candy tong lilac and lilies

Name: Candy Tong
Company: Professional Ballerina with Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Age: 22
Instagram: @candytong12
Website: www.candytong.live

How did you get to where you are today?
Like many other professional ballerinas, I began dancing when I was 3 years old. My parents threw me in every curricular activity possible as a child to find out what I truly enjoyed doing. A long side dance, I spent most of my childhood playing competitive soccer, basketball, and even drawing.  I found my love for dance at a young age of 9. I knew then that being a professional ballerina is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I began my professional training at San Francisco Ballet where I soon soared through the levels and was appointed lead roles in performances not only in the school, but also with the company. I was the youngest and tallest (haha) ‘Clara’ at the age of 11 in San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker. Because a dancer’s schedule is so rigorous and time consuming, I began to tackle more academic work on my own. Starting from fifth grade I joined an independent schooling program where I was able to advance with my school work. As an end result, I was able to complete high school two years early with Dean’s Honor List and other academic achievements. The purpose of this was so that I could spend more time training in the studio perfecting my craft. I even traveled all over the country to train with the most prestigious and renowned teachers/mentors to get the best possible training. A long side, I competed in many state and world competitions. I was crowned Miss Dance of California in 2013 and was later placed as third runner up for the title of Miss Dance of America. My first big move as an “adult” was at the sweet age of 16; then I joined the Professional Division at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. The following year, I made a bolder and bigger move across the pond to London, England. I found a new home with the English National Ballet School where I experienced my first big tour with a professional company. I was able to travel all over Europe performing ballets that I have been dreaming for so long. I was living my fairytale, but of course like any other dancer something was bound to go wrong. I dealt with my first serious injury. I fractured my right metatarsal which kept me out of dancing for half a year. As exaggerated as this may seem, it felt like my world ended. I chose to take a break from the professional dance world and attended college at University of California, Irvine where I deferred my first year to dance in London. I knew I still wanted to continue to pursue my dance career, but always wanted to achieve my degree while doing so. With that mindset, I again was extremely motivated in school and repeatedly completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance in just 2 ½ years. During my time at college, I was the youngest to be placed in the highest levels for all dance categories; ballet, modern, and jazz. Because I was able to complete all my credits within my first year, I was allowed to travel during my time at school to audition and perform for professional dance companies. By the end of my second year I took a quarter away from school to dance with Complexions Contemporary Ballet at their annual gala performance in NYC. From there I knew, that this is the company I wanted to dance for. So here I am one year later, dancing with my dream company in my dream city. There has been many ups and downs in my career that has led me to this place. I believe that with a strong will and mind, you can accomplish any goal and dream you have your heart set on.

candy tong lilac and lilies

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I giggled when I read this question because sometimes I feel like just the title “professional ballerina” is enough of an elevator pitch. This career is so rare and unique that when I meet new people or introduce myself as one, the reactions I receive are priceless. They think I’m some graceful yet strong mystical athlete.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
My definition of success determines on my happiness. Knowing that what you are doing whether in your career or any activity in your every day life is helping you and others lead a better and happier life is successful to me. Live your life in a way where that causes you to feel little pain and a lot of pleasure. I think I’m successful in terms of my own definition, but I am and will always be striving for success. There’s so many things in life I want to accomplish and be “successful” at.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
The biggest reward thus far would have to be joining my dream company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, this year. I’ve worked so hard all my life and have been through a roller coaster ride with my career as well with injuries, rejections, and failures. But I’ve learned to trust the process and believe that everything is supposed to happen for a reason. So therefore, I am extremely thankful for where I am today.

candy tong lilac and lilies

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
This may sound crazy to many, but I wish I spent more time in the studio perfecting other dance forms. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a mistake, but I wish I had taken hip hop, ballroom, and even musical theatre more seriously. Nowadays young dancers are perfectionists in all genres. They are triple threats and to be able to get a job nowadays, you must be diverse.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I hope to make a name for myself not just in the dance world, but in everything that I do whether it’s as an influencer, a blogger, or in my career after dance. I want to live a life where I can feel fulfilled and live knowing that I’ve been able to do everything that I’ve ever imagined.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is my mother. My mom is my number 1 fan, supporter, and best friend. She’s seen me at my worst and at my best. I received my passion, dedication, and discipline from her. She’s inspired me to never give up on my dreams whether realistic or not attainable. My mother is an absolute god (*says all daughters and sons*)!

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
I’m not sure if I get overwhelmed much, but I do get frustrated especially if you are somewhat as a perfectionist like me. I am stubborn and if I don’t get something perfect, I usually will think that I’m bad at my craft as silly as that sounds. I’m a strong tough cookie and don’t cry often from my work. But if I do, it’s probably because I’m seriously injured!

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
I think my career as a ballerina has actually helped me in my personal life. I am a social butterfly and love to meet new people on the daily. It’s amazing to have both a group of dancers as friends and the mechanical, tech geniuses, writer/etc. group of non-dancers. It balances out my world and helps me live a well-rounded life. As for relationships, it’s not an easy thing I must say. I’m a very independent lady and enjoy being busy 24/7 which is why I strongly believe NYC is my city. My schedule is usually crazy where I am often traveling/ touring and or working during the weekends which allows for no “play” time. But for me right now, I enjoy my job so much that I am not too worried about having a relationship right now.

candy tong lilac and lilies
Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
Definitely!! After my serious injury when I was in London, my mindset completely flipped 180 degrees. I immediately thought about quitting dance and believed that I wasn’t meant for the dance world. It’s crazy to think that one injury can evolve to these kinds of thoughts. The reason to this is because we spend so much time, effort, money and energy to our craft and that if we get injured we feel and think as though we’ve been set back 2 years behind. As a dancer you are always replaceable (like any other field of course). But since this dance world is so cut throat, I feel as though It is more painful to go through.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
I don’t get anxiety, but I usually get a lot of adrenaline or excitement before and after a show which causes sleepless nights. I love performing and I love being on stage which gets me so happy and tireless.

What makes you happy?
SO MANY things can make me happy! It’s the little things that bring me joy. Of course, nailing my performances will make me exuberated, but also even seeing someone on the street perform a good deed for another person will give me the same feeling. I am just a very happy and good-spirited person!

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
I graduated from when I was 21 years old and was dealing with the transition into adult life. I would tell myself to not give up and to trust the process. I learned it later on, but wish I believed in it earlier. Like I mentioned above, everything does happen for a reason and you just have to believe that. Each let down, each rejection, each “failure” is leading to something great and something you have been achieving for years.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
A huge way to get any dancer mad is to tell them that “dance is easy.” Especially as a college dance major, hearing this made me irritated. If dance were so “easy,” everyone could have a profession in it.

What is your favorite quote?
“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” – Bob Goff

 

Name: Angela Birdman
Occupation/Company: Philanthropist/Founder- Walk In Style For The Animals
Instagram: @walkinstyle_fta @anglbrd

How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been philanthropic, but after my children were grown and entered college, I found myself with more free time.  I took this time to immerse myself into causes I am passionate about – animals, individuals with special needs, and the arts.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I don’t work for a living, I work on making the world a better place for those in need.

How do you define success?
Success to me is when I hear we raised enough money to send the Special Olympic Athletes from Miami-Dade to nationals to compete.  Success is seeing that pup I took from Miami Dade Animal Shelter (MDAS) get released from the hospital, her hair grown back, and finding out she has found her forever home.  Success is knowing a talented young artist will have a scholarship from our fundraising efforts and be able to follow their dreams and inspire us all with their work.  Success is good health, love, and lots of laughter in my life.


What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Some of the most rewarding things?  I think I just mentioned some them in my definition of success. Walk In Style For The Animals and the community response to this event has been extremely rewarding.  Hearing that something I am doing is inspiring others is an incredibly rewarding feeling.  But outside of those, seeing my sons grow into the amazing men they are now has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I am extremely proud of them and who they have become.

What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?
I have learned that you must get things in writing, not everyone values commitment as you do.  That was a lesson I sadly had to learn the hard way.  The most important lesson – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I would love to take Walk In Style For The Animals nationwide to be able to reach even more animals in need. I am a huge animal lover.  Animals do not have a voice, we must be their voice and advocate on their behalf.  Educating people on spaying and neutering their pets so we can get the pet population under control and have less animals in our shelters is a longtime wish. Euthanasia of healthy animals in shelters due to overpopulation and a lack of funding and resources is truly heartbreaking.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I am honestly inspired everyday by people.  The world has so much negativity as of late, anytime I hear or read about a heroic fireman dying fighting a fire, a soldier killed in the line of duty, a woman rescuing dogs from certain death in China, a boy with special needs who started his own company making socks – this is all incredibly inspiring.  This is probably the most inspiring to me actually – ordinary, everyday people doing their part to make the world a safer and better place or overcoming challenge and accomplishing things no one thought they could. These are truly inspiring people.


What makes you truly, genuinely happy?
Happiness to me is waking up to wet puppy noses on my cheek, spending time in nature, being with my family, laughter with friends, and knowing something I did today made a difference to someone’s life.

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?
Don’t do what you think is expected of you – follow your dreams and do what makes you happy!  When you do things that make you happy, everything else falls into place.  Let go of what is not meant for you, so you can make room for what is.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
I think it is assumed that I don’t work.  While I don’t have a “job”, I work harder for the causes I am passionate about that I ever did when in the workplace.  My schedule is always full and I am always working on something – oftentimes a few things at once.

Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?
“You can’t go deep when you are swimming in a shallow pool.”

Sydney Weiss 

Name: Sydney Weiss
Company: Seek The Joy Podcast
Age: 27
Instagram: seekthejoypod_
Website: www.seekthejoypodcast.com

How did you get to where you are today?
Growing up self-love wasn’t in my vocabulary, and I never knew how to show myself unconditional love and compassion. I’ve always been someone that feels everything, and I struggled as a kid and well into my early 20’s. I never knew how to set good emotional boundaries, the idea of vulnerability freaked me out, and I defined my self-worth based on external achievements. My “work hard, don’t play” mentality (I’m pretty sure I just made that up) ran me into the ground. I had no idea what I loved or what brought me joy, and for a long time I thought it was something I had to work really hard for. I wanted to live a joyful and balanced life with greater fulfillment, fun, and adventure. I had no idea how to get there, how to access that joy, and how to make it part of who I am.

In September 2017 I realized it was time to figure out my joy, and I created Seek The Joy Podcast while I was waiting for California bar exam results the second time.

In 2016, one month before I graduated from law school, I had shingles. I sat for the bar exam that summer, and after an intense 10 weeks of studying and anxiety I wore my mind, body, and spirit out. Two months later I had appendicitis, and I was so fatigued I barely recognized myself anymore. When I found I didn’t pass the bar exam I was mean to myself, angry, disappointed, ashamed, and I let negative self-talk take control. It was clear to me that after months (if not years) of not listening to my body, I needed to rest, reflect, and change my mindset and how I spoke to myself.

Over the next year I took care of my health and I started listening and trusting my intuition more. I slowly let go of negative self-talk, I made balance a priority, found refuge in long walks and mantras, and I learned to lean on myself more. I slowly started to shift my perspective from anger to self-love, and over the next nine months I noticed an obvious difference in how I spoke to myself and others.

I sat for the bar exam again the following summer and this time I passed. While I was waiting for bar results I spent a lot of time reflecting on the last year. I remember sitting in my room and experiencing this burst of inspiration. I knew I wanted to start a conversation and create a way to connect with others who had similar experiences. I wanted to build a community and a space to share personal stories, explore what brings us joy, and learn and grow through stepping into our vulnerability and courage. More than that, I wanted to create a space to remind us all that we’re not alone.

It all clicked – I was going to start a podcast, and it was going to be called Seek The Joy Podcast. One night I created a plan and before I knew it I was sitting in front of my computer with a microphone about to hit record.

I really believe that getting knocked down, and learning how to pick myself back up, is how I got to where I am today. If I had passed the bar exam the first time I wouldn’t have learned to slow down and be kinder, gentler, and more compassionate to myself. I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have felt the inspiration to start Seek The Joy Podcast. It’s through discomfort and uncertainty that we grow so much stronger than we would without those challenges. I’m grateful for the roadblocks that I’ve turned into stepping stones.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
Seek The Joy Podcast is a community of women and men who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones, show up for themselves, and share their personal stories of joy, struggle, and triumph. Through heartfelt storytelling, every episode features conversations focused on stepping into our authenticity, building up our self-love muscles, discovering our paths, following our passions, choosing love, and seeking joy.


How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
For me success is taking risks, putting myself out there, and owning my vulnerability. It’s about being unconditionally proud of myself and not fearing those emotional risks. I’d also have to say when someone says, “I’ve been listening to your podcast and it’s had such a strong impact of my life” or “I recommended your podcast to a friend.” To hear that what I’ve built and created resonates with someone – that to me is success.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
First of all, graduating from law school and passing the California bar exam. I’m really proud of those accomplishments. I’m really passionate about our environment and being part of the solution to the climate crisis, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on some exciting and rewarding environmental campaigns and projects. I’m really looking forward to what comes next in that part of my career.
Without a doubt it’s been incredibly rewarding creating, developing, and launching Seek The Joy Podcast. I’ve built this platform all by myself and to do this alone has given me such a sense of accomplishment. I’m really proud of the community it’s inspiring and creating, and I feel so connected to my listeners around the world.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
First, making decisions and rushing into things before I took time to evaluate if it was a good fit. Second, not listening to and trusting my intuition. I made both of these mistakes when I first started the podcast. It’s been important for me to slow down so that I can catch myself before I act before thinking or go against that gut feeling.
I’ve learned:
It’s okay to say no – you can’t please everyone.
Make your boundaries known, especially to yourself.
Celebrate every stage of your journey.
Before making a decision and saying “yes!” take time to really think it through.
Slow growth is growth – always.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone but you.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I’m excited to see Seek The Joy Podcast continue to grow, and I’d love for it to become a household name and instantly recognizable. I’m working on creating ways to connect with this community in person, and I’d love to be able to do that through live podcast recordings and events. I have dreams of writing a book, traveling the world (especially Australia, Italy, England, Switzerland, Hungary and France), living and working in another country, learning French, and diving head first into astrology. More than anything, I want to use my experiences and what I’ve learned to heal myself and others. I grew up with a lisp and embarrassed by my voice, and without even realizing it Seek The Joy Podcast has helped me heal. If I can do the same for someone else, that’s the kind of impact I want to have.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
There are so many people who have inspired me, and I’d have to say Brené Brown is definitely at the top of that list. I was first introduced to Brené and her work on courage, vulnerability, and shame in 2012. She pretty much changed my life. Her willingness to dive deep into her own shame gave me permission to do the same. Her bravery and vulnerability deeply impacted me to the point where I was incorporating her research and teachings without even realizing it. I’ve always struggled with vulnerability, and the idea of being really seen and really heard scared the crap out of me. I’ve always been someone who’s sat on the sidelines, poking my head out from time to time when I felt it was safe, but never willing to jump head first into the deep end. Last year something changed, and now that I think about it I really owe that to Brené and the incredible woman who first introduced her to me.

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
The path I’ve taken with my career has changed my personal life and relationships for the better. Through all of the changes and the ups and downs I’ve learned so much about life, how I relate to others, and how to treat myself with more kindness and compassion. That kindness and compassion has definitely generalized into relationships with family and friends too. Every conversation with a guest or someone who listens to and loves the podcast has impacted me in a positive way. My attitude towards my life has shifted, and I feel more hopeful and more inspired than ever before.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count but I’ve never thought about giving up. I’ve had moments of doubt where I question why I’m doing this podcast and sharing so much of myself. I’ve learned to push past those moments of insecurity and come back to why I started the podcast in the first place. Plus, there’s a whole book of my life still to write! I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to stop after the first chapter.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
Uncertainty and not knowing what’s next has brought me a lot of anxiety, discomfort, fear, and resistance. I’m learning to embrace and sit with that discomfort instead of fighting it. I’m learning to trust more and to trust that not knowing what’s next is okay, that unease is part of the process, and that I’ll figure it all out. Sometimes we underestimate just how resilient and capable we are, and I’m guilty of that too. The waiting and the in-between all serves a purpose, even when we can’t see it yet. Despite the anxiety and unease, I’m learning to trust the process and celebrate every part of my journey.

What makes you happy?
That feeling when you’re standing on the beach and the waves are crashing up against your feet. I could (and do) stand there for hours, it’s my absolute favorite.

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
First, breathe. Second, don’t feel so rushed to have it all figured out. It’s okay that you feel lost and uncertain. Take some time to discover who you are and what you love before you make your next move.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
People think that because I have a podcast about seeking joy that means I’m joyful and happy all the time. I’m on a joy seeking journey but I’m human! Not every day is a good day. The key has been learning to embrace and accept those difficult moments and emotions so that I can come back to my joy.

What is your favorite quote?
“Stay patient and trust your journey.” This quote has been my iPhone background since 2014 and it’s my daily reminder to not freak out! Everything will work out the way that it’s supposed to and when it’s supposed to.

Name: Fabiola Trujillo
Occupation/Company: SobeTan Owner, aesthetician, and spray tan artist
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sobetan
Website: www.sobetan.com

How did you get to where you are today?
With lots of passion for what I do as well as persistence and determination, I believe so much in what I do.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
Everyone benefits from good color on your skin. It makes you feel healthier, vibrant, better looking, thinner, hides cellulite and varicose veins. It is the best make up for your body, it is natural looking and it will last you for a full week, then I show off my tan line :):)


How do you define success?
Success for me is giving something to the community that makes you happy. I meet so many wonderful people doing what I do, and I bring happiness and confidence to them and that for me alone is success in my professional life.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Being able to help women, teaching them about the business and being their mentor whenever they are starting the business of spray tan.

What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?
In the business of spray tanning, it is very important to be able to see the clients after they have showered because that is when we really see what kind of job we are doing, that is the way we kind of learn what to do and what not to do when spraying someone. I guess at the beginning I messed up a lot, but that is the way we learn, right?


What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I would love to take my business to the next level and begin franchising.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My father is a person that I have always looked up to. I also love reading books about business women and how they made it happen, having their business flourish from nothing to a big company.

What makes you truly, genuinely happy?
Being with family, my son and husband. Having my friends near and enjoying time with them. I am a social person and for me it’s important to have people near me 🙂

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?
Oh my, I am so happy the way I have lived my life that I just would say it is going to be an incredible journey enjoy every minute of it, and oh yeah! Stay away from the sun because that tan that you are trying to achieve today will get right back at you, and not in a good way.


What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Spray tans being bad for your health and containing chemicals, which is a total taboo. Self-tanner is derived from sugar cane, and we use only organic products. A natural looking self-tanner is key so clients do not get an unnatural outcome on their tans.

Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. talent will not; nothing is more common that unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”  – Calvin Coolidge.

Name: Elisabetta Fantone

Occupation/Company: Painter, Actress, Wife, Mother

Instagram: @elisabettafantone

Website: www.elisabettafantoneart.com, www.elisabettafantone.com

How did you get to where you are today?
Lots of hard work, determination, never taking no for an answer and never listening to the naysayers.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
Thankfully, I’ve never really had to rely on elevator pitches to get to where I am today.

How do you define success?
To me, success isn’t really about how much money you make but rather on being able to survive by doing what you love in life.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
I’ve been on a few television and movie productions that were pretty rewarding such as my first movie, My Name is Sandy and Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, where I got to share the screen with Amy Adams and the great Christophe Waltz. I’ve published two books, I’ve designed two watches for CORUM, the world renowned watch maker, I’ve collaborated with an international fashion designer on a line of dresses, I’ve painted a number of large murals, two of which are located in Wynwood, which is considered to be one of the top art districts in north America and I’ve been commissioned to paint some of the world’s most iconic celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Celine Dion and the Kardashians. More recently, I artistically revamped the National Hotel in Miami Beach including the total makeover of a suite that now bares my name, that’s pretty rewarding.

What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them? 
I think my biggest mistake was to trust the wrong people early on in my career. What I’ve learned with time is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but most importantly, you should never sell yourself short.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
As a mother I’d like to have another child. As a painter, I’d like to have a solo show in world renowned museum and as an actor, like every other actor out there, I would like to earn an Academy Award.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

I’ve always avoided limiting myself to one single influence and I would say that I’m mostly influenced by the world around me! I think it would stifle my creativity if I were to stick to one way of thinking or one source of influence. My thoughts and ideas evolve every day with my work and I never know where my next idea will come from. It can come from a song I just heard, or something in nature or even a story I was recently told. I try to be receptive and open at all times.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
I used to worry about the most meaningless things until I gave birth to my baby girl, now I can tell you what real anxiety and sleepless nights are.

What makes you truly, genuinely happy?
I can honestly say that no matter where I am, being with my husband and child truly fulfills me.

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?
To always stay true to yourself and to follow your dreams no matter what. We have a limited time here on earth and so life is too short to be wasting it on something that does not fulfill you.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
It’s mostly messy and not always glamorous. It’s lots of sleepless nights and countless hours of hard labor to get to a final product that people assume was easy to achieve.

Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?
Let the naysayers fuel your ambition and perseverance. If you have a vision and the will, you can create anything and be whoever you want to be.

Emily Merrell

Name: Emily Merrell
Occupation/Company: Founder- Six Degrees Society
Instagram: @Six_Degrees_Society
Website: www.sixdegreessociety.com

How did you get to where you are today?

I’m a big fan of following your path and journey and watching it unfold. I think it all started when I decided to move to Argentina after college. In Argentina my main objective was to move to a foreign country I had never been to and build a network and a life there. After 9 months living and working in fabulous Buenos Aires I moved to NYC to start my “grown up” life. It was in Argentina that I met at woman that connected me to my first boss who hired me at Ralph Lauren and later on at Tory Burch. It was there i met one of my best friends who has helped build my San Francisco market of Six Degrees Society. Essentially it’s through my network and support system that has led me to where I am today. My career in fashion really helped set the stage for a wider net of creativity and connections that i’ve tapped into over and over again.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?

We handpick who you meet while networking by creating curated handpicked connections tailored just for you based on bios submitted pre-event. At our events you’ll meet personal, professional and future life self connections.

Emily Merrell

How do you define success?

When someone says, “I’ve heard of you before.” or “I’m on your mailing list!” Yet I think I’ll feel truly successful when Oprah starts talking about us.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?

Working at Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch were two of the most rewarding and exciting companies to work for from working with amazing employees throughout, to building out some elaborate events with some quite memorable people. One event that will forever stick in my mind was an evening at the Ralph Lauren flagship women’s store on 72nd and Madison in NYC where Ralph Lauren was hosting Gloria Vanderbilt and Wendy Goodman for a book signing. The evening was perfect from the handsome waiters to the impeccably dressed attendees. The best part was celebrating the event being over with my team. Overall I love seeing an event through start to finish from ideating it to being there and seeing people’s reactions to

What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?

Ohhhh hiccups. I once had booked an event venue and the day of the event I was told it wasn’t on their schedule so they couldn’t host us. I ended up getting on the phone and working out a solution with the girl working that day and ultimately took her out to lunch.

I have 5 learnings:

  • Stay cool under pressure
  • There is always a plan B available
  • Be kind, honest and understanding
  • Admit you’re wrong and apologize
  • Be clear in all of your communications

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?

Oh man, where do I start. Now that Six Degrees Society has moved from being my hobby to my business I want to find other hobbies to focus on. I love making jewelry and being crafty and am eager to get back into those routines. Professionally I’d love to build an connection platform and resource hub, start a podcast, write a book, launch a talk show, expand our chapters nationally and internationally and grow our team.

Emily Merrell

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My mom. She was a single mompreneuer and she seemed to marry all of her passions within her business. She used to design menu covers for hotels and restaurants and was constantly visiting and traveling to the top hotels and restaurants in the world. She also worked from home so it was hard to juggle being both a mom and a business woman yet I so loved seeing her work and having her at home.

What makes you truly, genuinely happy?

Getting into a robe or cozy pajamas at the end of the day and snuggling with my step-dog.

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?

You have no idea where life will take you, enjoy the ride and let it unfold– but also go into sales!

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?

People think I’m a matchmaker– and get confused when I say it’s women only.

Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?

“Just breathe” from Ever After

Marissa Mosseri

Name: Marissa Mosseri

Occupation/Company: Lifestyle Blogger/Online Influencer and Business Development Manager for Priv

Instagram: @marissalynne / @priv

Website: www.gochicyourself.com / www.gopriv.com

 

How did you get to where you are today?

I started a blog right out of college that focused on beauty and fashion, to help showcase my writing as well as my passion for the industries (with hopes it would also help with my job hunt, which was during the recession in 2008).

I started my career in a Marketing role for a cosmetics company, which quickly turned into a Product Development role. It was so fun and creative – conceptualizing ideas for new products, working with chemists on formulas, testing and naming products and shades, it was a beauty junkie’s dream! I then went on to work for renowned hair care line Bumble and bumble, where I handled Marketing execution for Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.

I now have the opportunity to work with Priv, an innovative on-demand beauty/wellness app that’s changing the game for salon and spa services. It’s beauty your way. On the way.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?

Priv is an on-demand beauty and wellness app that delivers vetted beauty and wellness professionals to any location.

As for my like as an influencer, I’m a lifestyle blogger that works with brands in the fashion, beauty, travel and food world to create content and provide exposure.

Marissa Mosseri

How do you define success?

Success for me incorporates setting ambitious goals for myself, and breaking them down into smaller goals and action steps to work towards them. It’s about continuous growth and progress, as success is an ongoing intention that’s limitless.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?

As a blogger and online influencer, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many incredible national and international brands including Dermalogica, Whispering Angel Rosé, Uber, Smartwater, Daniel Wellington, and Maybelline.

Working with Priv, I’ve had the opportunity to launch the Miami market and establish local partnerships with Bloomingdale’s, WeWork, Miami Magazine, Ocean Drive Magazine, European Wax Center, Miami Design Districtand Lululemon. I also had the opportunity to appear on-air with Deco Drive and NBC 6 in the Mix to offer beauty tips and promote Priv to the local South Florida market.

What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?

I think “paralysis by analysis” (AKA being a perfectionist) was something that prevented me from moving forward with projects in the past. I would have these big ideas, but would sometimes become so overwhelmed by them, that I wouldn’t want to start taking steps unless I had everything figured out, and the time to knock out big steps all at once. Now, I’m learning to live by “progress, not perfection”. Taking smaller smaller steps each day, I am incrementally making progress in each of these projects, and have time to focus on individual steps that will create the bigger picture.

Marissa Mosseri

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?

I want to continue growing my brand and use my creativity and drive to differentiate myself in this competitive world.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My Mom.She has supported me in all of my ideas, projects, career decisions and travel plans, and she sis always the first one I go to for advice.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?

Ideas and plans. My mind is constantly running and thinking about ideas for events, collaborations and partnerships, and listing off everything I need to do!

What makes you truly, genuinely happy?

Spending time with my loved ones, traveling, and seeing my visions come to life.

Marissa Mosseri

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?

Keep hustling and don’t get discouraged.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?

That the beauty industry and blogger world can’t be that hard. It may all look glamorous but it takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and dedication.

Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams”

Name: Dominique Morales

Occupation/Company: M Clique

Instagram: Marketing_Clique

Website: MClique.com

 

How did you get to where you are today?

A lot of hard work, and most importantly by listening to my gut. Taking risk, allowing myself to fail but by always learning from my experiences and using them to make wiser decisions.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?

I usually ask..

What inspired you to start or work for this company?

After the response..

Wouldn’t it be amazing to focus on that and not attempting to learn new programs or understand digital platforms for marketing? Get a team of marketing experts for a quarter of the cost of a marketing team, with years of experience to help you reach your business goals. Lets talk about your goals and how I can take this responsibility from you’re already long to do list.

How do you define success?

Exceeding expectations. For myself, my team and my clients. I define success as making a positive impact while growing personally, professionally, and financial.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?

Doubling my staff and clients in less than 3 months. Partnering with luxury brands that have a budget to work with anyone and them choosing us to create and execute their marketing strategy. It always feels like such an honor to help someone else’s goals or vision become a reality.

What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?

A ton.. like a million ton! But the most important is to learn from them. A memorable mistake for me was partnering with a person that only cared about money. Our business is so much more than that and the difference in values and morals made it very difficult to see eye to eye. Now I see that although education, skills, talent is important it isn’t the most important as having passion for what we do!

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?

Host the #The Luxe List and have over 1,000 attendees.
The Luxe List is national influencer and blogger community that offers collaboration opportunities for social media content creators. In a time where brands rely on influencer marketing more than ever, The Luxe List seeks to connect the industry’s best known and break out influencers with key brand decision makers for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Tony Robbin’s message and story is really inspiring to me. His values of relationship building, decision making and project passion I follow in my day to day personal and professional life. But more so then, wealthy entrepreneurs I am inspired everyday by people I meet that are able to overcome challenges, difficult situations, limited or bad circumstances, upbringing and can still conquer what they set their minds to. This point of view gives me inspiration and a variety of perspectives that validate that I am only limited by my own barriers.

What makes you truly, genuinely happy?

Witnessing other prosper and closing deals!

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?

You are exactly where you need to be. Keep doing what feels right, you do not need to follow others people standards of success.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?

That marketing agencies are more expensive than having an in house marketing team. At much less than the cost of one full-time executive, you get an entire team of experts, and can expect cheaper ad costs and software costs, among others.

Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?

The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. – Tony Robbins

Name: Jenny Blakeney

Company: Real Food Scout

Age: 37

Instagram: Real Food Scout

Website: www.RealFoodScout.com

 

How did you get to where you are today?

I grew up eating a highly processed food diet, and spent most of my 20s continuing those poor habits. I wasn’t aware I needed to change anything, until I got pregnant. It was the first time I had actually thought about what I was putting in my body. A constant diet of Coffee, Croissants, and Coke’s wasn’t going to cut it anymore. So I slowly began to make some changes, eating less processed food and cooking more from scratch. But I had two young babies 14 months apart, and I couldn’t spend hours in the kitchen, so she created practical ways to simplify life in the kitchen. Real Food for Real Life is what I call it.

 What is your elevator pitch on what you do?

Through my website, workshops and online courses, I guide people how to eat more Real Food and less processed junk, and show tips and strategies for simplifying life in the kitchen.  The Real Food Scout brand is all about Real Food for Real Life.

 How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?

Success is a tricky one. I mean I would have said I was a success the day I started volunteering for Jamie Oliver. I was passionate about something and I took action. To me that is success. So to define success for me, would be to say that when you find what you love to do, start now. Most of us are waiting for this future for things to be ready, don’t wait, it’s all a continual process and journey  just like food, so start today. As for the day to day, I am continually working, tweaking, and evolving my business to come up with ways that reach my audience in the best way possible. Everyday is different and some days feel successful and some days don’t, but that doest stop me from pushing forward. 

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?

The daily messages I get from people who tell me I changed their life in some way, with a recipe or a tip and simplified their personal food journey, it just doesn’t get better than that.

 What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?

Um, I think I make them all day, every day. The only way to grow and improve is to try something. Take a risk, test the waters, and then adjust and move forward.  Making a so called “mistake” is the only way to learn and improve, so bring on the mistakes!

 What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?

 Every day I’m just trying to reach more people and grow my audience. I’m so passionate about food and getting the word out that real food can be simple and can simplify your life and better your health too. So, for me, it is really just about growing the brand so I can help more and more people. The more of us are on board with real food, the faster we can change our broken food system and tragic health epidemic.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?

 Usually every 4 weeks, like clockwork. Hah. It’s a cycle, pun intended, but there is a quote I love about the creative process, emotional roller coaster. “This is awesome. This is tricky. This is shit. I am shit. This might be okay. This is awesome.” I just love that because it is so true, it flows like that constantly, so it is helpful that when are you down, you’re usually not there long.

 How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?

I feel really lucky to have such a wonderful support system and friends that encourage me and my business and passion. It can be hard to balance because every time I see food, I’m thinking or ways to incorporate it into my business, and I see food a lot because food is everywhere, all day long.  I rarely take a minute off or away from work, but my business has allowed me to meet some amazing people in the real food community and that has been a real joy in my life.

 Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?

I do, I have moments all the time. It’s the nature of the beast for sure because I’m trying to motivate people to change habits and old programing around food. It’s really challenging. It was and still is challenging for me personally because of my food history.   Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming upstream, and beating my head against the wall, and then the added extra challenge of fighting against the huge, powerful, influential food industry. This is when those friendships in the real food community really help out, because we are all working “alone” so to speak, but our voices are all working together. We will continue to grow and will make an impact on our food system and our health. I just keep believing and celebrating the small victories. 

 What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?

I eat well, most of the time, and I go to bed early, so sleep well. Really well. I don’t stay up extra late to finish things or push through, I chose sleep 98% of the time, and it all gets done eventually, but me on a bad nights sleep is just a wasted day ahead and usually a day filled with poor food decisions too. So sleep is a top priority for me.

 What makes you happy?

My kids, cooking and eating with family and friends, scouting out new real food approved places to eat and just a good hard laugh with friends. I love to laugh and I make a effort to do it a lot. I even have this bracelet on my arm that says laugh to remind me to not take things in this life so seriously, just laugh. Shake it off and laugh. Hard. 

 What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?

Stop rushing. There is no finish line, and there is no end. The journey is all you’ve got, so just enjoy every little detail of your days, they go fast. 

 What is the biggest misconception about what you do?

People assume I eat “healthy” all the time. I don’t. They assume my kids eat “healthy” all the time, they definitely don’t. It’s also assumed a lot of the time that I am a nutritionist and I have no interest in that right now. My interest is not talking about the vitamins. minerals and calories in certain foods, my interest is in getting us to eat more vegetables, more real, whole foods, less sugar, better quality packaged foods for real life, and making all of that easy, practical and fun. We don’t need nutritional degrees to eat real food.

 What is your favorite quote? 

Less is More. I believe less of most things really simplifies life and brings a lot more wonderful things to life as well.

Jenny’s 10 Day Online Dinner Boot Camp is going on now

Click here of more details http://program.realfoodscout.com

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Name: Hannay Yoder
Website: hannayyoder.com
Instagram: @hannayyoder

Hello Darlings, My name is Hannay Yoder and I am the writer/luxury stylist of the Fashion Blog at www.hannayyoder.com I am a cat lover, coffee obsesser, vintage squirreler and social butterfly amongst many, many things! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What inspired you to start your blog? How long have you been blogging?
I was inspired to start my blog by Lauren Conrad and Cara Loren and I’ve been blogging for 2 years. Growing up I had THE WORST sense of style and these ladies gave me hope! *laughs* Once I discovered that dressing does take effort and it’s an art, I fell completely in love with it. There is nothing more delightful than inspiring people through something as tasteful as clothing.

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Describe your style? Where do you find your style inspiration?
My style is one word would definitely be “Luxurious” I love anything with a princess style, tulle skirt, high heels, fur coat, you name it. If it’s luxurious, you’ll find it on my person. I glean most of my style inspiration from Lauren Conrad. She amazes me with how she mixes the perfect amount of girly with practical and chic!

What is a timeless fashion piece you can’t live without?
That’s a tough question! My goodness. It is a perfect toss-up between my string of pearls and my classic black pumps. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, a dress or a pair of casual jeans, a pair of pumps can take you from frumpy to fabulous in an instant! If you don’t have a pair of classic black pumps… you can sneak away for a bit to get some as long as you come back.

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What are some of your favorite Fall 2016 Trends?
Ah, my favorite fall trend of them all has to be the off-the-shoulders (bardot) look. I love how effortlessly sexy and feminine the style is. I don’t care if it’s freezing outside, I like my bardot tops and I probably style them a bit too often. Haha! i also adore, adore, adore the OTK (ove the knee) boot style. It’s more dynamic when it comes to a statement, but I do adore a good statement.

One piece of advice you would give to any start up bloggers?
I know they say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” but do not let that allow you to lose yourself. If you have a “wacky” sense of style, go for it! If you have a “hippie” sense of style go with that! Be you, be unapologetically you! Don’t pay a piece of attention to the negativity, focus on shining and being confident in who you are!

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Favorite place to work on your blog? Creative Space?
My favorite place to work on my blog is in my cozy hole (my bedroom) I am constantly updating it or rearranging it to fit my mood/style so I never run out of inspiration. My bedroom is my favorite place in the entire world and that’s ok!

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