Running a thriving business takes drive, determination, and a whole lot of hustle! We’re spotlighting seven savvy entrepreneurs whose immense success proves how a little belief and a big leap of faith can land you a leading role in your own life. Looking to recalibrate your career path? Let their accomplishments be your compass.
LIVING FOODIST AND HOLISTIC HEALTH EXPERT
KARYN’S INNER BEAUTY FOUNDER
MY BUSINESS: Karyn’s Inner Beauty exists to rejuvenate the way people approach achieving and maintaining timeless health, well-being, and clarity by celebrating the purity of nature’s original design—in food and in the human mind and body. For the past 50 years, I have been committed to taking care of my body and helping others do the same. In addition to a raw diet, I believe in regular detoxification and have developed a program that teaches hundreds of people each year. The Karyn’s Inner Beauty brand also includes an intimate, yet sweeping day spa (Karyn’s Inner Beauty Center), an extensive learning center (headlined by a 28-day cleanse program), a cookbook, an uncookbook, and all-natural retail lines spanning wellness supplements and raw cuisine. No matter your stage on life’s journey, no matter what drives you, or what you seek, Karyn’s lives as a resource to guide, inspire, and reawaken the most wholesome, empowered, best possible you.
IN THE BEGINNING: All the women in my family died overweight and very young. My mom died at 47, my grandmother at 50, and my great-grandmother at 60. I was very sickly. They had all started out tiny like me, and they all got very large, and they died of degenerative diseases. I was just very fortunate and blessed to meet the right people at the right time in my life to inspire me to go a different route.
MOST REWARDING: My job as the founder and face of my company involves a huge range of commitments. What I love most is teaching. Getting to share and witness the powerful benefits of a vegan diet and detoxification with students in my detox program is the most gratifying part of my job. I’m constantly motivated by the fact that my company is able to make a significant difference in so many people’s lives. What I do feels like a calling more than a job.
MOST INFLUENTIAL: I was initially inspired by my mother, Marilyn, who sought alternative means to heal her cancer. My mother didn’t win her battle, but I was determined not to go down the same road. She taught me there is no such word as can’t, so I always believe there is no obstacle I could never overcome.At the time when I met Dr. Ann Wigmore (co-founder of the Hypocrites Institute and founder of the raw food movement in our time), I was transforming from a vegetarian to a vegan [lifestyle]. Everything changed for me when she brought me into the world of raw foods and taught me healthier eating and the importance of detoxifying your body. At age 89, Dr. Ann could still do cartwheels. I knew that she was someone I had to follow and listen too!
New York, NY
FOUNDER AND AUTHOR
MY BUSINESS: AW is a community designed to inspire, empower, and encourage women to live their best lives. Each time a story is shared, a connection is created. We all have a unique story and can learn from one another. This site is a place women can visit to feel less alone in their journey.
IN THE BEGINNING: Finding one’s passion is a journey; I did not set out to also find purpose. I am one of many women with a collection of experiences as a woman and single mother, working a 9-5 in corporate America, but it is my story that led me to write about what I was going through that brought me to AW. My greatest wish has been to help other women feel less alone by sharing personal stories. Over time, I’ve learned how unique we all are—and inspirational. The rest is history; writing to empower others has been the mission since. My book, “A Journey to Becoming the Best Self,” was only the beginning, there’s so much more to do!
MOST REWARDING: I have received messages from women around the world, some of whom don’t live in a modern society. Having the power to inspire women everywhere to hope for something different—a better life—is the greatest gift AW has provided.
MOST INFLUENTIAL: My life has been blessed with amazing influences. My mother was the first in my life to make an impact. She did her best with what she had, often making something out of nothing.The AW Empowerment Series has offered lots of opportunities to speak with incredible women. Each one left me with renewed energy, and encouraged me to continue sharing powerful stories. Real women thriving in the face of life’s most challenging situations have had an effect, as well as timeless classics like Jennifer Lopez, who continue to redefine age, beauty, and the limitless power we have to create the life envisioned.
“WAKE UP WITH MARCI”
HOST, CREATOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
MY BUSINESS: “Wake Up with Marci” is a TV talk show that airs on WLNY-TV 10/55 in the New York/New Jersey market. Out of market, it can be seen on Roku, Amazon Firestick, and YouTube. It’s a show about empowerment and learning to live our happiest lives. I have candid conversations with celebrities, wellness experts, and other inspirational individuals who seek to share their stories of hope with you and me.
IN THE BEGINNING: I have always worked in television. I spent most of my earlier years working for Fox Cable Group. I worked in operations and programming and was ultimately promoted to director of on-air promotions for FX Network in Los Angeles. Ten years ago, I made a transition and started working in front of the camera. Five years later I decided to take a break from the entertainment industry to start my healing journey, as I am a sexual abuse survivor and coped with alcohol. I am proud to share I just celebrated five years of sobriety! Once I found self-love and true happiness, I wanted to give that same gift to others. I harnessed all of my experience in television and launched “Wake Up with Marci,” a talk show of inspiration, empowerment, and learning to live our happiest lives.
MOST REWARDING: Sharing my experiences with my audience is an absolute gift. There is nothing quite as rewarding as receiving messages from men and women thanking me for being so open about my journey to sobriety. My greatest joy is knowing that my openness about my life on social media and my show has helped people, whether it be with using their voice, moving forward with a dream, facing their fears, or beginning their own healing journey.
MOST INFLUENTIAL: When I first started my show, I was so influenced by Oprah. She is genuine, leads with her heart and her true desire to help others, and she has instilled so much joy, hope, and happiness in countless lives. That is my mission on “Wake Up with Marci”—to empower, share hope, and inspire my audience to live their happiest lives.
MINDY Gura and PAULA Orlan
New City, NY (Paula), Woodcliff Lake, NJ (Mindy)
FASHION/CELEBRITY STYLISTS, PERSONAL SHOPPERS
THE STYLE DUO
MY BUSINESS: Growing up with a stylish mom and grandma, we have always had a passion for fashion. After graduating Tufts University and then starting our families, we decided to use our talents and passions by getting into styling and personal shopping. We love making our clients feel good about themselves by helping them buy and wear clothes and accessories that give them the confidence they need to suit their lifestyles.
IN THE BEGINNING: Our first big gig was working as personal shoppers for Neiman Marcus. We always loved their designer collections, so it really made us happy working there. We enjoyed styling the clients and hosting seasonal fashion shows, which we still do to this day. We decided to branch out on our own a few years later because we were getting very busy with celebrity clients who needed us to accompany them to showrooms and stores on a daily basis. We now spend a lot of time in NYC, but Neiman Marcus will always feel like home! We love what we do now because we enjoy working with celebrities, meeting new clients, working directly with designers and showrooms, and of course styling for BELLA!
MOST REWARDING: The most rewarding part of what we do is styling the fabulous BELLA Magazine photo shoots. We absolutely love working as a team. We thrive on collaborating with the editors, photographers, glam team, and celebrities regarding beauty direction, location, lighting, and the overall vision. Teamwork makes the dream work!
MOST INFLUENTIAL: Our mom, Jill Shapiro, is our biggest fashion influence and icon. She is so up to date on every designer, fashion, and style. When we were little girls we marveled at the way she styled her hair, did her makeup, and shopped for the coolest outfits. She even helps us at photo shoots and events. She exudes the perfect combination of classy and trendy style. (If only she saved her fabulous jumpsuits from the seventies!)
PROFESSIONAL SURFER/ENTREPRENEUR AND CO-FOUNDER
DEAR SELF SKINCARE
MY BUSINESS: Dear Self ’s mission is to provide a high-quality skincare line that encourages you to practice self-love. Each product is named after a positive affirmation designed to redirect your habitual thinking patterns. Dear Self believes in the power of plant-based ingredients, natural skincare, and never harming animals in the process of developing our formulations. Our expert chemists ensure all of our products are non-comedogenic, paraben-free, safe for sensitive skin types, and free of synthetic fragrances. Dear Self loves our planet and that is why we aim to make this skincare line as eco-friendly as possible. We have committed to packaging in glass bottles to help put an end to the mass consumption of plastic. Co-founded with my sister Aja, we understand the importance of lifting each other up on our personal journeys. We have both always shared the same passion for skincare and beauty. It was our dream to put together a high-quality line inspired by self-love, while aligning with our cruelty-free beauty and planet-friendly.
IN THE BEGINNING: My sister and I have always been very passionate about vegan and cruelty-free skincare that was made with plant-based botanicals. We wanted to create a skincare line that aligned with our values. We also both have extremely sensitive skin, therefore we wanted to create a line that was gentle on all skin types. One day we let go of all the excuses that were holding us back from creating our dream line and made it happen! We went for it. There were a lot of trials and tribulations in learning how to formulate products that met our standards. Some mistakes were made, but over time we have developed a line we are both very proud of.
MOST REWARDING: Hands-down the most rewarding aspect of this journey has been helping others in the process. Whenever I read any of our positive reviews, it makes me feel so fulfilled inside. It is a special feeling to know that my passion for skincare has helped people with their skin or overall confidence.
MOST INFLUENTIAL: My co-founder, partner in crime, and inspiration will always be my sister! Aja has been the best big sister and has inspired me from day one. She graduated valedictorian—first in her class—and received the Harvard Book Award. She is quite the super woman! Her ambition and hard work have influenced me in my career to be driven and dedicated.
Dallas, Texas, and New York
REVOLT CAREER NETWORK (FORMERLY BYOB REVOLT)
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
MY BUSINESS: The Revolt Career Network is a proprietary method I created and trademarked for career advancement. The method and our company focuses on self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-accountability with tangible tools. We’ve coined the term “career wellness.” Since creating the method, it has been converted into multiple programs and platforms now used in 33 higher education institutions across the US for career preparedness, individual use for performance tracking and growth accountability, and now for enterprise use where companies can use this for better hiring practices, non-traditional performance management, and value alignment for employee retention. I also wrote the book, “BYOB Revolt,” which was published in 2019, and have since written all of the programs, manage the strategic initiatives, technology management, and company operations. In addition, I am the host of our flagship podcast, “Bitch, I Quit,” which tackles topics of career advancement in a non-traditional approach. My goal is to constantly challenge the status quo and create space for people to align their careers with a value-driven approach that yields meaningful gains.
IN THE BEGINNING: Prior to starting the Revolt, I was a business strategist and had worked my way up to the C-suite by the age of 30 through my passion and expertise in marketing. Specializing in digital marketing and targeting, I had created successful growth strategies using a unique approach. I reached a point in my career where I loved what I was doing, but I still felt unfulfilled. I used the strategy approach that worked so well for my clients and adjusted it as a personal tool for career advancement.
MOST REWARDING: The most rewarding part is getting to wake up with passion for what I do every single day. To be able to follow my passion and watch others find theirs is a gift beyond value. Every time someone embraces the method, it’s really not about embracing the method, it’s about herself, her values, and creating a career on her own terms. It’s a high that I never want to quit!
MOST INFLUENTIAL: Aside from my mother, who is an incredible influence for both myself and my sister, there is one woman who I have been inspired by and influenced in my career and in my life. That’s Dolly Parton. It might sound ridiculous because I have never met the woman, but she possesses everything I strive to be. She is a true individual who knows and accepts herself for who she is. She is an incredible business woman who embodies humility, empathy, and fiery passion. She is a national treasure who all women can be inspired by. When I’m really in the thick of it, I often think, “What would Dolly do?”
MY BUSINESS: Souley Vegan is a 100% plant-based Louisiana Creole restaurant, and we are now expanding take-out locations in multiple territories. Being vegan myself, I take pride in the unique recipes we prepare and serve that I have developed over the years that makes us one of a kind. Even though the work is very challenging, I love to serve the community.
IN THE BEGINNING: I worked at Marin General Hospital for just under 10 years in the endoscopy department of the surgery center. I was a single mother, just a few prerequisites away from nursing school. I had struggled to keep my school schedule and parent at the same time. I left Marin General because I believed I had something to offer the world, something it had not yet seen—a different, more comfortable, and identifiable introduction to a vegan cousin.Even though I struggled, got evicted from my apartment, and had everything else taken from me in my pursuit to launch and develop Souley Vegan, I never looked back. I had faith in my products and the service I had to offer the world.
MOST REWARDING: Being an inspiration to people. I love to tell my story and inspire.
MOST INFLUENTIAL: My mother. Her deep love for her children through the worst of times inspired me to be strong.
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