The Women of You Made It

May 22nd, 2012 → 1:08 am @ // No Comments

Christine Eads

Christine Eads refuses to let “being a victim” be synonymous with “being kept silent.” Although Christine suffered terrible events in her life, including being abducted and sexually assaulted, she was able to turn that into a mission to help others cope with similar tragedies. She is outspoken about her beliefs and the wisdom she can share with others. In fact, she broadcasts her opinions as much as possible. Literally.

With more than 20 years in the film, TV and radio industries, she definitely knows how to navigate the airwaves. Currently, she puts her technical knowledge and her gift of gab to good use as host of Sirius XM Radio’s Broadminded, an idea she conceived after listening to yet another female “sidekick” on a man’s show. Annoyed by the typical male-dominated opinions in stereo, Christine pitched the idea of a show created for women and by women.
Her ease in the studio allows her to be open and honest about everything from the joys and struggles of single-parenthood, to the challenging and awkward world of dating. Christine and co-host Molly Dedham have been connecting with their listeners and spreading their wit and wisdom since 2005; and Broadminded shows no signs of retiring any time soon.

Tory Johnson

Tory Johnson is all about spark and hustle at work, dating back to high school in Miami Beach where she joined the all-male debate team—and became the first girl to win a state debate championship. She dropped out of Emerson College for a chance to work at ABC News and then jumped to NBC News, only to be fired unexpectedly a couple of years later.

The permanent scar from that experience inspired her to shift from employee to entrepreneur. Tory founded Women For Hire from a corner of her New York City apartment. The company continues to host high-caliber diversity career expos across the country, attracting talented women and leading employers.

As workplace contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America, she is a favorite among viewers who appreciate her no-nonsense career advice. Glamour dubbed Tory the “raise fairy godmother” for her ability to help women ask for—and get—more money.

Tory is also the driving force behind Spark & Hustle, a company that helps small business owners via nationwide conferences. She is the author of five books, most recently, Fired to Hired, which follows Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash—Without the Commute, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Patty Kovacevich

Patty Kovacs has a knack for promoting people. During her high school and college years, she was always ready to step up as a campaign manager for anyone who needed her help.
After getting married, she traveled the country while promoting her husband. Patty traveled the world, lived in a luxurious house with celebrity neighbors, drove fancy cars and enjoyed a great career. But the fairy tale didn’t last forever. Patty and her husband divorced, leaving her with nothing.
Forced to re-invent her life, Patty struggled with the pressures of single parenting and experienced many ups and downs before finally finding security and comfort in her new situation.
While working as a radio sales representative, Patty came up with an idea that launched her to the forefront of the business. She began promoting doctors—specifically, plastic surgeons—on the radio. As her success continued to rise, she conceived another groundbreaking idea: makeovers for high-end spas and medical spa centers.
Patty has been a leader in the beauty and health industry for over 15 years. In 2002, Patty launched her very own radio show, The Health & Beauty Revolution Show, where she served as executive producer and host. As a publicist with her company, Steel Magnolia Marketing & PR, she has helped many clients rise to the top of their industries by booking appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as other nationally recognized television shows and media outlets.

Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight Ds in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took out a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed the loan into a $5 billion real estate business and sold it for $66 million.

Barbara is the real estate contributor for NBC’s TODAY Show where she comments weekly on trends in the real estate market. She’s also an investor/shark on ABC’s reality hit, Shark Tank. In the first season, Barbara bought eight young businesses that she’s shepherding to success.

Barbara is a doting mother and the author of If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails: And Other Lessons I Learned from My Mom, an entertaining business book that has become a national best seller, as well as Nextville: Amazing Places to Live Your Life. Her latest book, Shark Tales, is the true story of how Barbara turned $1,000 into a billion-dollar business.
As a speaker, Barbara brings her front-line experience and infectious energy to every group she addresses. Motivational, inspirational and sometimes outrageous, Barbara Corcoran’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude is a refreshing approach to success.

Evie Johnson

A native of Washington, D.C., Evie Johnson grew up in the school of hard knocks. She was one of twelve children and became a mother herself at the tender age of 13. Evie’s infant son, Tony, was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a rare condition involving the inflammation of blood vessels. As a teenager, Evie proved herself to be a high achiever, maintaining a 4.0 GPA at her high school while taking daily trips to the hospital to visit her sick son.
Evie realized early on that she was responsible for the destinies of both herself and her son. Passionate about hairstyling, Evie first made a name for herself as a hair braider and worked her way up to becoming a hairstylist. At just 24 years old, she opened her own hair salon in the Washington metropolitan area. Evie has been trained by prestigious names in hair styling, such as Vidal Sassoon, Pivot Point and Activia while product lines such as Motions and Mizani represent her expertise.
Throughout her years as a platform artist, stylist, entrepreneur, business owner, consultant and mother of four, Evie has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Julie Lenzer Kirk

Like many people, Julie Lenzer Kirk believed that one could succeed by finding the right company, climbing the corporate ladder and sticking it out until retirement. But everything changed for Julie after she had her first child.
Facing the obligation to travel for her job, Julie decided that she was unwilling to raise her children on the road. She tried to find a job with more flexibility, but discovered that such a position did not exist. So, she took it upon herself to make her own flexibility by starting her own company.
Combining her education with skills learned on the job, Julie opened an IT solutions firm that focused on manufacturing operations and inventory control. Gaining 500 companies as her clients, she ran the company for ten years before selling it for millions.
While taking time off from work to enjoy more time with her children, Julie wrote a book entitled, The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business. The book draws links between starting, operating and running a successful business and raising a healthy family. Julie also writes a column for Enterprising Women magazine.
After completing her book, Julie began to itch for something new. She co-founded The Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a non-profit that develops and delivers innovative programs to expand economic opportunity for women through entrepreneurship.

Paula Deen

Undeniably, Paula Deen is one of the top foodies to come from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. A Georgia native, Paula was not always the American icon or innovative entrepreneur you know today. At 42, she found herself reeling from a divorce that left her penniless, near homelessness and the mother of two.
With the last $200 to her name, Paula started a home-based business called The Bag Lady. Nearly five years later, she opened a family restaurant called The Lady and Sons and self-published a cookbook that found its way into the hands of a renowned publishing house.
Today, Paula Deen Enterprises has over 17 licensing ventures, from cookware to foods. She has written over 14 cookbooks, co-owns a restaurant with her brother called Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House and publishes a magazine, Cooking With Paula Deen. Paula is currently the utmost authority on southern fare, home cooking and family recipes.

Kathryn Freeland

After receiving her Master’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park, Kathryn Freeland spent five years in the trenches, working hard to move up in a company that would later pass her up for an outsider and then have the audacity to ask her to train her superior.

She never thought she had what it took to become an entrepreneur, but when she was passed up for a promotion she rightfully deserved, she knew she no longer wanted her success to be defined (or determined) by a force she could not control.

With the extensive help of SCORE counselors, Kathryn started a company based upon her experience with the federal government; a company that would support the federal government through information technology, systems integration and engineering solutions.

As the business grew, so did her family. Determined not to let “mommy guilt” settle in, Kathryn gave serious thought as to why she started the business and what she wanted the business to do for her family. With the help of a wonderful support system, she moved forward with her plans. Later, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she would once again rely on her support system to carry her through.

After reaching a certain level of success, Kathryn knew it was time to sell the company so that it could continue to grow. After selling the company, Kathryn took time off to enjoy her children. When they went off to college, she got right back on the horse and bought A-Tek.

Marsha Serlin

Down on her luck, Marsha Serlin found herself a mother facing divorce with the potential of a foreclosed home and a repossessed family car. She decided against being a victim. It was time to take action. Marsha asked one of her clients how he could afford his lifestyle and he introduced her to the scrap metal business.
With just $200, a rental truck, and working 16-hour days, Marsha founded United Scrap Metal (USM), an award-winning provider of innovative recycling solutions. The company has since grown into a $215 million dollar revenue generating business with a team of 180 dedicated employees serving more than 2,500 commercial clients coast to coast.

Sheri Schmelzer

Sometimes the best ideas start off at home. When Sheri Schmelzer spent an afternoon crafting at home with her kids, she unknowingly discovered a multi-million dollar product that would completely change her life. What did she invent? Decorative flare for Crocs shoes.
The little clay, bead, rhinestone and fabric buttons she crafted to decorate her kids’ Crocs were gaining the attention of children at the playground as well as those children’s parents. Soon, Sheri’s crafts were in demand. Her husband—a long-time entrepreneur—knew they were onto something and they soon patented the idea and started a business.
One year and 8 million sales later, Jibbitz was sold to Crocs for $10 million. Not too bad for something that started as an innocent footwear decoration!
Sheri stayed on at her former company as chief design officer and supplied her creative talents any time new designs were needed. Sheri and her husband, Rich, now also head a new company, called Limit Three, where they help guide women through the beginning of entrepreneurial ventures. They also started a company called GeoPalz that produces pedometers to encourage kids to get off the couch and be active.


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