Super Insights from Female Founders/Entrepreneurs

Women 2.0 posted this motivational piece toward girls/women interested in starting their own business.  Check out the link-back at the end, and read more of their blog posts.

These four clever founders are inspiring the next generation of girls to become entrepreneurs and showing girls of any age how to overcome barriers.

Opportunity #1: Network, Network, Then Network Some More

A Fortune Magazine article highlighted how women are much better at “doing” and not as good at taking the time to connect, make requests and work our network. This is a huge opportunity for females of any age.

Megan Grassel was 17 when she started Yellowberry Company. She wants to change the bra industry by making young, cute, realistic and age-appropriate bras for girls age 11 to 15.

She took her idea to Kickstarter, where she exceeded her fundraising goal by 70 percent, raising $41,795.

When she started out, Megan’s parents (who are also entrepreneurs) told her that she needed to reach out and ask for advice. They emboldened her by explaining that no one would say no to a 17-year-old girl.

Amazingly, this is one teen who listened to her parent’s advice. Megan sought mentors in the Jackson Hole business circles to advise her on tasks she didn’t yet know how to do.

She explained to me, “At first I tried to find people who I was comfortable calling, and asked them to meet me for coffee. Then when you start to see some success, people get excited, and it gets easier to approach them.”

She continued, “They might not have all the answers, but the support is awesome. It’s great to feel that you’re not out on an island. Different people helped me with things like prioritizing and timing and also with introductions to manufacturers.”

This young woman’s networking has already resulted in a partnership for her brand with the Aerie Brand/American Eagle Outfitters Company — pretty impressive for any teen!

Opportunity #2: Embrace New Ways to Raise Money

Women and girls are finding success crowdfunding. In fact, early data shows women are 13 percent more likely than men to meet their Kickstarter goals, even after controlling for project type, amount being raised and other factors. There are also grant programs cropping up that are looking for women-owned businesses to support.

Kelly McCollum and Marcie Colledge, creators of rigorous science kits for girls, used a one-two punch to fund their start-up Yellow Scope.

They turned to both Kickstarter and a grant program. Kelly explains: “Back in the spring of 2014, we applied for a grant with a program here in Portland called The Startup PDX Challenge. The organization was interested in working with women and minority-owned businesses. We are new to business, but as scientists we are very comfortable with the grant writing process.

We were one of five companies awarded a $50,000 grant. This put us in an incubator space with the other winning startups. It also gave us access to Bill Lynch, who is the entrepreneur in residence. The grant package also includes time with lawyers, public relations and human resource professionals, working space and some working capital.  It is very exciting to be a part of this Portland program.”

Marcie and Kelly are at it again. They submitted Yellow Scope into the Umpqua Bank Made to Grow Grant program, and they were selected by the community bank as one of ten finalists. The small business that gets the most votes will be awarded $10,000. If they win, they will use the funds to launch their second product, an affordable science kit for girls that would retail for $20.

Opportunity #3: Sustainable Organic Growth

I’m finding more information showing that passion-based businesses grow into profitable endeavors. The stats indicate that these types of businesses may take longer to build, but they have staying power.

Cassie Hughes is co-founder of Grow Marketing, an engagement marketing agency. Over the past 14 years, Cassie and her business partner Gabrey Means have built their agency to an impressive staff of 70 and recently purchased a 4-story building in the Jackson Square neighborhood of San Francisco.  When we spoke she shared three morsels of advice for girlpreneurs:

1. Organic growth is sustainable. Keep your head down and do good work. Say yes to the projects and clients that feel good. Say no when it seems right to say no.

2. Create a great culture and save, save, save. When the bottom fell out (during the recession), we didn’t need to let people go. Yes, some business went away but because of our culture we let the team choose how to navigate through it. The entire team took an equal pay cut to stretch the money out. Within a year, we were able to give record bonuses.

3. Life is long and work is hard. Find what you’re passionate about and be true to yourself.

Persistence, creativity and connections are the three ways these four inspiring founders are showing girls of any age the way to build a business. I’m following their example and advice. How about you?

» 4 Barrier-Busting Founders Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Women 2.0.

Italy to privatize postal service


Good news, but 100% would be far more appropriate.

Originally posted on Italian Insight:

Massimo Troisi in “The Postman”.

The Financial Times reported that the Italian Government is going to sell out 40 percent of the its mail service, currently managed by a company wholly owned by the Treasury. The Government expects to cash in about 4 billion euros.

The move could be related to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s recent commitment to greatly decreasing the fiscal burden on families and enterprises. In order to achieve that, the Government will need massive cuts of public expenditures, and even that will not be enough without some help from Brussels. The European Institutions will have to accept some flexibility in the application of their budget rules, or Mr Renzi will be forced to renege on his pledge.

As a first step, Mr Renzi promised to exempt the primary residence of a natural person from the real estate tax, a move which allowed Silvio Berlusconi to avoid an electoral defeat in 2013.

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On Enhancements…

Originally posted on curiousercontemplations:

Transhumanism is on the rise whether society agrees or not. Quite frankly, transhumanism has been around for a long time. Any alteration or advancement not of natural means is a display of humankind going above and beyond nature. However, if human beings create something then the act of creating was natural. The issues can be confusing, but the point is that change is happening.

Human beings hold the power to better their own lives. Humans do not need to pray to a supernatural force because humans can do it on their own, in reality. New people are created all the time – by other people, it’s called reproduction. Everyone in the animal kingdom is doing it, not a grand talent. Divine intervention need not apply.

Humans have wishes and technology attempts to fulfill them. Which enhancement would you allow for personally?

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How the Brain Creates the Experience of God


One (rather generous!) perspective on why people claim to experience a god. I personally think it has more to do with dishonesty, but I’m not in other people’s brains, though.

Originally posted on Victoria N℮ür☼N☮☂℮ṧ:

Peter: When I used to read the Bible I sort of assumed that God spoke to the people of old in a very clear way that could not be misunderstood. Why didn’t he speak to me so clearly? A lot of people claim to hear from God now. However when really pressed on the matter,

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Cops Attack Woman for Taking Tylenol


Cops are thugs.

Originally posted on Political Film Blog:


We are in an ongoing reign of terror by unaccountable police, across the land, who attack citizens routinely in a crime spree of historical note. Over the past few years I’ve seen hundreds of police assaults on citizens that should warrant prison terms. 

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Capitalism can be artistic

We get a lot of messages that working for a large profitable company stifles creativity and that corporate values don’t lead to art, and admittedly sometimes companies come up with pretty distasteful ads.  But capitalism can and does create art that can inspire the human spirit.  Here’s an example that caught my eye:

Artist Gerry Judah has created a sculptural centerpiece for the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed that is celebrating the Mazda Motor Corporation’s unique motorsport heritage with a powerful fusion of sculptural innovation and engineering precision.

Read and see more photos at

Women Human-Rights Activists Targeted and Endangered

Vanity Fair recently published an article on the unique dangers that female human-rights activists face.  Here’s some short excerpts; please read in its entirety at the link-back below.

Hend Nafea at a demonstration in Egypt. Courtesy of The Trials of Spring, a film about the Arab Spring

It took Hend Nafea, a young Egyptian human-rights worker, three weeks after her sentencing to decide to leave her home country. As part of a group of women human-rights activists who had been vocal—and suffering heavily—throughout the multiple throes of Egypt’s recent revolutions and coups, Nafea was, on February 4, sentenced to 25 years in prison for protesting against the regime.

At the airport, Nafea was terrified. “There was a really big risk, because it was all just about luck,” she said through a translator recently. “They could have stopped me . . . I was leaving not knowing that day whether I was going to end [up] in jail or with 25 years in prison. And so I put myself in the state of mind that I was performing; so I was performing like [going] shopping for a couple of months in Lebanon. So I dressed up and put myself in a tourist state of mind and went about the traveling that day. It worked, and I looked really calm, but on the inside I was really nervous.”

In late April, with the help of a local network—one that operates underground, its members working day jobs when not spiriting away activists in trouble—Nafea was able to leave her home country for safety in Lebanon. Unfortunately, Nafea’s story is not unique. In many regions of the world, women working to foster nascent democratic movements or champion human rights face imprisonment or worse. Across the globe, when these women find themselves in danger, organizations with varying levels of secrecy mobilize to support, rescue, relocate, and otherwise protect them…

“It’s a global trend. It’s getting worse. Not only do we have more cases, but the severity of the violence is increasing,” Alpízar [executive director of one of these organizations, Association for Women’s Rights in Development] said. “This is happening to thousands of people. People are actually getting killed who are activists from around the world. So no longer are they put in jail, or detained, or harassed and distressed, but there are actual killings.

…Nafea’s story was told in The Trials of Spring, a documentary that initially began filming in Cairo around the time of the Tahrir Square demonstrations that led to the ouster of Egypt’s longtime president Hosni Mubarak. The filmmakers believed they were filming a grand triumph of the public over a brutal dictator, but, as they remained in the country and the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood was swept away in a military coup, the optimism of the early Arab Spring began to fade. As the film shows, the treatment of women—particularly women activists—grew increasingly grim, with multiple rapes occurring in demonstration crowds, and officers and policemen abusing women imprisoned on spurious charges

The plight of Egyptian activists underscores what Alpízar means when she says that women activists often face a multi-layered, brunt type of brutality. A number of activists in The Trials of Spring describe suffering gender-specific abuses: aside from the sexual assaults in the square, authorities often forcibly remove a woman’s veil while arresting or imprisoning her, and the use of so-called “virginity tests” was, at one point, defended by none other than Egypt’s current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

“They face all the violence [that] other women face in diversity, and on top of that, they face the violence of political attacks for the work that they do, not [just] for the causes that they fight for, but also for breaking the gender norms,” Alpízar said, noting that the trauma women activists face can often go beyond the activist herself. Relocation often must include the activist’s children, or family. In Nafea’s case, her family did not support the idea of a woman protesting in the square, layering on an added trauma.

“There’s a methodological policy to target women’s rights activists and target women activists specifically because it’s sort of a shortcut to oppression,” Nafea said. “It is a good way to flare up moral panics” about a woman’s place in society, she noted, “and it’s an easy way to get the masses in general to retreat to more conservative positions.”

Amid the backdrop of countless stories about the oppression of women in the Middle East and North Africa, however, Nafea insists her story is about the strength of Egyptian women. “The most prominent thing about the movie is how it portrays how strong women are, and the fact that they’re willing to sacrifice so much, and that they’re willing to stay and fight as they face violation,” she said. “That’s the most important thing for me.”

Read the rest at When Women Human-Rights Activists Are in Danger, It’s Women Who Come t | Vanity Fair.

White House official in charge of Obamacare rollout hired as health insurance lobbyist

Originally posted on Counter Information:

By George Gallanis
17 July 2015

Marilyn Tavenner, former director of HealthCare.Gov and administrator of theCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was unanimously selected as the new CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a leading health insurance lobbying organization. Like her predecessors, Tavenner continues the trend of former White House officials joining the ranks of highly profitable corporate businesses.

The move comes after previous AHIP President Karen Ignagni announced her decision to step down. Prior to heading the organization, Ignagni was the director of the AFL-CIO’s Department of Employee Benefits.

The AHIP lobbies on behalf of some of the largest health insurance companies in America, including Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Aetna posted revenues of approximately $58 billion in 2014. Altogether, the companies represented through AHIP insure over 200 million Americans, or nearly two thirds of the population.

During her time with the Obama administration, Tavenner…

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