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.”

 
 

Christine Owenell: Life Changing Lessons from our Executive Coach

…on this basis of knowing your self really well, you can start to shift the belief systems that are no longer working for you or put a crown on the ones that are.
— Christine Owenell
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Her Story of Success...

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a coach who would help illuminate your path to success and fulfillment? In this conversation with Leah and Ellen, Executive Coach Christine Owenell offers an inside look at the coaching process. Using issues from the lives of the two co-hosts as examples, she shows how small changes in perspective and routine can lead to big gains in personal happiness and career achievement.

About This Episode...

Founder of Owenell Global Consultancy and a partner at coaching firm Evolution, Christine explains why self awareness is a crucial trait for anyone who wants to work with a coach. Then she breaks down her coaching method and explains how intentional exercises can help us let go of internal issues that are holding us back. Whatever your concern — perfectionism, self-discipline, self-doubt — the key lies in turning a negative approach into a positive one. Christine also shows how incremental changes can lead to rewarding new pathways. Want to start a daily meditation practice, for example? Something as simple as lighting a candle each day might be a good way to start. Making major life changes or landing a big promotion doesn’t have to be your goal. Christine says that “giving yourself the space to enjoy who you already are” can be the most successful strategy of all.

 
 

Maggie Tucker: Letting Go of Your Doubts to Achieve Your Dreams

“Let go of this idea that you’re not going to be able to make it happen. What is holding you back? What are you waiting for?”
— Maggie Tucker
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Her Story of Success...

Five years ago, Maggie Tucker was working part-time at Lululemon. Today, she’s the owner of magpies nashville, whose three popular children’s stores offer a “joyful and welcoming” environment to their clientele. In a heartfelt and emotional conversation, she reveals how she overcame roadblocks to start her dream business and why she practices gratitude every day.

About This Episode...

Maggie gets real about the obstacles she’s faced in starting and running a business — from the negative voices in her head to the strains that her long hours put on her marriage. She shares the steps she’s taken to put less pressure on herself and explains how she’s used her company’s success to give back to her community in amazing ways. “It’s been a huge challenge juggling it all and I don’t by any means do it perfectly, but that’s what grace is for,” she tells us.

 
 

Our top 10 lessons on creating your own success

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Looking for a quick dose of inspiration as you start the new year? Join us for a rundown of the top 10 lessons we’ve learned in our first year of conversations with successful women. We distill the hard-won wisdom these guests have shared and reflect on what it takes to reach the top while doing what you love. If you have big dreams and goals for 2019, don’t miss this look back at 22 amazing women who’ve achieved their own version of success!

We identify the themes that keep popping up in our interviews — from perseverance to the importance of exploring and trying new things. We look at how the definition of success changes over the course of a career and the strategies women use for combining work and family. And here’s a point that will resonate with those stuck in less-than-desirable jobs: several podcast guests have pointed out that hating their jobs motivated them to make a major change. It’s never too late to find a new direction — success could be just around the corner!

 
 

Julia Polk: How to Take a Career Break and Come Back Confident

“Cut yourself some slack and believe. The moment you believe (in yourself) you perform better.”
— Julia Polk
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Her Story of Success...

How do we balance the demands of work and family? It’s a dilemma most career women face, and one that Julia Polk confronted when she had two young daughters at home. Her solution would take her on a non-linear journey to success as an investment banker and healthcare executive. “I’ve come and gone a bunch of times” from the workforce, she says. “I think my children benefited from it — I know I did.” Today Julia is chief financial officer of healthcare startup IQuity and a valued mentor to many healthcare entrepreneurs.

About This Episode...

Julia explains why she was lucky to have female role models early in her career and what she did to stay connected during her extended breaks from the workforce. She also tells us about the value of diversity in leadership teams, the issues women face in raising capital for a business, how to overcome the imposter syndrome, why the first step for any startup is understanding its customers and why she thinks younger generations will have more opportunities for flextime work.

 
 

Maneet Chauhan: Lessons on Career and Family from a Celebrity Chef

“I am a strong believer that your actions are like boomerangs — what you send out in the world comes back to you.”
— Maneet Chauhan
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Her Story of Success...

Maneet Chauhan left her native India to attend the Culinary Institute of America and has gone on to become a culinary ambassador for Indian food in her roles as a chef, restaurant owner, cookbook author and Food Network star. She made it to the top of the male-dominated food world as the mother of two young children, including a son who was born on the day her first restaurant opened in Nashville.

About This Episode...

The irrepressible Maneet shares how she discovered her love of cooking as a child growing up in India, the synergy of working closely with her husband, how she managed a new restaurant while her newborn son was in neonatal intensive care, how she compartmentalizes each aspect of her life to be 100 percent present in whatever she does, and the advice she offers aspiring young chefs.