, and his podcasts are glaringly insightful to inspire and empower our true wellbeing and happiness.

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 believe the biggest help one can do to someone is to help them become independent to provide for themselves and their families and be in a position to even help others in a similar position if need be. Charity of any kind is a kind gesture but helping someone in a way that changes their lives and empowers them to help many others like themselves is the greatest. It ensures that the people you are helping will be in a good place even after you are long gone. Thus, if I could inspire a movement it would be to empower those whose purpose is to empower others. There’s only so much a person can do by himself so to bring the most amount of good to most people, we need to have more people who are driven to help others with education or developing skills that eventually can become a source of income for them and their families. Collaborate with schools or classes or any place or person willing to teach, provide them with necessary resources so they can take their campaign to the next level, and reach out to as many people as they can for help.

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

“In life, you can put a zero (0) for everything you want i.e. wealth, freedom, fame, success but the one (1) in the start will forever be Health.” While I totally believe in working hard and sacrificing for the things you want to achieve in life but one thing that’s non-negotiable for me and should be for everyone is maintaining good health. Anything you mess up with in life can be dealt with but if you mess up with your health, you’re not going to excel in anything else for a long time. And when I talk about health, it’s not restricted to just the body, a healthy mind is equally as important if not more. I come across so many young individuals working hard, almost burning out to be successful and to have all the means and better surroundings to live in but you have to live in your body for the longest time, so take good care of it.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sejaljofficial/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sejaljofficial/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sejaljofficial

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


Female Disruptors: Sejal Joshi of ‘Sunshy Jewels’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Rachel Bradley and René Chatfield of ‘Dope Girls Consulting’ On The Three Things

Female Disruptors: Rachel Bradley and René Chatfield of ‘Dope Girls Consulting’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

I was always told that when someone tells you, “No,” you are asking the wrong person. This has given me a very optimistic view on life and to never stop until you hear the word, YES!

If you don’t have a seat at the table, make your own by creating your own table. Again, if there is ever a time where I feel like someone is limiting me or preventing me from accomplishing something, I don’t get discouraged or defeated, I create and find my own way.

Rachel Bradley is the co-founder of Dope Girls Consulting, a women-owned, diversity led brand and marketing firm for the cannabis industry. A client-focused and results-driven professional, Rachel has over ten years of experience developing and executing successful experiential campaigns for Fortune 100 brands. Rachel has directed integrative and progressive marketing programs for Samsung, Nike, and Roc Nation. While seeking relief for a health condition, Rachel was introduced to the cannabis industry. Dope Girls Consulting grew out of a desire to help people from all backgrounds enter the thriving cannabis market

René Chatfield is the co-founder of Dope Girls Consulting, a women-owned, diversity led firm for the cannabis industry. A devoted sports marketing and branding expert, René has developed innovative engagement strategies for Nike and the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. She has also produced revenue-driven results through marketing partnerships with powerhouse companies such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Human Rights Campaign, Coca-Cola, and City of Atlanta. Through Dope Girls Consulting, René is committed to helping women and minorities build their own brands and companies in the cannabis industry.

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?

We both have sports marketing backgrounds working together on international campaigns for Nike. While seeking relief for our own personal health conditions, we both became interested in the cannabis market.

Rachel: We noticed there was a lack of resources available to small businesses and applicants with less startup capital. Dope Girls Consulting grew out of a desire to help people from all backgrounds enter this thriving industry.

René: I saw firsthand how athletes were being offered harmful pain management options. While learning about cannabis, I realized it was imperative that we develop healthier alternatives and find ways to inspire more minorities to get involved with the cannabis industry.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The term ‘disruptor’ has become a very popular buzz word used to describe a wide range of people and actions these days. To us a disrupter is an innovator who is able to anticipate and provide real-time solutions for the needs of their customers. They provide value by solving a problem that their customers didn’t even know that they had.

So what problem are we solving? Well, Dope Girls Consulting was created from our own experiences. When we were working on the Illinois wholesale cannabis license application we realized there aren’t a ton of resources for those with BIG dreams and limited funding like ourselves. In the beginning, it was hard to navigate those who wanted to help and those who wanted to take advantage of us. At first glance the two can look almost identical.

Our mission at Dope Girls Consulting is to shift the culture within the cannabis community by helping minority and female owned businesses build their own brands and businesses. This will ultimately result in a more equitable and inclusive industry. We also want to help those who have suffered the most from the war on cannabis. This is something important to us and cannot be forgotten as this industry continues to evolve through the legalization process nationwide.

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?

René: While on a “Press Tour” of ours, we opened up our networking and took calls from pretty much anyone who wanted to connect with us. We realized very quickly we needed to have a better vetting process to help filter out some of the crazies and those who just wanted to see if we were “real”. It’s been fun utilizing tools like Zoom and Google Meet, they have helped us maximize our networking efforts more strategically and reach way more people over the course of a day then if we were riding around and taking lunches all week.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Rachel: René has a family member who is a consultant with incredible experience in product development as well as resources and connections to the cannabis industry. When we were first starting out, we would interview several people to find that one perfect lawyer, or that one perfect formulator because we felt like we had to get it exactly right the first time. Then one day, he told us, why don’t you try them both? You don’t have to put all of your eggs in one basket. That advice sounds so simple and easy, but it honestly had not occurred to us that we had that option. We refer back to that advice all of the time when we make business decisions now.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Rachel: There is a quote from George Bernard Shaw that I love. He says, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

It is our belief that not every successful business or product needs to disrupt. That said, too often we want things to withstand the test of time because that is what we are used to, there is comfort in the known. The best disruptors are able to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and give systems the space and freedom needed to evolve into something much greater and better suited to serve the needs of their customer in that moment in time.

René: Disrupting is about evolving and creating a lane for something nonexistent. I don’t know that we are set out to be disrupters any more than us figuring out how to be a part of an industry that wasn’t originally designed to benefit women or minorities. However, if we are considered disruptors, then absolutely it would be positive because we are looking to drive opportunities and bridge gaps in the cannabis industry, which is mainly run and controlled by white men. Some would say we are crazy; however, many are intrigued and support our movement because it will benefit everyone in the long run.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Rachel: Nothing beats a failure but a try: Many years ago my homegirl said to me, “What do you have to lose? Nothing ever beat a failure but a try.” I realized prior to that moment I was the biggest roadblock to accomplishing my dreams. I was constantly limiting myself by telling myself, “No, it can’t be done, or they are going to say no, so why should I even try?” Now I make it a point to always try. To let someone else tell me no before I accept defeat. And even then, I rarely accept no for an answer. It’s just a starting point for negotiations!

René: I was always told that when someone tells you, “No,” you are asking the wrong person. This has given me a very optimistic view on life and to never stop until you hear the word, YES!

If you don’t have a seat at the table, make your own by creating your own table. Again, if there is ever a time where I feel like someone is limiting me or preventing me from accomplishing something, I don’t get discouraged or defeated, I create and find my own way.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We have several tricks up our sleeve right now that we are very excited about. Since we have launched Dope Girls Consulting, we’ve noticed while there are many people with GREAT ideas who want to turn those ideas into a business (or those who already have). Many of these founders have not invested their time in completing the most important basic steps like creating a business plan or developing a marketing strategy when building or starting their business. These days, a great idea is not enough to guarantee success. Business Plans, Financial Analysis & Revenue Goals, Marketing and Brand Strategies are absolutely necessary if you want to see your business succeed. Because affordable help is not easy to find, we have written a series of “How To” templates that we call the “Business Start-up Essentials Tool Kit”. By using our “Dope Girl” guides, you are taken through step-by-step directions on developing the necessary tools for your business. We offer hourly business consulting as well, but if you are starting a new business on a budget, which many of us are, our templates are an easy way to have access to our expertise in an affordable way.

Additionally, we are developing a line of cannabis edibles that we hope to have in dispensaries by the end of the year so be on the lookout for that announcement!

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Oftentimes as females we don’t get the luxury of being called a ‘disrupter’ when we pitch a radical idea or we behave in a way that goes against the norm. Men can come in and disrupt a situation and the ripple effects of that disruption are left to clean up after the fact. It has been our experience that women are held to a higher level of scrutiny. Not only do we have to come with the framework for a radical new methodology for change, but we also need to have the action plan for how we intend to roll it out coupled with flawless execution.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

René: One of my favorite boos is Living Exponentially by Sheri Riley. Sheri is a former client and mentor who has really helped me get more focus and intentional with my time. Being intentional with your time and understanding time can’t be balanced, it can only be intentionally allocated. Time is going to occur regardless if you want it to. This concept has helped me plan my days better and more efficiently. As a mom of three boys and a wife, this thought process and being more intentional with my time has become very useful especially when things are super stressful and I find myself doing too much.

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. 🙂

Rachel: If we could inspire a movement it would be to shift the mindset of those who still have a negative stigma around the use of cannabis — especially around female use. Every week we hear inspiring stories of people who decided to get into the cannabis industry because of the positive impact that it has had on their life and/or the lives of those around them. There is more to being a cannabis user than the outdated stereotype of the lazy, unmotivated, stoner that lives in their parent’s basement. Highly educated and successful people use cannabis as well, myself included. If you are reading this and thinking, “I am a cannabis user that doesn’t fit into that stereotype,” support our movement by posting a photo of yourself on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #aDopeGirlis

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

Rachel: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” — Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss books were some of my favorite books growing up. The first time I heard that quote I knew it was powerful and it stuck with me. But it wasn’t until maybe five years ago when I really began to understand the magnitude of what he was saying. Growing up as a bi-racial child in the 80’s, I never really felt like I fit in anywhere. The impact of that feeling led me to constantly wanting to look like someone else, act like someone else, be someone else. It took me a long time to understand (and believe) that one of my biggest superpowers is the fact that there is no one else that can be me better than me. So now I refuse to do anything that doesn’t provide the space for me to be 100% authentically me.

René: “Overcoming life’s challenges and adversities is one of your biggest advantages” — Michelle Obama.

As a teen mom, I became pregnant with my first son at 15. On the day my son was born I promised myself I would never let anything stop me from showing him anything is possible regardless of our circumstances. When things are tough in my life, I keep those thoughts in mind and remember how many people from my past who said I would never graduate from high school or become anything because I was a young mom. I’ve spent the last 25 years, proving all of my haters wrong!

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: wearedopegirls.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dopegirlsconsulting/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/weare.dopegirls/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wearedopegirls

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


Female Disruptors: Rachel Bradley and René Chatfield of ‘Dope Girls Consulting’ On The Three Things was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Adrienne Irizarry of ‘Moon Essence’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up…

Female Disruptors: Adrienne Irizarry of ‘Moon Essence’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Failure is an illusion. I eluded to this earlier on when you asked me about mistakes I made early on in my career. I don’t believe in failure. You have successes and learning experiences. It’s the mindset you bring to the task. If it doesn’t work out the way you hope, that’s OK. You will learn something from it and it may even put you on a better path than the one you originally imagined for yourself or the project. I have had many instances in my life where one could have said my mission “failed” but really it taught me valuable information I needed to for success today. A great example was leaving a job that I had a few years ago. At the time I was heartbroken thinking that I hadn’t lived up to the task at hand but in reality, I needed to leave that role to open an opportunity to take a job that gave me insight into running a private practice. I needed it to thrive today.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adrienne Irizarry.

Adrienne Irizarry, PHc is a Certified Peristeam Hydrotherapist from the Peristeam Hydrotherapy Institute and owner of Moon Essence, LLC.

She works with women to regulate cycles at every stage of life — menarche through post menopause. She uses steam, herbs and Chinese dietetics to bring a woman’s body into better balance and to recover from childbirth.

Adrienne’s passion for Chinese Medicine over the last decade, particularly in the area of food and nutrition, continues to grow and now includes acutonics, cupping and acupressure in addition to her steam therapy practice.

Adrienne has a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Maine in Orono. She has a certificate in Non-Profit Management and is the 2012 Jerry F. Tardy Young Professionals Award winner through the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE.) She holds a diploma in Chinese Nutritional Therapy and is a Sacred Menarche Mentor.

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?

My backstory begins the same as the narrative of thousands of women around the world — I had period problems and I wanted to have a baby.

I have a Masters in Communication and had worked in nonprofits as well as corporate America in marketing and public relations for over a decade. These jobs are busy, exciting and intense and the demand of the schedule was taking a toll on my body. My periods had always been painful, irregular and heavy from the time I started menstruating, but working in this environment these issues escalated and were the worst they had ever been. It was impacting my ability to contribute to my job in the way I knew I was capable of.

After seeing several OB/GYNs the answer was always the same:

  • “Let’s try birth control to regulate your cycle” — the result? Weight gain, cramping and eventually a “cardiac episode” which mirrored a heart attack at the age of 25.
  • “Let’s try pain management” — the result? Less pain but still heavy flow and utter exhaustion because the “faucet” wouldn’t turn off in less than 10 days.
  • “You have had a child. Maybe you should consider a hysterectomy” — the result? NO WAY. Why cut part of my body out because they couldn’t solve the problem?

After years of trying to get answers, I had a friend who told me about vaginal steaming.

My first impression was — “vaginal what?” but heard her out. She explained it was like a sauna experience sitting over steam. It was very relaxing but the best part was the improvement in her period so she thought it might help me too.

I honestly had nothing to lose so I thought “what the heck — I’ll give it a try.” I couldn’t have ever imagined the results I experienced.

My first session was so relaxing. It was warm and like sitting in a hot bath. I walked away thinking I would do it again even if it was just for 15 relaxing minutes.

After steaming the first month, I couldn’t believe my next period. I barely had any cramping. I wasn’t bloated and groaning about getting into my pants. My period was even and HALF what it had ever been for flow. I wasn’t physically exhausted at the end of my period and it only lasted 6 days instead of 10! Woah.

Excited about my results, I steamed the second month and had another revelation. For the first time in my adult life my period was pain free, lasted only 4 days and was even and moderate in flow.

Going from 8–10 day periods that were heavy for the first 5 days, painful and bloated to 4 days, pain free and mild/moderate flow — it was like stepping into a new body. I had more energy for life and the dread I once experienced for my impending period each month turned to excitement to see how much better I would feel as each month passed with my new steaming regimen.

It was this success that drew me to getting certified as a peristeam hydrotherapist. Every woman should have a hassle-free period like this! If we all have to have a period, why do they have to be miserable? The answer is they don’t. I am on a mission to help others feel as good as I do now.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The Western medical model is very invasive for women. Tools go in and out. Surgery is the “go to” when medications fail. Healthcare for women’s reproductive health is very painful. When I tell people what I do, many get a mental picture of some sort of tool with steam that gets inserted into the vagina because it is so engrained in our culture that reproductive healthcare requires tools that go into the body.

The Western approach attempts to deal with symptoms, but they do not get to the root of what is causing the symptoms in the first place.

Peristeam hydrotherapy is about addressing the “why.” I don’t know about you, but I was always the “why” child. I needed to understand why things happened in the world around me or what was happening in my body. As I work with women, I find I am not the only one. They want to know how their menstrual cycles or menopause symptoms became what they are now.

The standard healthy period lasts 4 days, medium flow and arrives every 28–30 days. No cramping, no brown blood, no clotting, no arrival before/later than that and no heavy bleeding. Anything outside of this tells a story. For the vast majority of women, the period I just described is a unicorn and many who read it probably laughed out loud. It is possible to achieve even after years of dysfunction by using steaming as a therapeutic tool.

The beauty of this practice is that just sitting over a steaming pot of herbal solution customized for their body’s needs. We can address why they are having the symptoms they are experiencing and get to the heart of the matter, breaking the cycle and restoring harmony in the body. It’s gentle. It’s relaxing. In 10–30 min they can turn back the hands of time and restore (or maybe even establish for the first time) a healthy cycle for their body.

This practice is so much more than just periods. It can help with hot flashes/night sweats in menopause. It can break infection cycles without antibiotics. It can support fertility for women who are struggling to get pregnant. It helps the body recover after having babies. This practice is supportive to every woman from the time of menarche all the way through post-menopause.

Using steam, herbs and food therapy I am showing women how to take control of their health and it’s a game changer.

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 truly believe there are wins and there are learning experiences. A “mistake” I made early on turned into a powerful learning experience. My mistake was to underestimate the power of this practice on the circulation.

I had a client in the early days of opening my practice that came in for a steam session on a colder day in December. I live in the Northeast so winter and cold temperatures are no joke here. This woman had gone into the room to do her session and after a few minutes I heard a shriek emanate from the room.

I went running in to see what happened, heart racing fearing something bad had happened. I asked the woman if she was OK and this heartfelt laughter met me on the other side of the curtain.

“This is AMAZING!” she exclaimed. “My circulation is so poor in the cold. This is the first time in 32 years I can feel my hands and feet on a cold day!”

I froze. The shriek that had sent my heart and mind racing was from sheer joy! My client was experiencing the power of steam for her circulation and it quickly showed up in her extremities and not just her pelvic floor. I was humbled in that moment that such a simple and gentle therapy could have such a system wide impact.

Since this day, the system side effects of steaming have grown to include digestive support, more frequent bowel movements that are easier to pass and more. Steam is a powerful agent for change.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I have been so fortunate for the amazing people who have come into my life and helped me become the woman and the practitioner I am today.

One of these women in my early years was my mentor Alicia Nichols. Alicia came into my life when I was a young professional fresh out of grad school and she taught me everything a young female professional needs to know to thrive. She shaped me as a professional in the field I was working in but also as a person that was ready for everything life would deliver. She is a force of nature and I always admired her for how she could command a room with gentle presence and accomplish everything she had committed to. She has always been just a phone call away when I’ve needed her at different junctures in my life and I am so thankful for her continued support. She is one of the most articulate, poised, intelligent and capable women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I wouldn’t be half of the woman and professional I am today without her energy and talents in my life.

The dream of becoming a practitioner would never have been realized without the mentorship of Kelley Sherman and Kim Trafton. Kelley nurtured my early interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine and fed my hunger for information with every book I could get my hands on. Kelley pointed me towards training opportunities, acutonics and more. It was her patient and guiding influence that launched me forward down this path that I walk today.

Kim Trafton has helped me talk through cases for fresh perspective, honed my diagnostic abilities and nurtured my work in this field in countless ways.

Keli Garza — you can’t talk about vaginal steaming without mentioning her contribution to this field. She brought this ancient modality to the forefront and has tirelessly trained practitioners worldwide so we can share this therapy with women.

These women have all played significant roles in my health, my personal and professional growth over the last two decades and I am forever grateful to each one of them. They each had a hand in changing my life forever.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I do believe being disruptive is positive. We can have differing views, beliefs or practices, but if we can have a dialog about our viewpoints from a place of respect and kindness, being disruptive doesn’t have to be negative.

It is important to honor what came before us because without it we wouldn’t have the insight into things we have today. History teaches us. When we lose sight of the work and research of people that came before us, that is when disruption can be negative. Nothing in this world forms in a vacuum. The practice of pelvic steaming is no different. It existed for thousands of years before the rise of Western gynecology care. The reason it is viewed as disruptive is because the Western medical model does not acknowledge anything outside of itself or pre-dating its 200 year old existence as valid or healthy.

I view being disruptive as positive because it means introducing other ways of thinking. Being disruptive challenges the current structure and opens the door to new possibilities and ways of thinking. It is through this process that we evolve. Technology advances. Understanding matures. Think about it — if we didn’t have disruptors, we would still believe the Earth was flat.

Growth is painful. Change often creates pinch points in its early stages until more people adopt the understanding and accept it as truth. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It means we are evolving in our understanding of the world.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. Be authentic. People trust people. If you are willing to share the real with people, they will have faith in the process. When it comes to talking about women’s anatomy, everyone comes to the conversation with different levels of comfort. Being willing to hold space, be authentic and vulnerable with people creates a safe space for growth to take place.
  2. Everything in life is about balance. If you work too hard, as is customary in our culture, your health fails. If you play to hard, your work suffers. If you have an extreme in any direction — lifestyle, food etc. — it causes the pendulum to swing too hard in another direction. If you strive for balance and not perfection, health and happiness coexist.
  3. Failure is an illusion. I eluded to this earlier on when you asked me about mistakes I made early on in my career. I don’t believe in failure. You have successes and learning experiences. It’s the mindset you bring to the task. If it doesn’t work out the way you hope, that’s OK. You will learn something from it and it may even put you on a better path than the one you originally imagined for yourself or the project. I have had many instances in my life where one could have said my mission “failed” but really it taught me valuable information I needed to for success today. A great example was leaving a job that I had a few years ago. At the time I was heartbroken thinking that I hadn’t lived up to the task at hand but in reality, I needed to leave that role to open an opportunity to take a job that gave me insight into running a private practice. I needed it to thrive today.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

This is a great question, especially in light of what is going on in the world with COVID-19. It has changed the way I practice a bit. The beauty of it is that I can serve women internationally through telehealth. It does change my plans for in-person programming, though.

My next big goal is to educate the parents of young girls and young women. It is possible to have a body literacy conversation without it being a sex education conversation. Our culture really struggles to separate the two because of how hypersexualized women’s bodies are.

I believe it is possible to have age appropriate conversations with young girls about bodies’ changes. If we can teach them body literacy from the beginning of puberty and show them the tools for self-care to keep their bodies healthy, just imagine the change in the quality of life for future generations.

I can’t tell you how many women I work with that make the same statements when they learn what I am offering. “Where has this been all my life!” “Why weren’t we taught this when I was young?!” “I would have had a totally different experience in my teens and 20s!” For these women, their quality of life, choice of partners and their fertility management would have been totally different.

My work with adult women is significant, but to start girls at an age when they don’t know the current societal narratives that “cramps are normal” and “you are fertile all month so you need birth control” and actually show them how their cycles work and prevent cramps before they even happen we will have a generation of women who will be healthier than any generation before. The first place the body steals resources for other parts of the body is the reproductive system. If that is functioning optimally — the rest of the body follows suit.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

This question makes me think of the quote “well behaved women seldom make history.” Being outspoken as a female is viewed negatively. Women are seen as brash, bitchy or obnoxious. The same characteristics when displayed by a man are seen as confident, assertive and persuasive.

I believe that women can be powerful, confident, and assertive. These are more masculine energies, but why do they not apply to women doing the same actions and having the same conversations as male counterparts?

I believe to be a disruptor you have to embody these powerful words as intelligent women. Being a disruptor is not for the faint of heart. It requires a strong understanding of self. It requires a sense of security in that sense of self. These are all attributes of being confident and having razor sharp wit.

The cultural narrative of masculine and feminine is changing but not radically enough to eliminate the challenge of negative stereotypes of being a strong female with fortitude and character.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D changed my world. It disrupted my Western understanding of the body and how it operates and opened the world for me to new ways of understanding the rich interplay of the body and its systems. It was like stepping through a portal into a different realm at the time I read it 10 years ago. It opened the door for my passion for Eastern medicine and many texts to follow that now inform my entire understanding of the world.

For podcasts, it would have to be Fertility Friday and her book The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack. She has tackled topics like body literacy for young girls, fertility awareness postpartum as well as brought a spotlight to the importance of the menstrual cycle to serve as a vital sign for women to understand their health. This is a revolutionary approach and relationship for women to understand and engage with their menstrual cycles and fertility and I love that she challenges the current constructs in her work to bring attention to this topic for the betterment of women’s health.

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. 🙂

More of the NIH budget needs to be allocated to women’s health related topics. There are viable alternative therapies that are less invasive and highly effective for a wide range of women’s health related issues.

Researching these modalities, validating the anecdotal evidence with studies that are asking the right questions and offering women options outside of surgery and hormones to address imbalances in their bodies would be a public service.

It isn’t popular because Western medicine is business, but the right thing would be to serve the health and wellbeing of the public. Surgery and pharmaceuticals make more money than herbs and steam, however, if a woman wants to have a baby and the Western model puts her in an “unexplained infertility” category but Eastern medicine has a diagnosis — why would we want to deprive that woman of holding a baby in her arms?

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

“Leap and the net will appear.” This is one of my favorite quotes from one of the amazing female mentors I’ve had in my life.

Anything worth doing often feels scary at first because you are the only one doing it. That leap of faith is a scary one, but once you take it, the universe takes care of the rest.

Opportunities fall into place. Things “just work” with less effort. If you are trying to force something to happen, reconsider what you are doing because it will just flow when its right.

How can our readers follow you online?

I can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @moonessenceme. I am on LinkedIn as well. My website is https://moonessence.life and I have a vibrant blog there as well.

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


Female Disruptors: Adrienne Irizarry of ‘Moon Essence’ On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Jill Bourque of RushTix On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

No Surprises. — One of my bosses at a company I worked at years ago had this on his wall. The idea is that in business we need to think through all the pitfalls ahead of time so we can be prepared. I think about this a lot right now as livestreaming is a bit of high-wire act — it’s all live and in-the-moment with a lot of technical challenges.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Bourque.

Jill Bourque is CEO of RushTix, where she leads a talented team building the biggest comedy club on the planet (no joke!) to bring together thousands of fans for the shared experience of hilarious live comedy up close and personal. Today’s premier comedians want to connect with their fans around the world, and fans love their best-seat-in-the-house intimacy of RushTix’s shows.

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?

Before I founded RushTix I was a stand-up comedian and improviser. I got into producing by way of an improv show I created called “How We First Met,” which became really popular, playing in 23 cities around the world over 15 years. From there I began producing bigger live comedy shows.

RushTix was a ticket membership company up until March 2020 — with live events evaporating we did a “pandemic pivot” into livestreaming ticketed comedy shows. Since April, we’ve produced over 50 livestreams.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We’re taking live events and bringing them online while still keeping that feeling of community. It’s not like watching TV alone — the RushTix experience is very dynamic and interactive for the attendee. I call it “Real Time Social” — it’s different from the experience we have on social channels like Facebook because the RushTix livestream experience is all happening in the moment.

I think that we are going to have a huge shift towards community and empathy — and I want to help people experience that in our shows. Facebook and Twitter create a lot of divisiveness — people bond over what they hate. At RushTix, people bond over what they love. Laughter creates a special kind of community that brings people together.

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?

This was back in my early twenties when I went out as a solo consultant in marketing. I spent many weeks perfecting my business cards and logo. I had this notion that it was so important that my business card be just right. Now I realize that the most important thing is to get yourself (or your product) into the market and just start trying things. I was scared to get started and shifted my focus on my business cards instead of the “scary” thing of finding clients. The lesson is to face the “scary” thing, recognize it, and get to the other side. It’s incredibly empowering to face down these kinds of mental obstacles and find the way through.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

When I worked in financial services I had a boss by the name of Peter Stickells. He was very entrepreneurial and got me thinking about starting a business. Even though I had a relatively junior role, he listened to all my crazy ideas and let me run with them, which I think that was an instrumental part of my early career — getting the freedom to take chances and see what works.

I had an idea for a new kind of financial product which was way ahead of its time. He gave me the runway to try it out and put me in touch with the right people to make it happen. And while ultimately the idea was too early, it really inspired me to try out other ideas and see where I could take them.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

There’s a lot of grey ethical areas in how some industries such as transportation and delivery services have been disrupted. Each case has nuance. For example, as a consumer, I love that I can tap my app and get dinner or hail a ride. But the gig economy has created some instability in the job market and I think it contributes to the economic divide in our society. I have two teenage sons and it’s something we discuss quite a bit and I don’t think there are easy answers.

One thing that I would say is that any industry that is disruptive towards the environment and worsening the impact of climate change is definitely not good.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

No Surprises.
One of my bosses at a company I worked at years ago had this on his wall. The idea is that in business we need to think through all the pitfalls ahead of time so we can be prepared. I think about this a lot right now as livestreaming is a bit of high-wire act — it’s all live and in-the-moment with a lot of technical challenges.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

RushTix has been busy right now, but I’d like to do some mentoring when my time frees up. I’m especially interested in mentoring women who want to start a business but don’t have the network yet

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think the biggest challenge women face is the social norm of “playing nice”. There have been many cases in my career where I’ve gotten pushback for being bold and assertive, and 100% think that a man had done the very same thing he would have been rewarded. Although I do think things are starting to change. I love to see women like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are pushing back and showing young women that is a good thing to be bold and assertive.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

The book that had the most profound effect on me is the “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It’s for anyone that wants to find their own creative voice.

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. 🙂

One of the things that completely changed my life was learning improv, especially the very basic premise of “Yes, and” which is basically taking (your own or) someone else’s idea and building on it. This is such a powerful way of thinking as it creates collaboration and empathy. I feel really strongly that our culture needs help finding ways to really listen and understand each other. Improv is an amazing way to build those skills. And it’s also so much fun. We could all use some more fun!

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

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”
I think the magic formula for all things is just pure persistence. Don’t. Give. Up. Keep trying, especially when it’s hard — that’s the real key. Push through the resistance and see what’s on the other side. I’m not sure if I’m overly optimistic or just stubborn but this trait has gotten me through so many challenges.

How can our readers follow you online?

twitter.com/jillbourque

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


Female Disruptors: Jill Bourque of RushTix On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Mary Ann Hawley of UnifyImpact On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your…

Female Disruptors: Mary Ann Hawley of UnifyImpact On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

A concept is not a product. — I spent over a year with incredible passion about the idea of “impacting the world as you impact your bottom line,” before I figured out how to turn the idea into a company.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Ann Hawley.

Mary Ann Hawley is the Founder and CEO of UnifyImpact, a digital platform that empowers millennials to align their investment decisions with their values. The UnifyImpact web app is powered by Environmental, Social, and Governance data that allows users to compare companies’ sustainability performance with financial performance. Members can voice their opinions about potential investments to a community of peers and track their choices over time with a personal watchlist.

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 my career in advertising. I began as a copywriter, but most of my time was spent as an account executive. My favorite part of that job was the role of “visionary.” We were responsible for the creative strategy that writers and art directors used to create ads that would either make or break a company’s revenue. I have always been a “big picture” thinker and that has carried through in my work in non profit organizations, building an iconic residence in Bedford, NY, and was what led me to become involved in the finance industry.

After spending years on the periphery of the financial world, as the spouse of a fixed income trader who later became the CEO of an international bank, I suddenly found myself single and managing assets on my own. As I worked with my own investment advisors, I began to follow the markets closely and I remembered feeling disillusioned when I asked about ESG and responsible investing. So I started learning. I took graduate courses at Columbia, attended conferences on socially responsible investing and impact investing in London and New York. My watershed moment was at a CFA forum, “Disrupt 19,” where thought leaders and geo-policists, institutional investors and quants, gathered to discuss the state of the world’s financial health. I was introduced to the ESG data provider, Refinitiv, formerly Reuters, who had developed a platform for institutional investors to look at a company’s ESG performance through many data points. It was riveting and I wondered if this kind of data could help people like me make more informed decisions.

At the institutional level in the ESG space, private equity seemed to be working hand in hand with NGOs, acknowledging the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and had started to consider sustainability factors material. Asset managers were creating funds and publishing papers on new ways that ESG factors can have positive and negative impact on companies’ business models and values drivers, such as revenue growth, margins, required capital, and risk. Yet the mainstream retail investment platforms didn’t include sustainability factors in what it means to create a “balanced portfolio” or make money in the long-term.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

UnifyImpact is really founded on the idea that all people who are investing or considering investing deserve access to transparent information about companies’ sustainability performance. We have a brand new website, and we have created a web app, which is now in beta testing!

The UnifyImpact web app is powered by Environmental, Social, and Governance data that allows users to compare companies’ sustainability performance with financial performance. Members can voice their opinions about potential investments to a community of peers and track their choices over time with a personal watchlist.

Our app is accessible and easy to use for people who are not necessarily financial experts, independent as in we don’t work for asset managers, funds, or corporations, and transparent as we show the good, the bad, and the ugly of sustainability performance. We don’t tell our members what sustainability factors to value, but give them the tools to compare sustainability data to financial data.

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’m not sure how funny it is, but my biggest mistake in starting my company was confusing a “concept” with a “product.” From day one, I wanted to give my users all the tools they needed to make a positive impact while making money. We have a lot of great ideas and built more features than the typical MVP, so it took a long time! Fortunately, I have an awesome product development team helping me reel in the vision and build the right tools in the right order.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

One person I am particularly grateful for, because he understood me as a precocious kid, is Jim Flaherty. Jim had worked for my dad as a cub copywriter back in the days of Mad Men and inspired me to write like a copywriter — to be clever and ironic and get the messages across. After I graduated from university, he was the Creative Director at one of the world’s biggest ad agencies and he mentored me in my first job in copywriting. He was crazy, fun, irreverent, and just full of joy, and I hope some of that astounding energy sits within me. And I hope the fun, dynamic environment at UnifyImpact helps everyone of our team members feel like an innovator and visionary.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Of course, there are plenty of examples of disruptive innovations that did not pass the test of time. Plastics solved certain industrial problems and replaced other resource intensive materials, but ultimately had a detrimental impact on the environment. Broadly, the internet gives more people access to information and services they would not otherwise be able to access, but also creates privacy concerns and addictive behaviors that can be detrimental.

But when we talk about disruption at UnifyImpact, we are not talking about a new invention, but a new idea. We want to disrupt the idea that sustainability and economics are at odds. We are interested in the idea that those who want to make a positive impact on the world and those who want to make money actually have a shared interest: the idea that a sustainable economy is better positioned for long-term growth. All the elements exist; the research is already there. The real disruptive part is giving people the power to take sustainability into their own hands. This is not something that will be a fleeting new invention, rather it is movement towards longer-term thinking.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. A concept is not a product. — I spent over a year with incredible passion about the idea of “impacting the world as you impact your bottom line,” before I figured out how to turn the idea into a company.
  2. Stand up for your great ideas. — There will be people along the way who don’t believe in you, but there will also be people who do believe in you, and those are the ones who will be with you for the long haul.
  3. Know what you don’t know. — It’s what allows you to find your best collaborators.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

This is just the beginning. We have a new website, we have a beta version of our app, but now we are dedicating our entire efforts to refining the tools we have created to make it easier for our users to get access to the incredible data the financial industry has created to track companies’ sustainability performance.

My dream is to give UnifyImpact members the tools to make demands of companies they invest in or to divest from those companies if they are out of alignment with their values, collaborate with others who share their values, and use their voice to drive change.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I have observed two reactions from others in this male-dominated industry. The first are people who believe in what I’m doing. They want to join us. They share the vision that sustainable investing is smart investing. The second are people who have told me that unless I do things “their” way, I’m going to “crash and burn.” When I meet males in the industry, they either dismiss my ideas or embrace them. Either way, I stay dedicated to empowering the next generation to understand sustainability better and make more informed decisions.

One major trend in the business of Sustainable Investing is selling thematic ETFs. Selling thematic funds is an easy way to build a product around the idea of sustainable investing, and the success of these products shows people are interested. But few conventional wealth advisors or fund managers dare to give their clients transparent information about the companies in those funds. Remember, there is no such thing as a “ESG company.” There really isn’t such a thing as a “green company” in the public sector. While companies have worked to limit pollution, few have done it entirely. Without transparent information about sustainability performance, it’s hard for investors to know what they are actually investing in.

I’m different because I’m not an asset manager. I’m not trying to protect my place in the industry, I’m giving people access to the truth.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

We do a lot of reading and listening at UnifyImpact, but here are a couple favorites —

Brian Deese, the Head of Sustainability at BlackRock, did a short interview with Bloomberg that gives a really simple and clear articulation of how sustainable investing is risk averse and how ESG factors are starting to be considered financial value drivers.

(https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2020-02-21/brian-deese-on-what-s-driving-esg-investing-podcast)

I am a huge fan of Andrew Behar’s The Shareholder Action Guide: Unleash Your Hidden Powers to Hold Corporations Accountable. Behar is the CEO of “As You Sow” an awesome non-profit organization dedicated to shareholders’ rights. On a recent webinar, Behar unpacked a decarbonization ETF, revealing the importance of breaking down funds and portfolios to the company level to see all areas of sustainability.

We also like the way David Wallace-Wells articulates the ways climate change and economic change are deeply interrelated in his book The Uninhabitable Earth. His TEDtalk is a pretty good way to get started: (https://www.ted.com/talks/david_wallace_wells_how_we_could_change_the_planet_s_climate_future?language=en)

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. 🙂

If UnifyImpact is going to launch a movement, the movement would be to bridge the gap between economic growth and sustainability. Financial analysts are starting to see the correlation, but there is a long way to go to achieve the broad shift in understanding necessary to build a more sustainable economy.

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

It’s important to always be gracious, listen to others, and know your soul intimately.

There have been many obstacles to cross in the process of building my company and developing an app. Many people have opinions about the biggest and smallest decisions that need to be made. When we remind ourselves we are all dedicated to the company’s mission, and to each other, we are able to overcome the obstacles and disagreements and innovate. Good leadership requires knowing the people you work with as human beings.

How can our readers follow you online?

Visit our website at www.unifyimpact.com. Click “Join UnifyImpact” to create a free account and try our beta.

Follow us on social media FB, Twitter, LinkedIn: @unifyimpact IG: @unifyimpactapp

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


Female Disruptors: Mary Ann Hawley of UnifyImpact On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Evie Smith Hatmaker of Rebellious PR On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up…

Female Disruptors: Evie Smith Hatmaker of Rebellious PR On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Actively listening — As I mentioned earlier, my first boss taught me how to listen to clients, translating into the other parts of my life. I tend to be a very literal person and take things at face value, but our interactions with each other are usually much much more profound than face value. Add in power dynamics and structures, systemic oppression, and just thinking critically to hear what someone is trying to say. It made me a much better account manager with clients but also has helped in all my relationships.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Evie Smith Hatmaker.

You might not recognize Evie Smith Hatmaker outright, but you know her work, whether you realize it or not. Evie worked in Silicon Valley right after college for almost 10 years with flashy startups and Fortune 500 companies before moving to Portland, Oregon, and founding Rebellious PR. She started Rebellious to use her top-notch PR skills and talent, but this time for something bigger. She wanted to focus on underrepresented founders and companies that are looking to change the world. Recently Evie was at the center of the sex tech censorship conversation/movement, having created momentum and conversation about the issue in every major media outlet. Evie infiltrated the cultural zeitgeist with this story, and conversations around her work have appeared on This American Life, as well as the TV show The Bold Type.

Evie strives to drive the PR industry-standard higher, to create better work, better work culture, and a better, more trusted industry across the board.

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?

It was an accident. I had zero interest in going into PR. I majored in journalism in college, won a few student journalism awards, and had a killer internship at a music magazine. I expected that I would work at a magazine company at some point. However, while living in Santa Cruz with my boyfriend (eventually husband and then ex-husband) had no interest in leaving SC. So that meant I could freelance, and to be honest, it all felt overwhelming. But, looking back, I realized I just didn’t believe in myself or my work, even though I had crushed it at college.

During my last semester of college, I started playing roller derby, needed health insurance, and wanted to transition into a post-career easily. After noticing there were many PR agencies in the Bay Area, I started working at a local agency the day after I graduated and stayed there (with my new shiny health insurance) for the next 8 years.

It took 2 years to understand entry-level work with little explanation of the full picture. However, I like the human connection and communication aspect of PR. Of course, most people associate it with parties and boozy dinners (which do happen from time to time), but for the most part, we are the bridge between a company having a message and the public understanding that message. I like being the translator, and I was good at it (once I got out of my way). I found that my communication skills from my time working at restaurants and bars translated well and being able to read people, be empathetic, and be friendly. So I stuck around.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

There are a lot of layers to how we disrupt. The first layer is merely being here, owned by a queer woman, and calling ourselves Rebellious. That alone sets the tone. When building Rebellious, I always wanted to be super contentious and intentional about diversity and inclusion. Most people know the stats about the success of a business being tied to diversity. If we all look the same and have the same background, the ideas will be flat.

If a situation is handled with a diverse group of people, the outcome will be more successful due to the room’s variance of ideas and influence.

And truthfully, I did not love the lack of diversity and inclusion (both race and LGBTQ+) at agencies I worked at or worked alongside. We’ve built Rebellious to be one of the more diverse and inclusive agencies around.

Also, I care about company culture. The culture was and is generally a weak spot and a low priority at agencies. Going out for drinks is not a work culture. Fostering a safe environment for growth and support is. Our staff’s happiness and well-being is our #1 priority, even over clients.

And there are the clients — we work with some genuinely radical companies — everything from sex toys to cannabis to non-profits. We have our hands in a lot of pots. I would call our client portfolio, “bold.” We also specialize in working with underrepresented founders. Our ultimate goal as a company when it comes to our clients is the redistribution of wealth and help close the wealth gap.

So I would say we are pretty disruptive from top to bottom.

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?

There are so many, but I have a good one.

During my first couple of years of working in PR, I sent out a pitch through Cision, a PR tool that has journalist info and lets you make press lists and send pitches (aka emails) out to those lists in one click. After completing my due diligence, I did not do my research when making a huge press list with way too many people as a junior employee. I went to hit send, but the computer lagged and did not react like I had clicked anything. So, I proceeded to hit the send button seven times, and the pitch was sent to over 100 journalists seven times.

Once I started seeing journalists tweet about it, I for sure thought I would get called out by name (which was a super fun thing tech journalists used to do all the time). Luckily no one called me out, and I kept my head down at work and was never discovered.

The lessons I learned that day:

  • Stop trying to take shortcuts for everything.
  • Do the damn research.
  • Send pitches out in smaller, more thought out batches.
  • Don’t overly rely on fancy tools — PR is more about tact and graceful than thirsty and desperate.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve never had a formal mentor, but I did try to observe and learn from everyone. However, my old boss in Santa Cruz taught me some valuable lessons on client satisfaction and reading between the lines with what clients want — he always delivered more than just the deliverables. I learned how to command a room and lead a meeting from a female client who led PR at one of the larger, more well-known tech companies. I knew what not to do from colleagues who were too thirsty or pushy with the press. But, I always felt like an outsider in this industry, so I was always watching and learning from everyone around me. I craved mentorship so badly so I made everyone my mentor in some way.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think disrupting systems that have served or benefited the same dominant group of people with power is awesome. Usually, these systems are wrapped around white supremacist values. Let’s disrupt that shit! This includes:

  • How hiring is done
  • Who gets VC money / who VCs are
  • Who gets quality education from the start and things like the digital divide

I think so much of our current system needs to be torn down and rebuilt with everyone in mind.

Disruption goes wrong when a group of people/person looks to disrupt an industry or area they do not have first hand experience in. A great example of this happened this year. A startup made up of tech bros decided the female orgasm needed to be disrupted. They had all these stats about women “faking it,” and the problem and solution to fixing the orgasm gap. Their pitch deck got leaked online, and it was laughable.

I think the key here is not knowing when and what to disrupt but who and why.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. Follow your gut — I feel like this was one my therapist has reinforced in me. I have a great gut with an excellent track record. It’s important to trust your own decisions, and not just lean on the people around you.
  2. Don’t get distracted by your ideas — A brilliant instructor at an accelerator I went through a few years back told us this on our first day, and it was the best piece of advice I have ever received as a founder. As a founder, you’re always thinking about the big picture and generate millions of great ideas. This makes it easy to get distracted and get in your way. She mentioned when an idea comes in like a bolt of lightning to write it down, stick it in a drawer and come back to it later.
  3. Actively listening — As I mentioned earlier, my first boss taught me how to listen to clients, translating into the other parts of my life. I tend to be a very literal person and take things at face value, but our interactions with each other are usually much much more profound than face value. Add in power dynamics and structures, systemic oppression, and just thinking critically to hear what someone is trying to say. It made me a much better account manager with clients but also has helped in all my relationships.

Bonus: Don’t create avoidable emergencies. I got this one from my mom. She used to have a sign on her desk at work that said, lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on mine. I did not understand what this meant until a couple of years ago. Preventable emergencies will straight up age you. Especially in the fast-paced world of PR, creating your emergencies is just unfair to your team. I’m passionate about preparation and seeing the forest through the trees.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Rebellious is growing, and I don’t think we have even begun to peak. So I’m looking to tell the world that we are here and continue to do meaningful work. We are actively looking to expand into two new cities next year, so clearly we’re doing a little more than just business as usual. I’m interested in seeing how we grow, and if Rebellious would be an appealing acquisition to a larger, more old school company looking to shake things up. The world feels like our oyster at the moment.

I’m interested in political communications. It’s an area I have never worked in, and I feel like DC could stand to get a little Rebellious 😉

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think, as women, we have to have a real reason to do anything. In contrast, men have been given blanket permission by society to try or involve themselves in literally anything they can think of with little to no experience or expertise. So I guess women disruptors are battling some severe imposter syndrome. Who am I to do XYZ? So add on the bravery of being a disruptor to that, and it is a considerable challenge just in existing.

I think we start with a lot more doubt on our shoulders. I get upset when a woman is criticized for being too confident. Good for her! I used to visualize myself as an attractive white man whenever I would go into job interviews or salary negotiations.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I love the book Girl Boss. I’m not sure how I feel about the brand in its current iteration, but I respect and resonate with Sophia. I’m a self-made college dropout just like her, so I felt her journey and got a ton of inspiration there.

Also, I love the Ted podcast Work-Life — they do such a great job analyzing and telling stories about teams. I’m pretty obsessed with “fixing” work. I love organizational psychology, so this podcast makes me tick.

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. 🙂

Well, first off, I am flattered you think I am a person of influence! I would love to help tear down the venture capital system of funding startups. When I think of old, antiquated, and out of touch, it’s these guys. The funding statistics around women and people of color getting funding is unacceptable! You see people like Arlan Hamilton who are disrupting the system from the inside, and organizations like SheEO who are getting women funding in spite of VCs. But I just think the whole model needs to be set on fire. I think the idea that a company is not successful unless they have VC money also needs to change.

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

I had a friend at the accelerator I was at once say, “Being a founder is lonely, and sometimes your people don’t always go along for the ride with you, and that’s okay.”

It is lonely being a founder. I feel like I am a horrible friend at this point in my life. My first love is my wife, and near after that is my company. I don’t have a lot of time to nurture friendships or spend time in shallow relationships. I don’t have the energy for a social life, and I am okay with that. I feel fulfilled in the feeling that I am building something meaningful. I am creating a legacy for myself and leaving a significant mark in the world.

How can our readers follow you online?

Twitter: @evieameliasmith

IG: @evieameliasmith

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eviesmith/

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


Female Disruptors: Evie Smith Hatmaker of Rebellious PR On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.