Happy International Women’s Day! Today is dedicated to celebrating incredible women all over the globe for their influence across industries, passions, careers, and lifestyles. Every single day, women are breaking barriers—culturally, professionally, and personally—and it’s only fitting to honor some of our very own BossBabes for the work they are doing in their respective fields.
The past year was a big year for many of us. For me personally, 2018 welcomed the launch of my writing coaching and editing services business, Be A Light LLC. Since the launch, I’ve become more and more passionate about networking with and learning from other entrepreneurs who have wildly pursued their dreams.
Whether you’re just starting a new career, thinking about launching a business, been an entrepreneur for decades, or just excited to hear about female accomplishments in your industry, here is a list of five badass BossBabes to follow in 2019.
And feel free to add others (and yourself!) to this list in the comments below.
1. Darrah Brustein (Founder of Life By Design Summit)
WHO IS SHE? Darrah is a driven BossBabe whose mission is entrepreneurial empowerment. She’s equal parts teacher, super-connecter, and founder. In the fall of 2018 she launched “Life by Design, Not by Default” an empowering online leadership summit for visionaries, creatives, and entrepreneurs to network and share stories of success.
WHAT DOES SHE DO? Over the past 10 years, Darrah has founded and scaled two businesses in tandem: a networking events company serving 30,000+ people and a payment processing company spanning 38 states. She also shares writing on networking, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle design on Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Thrive Global.
WHAT’S HER MESSAGE: “I go by the motto ‘build a life of your own design, a career to fund it, and a network to support it,’” Darrah says. Rather than chasing dreams and success, she strongly believes in building those dreams right where you are.
“I made an active choice many years ago to stop chasing other people’s definitions of success and instead, to define it for myself,” she says, “When I got clear on that, and aligned it with my core values, it was much easier to navigate my life and career and when to say yes or no.”
Now her work inspires thousands to reach higher and dream bigger.
WORD OF ADVICE: “You’ve got this. If you have the desire, don’t force it, but know that that’s a sign that you already have it within you to achieve it.”
2. Francesca Dal Bello (Founder of Gr8fool Limited)
WHO IS SHE? Francesca is a BossBabe with a background as a Chartered Secretary. After sixteen years, she left her position as Head of Company Secretariat within a multinational energy company to pursue her dream of inspiring people. In 2017 she became an accredited by the Life Coach and since then, as been volunteering, traveling, and developing her coaching business, Gr8fool Limited.
WHAT DOES SHE DO? Over the last year, Francesca has been traveling in a campervan, taking her Gr8fool approach to life on tour through Europe. On the road she serves as a Freedom Coach, inspiring and empowering others. She also writes on her travel blog, and speaks at schools and other events all around the country.
“I believe that by inspiring and helping others live more optimistically and with compassion we can positively impact our overall well-being, create dreamy lives for ourselves and take care of our planet,” she says.
WHAT’S HER MESSAGE? Her focus is freedom. She shares not only what freedom means for herself and others, but the benefits of living a more adventurous life with “positivity, gratitude, and the right kind of foolishness.”
WORD OF ADVICE: “Believe in your uniqueness and your journey.”
3. Maya Brooks (Founder & CEO of COFFEE & CODED)
WHO IS SHE? Maya is a New York-based BossBabe who left the corporate world to jump headfirst into what she loved. In 2018, she founded COFFEE & CODED LLC, an educational event series for women interested in coding. The company offers classes and workshops led by prominent speakers/tech professionals to create a collaborative and engaging environment.
WHAT DOES SHE DO? After graduating from NYU in 2015, Maya headed into business and finance fields, but couldn’t shake her entrepreneurial and creative spirit. She decided to build a mobile app from the ground up, and after, as she says, “a year of no sleep, late night coding sessions, and classes squeezed in around her full-time job,” she gained skills in six computer languages and databases, completed several client projects, and began teaching courses at General Assembly, her coding alma mater.
Now she runs COFFEE & CODED and is a Project Manager for iFund Women.
WHAT’S HER MESSAGE? Her mission, directly aligned with that of her business, is “To inspire women to create, code, and challenge assumptions.”
“I believe that a small ripple can lead to big change,” she says, “I started COFFEE & CODED not only to expose more women and girls to a career path that is accessible to them, but also to provide a model for female leadership in tech.”
WORD OF ADVICE: “No one is ‘self-made.’ Ask for help and accept help when you need it. Your business has a better chance of success if the right people are invested in helping you drive it forward.”
4. Yifat Cohen (Founder of YCN Media Group)
WHO IS SHE? Yifat is a engagement maven, BossBabe, and self-proclaimed ‘Geek’ who helps businesses turn strangers into buyers with the power of live video and gamified communities.
WHAT DOES SHE DO? Her absolute focus is to end loneliness. “Though today’s technology allows us to transcend the geographical barriers between us and connect us with like-minded people on a deeper level,” she says, “it is still used as a megaphone to broadcast rather than bridge to connect.”
WHAT’S HER MESSAGE? “Your audience wants CONNECTION, not content,” she says. Her goal is to continue to build gamified, interactive communities where members connect face-to-face in live video through her company Audience in a Box.
WORD OF ADVICE: “Remember that every sensational success you see online is the end result,” she says, “Very few people get much traction when they get started… even paid ads don’t work as well as they used to! [But] don’t be like everyone else – don’t go generate a billion types of content and then get depressed that no one sees it.
Instead, keep in mind that online life is exactly the same as offline life – you have to go to where the people you want to hang out with already hang out, and [remember]…you can’t get married with the first hello.”
5. Ellen Coule (Business Strategist for CEOs & Founder of Lady Boss Social Club)
WHO IS SHE? Ellen is a writer, BossBabe, and ‘communitarian’ who believes in the power of working together. In 2015, she quit her job at a successful ecommerce startup to start her own business. Since then, she’s been jumping at opportunities to build, grow, and foster community through Lady Boss Social Club.
WHAT DOES SHE DO? At the core, Ellen is focused on entrepreneurship and helping people achieve the change they wish to see in the world.
“A lot of my work with CEOs has to do with managing the balance of entrepreneurship with our human need to care for our mind, body, and soul,” she says.
WHAT’S HER MESSAGE? “I believe in the power of a community working together and I think it’s our duty and privilege to help others in the ways that we can,” she says, “This philosophy shapes everything I do. In my work with LadyBoss Social Club, that’s the foundation of the events I create, whether it’s an offline event or an online meetup. It’s all about creating spaces where female entrepreneurs and creatives can connect and collaborate. Because that’s how we change the world!”
WORD OF ADVICE: “Learn from people who have successfully accomplished what you want to do. There’s no sense in taking the difficult road when we have so many resources literally at our fingertips. Ask for help when you need it. People will surprise you with how willing they are to help you succeed!”
If you loved this piece check out the launch of our new BossBabe Podcast and the very first episode discussing the story of our CEO Natalie Ellis!