6 BELLA Bosses We are Celebrating: July 2021

This July, we are celebrating 6 more amazing BELLA Bosses! Learn more about them and their businesses here!

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Jess Hunichen and Emily Ward

LOCATIONS: Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles, CA

BUSINESS/BRAND/COMPANY: Shine Talent Group

TITLE: Co-Founders

WEBSITE: https://shinetalentgroup.com

MY BUSINESS:

Shine Talent Group is an influencer talent management agency making waves. Shine Talent Group represents 90+ notable influencers & social talent between its Los Angeles and Toronto offices. It has worked with brands such as Amazon, REVOLVE, Unilever and L’Oréal on influencer campaigns, leveraging the company’s robust talent roster. Shine Talent Group is fresh off its acquisition of Toronto-based influencer management agency, Fourth Floor Management, and The BodCon 2021, the first and only virtual conference focused on body confidence and radical self-acceptance. Shine Talent Group created and held this inspiring conference in late February, with speakers including Jameela Jamil, the actress and founder of radical inclusivity platform I Weigh; Sarah Nicole Landry, the body confidence activist and creator behind @thebirdspapaya; and Hunter McGrady, the history-making plus-size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model.

IN THE BEGINNING:

Emily: I’m a public relations and social media consultant with fifteen years of agency experience. Through my career, I’ve worked with a wide range of startup and large corporate clients in both B2B and B2C capacities. After honing my skills and making a mark at award-winning integrated agencies, DDB Canada and theadlibgroup, I went solo and established myself as an independent consultant. I’ve worked with brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Sol Cuisine, Vegas Tourism, Ontario’s Finest Hotels, Inns & Spas and Kraft Foodservice. Armed with senior-level experience in telling brands’ stories, throwing memorable events and nurturing meaningful relationships, I launched Shine in 2015 with Jess Hunichen.

Jess: Originally from Melbourne, I launched my entrepreneurial career in 2008 with Honey PR, a boutique agency that specialized in beauty and lifestyle brands. Working closely with a healthy roster of clients, I developed strong media relations and social media strategies to increase brand awareness, establish a recognizable brand voice and get people talking. Three years later, the world of television called my name, and I moved on to work in both the marketing and publicity departments at two of Australia’s leading television networks. When life brought me to Canada in 2014, I revisited my roots and became an independent communications consultant before launching Shine in 2015 with Emily Ward.

MOST REWARDING:

Watching the growth of our talent alongside the industry. The Influencer Relations category boomed in 2015 as a result of many traditional lifestyle editorial outlets closing. We were a part of this space when we had to advocate to brands and agencies that social talent’s content and endorsement had any monetary value at all. Through educating brands on the impact collaborations have, we have watched our talent be able to quit their day jobs and 100% focus on their personal brands and their passion for sharing their stories.Through this, our talent have the time and means to be able to raise awareness on important conversations, such as the body confidence movement and Black Lives Matter, which is educating their audiences and propelling much needed change.

SECRET TO MY SUCCESS:

Seeing the opportunity in every challenge. Every year in the growth of Shine we have been faced with a significant hurdle where many would have called it quits. We have an innate ability and trust in each other to see through the clutter, in order to come out the other side. This also has meant we have needed to be nimble and adaptable to this changing space; our ability to accept challenges as part of the growth process has allowed Shine to continue to see year over year growth since 2015.

Samantha Handler

LOCATION: New York, NY

BUSINESS/BRAND/COMPANY: KicksBySammy

TITLE: Founder + Artist

WEBSITEhttps://www.kicksbysammy.com

MY BUSINESS:

KicksBySammy is an eye-catching custom accessories company that provides my hand-drawn artwork on a variety of products. It is as simple as 1, 2, 3… customers select their product, pick their favorite design, and then personalize it with any name, initials, or phrase! With increasing interest in my unique designs, KBS is also proud to collaborate artistically with celebrities and corporate clients to create artwork for events, promotional products, murals, and more.

IN THE BEGINNING:

After hand painting University of Maryland Keds sneakers in 2013, I made my mark in the social media & art scene. At 18 years old, I discovered that doodling on paper was not enough for my creative passion, so I decided to launch KicksBySammy, a manifestation of my love of drawing and fashion. As a young, female entrepreneur my goal is to embolden girls of all ages with the belief that passion and hard work can make anything possible. I hope to inspire & guide my followers, fans, and customers to pursue their dreams and shoot for the stars!

MOST REWARDING:

Using my artwork to bring smiles to the faces of my customers. I also am proud to donate proceeds of specific collections to charities. For example, my limited-edition Women’s History Month collection gives back to girls and the arts by teaming up with Creative Action – a non-profit that utilizes the arts as a medium to inspire creativity, unlock hidden potential, and transform the lives of students of all ages. We proudly are donating 15% of all March sales from collection to this amazing cause.

SECRET TO MY SUCCESS:

Figure out what makes you happy then find a way to make money doing it. My passion for what I do drives me everyday to grow the business, to push my creative boundaries, and to never give up.

Kristen Kammerer

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Business/Brand/Company: Generation Environment (Gen E)

Title: Founder & CEO

Website: generationenvironment.com

MY BUSINESS:

Gen E is a micro-philanthropy app for daily climate action that enables people to donate to vetted environmental nonprofits with every purchase automatically. Gen E exists to rally a wider audience around environmental awareness and positive climate action, because the future of our planet depends on the collective actions of all who inhabit it.

IN THE BEGINNING: 

I knew I wanted to help mitigate the climate crisis and to not create more waste in our world, especially plastic. I also experienced how frustrating and difficult it was in my everyday consumer life to avoid supporting harmful products, business practices, and polluting infrastructure, since society hasn’t yet upgraded to the clean, green, circular economy that we need.

Nearly all our consumption has a negative impact on the environment, yet most people don’t actually want to harm the planet. So I built a fintech app that links positive climate action to all our consumer purchases, which is like putting a climate-friendly filter on all our everyday activities. It’s also making a statement to be part of the solution. Providing an easy way for anybody to make daily climate action part of their new normal will continue to be Gen E’s  guiding north star.

MOST REWARDING: 

Generating incremental support for the critical work of environmental and climate nonprofits is deeply fulfilling. As is bringing together a community that welcomes new people into the environmental movement and helps break down barriers to taking action.

I believe that we are all environmentalists, as we all have a stake in wanting a healthy planet. If Gen E empowers more people to take action and demand change, that’s a win for all of us. The social and economic forces driving consumption must change, and one thing we can do right now is to pledge climate action with every transaction. Only together can we solve the climate crisis, and we need everyone on board.

SECRET TO MY SUCCESS:

Following my moral compass is the top secret to my success as it allows me to follow my passions, listen to my natural instincts, stand up for my beliefs, and focus on work that inspires me and makes a positive impact on the world. I had to earn, learn, and fight my way here, and I intend to make the most of it.

I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I’m at my best when I fully embrace that spirit.  I love building new things from the ground up, reimagining the status quo, and thoughtfully working with amazing people who are value-aligned. What I care most about is protecting the environment and accelerating the adoption of climate solutions. I shifted my life’s focus towards these topics, which enabled me to bring Gen E to life. I invite everyone to join the Gen E community and be part of the climate solution now!

Catherine Balsam-Schwaber

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Business/Brand/Company: Kindra

Title: CEO

Website: www.ourkindra.com

MY BUSINESS:

6,000 women reach menopause every day, but that potential market is currently confused, frustrated, and very under-served. We can spend 40% of our lives in peri-post menopause, yet 90% of doctors have limited or no menopause training, leaving many women both physically and psychologically left to go-it alone. That’s more than a strategic market opportunity; it’s an unacceptable societal issue. Kindra is a [not-so] radical approach to self-care in menopause. We started Kindra with a seemingly simple mission: empower people who experience the hormonal changes of menopause to care for their bodies—naturally, safely, and holistically. What does that look like? Research backed, plant-powered, estrogen-free essentials that do what they promise. A nuanced approach to non-toxic ingredients and intuitive design. A digital community, filled with demystifying resources, shared stories, and the support of dedicated women’s health experts Kindra is scientifically-driven support, made by women and tailored to you.

IN THE BEGINNING:

Like many ‘women in wellness,’ my backstory begins with my mother—and her mother  before her. As the granddaughter of a war-era nurse and the daughter of a glass-ceiling-shattering doctor, I feel destined to carry the torch in my way. Kindra is my way. I’ve been truly fortunate in how my work has beautifully aligned with the stages of my life. In my 20s, I worked at MTV. I joined NBCUniversal’s iVillage in my late 30s as I was trying to get pregnant and had my amazing twins. When the kids were young, I started at Mattel. Now, as I enter my 50s, I am on a mission to change the way we think about menopause.

MOST REWARDING:

There have been so many rewarding stories! I pulled all-nighters working at The White House working on health care speeches, planned concerts with The Killers for MTV, chased stories around the world with NBCNightly News, and helped reinvent the TV Upfront. But looking back, the lesson is always the same. If you have passion for your work and get to build businesses with smart, driven, extraordinary people, work is play and you’re already winning.

SECRET TO MY SUCCESS:

There were (and continue to be) many pros to my innate determination, but we all make rookie mistakes when we’re at the beginning of our journey. In the early days, I was always fighting to get promoted or grow into the next role. I had a defining moment with a new boss when I told him that I wanted to be in more of a leadership role. He was quick to tell me that “giving me” a leadership role would not make me a leader. I needed to earn the trust of the people around me, and when they followed me, then I was leading. I really took that to heart. Now I try to lead by example and help everyone grow along with me. While I don’t believe leaning into career growth or having ambition is a mistake, team is everything. In a start-up especially, we all need to lead in order to deliver on our mission. Empowering others is the key to unlocking real success—and sleeping better at night!

Stephanie Biegel

Location: Chicago, IL

Business/Brand/Company: Key

Title: Chief Strategy Officer & Founder

Website: https://www.mykeylive.com/ 

MY BUSINESS:

Key is a Fan Relationship Platform, where talent, teams, brands & entities can take back control of their data and monetization to build deeper connections with their audiences. In my/my co-founder’s years of working with brands within the advertising space, we identified a unique opportunity gap: brands have an abundance of tools and information at their fingertips that Talent does not have. Key is the essential tool that provides that same value and access to Talent now and into the future. Our platform gives Talent the control to customize, personalize and activate the right experience for their audience building their own personal brand and authentic connections.

IN THE BEGINNING:

We started by asking a ton of questions, assessing Talents’ challenges and how Key could be an integral solution. We happened to build an interactive experiences platform pre-global pandemic and had planned to do a slow, controlled roll-out, until COVID hit. Like many other businesses, Key had to become agile and increasingly innovative overnight. While we had set out to focus on a few key verticals to support, we quickly realized in the wake of COVID that our platform could help any and all Talent across a myriad of categories. We launched in Beta in February, so we are still in the “beginning” innings, enjoying the ride, embracing the twists and turns and continuing to evolve as THE essential platform that gives control back to Talent to build their brand.

MOST REWARDING:

The most rewarding part is waking up each day, invigorated by what we are building, inspired by the team that we work with and grateful to have built a platform that supports so many people in so many ways. Garnering feedback from Talent/Brands/Partners on how effective, efficient and forward-thinking Key is…never gets old. It’s what keeps us grinding and committed to making this platform the best it can be.

SECRET TO MY SUCCESS:

The secret to my success = Always. Be. Learning. I call myself a seeker because I am always looking for ways to evolve, expand my knowledge set and grow as an individual. I love that Key continues to push my own personal boundaries; I learn new skill sets and am challenged daily as we build unique technology within an ever-changing sector. The truth, I never have it all figured out but that’s what makes the journey so rewarding. Success is a moving target but I am surrounded by incredible people on our team that have the drive to push through whatever comes our way!

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