Marlena Stell and How Her Love for Makeup Turned into a $10M Business

curated from Forbes

Everything started from a YouTube channel called Makeup Geek where Marlena Stell taught cosmetics application. When that became a hit, she quit her teaching job and currently, Stell’s makeup enterprise grosses $1 million monthly.

This is a transcript of an interview that was done from her Sacramento, California office.

How do you go from being a music teacher to a makeup entrepreneur?

Ever since I was a little girl I was interested in makeup. While studying music education at Pensacola Christian College, I minored in stage makeup, doing makeup for special events as a side gig. I married soon after college, moved to Michigan and got a teaching job — but I was still passionate about educating women about makeup. Immediately after launching my YouTube channel in 2008, it took off. In addition to doing application tutorials, I have always reviewed products very candidly. I was frustrated because I mentioned cosmetic brands all the time and drove product sales, but I didn’t make any money from it. Today there are commission affiliate programs, but those didn’t exist back then.

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Women are changing the face of Venture Capital

curated from Business Insider

When it comes to women entrepreneurs that are running VC-backed startups, you could consider the numbers to be a bit low. An MIT research even states that women founders in the tech industry represent less than 7% of startups that get VC funding. Boris Wertz, a founding partner of Canadian Version One Ventures (Flurry, Indiegogo), however, says that we could be on the cusp of a new age in VC funding of women-led startups. He added that this is because of an increased number of women entering college to study computer, science, math, and engineering.

Here is a transcript of the interview that Business Insider did with Wertz:

Business Insider: What are you seeing in the U.S. with female founders?

Boris Wertz: We, at Version One Ventures, have seen a pretty drastic increase in the number of female founders. Over seven years of investing in 50+ start-ups, the share of female founders in our portfolio has risen from 5-10% in the early years to 50% in 2014.

BI: What kinds of startups are women pitching and are they different then all-male founded startups?

BW: In the past, female CEOs were largely limited to those areas where they have a distinct advantage over their male counterparts, i.e. selling primarily to a female audience. But today we’re seeing women building companies across all sectors and areas. Some of this trend might be due to the favorable environment for first-time entrepreneurs. The rise of the cloud computing and software-as-a-service has eliminated many of the upfront expenditures needed for a tech start-up, creating opportunities for a more diverse range of entrepreneurs, including women, to bring their ideas to market.

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Margaret Keane and How Synchrony Financial Values Women

curated from Forbes

Margaret Keane, before she got to be the President and Chief Executive Officer of Synchrony Financial, also served as President and CEO of GE Capital Retail Finance in 2011.

Dan Scwabel, founder of, a research and advisory membership service for forward-thinking HR professionals interviewed Keane and found out how women are well represented in Synchrony Financial, the various programs they have to fill their leadership gap and innovate, and how they’ve integrated volunteering into the company culture.

Dan Schawbel: Women in the workplace is a big topic in corporate America. How have you actively supported women and developed them to be your next leaders? Please talk about the programs you have that support women and the results you’ve achieved in the process. (i.e. retention of women, percent of women in leadership roles, etc.)

Margaret Keane: Women in the workplace continues to be a topic of conversation, and often times it is in reference to the lack of women in leadership roles, especially in financial services. Just as important, I think this topic opens the door to a broader dialogue on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Synchrony Financial has a diverse client base of major retailers, small-to-mid-sized businesses and health care providers who in turn have their own diverse customers. I believe that having employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences help us better meet the needs of our clients and their customers. They share different perspectives that factor into better solutions for our partners and customers.

At Synchrony Financial, we have women in very senior roles, including our Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Securities Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer. We also have a Women’s Network that focuses on developing, retaining and supporting women in our workforce. Our retention rate for women is 95% for exempt and 85% for nonexempt globally.

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Why Female Money Managers Generate Higher Returns

curated from Forbes

According to Meredith Jones, a financial expert and author of the book Women of The Street: Why Female Money Managers Generate Higher Returns (and How You Can Too) says that gender is one of the factors that impact investment performance. From her research involving hedge funds, the results support the idea that women money managers outperform men.

And even though that may be the result, Jones says that she doesn’t want the male money managers to lose their job. What she is advocating is the importance of diversity or the enlistment of both men and women as money managers.

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Sallie Krawcheck explains how loose connections can benefit you

curated from The Business Journals

Sallie Krawcheck, the former finance chief and chair of Ellevate Network, says that loose connections are her key to purchasing 85 Broads, which she later rebranded as Ellevate Network. It started from a plane ride in 2009 where she met Arthur Levitt, the former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This led to more introductions and four years later, she connected to Janet Hanson, the founder of 85 Broads.

If you’re not sure what “loose” connections mean, Krawcheck explains that these are the people that you casually meet on a plane or a conference – and those people’s contacts. She further says that your mindset should not be on how these people can help you. You should focus more on giving, not getting.

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Jennifer Lopez Takes on Silicon Valley

curated from

Aside from being a recognized singer and actress, Jennifer Lopez is also an investor and chief creative officer of NuvoTv, an English language cable television that focuses on U.S. Latinos.

When Jennifer spoke in front of several hundred people at VentureScape, a conference organized by the National Venture Capital Association, her message was clear. She wants to “build something that’s never been done before.” Her dream is to build a $1 billion business empire that goes beyond the usual celebrity stuff. She wants to include the burgeoning tech industry.

She inspired other entrepreneurs during her talk as well and encouraged them to think big and take risks. “I can do it, so you can do it,” she added.

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Cox Enterprises invests in digital health company Rimidi

curated from atdc Georgia Tech

Atlanta-based Rimidi is a digital health company focused on diabetes and other conditions. It is headed by female entrepreneur Lucienne Ide whose flagship product is a cloud-based diabetes management platform called Diabetes+Me. Through this software, patients can track their health and lifestyle data. They can also obtain medical and nutritional information about their condition. Rimidi’s care team will then leverage the data through proprietary analytics to get better treatment options, population management and improved care.

Lucienne says that she’s thrilled to receive investment from Cox Enterprises that embraces innovation and collaboration. Alex Taylor, Cox Enterprises’ executive vice president is equally excited about partnering with local entrepreneurs like Lucienne.

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Renata Black and Her Mission to Empower Women Through Panties

curated from Forbes

Renata Black was orphaned as a toddler and dropped out of high school at age 15. She returned to Colombia, her native country, in order to find herself. She also traveled and volunteered in different countries like New Zealand, China and India. But the most transformative moment of her life was when she helped repair the villages destroyed from the 2004 Tsunami.

She decided to create an awareness platform for microfinance using lingerie as the vehicle and launched the Seven Bar Foundation. Its mission is to provide women with loans to help them start or grow their own small businesses and break the cycle of poverty. Renata soon recognized that the only way I was going to fuel Seven Bar Foundation consistently was through business. That is how “Empowered By You (EBY)” was born. It’s a collaboration brand with the tagline, “What Empowers You, Empowers Women Everywhere.”

“What’s the worst thing that can happen to the business? People stop wearing underwear! Seriously, it’s a competitive market and I have to move fast and grow fast. I need to create meaningful partnerships, stay uber creative and maintain unwavering self-belief,” Renata says.

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’10x’ Expert Dan Sullivan’s Top Tips for Succeeding at Business

curated from Forbes

Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach Inc., observes that entrepreneurs make massive mistakes. “They either don’t realize or they forget that the reason for becoming an entrepreneur was to expand their freedom,” he says. He further explains that your moves, improvements and strategies as an entrepreneur should answer the question of how they free you up as an individual.

He offers some of these tips to be more successful in your overall purpose:

    1. Find your Unique Ability. What are the things you are passionate about that you’ve been passionate about since childhood, perhaps, and will still be passionate about until the end of your life? Not your occupation—your passion.
    2. Figure out who you want to be a hero to. Passion doesn’t matter unless it’s connected to who you want to serve and influence with the unique value you bring.

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11 Successful Women Share Their Best Advice

curated from The Huffington Post

Just looking at some of the world’s most driven and successful women would tell you that life doesn’t have to be all about your 9 to 5. Take a look at what they have to say.

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” – Ariana Huffington

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