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Power Women: Author JJ DiGeronimo On How To Successfully Navigate Work, Love and Life As A Powerful Woman

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Be Present — For me to thrive, I must practice being present not only with what is happening around me but also within me. Assessing the energy within your body is essential to understand how you are holding and processing the flow that is likely impacting your thoughts and your next action. This is especially important if you sabotage situations that are opportunities to experience and align with more joy.

How does a successful, strong, and powerful woman navigate work, employee relationships, love, and life in a world that still feels uncomfortable with strong women? In this interview series, called “Power Women” we are talking to accomplished women leaders who share their stories and experiences navigating work, love and life as a powerful woman.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing JJ DiGeronimo.

Two-time award-winning author JJ DiGeronimo helps women raise their frequencies and empower their future impact through tried-and-tested strategies, mindfulness, and energetic practices. Formerly a leading woman in the tech industry, she now passionately strives to help women gain more seats at more tables by sharing the key findings that have helped her and countless others illuminate a path forward. Featured in publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Thrive Global, DiGeronimo is regularly an invited speaker for events and conferences. Her work includes three books, two podcasts, two global online communities, and in-person experiences. Discover her work at

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 childhood “backstory”?

We were not the poorest in our zip code but had our fair share of church cheese and lottery dreams. Naturally, at an early age, I adopted the belief that there was never enough money.

Although my parents struggled on many levels, they did praise my brother and me for our hard work. Because they struggled financially, we were encouraged to contribute at an early age. My parents’ appreciation and praise grew as I moved from pool cleaner to baker to waitress, helping to provide for our household. These early external approvals were noted by my ego and likely drove the internal stories that kept me chasing professional milestones and accolades, working late nights, and feeding my competitive nature.

When I was in high school, I was lucky to have a dedicated guidance counselor, Mr. Mancuso. Although my ACT and SAT scores were low due to an undiagnosed case of dyslexia, he actively encouraged me to go to college.

Looking back, his investment was one of those guided moments in life in which I could have gone left, but his momentum and sponsorship pushed me right. I may have eventually aligned my life in that direction, but I suspect it would have taken me years to get on this path without his genuine help and belief in what was possible.

Can you tell us the story about what led you to this particular career path?

I have learned that life is about opening doors, which can create different opportunities and pathways. Our commitments and how we align our time and funds create those pathways. I picked a computer information degree because I saw a college degree as a door opener that could lead to a better place. I was told during orientation that every student was hired out of the program. Back in 1991, I did not necessarily like computers, but after years of earning minimum wage, I wanted a well-paying job with more opportunities.

I signed up when I was assured that a four-year computer degree would land me a decent salary. I was uncertain of my abilities and fearful I would fail, but I was also determined to move beyond low-paying jobs that suck the life out of people’s dreams.

Even though the catalyst for a better salary drove me toward a degree and then a career in technology, I am lucky. As I found the work interesting and enjoyed the fast pace and ever-changing environment. However, I cannot tell you I would have selected this degree if my lack of finances was not driving my decision.

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

After twenty-five years and numerous milestones, I had hit a wall from overproducing, over-delivering, and over-committing. Quite frankly, I was over it, questioning all aspects of my life.

Even after years of leadership training, I did not know where to start or how to get the heck out of my own way. I had been beating myself up for years — from the demands I put on myself to the many times I said “yes” when I should have said “no.” I was my worst enemy, and I was ready for a shift.

I tried drinking more wine, sabotaging my marriage, and even considered driving away and never coming back. Luckily, I did not follow through on any of those wishes, as I later learned that those sabotaging thoughts were reflecting how unsettled I felt on the inside.

This undermining energy had been building up for years, but I had just continued to do what I did best — pushing through my to-do list with my head down. The actions that usually distracted me from my internal whispers had me questioning all aspects of my life, landing me in a therapist’s office while wishing for a hospital bed. I’d had enough, and I was ready to check out.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?


I tried to convince myself that I was FINE. Yet my inner turmoil did not quit! It pushed me to seek new conversations, new classes, and new books. Not everything I discovered was aligned with and relevant to what my heart wanted, but throughout my seeking, I found new areas of excitement and new sources of energy, which I call fuel stations. These new activities energized my inner self and my Soul. This provided reprieve and balance as my fatigued mind continued to chase external metrics such as work milestones, titles, and accolades.


At first, I questioned myself and felt nervous about sharing these new practices, yet I believe that my professional journey — which includes many moments of feeling uncertain, alone, defeated, and depleted — can inspire other women’s journeys. And maybe women will use the strategies to inspire others on their journeys as I have learned that Seeking often happens off the side of our desk; away from our jobs.


Many people assume that when you are “successful” or when you get to a certain level at work or in life, you will experience bliss or joy. Well, this did not happen for me. Sure, I had moments of joy, but I also had many hours, even days on end, of feeling less than full. Little did I know, I had a sprouting purpose from within that was not satisfied by my external striving and goals. My internal guide, my Soul, was seeking alignment with my true life’s work.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. The premise of this series assumes that our society still feels uncomfortable with strong women. Why do you think this is so?

It is essential to note that, as women, we have not been able to show up at work with all our tools and unique talents. The existing societal matrix apparent in most corporate structures is primarily designed by masculine energies.

There is harmony when masculine and feminine energy work together, and each of us has both energies. Masculine energy is often categorized as getting, doing, and defining, whereas feminine energy is more often associated with knowing, connecting, and being. Either of these energies could be more or less pronounced in some people or even some situations. With millions of search results on the differences, you could research this for hours, but my point here is too much of either energy makes things lopsided.

You pose an interesting question, as strong women could be viewed as women leaning too much into their masculine energy, which could make people feel lopsided and even uneasy about these women. Even though they are doing exactly what they have been conditioned to do: align, position, and strive at all costs, chasing success, power, title, salary, perks, financial freedom, and so on.

Without saying any names, can you share a story from your own experience that illustrates this idea?

I now realize that this chase is an oasis. It creates an illusion that comes with a sea of obligations and expectations each week, requiring trade-offs and conditioning us to over strive for external metrics. As a result, these weeks turn into years that end up detaching us from our inner knowing, especially if we skip things that inspire us, which I refer to as our fuel stations.

It was not long before I found myself striving for this oasis of success, which drove me to rise early and go to bed late. My focus was defined by my schedule, relationships, and actions, and these unfolded into daily to-dos. I later came to realize that the path to professional success is rather predictable and often programmed into us at an early age.

Unfortunately, I did not think I had good examples of people ahead of me telling me to slow down, enjoy, or be present. That is not fair, because I may have had men and women sharing their wisdom, but I was too focused on and driven by chasing the oasis of success, power, and financial freedom that I did not listen to these whispers.

I justified my sacrifices and believed my schedule aligned with the “right” goals. However, I later realized that my focus was primarily motivated by stories I learned as a child and my fear of failure, which was deeply rooted in my ego.

As I look at these questions, I now realize that while I was working toward professional success, I was not present during most moments. Instead, I often planned for the future or reflected on the past. I worried about what I did or what was expected of me. I constantly questioned my actions and abilities.

I wish I had invested in a career coach much earlier in my professional life, as this could have helped me better understand who I was and what I was running toward.

What should a powerful woman do in a context where she feels that people are uneasy around her?

The reality is you cannot control how people feel around you. isIf women are sensing that people are uneasy in their presence, each woman has to decide if she are working in the right circles and doing the right work that brings out the best in them.

Unfortunately, for many women and men, our work environments can, over time, cultivate us into a person that does not align with our desired or prefer energies or experiences. If you are someone experiencing a mismatch, it may be time to explore other ways to show up at work or in life.

I remember hearing a few years ago that when we point our fingers at others, the other fingers are pointing back at us. It is a good reminder for me in many situations that if I did not like the view, experience, role, subliminal messaging, or unconscious bias, I had to decide if I was ready for my next. Then make the decisions or actions to make it so.

What do we need to do as a society to change the unease around powerful women?

To balance the masculine energy of the planet, the world needs more women at more tables to infuse more feminine energy and their truth, wisdom, and gifts into more discussions, decisions, laws, leadership, solutions, and offerings.

With perspective and personal growth, I am an active believer in a universal connection among all of us, providing numerous opportunities for us to help each other learn, grow, and awaken. For some of us, there are benefits in coming together, finding the space, and believing we are worth the time to explore our gifts to illuminate our paths.

This work empowers me, and hopefully you, too, to be more accepting, loving, and open to more women, young and old, sharing their knowledge, ideas, and wisdom.

The planet will shift, and it will do so with the help and likely leadership of women. So if this makes the majority uncomfortable, my words of advice for them is “get use to it!” As we need more women speaking their truth, leading the masses, and using both their masculine and feminine energy in more conversations, roles, and decisions.

In my own experience, I have observed that often women have to endure ridiculous or uncomfortable situations to achieve success that men don’t have to endure. Do you have a story like this from your own experience? Can you share it with us?

As the famous quote by Ginger Rogers highlights, “I did everything that my partner Fred Astaire did, but backward and in high heels.

Sure, I could share a specific story, but I think most have their own story and experiences that is more impactful to them than anything I can share.

We all know it is unfair and it times embarrassing when you are made to feel less than or not an equal.

But let’s remember it hasn’t been that long ago that women only had a fraction of the opportunity that they have today. We have made strides and being a powerful woman is shifting too. Yes, there is negative connotation at times, but there are also very positive outcomes, experiences, and milestones too.

Times are shifting again, and we women are more ready than ever to lead, lean in, and lean on to get our voices and opinions on records, in law, and in motion.

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


I know women will understand this short but all-encompassing statement, whereas men may stop reading as they feel that I am not giving them the credit they deserve. Even with this, I think my one-word answer sums it up.

Let’s now shift our discussion to a slightly different direction. This is a question that nearly everyone with a job has to contend with. Was it difficult to fit your personal and family life into your business and career? For the benefit of our readers, can you articulate precisely what the struggle was?

I, like many women, left little time for myself. I was busy working, taking care of family, and helping everyone and everything else that came my way. As a result, I cut myself out of my schedule too often, leaving myself depleted and, at times, very unhealthy.

Through all the stories and journeys women have shared with me, there seems to be a common trade-off for success that often robbed them of enjoyment, family time, and fun. And many find themselves, just like me, taking out the activities that bring fulfillment so they can check another item off the to-do list to avoid the potential embarrassment or fear of not being good enough.

The illusion of success, with its sea of obligations and expectations, requires trade-offs. It essentially conditions us to over-strive for external metrics and detaches us from our inner knowing. This often leaves us disconnected and drained.

I realize that not all women or men have the support they need from family and friends to take their own leaps. Even Sheryl Sandburg, author, woman in tech, and philanthropist, talks about the importance of your life mate’s support of your goals. Luckily, the mate I married, at age thirty, was on board with me selling my company stock and leaving my tech career to become an entrepreneur with a mission.

I think he believed that getting me off the road and out of the constant stress of a high-flying tech company would be a plus for our family and our relationship. Little did he know, I thrived on the stress, the job, the title, and the pressure. So much so that I had no idea how much it defined me, and my self-perceived value, and frankly how much

What was a tipping point that helped you achieve a greater balance or greater equilibrium between your work life and personal life? What did you do to reach this equilibrium?

Funny, I believe I am still working on this and I am now fifty years old.

The pressure of time seems to be an issue when many of us think about making space for things that excite or inspire us. One trick I use to get out of my own way is scheduling reoccurring meetings inside my calendar to ensure it happens. To ensure I do not cheat myself of this precious time, I do not allow myself to dismiss these calendar invites and reminders until I spend that allocated time with people or on projects that fuel my light.

Those activities, off the side of my desk, also energized other aspects of my work and life. I later realized that those actions and activities fueled my internal light.

“Fueling My Light” became a term I coined in 2012 for aligning with meaningful activities that make you feel good, whole, and in the flow with things that matter to you. When you fuel your light, you create more momentum and positive energy in other areas of your life.

I work in the beauty tech industry, so I am very interested to hear your philosophy or perspective about beauty. In your role as a powerful woman and leader, how much of an emphasis do you place on your appearance? Do you see beauty as something that is superficial, or is it something that has inherent value for a leader in a public context? Can you explain what you mean?

Well, as much as I would like to sidestep this question or even pretend it doesn’t exist, it is an aspect women must consider based on the doors they want to open, roles they want to pursue, or messages they want to share.

How is this similar or different for men?

A few years ago, I saw how a newscaster wore the same suit for the entire year as a test, and no one noticed. Sure, men have to be put together but by no means have the same level of scrutiny, subjection, analysis, or judgment that women experience and especially as women age.

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

Be Present

For me to thrive, I must practice being present not only with what is happening around me but also within me. Assessing the energy within your body is essential to understand how you are holding and processing the flow that is likely impacting your thoughts and your next action. This is especially important if you sabotage situations that are opportunities to experience and align with more joy.

Intercept the Mind Chatter

There is no need to second guess where you are or have been. Now is the time to be honest about the fears that continue to creep up. Popular mind chatter fueled by fear is “I will not be ready or good enough.” In the past, I had been holding on to my stories, which created a flurry of mind chatter, and I had acted upon them as if they were non-negotiable. They had heavily influenced my confidence, decisions, and choices. I had not realized that I had the ability to manage my mind chatter.

Realign Energy

With more knowing, I have learned how to drop my internal focus from my head down into my heart — aligning with my heart chakra. Chakras are key points inside or outside our bodies that are focal points of circulating energy. It took me some time to learn how to focus on and then realign energy inside and around my body to create a more peaceful way of living.

Have Gratitude

Our lives are journeys with many steps and lessons along the way. Honoring where you have been and what you have learned is a vital piece of gratitude that is necessary before you can evolve toward new experiences and lessons. Being grateful for who we are and what we already have can empower us to look for the good, get inspired by what is, and even nourish our gifts.

Remembering Our Gifts

Each of us has unique gifts to share with the world. Don’t doubt yourself, your offerings, or your work. Your light is bright, and you are magical! Never forget that you have been hand-selected to share your gifts, wisdom, and insights your way.

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

Power Women: Author JJ DiGeronimo On How To Successfully Navigate Work, Love and Life As A Powerful… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.