Briefly describe your business and inspiration for it.
I was a TV executive in NYC for 20 years when a little girl’s question changed the course of my life - and I jumped off the corporate ladder. I began delivering pajamas and books to children in shelters and in 2001 founded Pajama Program, a national non-profit having delivered 7 million new pajamas and new books to children to date. I am now taking my 20 years of experience running Pajama Program to work as a motivational speaker and write books such as Purpose, Passion and Pajamas to help others discover their true passions and purpose like I did.
How has your passion fueled your business?
The memory of one powerful and poignant moment can fuel you forever. The evening I met a little girl in an emergency shelter was the beginning of a 20+ long obsession running and growing Pajama Program, and then taking that drive and inspiration to establish a career as an author, coach and motivational speaker.
What has been the key to your success?
Jumping in and figuring out how to swim after! Also, tenacity, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, knowing my heart voice will always be my North Star.
What lessons have you learned along the way that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your start-up career?
Listening to my heart voice saves time!
We each need to find our purpose to be truly happy. The human Connection is everything. Changing careers is scary and that’s OK. I am not alone and I will only know that if I gather my courage and ask for help. The Universe is my partner. There is power in commitment.
What challenges did you face in the early days of being the Founder of your own business?
I did not have a financial cushion. I was leaving a stable and successful career for the unknown. I didn't know how to run a non-profit. I kept it a secret too long when I could have gained support if I confided in more people.
What is the biggest mistake/challenge you have encountered in your business to date and how have you moved past it?
Letting fear paralyze me…it happens less now, but fear was my most powerful foe at the start. I know it’s a natural part of growth and I allow myself to “feel the fear and do it anyway."
When self-doubt hits, what do you do?
Look myself in the mirror and remind myself about all the scary things I’ve already taken on and survived.
What is your biggest fear as an entrepreneur?
That I won’t be able to sustain it. That is why it is important to hire an incredible team to bring creative and fresh ideas over time and that is why I have grown professionally from a non-profit founder to a professional speaker and author.
What aspects of being an entrepreneur do you love and/or dislike?
LOVE: 1) Make my own way 2) Start something new and exciting
DISLIKE: 1) Takes funding 2) I was alone at the start
Which books, articles, blogs have helped to shape your business and/or leadership style?
Simon Sinek, “Start with Why”, Thrive (self-care is so important)
Are there any go-to resources that you have found useful to run your business?
What has been your best strategy for selling your product or service and what have you learned along the way?
Telling/sharing my story – storytelling is very powerful in gaining support.
How did your experiences in the corporate world prepare you for entrepreneurship, or not?
I was a marketing VP and didn’t realize how vital those skills were for starting a business/nonprofit – it all came in handy.
What do you think the most important attribute a female entrepreneur/ business owner can possess?
Just thinking of ourselves as business owners/entrepreneurs with an advantage – we have an instinct for compassion which helps us think of a solution for everyone involved.
What do you do outside the office to help you stay creative/productive?
Keep my mind clear with workouts, visit family to feel connected to people outside my work world to stay fresh, see lots of movies to be inspired and foster my creativity.
What would you say to another woman who asked you if they should take the leap and start their own business?
Ask yourself, “If this is the next 30 years of my life, is it enough?” If you answer NO, take the leap. Now.
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