MICHELLE OBAMA - INSPIRATION LEADER
What comes to mind when you hear the name, Michelle Obama? To many people, she is just another pretty face, but she is so much more than that. As a First Lady of the United States, more notably the first African American First Lady she inspires people all over the world with her class, determination, and tolerance.
Life has not always been easy for Michelle. Many of her teachers told her that she was “setting her sights too high” when she applied to Princeton. Michelle graduated from Princeton and then she went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. She was not going to let those negative people bring her down. Instead, they motivated her to try harder and be the best she can be.
She has carried that work ethic throughout her life and that is something she instills in others everyday.
It is her mission in life to better the lives of those around her. When Michelle became First Lady in 2008, she immediately became involved with initiatives such as helping military families, advocating for working moms, and bettering education. One of her most notable initiatives is her Let’s Move! campaign.
This goal of this campaign is to knock out childhood obesity by teaching healthy eating habits and stressing the importance of exercise. Michelle is determined to make this her legacy because she believes there is nothing more important than stopping bad habits early on in life.
Her involvement with these causes has inspired people to be the best versions of themselves through volunteerism, lifestyle changes, and making family a priority.
To say Michelle is an inspirational leader is an understatement. She has faced numerous challenges throughout her life and never fails to make the best of any situation. She is driven to make the lives of those around her better and is willing to do whatever it take to do so. Michelle Obama perfectly represents what it means to be a leader and will continue to inspire people for many years to come.
Written By: Hannah Harger
Brand Girls Client + BG Blog Intern
INSPIRATION LEADER - Sheryl Sandberg
It is always so empowering to see women succeed in a business that is usually dominated by men. Sheryl Sandberg is one of those empowering women who has been making major headlines the past few years.
She is an American technology executive, activist and author. Sheryl has held positions at the U.S. Treasury Department and Google. At Google, she held the position as Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations.
Currently, Sheryl is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook. She was handpicked by Mark Zuckerberg, who was not even formally looking to fill the position. It is thanks to her that Facebook became a profitable company. Sheryl is responsible for creating subtle ways of incorporating advertisements into the website. Most notably, she is the first women to serve on Facebook’s board.
Aside from her job at Facebook, Sheryl has created her own foundation. It all started when she wrote her book Lean In; Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.
This book caused a little bit of a controversy because it is about both helping professional women achieve their goals, and teaching men how to contribute to their society to become more profitable.
It was so scandalous because it touched on issues such a gender roles and equality in the workplace. Soon after the book was released, the organization Leanin was created to go along with what is discussed in the book.
The goal of the organization is to bring awareness to different issues within the workplace. Some issues they focus on are equal pay, mentorship, and tips on how to succeed. The organization has a website, Leanin.org, that shares their goals and valuable information.
Sheryl has most recently made the news for a heavier topic.
In 2015, her husband Dave died after suffering heart problems while the couple was on vacation in Mexico.
She took her grief and poured it into her newest book, Option B. This book highlighted how Dave’s death affected her, and how she is moving forward as well as providing tips for people in similar situations.
Just like her first book, Option B was made into a foundation to provide guidance for those facing adversity. Dave’s death inspired a new idea for the two foundations.
In 2016, The Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation was created in hopes of bringing people together. The foundation brought Leanin and Option B into one place. This allowed Sheryl to stay passionate and involved with the two different missions of the organizations.
Written By: Hannah Harger
Brand Girls Client + BG Blog Intern
With her blunt bob cut and her oversized black sunglasses, Anna Wintour continues to influence the fashion industry year after year. In 1988, Wintour became the Editor-In-Chief at Vogue and still holds that title today, as well as the creative director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher.
Having loved fashion her whole life, her father decided she would work in the industry and set her up on her first job at Biba when she was just fifteen. Before US Vogue, Wintour worked her way up the fashion ladder at places like Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue, which she had transformed as an editor.
She received the nickname “Nuclear Wintour” when she obtained power at the magazine that no one ever had before. The goal of the revamp was to step away from the traditional Vogue ways and begin to follow the American magazine’s way of doing things.
Ten months later, she became editor at U.S. Vogue. The previous editor had brought the magazine in more of a lifestyle direction and Wintour flipped that as soon as she took over.
Major changes were made to staffing, as well as the style and photographs. Her first cover was nothing Vogue had done before and exemplified the changes she would make to the magazine.
Wintour decided to step away from the traditional fashion headshot. It was a zoomed out photo that showed much more of the model’s body than ever before. Wintour chose to use a lesser known model, whose $50 jeans and $10,000 jacket shocked many.
People were fascinated by the mixture of high end and affordable clothing. All of the new changes seemed to resonate with readers; they felt these covers were much more relatable because of the new sense of simplicity.
Vogue was struggling to establish a prominence before Wintour’s leadership. She was ultimately able to re-establish the magazine’s focus on fashion, as well as expand on new topics away from fashion. All these changes helped make Vogue one of the most well-known fashion magazines in the world.
Anna Wintour is a strong example of an inspirational leader because of her ability to take control and make major impact on a brand.
She took a struggling magazine and made it soar by finding a way to connect with the readers on a more personal level.
None of these changes would be possible without Wintour’s determination and notoriously icy personality. Some say her tough exterior has allowed her to make major changes without interference from others because many are too scared to stand up to her, but she also allowed others to learn what it takes to be successful.
Regardless of what others think of her, Anna Wintour will be remembered as one of the people who changed the fashion industry for many years to come. And that is why we have chosen her as your Inspiration Leader.
Written By: Hannah Harger
Brand Girls Client + BG Blog Intern
JESS LEE - POLYVORE
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “you have to work your way to the top”. No one just gets hired and becomes a CEO right out of college. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to get to the top. That is exactly what Jess Lee did at Polyvore.
After studying software engineering at Stanford, Jess began her career as a product manager at Froogle, the shopping engine of Google. Here she strategized how to carry out a product’s vision and make it successful. These skills would be incredibly useful later in Lee’s career.
While she was working at Google, Jess started using a website called Polyvore. Through this website, users could create full outfits by dragging and dropping images of clothing. The outfits could be shared with other users to gather opinions, and the items could be purchased through the website as well.
Jess became obsessed with the site, but saw there were issues with it. Jess reached out to founder Pasha Sadri and expressed her concerns, as well as her solutions.
Sadri responded to Lee by offering her the chance to come and fix them herself. Jess was torn between staying with Google, or taking on the challenge of joining the three person team at Polyvore. She ultimately chose Polyvore and states that it was “one of the best career decisions I ever made”.
Jess began her career at Polyvore by writing code for the website, but she quickly worked her way up the ladder. She handled social media, hired new employees, worked with advertisers, and scouted new office locations.
In 2010, she was named honorary co-founder because of how much she helped the company grow. This position gave way to her leading the company with Sadri. As of 2016, Lee left Polyvore to become an investing Partner at Sequoia Capital.
She is the youngest and first female partner in the firm’s 44 year history.
Although she no longer works at Polyvore, she continues to inspire girls who dream about working in the field of technology. Jess Lee is a prime example of what it means to work your way to the top.
No one questioned her age or her gender, because they saw first hand how driven she was to help her companies succeed. Her fierce focus, desire for improvement, and ability to adapt to any situation are all traits that Jess exemplifies every day.
Jess Lee will continue to influence many for years to come, because she embodies all the qualities an inspirational leader should have.
Written by Hannah Harger
The Brand Girls Client + BG Blog Intern
Sources + Photo Credit:
"Empowered Women, Empower Women"
Ladies - it is with great pleasure that we introduce our latest #girlboss
feature: the ever so fabulous blogger Hitha from... Hitha On the Go
Hitha is an entrepreneur by nature and has created a brilliant online
space where travelers seek out inspiration and packing hacks.
Our CEO connected with her at the United State of Women conference in DC.
Both women are part of Ivanka Trump's community of #womenwhowork and have
both been featured on her site. Click HERE to read Hitha's informative article.
Q Tell us a funny story about starting Hitha on the Go
A I started Hitha On The Go in 2009, while I was running operations at a pharmaceutical company. I never mentioned my blog at work, and I rarely talked about my job on the blog. One day, at a breakfast meeting with one of our board members, my boss drops my blog in casual conversation (never having mentioned it to me before). Thankfully, he was very complimentary of the site and the fact that his daughters were fans, but it was a “what the XX ” moment that I still chuckle about today.
Q You have received some really amazing press! What advice to have to young bloggers on press collaborations?
A Don’t say yes to everything. It can be really exciting when you get your first cold e-mail asking to collaborate or be featured. Create a quick checklist to make sure the opportunity is right for you, both now and in the future. I’d suggest asking yourself the following:
1. Is this a product type I typically feature?
2. Do I like it?
3. Would I feature this product or service for free?
The same goes for press opportunities. Taking the time to thoughtfully answer questions and potentially be photographed needs to be worth it. Will the feature bring you more followers on a social network, more subscribers to a newsletter, new readers? How will you capture these new prospects and convert them to loyal members of your tribe? Make sure the time you’ll spend filling out the questions will help you get closer to your goals before immediately saying ‘yes!’
Q What advice to you have for a young blogger trying to create a strong digital footprint?
A Treat your blog like a business, day 1. Write a 1 page business plan. Create an editorial calendar that you can maintain from the outset, and have 6 weeks of content created before publishing your first post. Bootstrap wherever you can (like setting your site up on Squarespace versus a costly custom design). Teach yourself some very basic design and coding skills (YouTube and Codeacademy are great for this).
The best advice, however, is the least exciting. Be consistent and authentic. Commit to a posting schedule that you can stick with, and play around on different social media platforms to see which you enjoy the most and what you have the best engagement in.
Q What is one of the easiest ways for a young blogger to start generating a paycheck from her blog?
A Trying to monetize your site too early is the biggest mistake you can make as a new blogger. While you may be tempted to take the first sponsored opportunity or join the first ad network that approaches you, you should make sure it’s the right fit for you and your readers. Brands and partners want access to a community when partnering with bloggers and influencers. Take the time to build yours - reply to every blog comment, answer every question on social media, and get to know your readers. Why do they read your blog? Why do they follow you on social media? Do they trust you? You should also study your numbers - site analytics, affiliate metrics. Connect the dots between your audience and your numbers - do specific items you share on Instagram convert to item sales? Are people coming to your site for a specific series or content type?When you can connect your community to specific numbers (for me, I have a 6% sales conversion rate on luggage, travel products, and books), you’re able to demonstrate an immediate value to brands.
Q What are some "must haves" in a girls bag for an interview?
A I think a medium sized satchel, with both a top handle and shoulder strap, is the best bag for an interview. You can carry it a myriad of ways, it forces you to edit your items to just the essentials, and it always looks polished. Inside, I’d keep a hand lotion, small lint roller, mints, your resume in a folder, and a notebook and pen, with several questions already jotted down to ask in the interview. I always keep a travel-sized Tata Harper Aromatic Stress Treatment in my bag - the scent helps calm those pre-interview jitters.
Q What is a piece of advice you have for college girls trying to find themselves?
A It’s not about finding yourself, but growing into yourself. Every time I feel like I have it figured out, life throws me a curveball and forces me to adapt and evolve. I used to hate it, but now relish the chance to keep growing into the woman that I am, and that I want to be. Enjoy the journey - it’s kind of the best part.
"Empowered Women Empower Women."
We strongly (and fiercely) believe in recognizing
women for their unique accomplishments. The
more we uplift - the more we learn.
We are beaming to announce that we are going to be starting a
#Girlboss Blog Feature. We are in love, love , love (can't you tell)
with Jennifer Flannigans work. She is a dazzling artist whose work has been
featured on sites like Glitter Guide and she showcases in major
design houses across the country. We first fell in love with her work
while shopping on King Street in Charleston. Scroll down for an
inspiring interview with the #girlboss herself.
Q How did you learn that your passion lied in the art scene?
A Growing up, my grandmother was a huge influence. She was a woman from a different era - she was part of a high society art scene, and enjoyed sipping tea with her lovely girlfriends - I admired her elegance and wanted to be part of this magical world.
Q Are you a full time artist? How did this transition happen?
A I began dabbling with my creative skills as a hair dresser - on the side I would create artwork that would receive brilliant feed-back from clients. It was through these kind words and encouragement from my extremely supportive husband that I decided to go full time. I have never looked back!
Q Where do you seek out inspiration?
A Everywhere! My work is extremely texture driven and integrates a combination of unique shapes. I am especially inspired by young interior designers. They always bring a unique perspective integrating fashion and culture into a space. These talented designers push me to create unique commission pieces for their clients - often times pushing my boundaries. Outside of my comfort zone is where I am most inspired.
Q How do you go about connecting with major online sources like The Giltter Guide?!
A When creating an outreach plan - it is crucial that you select companies that align with your brand and design aesthetic. Then, make sure you have a very unique and compelling portfolio. And then... just reach out! Be humble in your approach and offer the company a reason why they should feature or collaborate with you.
Q What is one piece of advice you would give to young females trying to find their passion?
A Think outside of the box. What uplifts you - it can be anything! Now... follow that and follow that fiercely! Find mentors who are experts at that and align yourself with their work.
"Empowered Women, Empower Women"
This quote is one of our absolute favorites. It is with great honor and giddy excitement that
we introduce our latest #GirlBoss feature. Our stylish gal pal - Bri Connley is a college
girlfriend who has gone onto open her own "chic little boutique" No. 14 in Pittsburgh. Her attention
to styling is beyond your wildest dreams and has been picked up frequently in the press. Bri
has been helping us style photos for our website re-launch. Bri - you make our hearts flutter!
Q How did No. 14 Come to be?
A I have wanted to open my very own store ever since my High School days. During those years I worked at Nordstrom and loved creating experiences through visual displays. I studied Strategic Communications in school to learn as much as I could about marketing and branding. In Feb 2014 my beautiful parents helped me and invested in a rather run down bar named Partners in Lawrenceville (booming part of Pittsburgh.) We quickly gutted the building down to the absolute bones and foundations to create our dream retail space. I owe my parents everything because the design aesthetic is a huge factor that draws shoppers to our space.
Q What was your dream job when you were a little girl?
A Oh gosh, I don't even know! I think it changed weekly. But two that ring a bell are a teacher or a veterinarian.
Q Tell us a funny story about starting No. 14
A When we were renovating the building, we had to go through 3 floors and 4 walls to get to the originals. We were ADAMANT about having exposed brick (even asked our contractor to come check the foundation before my parents put in their official offer on the building). The layer closest to the brick was a plaster in an awful muted brown, green color. Every time we brought someone to see the space they would remark … “and that still needs to come off the walls right?!” And we were like “Nope! Trust us, it will end up pretty!” And it did! I love this story because we trusted our gut and believed in our vision.
Q What is your everyday routine?
A My everyday looks a little something like this… I wake up early and make a myself breakfast and a latte to take it upstairs to my home office. I answer emails, and look at deliveries that will be coming throughout the week. No. 14 opens at 11, so I usually go in around 9:30 or 10. I love going in before open to make sure everything is handled by the time clients walk through the door. I fix the floor and make sure the displays are looking nice. I feel most creative in the morning when I’m alone in the space and can focus. Then.. opening time! I spend most of my days adding in inventory, sorting shipping, re-stocking the floor, connect with fab customers and my favorite part… styling! I style the space, style the instagram and help style our clients. Closing time around 6 - I go home and cook dinner or meet my fiance Eric out for a bite to eat. There are so many fab places to eat! Then… I unwind with some tea and electronic buying. It is a lot longer process rather than just clicking “order.” I love looking at look-books, selecting color ways and thinking about how our customers will react to a certain piece. Ideally for my perfect evening I would be in bed by 10:30 pm. Tah dah - what a day!
Q Any advice for girls trying to find themselves?
A 1.Trust your instincts: If you know you're good at something, it's time to run with it. Continue to practice your specialty until you're confident in it and believe that what you're doing matters.
2. Find your tribe & love them hard - support is everything. If you’re surrounded by people bringing you down, it’s time to find a new tribe. My friends and family have been on board with this since day one. I think it would've been awfully easy for my parents to look at me like I was insane when I told them I wanted to open this business. Basically like: "yeah okay honey, you want to turn a shopping problem into a career. (Eye roll)" But… they didn’t. They loved me hard and supported my dreams every single day.