Leading the way for female-led ventures with Vanessa Dawson

After spending years in male-dominated fields including retail finance, private equity and digital development Vanessa Dawson is no stranger to workplace gender-bias. When she realized how deeply that bias affected female entrepreneurs, she took action and founded The Vinetta Project; an ecosystem designed to help high-growth female founders get the mentorship, funding, and support they need to take their businesses to scale.

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Eliza Coleman
Finding Unexpected Mentors with Rosemary Murrain

Rosemary Murrain has a passion for non-profits. While working in the non-profit education sector, she saw there an opportunity to bring business savvy to the philanthropic world. While completing her MBA, she started volunteering with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, which turned into a job as a financial director. Years later, she is now the Managing Director of the 25 year-old organization. According to her, one of the best ways to stay at the top is to seek out mentors in unexpected places. Check out what she had to say in this interview with Principal of Parachute Coaching, Lauren Laitin.

 

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Eliza Coleman
Giving with April Pedersen

'Tis the season to be giving, and April Pedersen is helping us do just that.  April, a woman who has spent her entire career at the intersection of technology, nonprofits, and politics, has taken her vision and entrepreneurial spirit in a direction that makes it easier to make every season the giving season. Having recently launched The Giving Box, April is giving us all an opportunity to give in a meaningful way this year.  I sat down with April to learn more about what it’s like to straddle the non-profit and for-profit worlds and to learn what advice she has to keep people going venture after venture.

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PowerchuteLauren Laitin
Migration and Motherhood with Rachel Farbiarz

One glimpse of Rachel Farbiarz’s art conveys with clarity that she was born to be an artist.  Yet, the graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, and mother of two great girls, has wrestled with what it means to be a professional and a parent.  For this month’s PowerChute, and days before the phenomenally talented artist’s solo show, A Different Country, opens in Washington, D.C., I sat down with Rachel in her studio to learn more about her own migration from lawyer to artist, and its intersection with her transition into motherhood.

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PowerchuteLauren Laitin
Making Time & Making Choices with Brigid Schulte

Time. No one ever seems to have enough of it. Brigid Schulte knows this all too well as the Director of The Better Life Lab and The Good Life Initiative at New America, not to mention as an award winning journalist and author. Her search for more time led her to write the 2014 New York Times bestselling book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time. For this month's PowerChute, I sat down with Brigid to learn about her complicated feelings related to time, where she finds time, and why this issue resonates with so many people.

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PowerchuteLauren Laitin
How to Empower Awesome -- with Princess Awesome

Awesome ideas can be found anywhere.  For Rebecca Melsky, it happened on a regular day of shopping for her young daughter.  Turns out a routine trip gave birth to the Princess Awesome idea, and an opportunity to advance the public conversation on empowering girls to be exactly who they want to be -- and now they have a dress that can show the world exactly what it is.  For this month's PowerChute, I talked to Rebecca Melsky, Co-Founder and COO of Princess Awesome, to hear about her plight to open up girls' closets and minds.

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Lauren Laitin
What Kim Kardashian and Creativity Have In Common -- with Taylor Hamilton

Taylor Hamilton is unquestionably creative and she has a thing for celebrities. So when she started her stationery company, Tay Ham, she found an avenue to combine two loves.  I first learned about her in a New York Times article about how writing handwritten cards is coming back in vogue.  For this month's PowerChute, I chatted with Taylor to hear what she had to say about starting small, being bold and finding magic.

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Lauren Laitin
Dressing Like Claire Underwood with Betsy Fishe

Fashion is big business.  The global apparel market is valued at $3 trillion, and accounts for 2% of the world's Gross Domestic Product.  The womenswear industry alone is valued at $621 billion. But Betsy Fisher, a contemporary women's boutique in Washington, DC, named after its owner, is not about high fashion trends and big business.  It's about service.  For this month's PowerChute, I sat down with Betsy to learn about her passion for dressing professional women, building relationships, and even a little retail therapy.

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Lauren Laitin
Taking a Ride in the Shark Tank with Rosy Khalife

Everyday clients come to me longing for more ownership, more flexibility, and more opportunities to be creative.  Rosy and Donna Khalife used to long for those things too. But not anymore. In 2014, they buckled their seatbelts and founded Surprise Ride, an educational gift box company focused on taking kids ages 6-11 on a fun and thoughtful journey each month. For this month's PowerChute, I caught up with Rosy to hear about what its like to be in business with her sister, how their upbringing prepared them for being entrepreneurs, and what advice they have for others contemplating taking a ride of their own.

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Lauren Laitin
Growing Creative with Tobie Whitman

Tobie Whitman, owner of Little Acre Flowers loves spring, the season where flowers come back to life.  In 2010, Tobie had her own personal season of renewal when she transitioned out of the international development field to open Little Acre Flowers, DC's only locally sourcing flower business. For anyone considering a career transition, this month's PowerChute with Tobie is a must-read. Check out her story, her advice for getting started, and what she had to say about shedding her concerns about what other people think.  

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PowerchuteLauren Laitin
Breaking the Rules with Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter knows a thing or two about being brave. In 2012, she held a mirror up to the world and reminded the world Why Women Still Can't Have It All.  Her message, while tough to swallow, rang true in the hearts, minds, and in many cases, fears of ambitious women everywhere.  She's now taken another bold step in her book Unfinished Business, designed to advance the conversation on men, women, work and families. For this month's PowerChute, check out what Anne-Marie Slaughter had to say about making change, building confidence, and breaking the rules.  

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Lauren Laitin
How Practice Makes Truth with Pleasance Silicki

January is often a month of realignment. Realigning with schedules and with vegetables. :)  For Pleasance Silicki, founder and owner of Lil Omm Yoga, January has also been an opportunity to realign her yoga business.  For anyone who has contemplated entrepreneurship, don't miss this month's PowerChute.  Pleasance describes finding her passion, recognizing a market opportunity, and reinventing the business when it hit an unexpected snag. 

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PowerchuteLauren Laitin
Passion By Coincidence, Leadership With Intention with Judith Sandalow

Ready to be inspired? It’s the season of giving and the time of year when everyone remembers the magic of being a child during the holidays. Nobody knows more about the importance of giving and the power of children than Judith Sandalow, Executive Director of the Children’s Law Center. During this very busy time of year, Judith took the time to talk with me about her passion, her path to leadership, and the culture she has intentionally created that allows her staff to be great at being both attorneys and parents.  Check it out!

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PowerchuteLauren Laitin
Wine Not Be Thankful? with Diane Gross

Diane Gross knows a thing or two about being thankful. After working on the Hill for years, she and her husband, Khalid Pitts, took a risk and followed their dream – turning their passion for good wine and great communities into a popular neighborhood wine bar in DC. Cork Wine Bar, and its sister, Cork Market, have won countless awards – including most recently being listed as one of the best wine bars in the country. For this month's PowerChute, I sat down with Diane to learn more about how she has conquered turning her passion into a career.

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Lauren Laitin
A View of Leadership from Courtside Seats with Michele Roberts

A week before the 2015 NBA season kicks off, Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association sat down with me to talk about shedding self-doubt, her maternal instinct, and working for men like LeBron and Chris Paul.  Her thoughts are searingly honest and refreshingly direct.  I've shared more content from this interview than any other one I've done.  Check it out.  It's not to be missed. 

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Lauren Laitin
Juggling the Women’s Movement and Two Babies (with Ilyse Hogue)

A week before Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, returned to work from maternity leave after having twins, she sat down with me to talk about her life in politics and at home, and what her stellar career has taught her about keeping them both on track and under control.  Read about Ilyse's approach to leadership and motherhood and how she's juggling the women's movement and two babies!

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Lauren Laitin