December 4, 2014

Women Taking Control: The Powerful Faces of the Industry Now

There’s no surprise that women have been at the forefront of the fashion industry for decades, but is there room for women to control the power in other industries? Our answer - a strong YES.  We are used to hearing about the Anna Wintours and Eva Chens (who we LOVE) but powerful women in fashion is obvious.  Women are breaking barriers and climbing the ladder in finance, marketing and other traditionally male driven fields. MBF found a group of 5 women doing amazing things in their professions. We have so much to say about these women in power that we had to write 2 blogs to fit them all in. Here’s part one...stay tuned for part 2!

Alex Ostrow, founder of WhyWhisper Collective is creating quite the buzz while working as a strategist and marketer for social impact and innovation. 

Photo via Alexandra Ostrow

MBF: "One of your biggest passions in life is working for social change, how did this passion develop?"

AO:  No matter where I am or who I'm with, if I look around, I see things that could be better... situations that are causing pain and suffering. This can be anything from the current state of our educational system, to lack of healthcare, prevalence of domestic violence, racial discrimination, or irresponsible use of natural resources... When I see these things, it's very easy to feel overwhelmed or angry, and for a long time I struggled with how to manage my desire to do something. Over time, I realized that the only way I could feel productive and positive was by spending my time working to address these issues.”

MBF: “You worked for social media and marketing agencies previously…. What made you want to venture out on your own?”

AO: “If I'm begin honest, I always thought (hoped) I'd go out on my own. While I thrived in the agency environment, and was lucky enough to work beside brilliant and innovative individuals, I craved the freedom and responsibility that comes with making one's own hours, choosing one's own clients, and pivoting direction, based on one's personal passions. It was during a lunch with my former CEO that I realized I wasn't going to achieve these goals by working for somebody else. Luckily for me, she was very encouraging as I took the leap.”

MBF: "What is the biggest challenge you face being a female business owner?"

AO: “To me, being a female business owner is an asset. I believe that many women (and men too) possess an innate emotional intelligence that can be incredibly powerful when applied to a business setting. Business is not only about profit. It's about jobs, partnerships, family, quality of life, and social progress -- meaning that all of these things need to be taken into account. That being said, not everyone agrees with me here... and it's challenging to navigate discussions where my views are dismissed, solely because I'm a woman.”

Shauna Mei, MIT engineer turned commerce and media industry expert, also caught our attention. As the CEO of AHAlife she connects amazing design and content to individuals around the globe in hoped to encourage people to consume more consciously.

Photo via Shauna Mei

MBF: "Did you face many challenges as a woman in your position as a CEO of"

SM: “I would say no. I think it’s actually a big advantage to being a female running a company that is aimed at revolutionizing how we shop online. I think that as a woman we understand that entirely and it’s been a big advantage.”

MBF: "Fast Company named one of the Most Innovative Companies in 2013 – What makes different from its competitors?"

SM: “I don’t really think we have any competitors. What I mean by that is what we are trying to really build is a marketplace with the tools and services to help independent brands thrive online. It’s all about preserving creativity. There’re a ton of sites on the web that are retail based - We are not a retail model, we are a marketplace model, so that’s one massive difference. For example, you have Amazon, which is a marketplace for mass products, but it’s not a marketplace to help niche premium brands thrive, to give them the tools and services and we give a lot for our brands not just to allow them to build all the initial tools but allowing them with logistics, customer service, actually compelling story-telling, how they actually display this products, all this different things that I think are important to build in a cohesive online brand.”    

Cheers to these two women doing big things, check back in for part two coming soon!

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