Making a Difference Through Passion & Creativity: Milkglass Creative

We need to spend our energy where we’re getting the most life and where we can come alive so that we can be who we’re supposed to be.
— Mary Hooper & Amy Stroup
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Her Story of Success...

When Mary Hooper and Amy Stroup were looking for alternatives to the traditional career path in each of their fields, they decided to take their friendship to the next level by going into business together. The result, Milkglass Creative, is a unique blend of a design company and an independent record label, which works with everything from recording artists to authors to lifestyle brands. Since it started in 2010, Milkglass has evolved as Amy and Mary have learned to lean into their individual strengths and be open to new changes and experiences. They both keep busy doing creative work in their respective fields, with Mary running the art and design side of the company and Amy heading up the record label while also pursuing her own music career.

Because Milkglass Creative is a values-driven company, Mary and Amy are also intentional about giving back to the community around them, both through volunteering at Y-CAP and by mentoring younger women in their fields. They’ve learned important lessons along the way about taking time for themselves and only taking on clients that spark their creativity and passion.



In this episode…

Amy and Mary explain how they transitioned from being friends to working as business partners, starting Milkglass so they could both have space to be creative and work for themselves (2:41). One of Milkglass’ biggest assets today is the founders’ ability to take on clients who respect their vision, functioning as a true creative entity and not a “Band-Aid company” (13:24), and Mary and Amy explain how passion and a strong value system make that possible.

Since creativity is part of the job description at Milkglass, Amy and Mary also talk about how they’ve made space to allow themselves to be creative and avoid burnout (22:16), all while being intentional about investing in their own identities and lives apart from the company (26:55).

This has allowed them to each find a tribe of friends and supporters (30:49) and develop their own personal definitions of success, which center around personal fulfillment and wholeness (44:34).

Mary and Amy exemplify the magic that happens when you create space to pursue your passion wholeheartedly, and their story offers so much inspiration to help others get there, as well.

 
 

Laquita Stribling: Opening Doors for Others

To be successful, you’ve got to get comfortable with the discomfort of being uncomfortable. Hardly anything significant and sizeable has been accomplished from a place of ease and comfort.
— Laquita Stribling
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Her Story of Success...

Laquita Stribling knows the value of engaging in a wide variety of experiences. She works as senior vice president for Randstad USA, the number one staffing company in the world, and serves as a district governor for Rotary International in Tennessee. Laquita does all of this on top of being a mom, an active member of her community, a mentor, and a lifelong learner. In all of those roles, she strives to be a leader who opens doors for others.

Professionally, Laquita worked her way up over 22 years at Randstad, where she started as an entry level associate. She accomplished this by always being willing to tackle new challenges. That same attitude led her to engage with Rotary, starting out as a young woman in a club that was mostly made up of older white men. Rising to become the first African American district governor, she now uses her position to create greater diversity within the organization.

In this episode…

Laquita explains why she decided to stay at Randstad for so many years and how having a supportive boss has made a huge difference in her career (3:32). She also encourages listeners to be lifelong learners, a value which she learned from her family at a young age (6:56). As an experienced mentor, Laquita offers practical advice for finding a mentor or a mentee, saying no to opportunities that aren’t right for you, and getting the most out of your mentoring relationships (15:02). As she describes her experience with Rotary Club (21:40), Laquita also encourages listeners, especially women, to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable, a skill which she believes is essential for networking and finding new opportunities (32:42).

To close out the episode, Laquita talks about how she defines leadership and success (37:58). In both areas, she focuses primarily on how she can use her own skills, abilities and experiences to help others succeed. Whether it’s at her company, in her community or through raising her kids, Laquita embodies this type of servant leadership in everything she does.



 
 

Courtney Jones: Creating Work Life Blend

We must take initiative. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for organizations to on their own create policies that are going to allow us to find the ideal work-life blend. We have to be the drivers of those conversations
— Courtney Jones
Courtney Jones

Her Story of Success...

As a mom of two kids, Courtney Jones started MomSource Network to help other women find opportunities she felt like she didn’t have when her son was born. Courtney is passionate about helping other women find a healthy work-life blend, and she knows that looks different for everyone. Whether they’re planning to become moms, looking to shift their work schedules to spend time with their kids or want help re-entering the workforce after a career break, MomSource Network helps women find flexible work options that fit with their schedules and their personal ideas of fulfillment.

Since its launch in 2013, MomSource Network has grown to include 10,000 women in 48 states. The company also partners with progressive organizations who want to find the best talent and helps them to create flexible work options for potential employees. Because of her work, Courtney has been featured by CNN, Bloomberg, Working Mother and more.

In this episode…

In this episode, Courtney explains how she recognized the amount of talent that was being wasted because women didn’t want to work full time and also be a mom (3:34), and how she started MomSource Network to help solve this problem (6:26). She offers practical advice about finding organizations that might be willing to give you flexibility in your work (8:20). While describing her personal philosophy of striving for “work-life blend” instead of balance, Courtney encourages listeners to accept the fact that different chapters of life will have different focuses, and she suggests that everything doesn’t have to be perfectly balanced all the time (18:25).

Courtney also outlines five different options for working other than the traditional 9-to-5 job (31:16). She ends the episode by offering helpful tips for finding flexible work options (51:30). But if you’re looking for more help, or if you’re curious about how to start providing flexible work options at your company, check out MomSource Network for more information!



 
 

Sabrina Cowden: Receptionist to CEO

Leadership to me is all about moving roadblocks and creating opportunities that allow your team to be successful – that’s my job as a leader.
— Sabrina Cowden
Sabrina Cowden

Her Story of Success...

As CEO of Milepost Consulting, a sustainability-focused strategy and engagement firm, Sabrina Cowden exemplifies leadership and the value of finding a career you’re passionate about. While her path was not easy Sabrina shares how starting out her career as a receptionist at a computer software company that had great leadership and a culture of learning, she was able to take a seven-year career break to raise her kids, and still come back confident in herself and abilities.

When it was time to return to work and after turning down many jobs Sabrina settled on a temporary position that ended up lasting for six years. She eventually got her MBA and rose to the rank of CEO.

In this episode…

In this episode Sabrina explains the lessons she learned at her first job out of college that shaped the rest of her professional life (4:20). From creating a space where people can feel safe to fail (8:19) to finding good mentors (12:46), Sabrina unpacks helpful advice, both for leaders and for those who are just getting started in their careers.

Sabrina also points out that the lessons she learned during her career break were just as valuable as the ones she learned at work, and she describes the process of reentering the workforce with the goal of finding a job she was passionate about (31:11). Her success in doing this banked on Sabrina’s courage and ability to bet on herself even when it seemed risky or uncertain, and in the process, Sabrina realized she was capable of becoming a great leader (35:13).

Sabrina encourages other women to explore many different opportunities without feeling guilty, and she highlights the importance of being able to take responsibility for your own professional growth.





 
 

Sarah Scarborough: Finding Your Purpose

Any practice or ritual can allow you the time and space to get quiet and experience peace where you can connect with yourself to find your own unique gifts and passions.
— Sarah Scarborough
Sarah Scarborough

Her Story of Success...

Sarah Scarborough CEO of Firepot Nomadic Teas took the path less traveled to becoming the successful business owner she is today.

Spending summers off the grid and living on the land with her family in Finland led her to realize that when all of her friends were buying suites and going on interviews in college, she just wanted to be somewhere farming. This led her on a journey across the world and introduced her to a passion for practicing and sharing the ritual of tea.

In this episode…

In this episode Sarah shares how her aversion to being a “business person” led her on a journey of finding her purpose, confidence, and how she realized being successful in business can help you make an impact in the world.

Sarah shares how following her passion for fair trade and sustainable farming led her to tea and across the world from Nashville to Montana to California and New Zealand. Sarah believes incorporating a rituals such as tea, yoga, or medication can help you make the room in your life to realize what you love and the next steps needed to make it happen.

You can check out her teas, Sunday tea ritual and her passion for Women and Wildlife.



 
 

Maria Aspan: Empowering the Entrepreneur in Everyone

I wanted to write a book that acknowledged that success in business can happen to anybody and that there are a lot of different kinds of heroes.
— Maria Aspan
Maria Aspan

Her Story of Success...

As an award-winning business journalist and editor-at-large at Inc Magazine, Maria Aspan strives to ensure that the pieces that she writes are both practical and enjoyable. She’s written about startups, technology, finance, and gender in her roles at the New York Times and American Banker, and in her book Startup Money Made Easyshe creates an inclusive entrepreneur guide to show how success can happen to anyone.

In this episode…

We dive into the key take aways from the book that make this a great guide for entrepreneurs in all seasons of their business from idea to exit.

Maria also shares the importance to find joy in the job you’re in right now, and how she looks for a place that will challenge her out of her comfort zone, where she can engage in work that’s meaningful to her, and where she can work with people she trusts. 

 
 

Leslie DiPiero: Championing Fearlessness and Vulnerability

Everyone has their own skillset, they just need someone to take out the highlighter pen.
— Leslie DiPiero
Leslie DiPiero

Her Story of Success...

Leslie DiPiero’s job is to find and develop talented songwriters through her role as General Manager at Tree Vibez Music, and even after being in the same industry for the past 25 years, she still wakes up excited to go to work each day. She grew up in the entertainment world as the daughter of a singer and a comedian, but she decided to start her own business at age 14 after her mom was diagnosed with cancer.

In this episode…

Leslie finds lots of meaning in being able to give back to an industry that has given so much to her, and she enjoys creating a safe space for her songwriters to thrive. The main qualities she looks for in people are a willingness to live in both fearlessness and vulnerability, and she lives both of these out in her own life. She believes that everyone has their own unique skillset, sometimes they just need someone to take out the highlighter pen and help them see it.

 
 

Danielle Ontiveros: Staying True to Your Vision

Doing one thing and doing it well is the secret to success.
— Danielle Ontiveros
Danielle Ontiveros

Her Story of Success...

Danielle Ontiveros had the mindset of an entrepreneur from a young age. As a 16-year-old, she created the recipe for a delicious and filling gluten-free protein bar. Though her Grab the Gold bars were a hit, Danielle’s entrepreneurial spirit generated “10 ideas a day” for other endeavors — she became a massage therapist for the New Orleans Saints, started an aromatherapy line and launched a cleaning business, all while making and selling her popular protein bars. It was only when she committed to “choosing one road and taking it” that she was able to lead her business to the next level. Today, Grab the Gold products have thousands of enthusiastic fans and are sold in more than 5,000 stores across the U.S.


In this episode

Danielle tells us how Hurricane Katrina forced a dramatic turning point for her New Orleans-based business. After losing her home in the storm, she responded to offers of help and support from the Nashville area and moved to Franklin, Tennessee.  She recalls the deep emotional upheaval of that time and credits her mother’s encouragement with helping her get past “hopeless, helpless” feelings and get back in business. Danielle also shares her intuitive style of leadership, her focus on giving back to the community and her hopes for mentoring other women with entrepreneurial dreams. Above all, she says, her emphasis is on treating her employees and others with concern and respect. “Making a product — that’s a function, it’s a thing. But how you treat people … that is the essence of morality. It’s who you are.”

 
 

Karee Hays: A Skincare Expert Shares Her Secrets to Success

“Taking that first step was probably the hardest thing.”
— Karee Hays
Karee Hays

Her Story of Success...

At the age of 38, Karee Hays went back to school to pursue her passion for skincare and launch a new career as an esthetician. “I was definitely the oldest one in the entire school,” she recalls, but pushing past her comfort zone proved to be worth the risk. Starting with a one-room salon and word-of-mouth recommendations from clients, her business quickly blossomed. Today, Karee Hays Esthetics has a state-of-the-art facility, a sought-after product line and a client roster that includes celebrities like supermodel Lily Aldridge, reality star Kristin Cavallari and musician Kacey Musgraves.

About This Episode...

Karee explains how a recession motivated her to make a career change, why she decided to open her own business and why she found it difficult to relinquish personal control and bring new employees into her company. She reflects on the effects her working life has had on her children and expresses gratitude for the support of her husband, “who has always been my biggest cheerleader.” As a bonus, listeners will also get Karee’s tips on the must-haves in an effective skincare routine, from retinoids to exfoliation.

 
 

Tallu Quinn: Following Your Personal Passion to Make a Difference

“There are so many ways to do good, and it’s very easy to idealize someone else’s way.”
— Tallu Quinn
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Her Story of Success...

As Executive Director of the Nashville Food Project, Tallu Quinn uses her passion for food as a tool for creating community and defining pathways out of poverty. Her grassroots organization recovers edible food from grocery stores and other sources and uses it to prepare more than 5,000 high-quality, made-from-scratch meals each week for people in need. In this wide-ranging conversation, Tallu shares the nitty-gritty challenges of launching a nonprofit, being a boss and simultaneously fulfilling her roles as a wife and mother. She also acknowledges that there are “many amazing ways to make a difference in the world” outside the nonprofit sector — from volunteering to donating to entrepreneurial endeavors.

About This Episode...

Tallu tells us why she decided to return to her hometown to launch her food ministry, why working at a nonprofit isn’t always easy or glamorous and why it’s important that women take a long view of work-life balance. She also shares what she’s learned about the importance of self-care and attending to what’s beneath the surface. “The healthy, life-giving things that you do for yourself, those are good things for your family, too.”