Jenny Blake is an author, blogger, life coach, and speaker who helps others “Wake up, live big! and love the journey.” She has been featured on Forbes.com and US News & World Report, and is recognized Gen Y thought leader. Jenny started her blog, LifeAfterCollege.org, in 2005 and translated it into a bestselling book, Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want (Running Press, 2011), which serves as a portable life coach for 20-somethings. Jenny recently took her own great leap by leaving Google after five and a half years at the company to move to New York City and pursue her passions full-time. Jenny recently started teaching Geek Yoga classes, which she is very excited about. When she’s not bending, twisting, and folding you can find Jenny drinking coffee, eating cupcakes, swooning at dogs on the street, or curled up with a great book. Follow Jenny on Twitter @Jenny_Blake.
Favorite quote: “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez
Role model: Pamela Slim – author of “Escape from Cubicle Nation,” is for many of us “the Auntie of the Internet.” She is warm, generous, insightful, and insanely helpful when it comes to overcoming challenges and striking out on your own as a successful entrepreneur.
Spirit city: New York City! I’ve known it every since I was a little girl, and I’m absolutely thrilled to live here now. There is nowhere else on earth I’d rather be.
Favorite indulgence: Cupcakes! Specifically Red Velvet or Vanilla with sprinkles.
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: The whole notion of auditioning for other people’s lives, working so hard for outside approval when really I just needed to find it within myself. From inner moxie comes outer success!
Nitika Chopra is the passionate, colorful and inspirational voice behind www.YourBellaLife.com, the online lifestyle magazine she founded in 2009. Nitika is a certified life coach, a go-to resource for young women around the globe, and a motivational lifestyle guru to her thousands of monthly readers and fans. Growing up, Nitika battled debilitating health problems that made it difficult to walk with ease for many years. This challenge, among others, fueled her passion for helping individuals and has made her an empathetic resource to all who connect with Nitika or her work. In her down time, Nitika can be found singing to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation album and walking her adorable teacup Yorkie, Bella. Follow Nitika on Twitter @YourBellaLife.
Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Role model: Without a doubt, Oprah Winfrey. I ask God for even an ounce of her grace, wisdom, and clarity on a daily basis.
Spirit city: The first time I ever went to Rome, Italy I burst in to tears because I felt I had lived there in another lifetime. Although I have been a proud New Yorker for the past 10 years, there is something about Rome that will always have a piece of my spirit.
Favorite indulgence: Gluten free cupcakes from Tu-Lu’s bakery in NYC!
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: I will never have to learn again how to have compassion for others. Growing up with a lot of big life challenges at a very young age, I learned early on that no matter what you might see in person we are all divine human beings who deserve to receive love. In every interaction I make I strive to be loving, I am not perfect but the love is always there. I like to say “Love is possible in every moment” and remind myself of that constantly.
Annie Escobar was born to end bad non-profit video. She is the co-founder of ListenIn Pictures, a media production company that crafts cinematic stories to create connections that inspire action. Now passing its 1-year mark, ListenIn Pictures has created over 45 videos for 20+ non-profits. Annie has documented the work of activists in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Palestine, Ghana, South Africa, Vietnam, Brazil, and the US. She is the author of The Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling and has spoken about the impact of storytelling at TEDxNYU, Google, The Foundation Center, and Be Social Change. Nothing makes Annie feel more alive than meeting people, hearing stories, and sharing them. Annie credits her extroverted personality to being one of ten children and having a mom who danced all by herself in the aisle during her middle school band concerts. Follow Annie @AnnieEscobar and @ListenInPict.
Favorite quote: “People will forget what you tell them, but will never forget how you make them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Role model: Courtney Spence, founder of Students of the World – she told me never to listen to the people who would underestimate me for being a 5’3″ blonde
Spirit city: NYC, so much energy and life all around me
Favorite indulgence: A bottle of wine and impromptu karaoke with my girlfriends
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: Don’t let the dominant narratives of our society silence me. I will not be intimated from telling my story. And I will not let my fear—of failure, of conflict, of inadequacy, or of rejection hold me back.
Marissa Feinberg is co-founder of Green Spaces and runs their two sister brands, SalonEco, NYC’s premier events venue for eco-friendly fun, and Green Leaders Global, curating content-based salons with sustainability change agents for deep dialogue. Marissa does consulting work in the evaluation of environmental investments, business development, marketing, and PR. Previously, Marissa did partnership development for Felissimo’s sustainable design initiatives, building DESIGN21′s membership to 350 organizations globally. Marissa also worked for the General Electric Foundation, publicizing its community initiatives worldwide. Marissa teaches purpose marketing and PR for startups via Skillshare as a Master Teacher and as a guest speaker for NYC & Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac Program and Parsons, the NEW School for Design. Marissa has degrees in public relations, marketing, and Spanish from Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Through her commitment to culture, Marissa worked in journalism as Managing Editor of Focus Magazine and publishing for Random House and The Princeton Review. During her free time, Marissa dedicates herself to social causes and the arts. She is part of Zoological Lighting Institute’s Advisory and NYU Stern Social Entrepreneurship Conference’s board. She also acts in off-Broadway plays, TV, and independent films. Follow Marissa on Twitter @MarissaFeinberg.
Favorite quote: “Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso
Role model: Marissa Mayer
Spirit city: Paris
Favorite indulgence: Cheese and Chocolate
Lara Galinsky is an author, speaker, expert on working on purpose, and senior vice president of Echoing Green, a groundbreaking nonprofit organization that unleashes next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. She speaks and leads workshops at colleges, universities, corporations, and nonprofits around the world. Lara began her career at Do Something, where she was a national program director. Lara created the Do Something’s BRICK Award (now called the Do Something Award) to celebrate and financially support the most outstanding young leaders in America generating community change with demonstrated impact. After five years at Do Something, Lara moved to Echoing Green, the organization she now helps lead and for which she runs the day-to-day operations. Most recently, Lara launched Echoing Green’s newest program, Work on Purpose, which inspires and equips the Millennial generation to build lives and careers that are both right for them and good for the world. She is the co-author of Work on Purpose (2011) and Be Bold: Create a Career with Impact (2007). Lara received her Masters in Communications with honors from Columbia University and her Bachelors from Wesleyan University. She is a graduate of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management Leadership Development Program at Columbia University, the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown, and was selected for CORO Leadership New York. Lara smooths out the chaos of running an organization by practicing yoga nearly every day. One of Lara’s favorite quotes sums up her career ideology: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” (Basil King). Follow Lara on Twitter @LaraGalinsky.
Favorite quote: “For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.” – Dag Hammarskjold
Role model: Without a doubt, my mamma and nana. After the tragic death of my grandfather, my fearless nana raised her two daughters to be pioneers who are strong, spirited, and generous. Living through her passions, my nana collected art, ran a business, and always sat down at a proper table to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, she was in a lively book club with women half her age up until her passing at age 97. My mom, a founder in the work/family life field, has taught me that you can build a career with purpose that is both personally meaningful and has a powerful positive impact on the world. She led her career through asking and answering big questions that moved her. No doubt that informed my path. She also taught me it is possible to and powerful to be tri-focused. In addition to a groundbreaking career, she has written dozens of books on child development, takes stunning photographs, and never misses a party.
Spirit city: New York for the frenetic energy, diversity, and choice. On the flip side, I love pretty much any small town by the Hudson River for the peace, beauty, and choice. Today, I have the best of both worlds. I live in the spirited community of Washington Heights in New York City, and I work in busy midtown Manhattan; but can almost see the beloved Hudson River from my office window.
Favorite indulgence: Yoga and wine. But not together. Well, maybe sometimes.
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: My mom used to give me the advice, “fear means go.” In other words, feeling fear can be a signal that you are able to reach new heights. But only if you go for it.
Julia Gazdag is a contributor for HelloGiggles and series editor of their Women Working To Do Good series, a weekly collaboration with the White House’s Young Americans page to highlight young women working to help others. Raised in Budapest, Hungary and then later, California, she has traveled and lived across the U.S., working in television, theatre and film as well as some very boring administrative jobs. She is very fond of dinosaurs and probably came here from the Museum of Natural History. Follow Julia on Twitter at @JuliaGazdag.
Favorite quote: “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” – Daria Morgendorffer
Role model: Janeane Garofalo. She has never been afraid to speak her mind, challenging others instead of trying to please them. She has continuously used her voice for social activism, unafraid to be strong and intelligent while also being open about her insecurities. She has been a driving force for me since high school and continues to be one.
Spirit city: Portland, OR, in all its moss-covered, bike laned, food-carted social activist hiking trail laden glory.
Favorite indulgence: Melt some cheese on it and I’m there.
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: It’s okay to take time for yourself. Calls and emails can wait – sanity can’t.
Natalia Oberti Noguera launched the Pipeline Fellowship to activate more women angel investors and create more capital directed to women-led for-profit social ventures. She is also the creator of #womaninnovator, a media campaign to increase the visibility of women changemakers and mainstream their stories. Natalia holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale, an MSc in International Health Care Management from SDA Bocconi, and an MA in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to English, Natalia is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and French (she is proficient in Russian and is determined to learn Mandarin). Natalia has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Dowser, Forbes CSR Blog, ForbesWoman, Mashable, New Prosperity, Reuters Money, TechCrunch, and The New York Times. She was named to the Forbes list “Top 20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter” and was selected as a Readers’ Pick for HuffPost Tech’s “27 Women in Tech You Need to Follow on Twitter.” Follow Natalia on Twitter @nakisnakis.
Favorite quote: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin
Role model: Shonda Rimes (currently)
Spirit city: NYC, San Francisco, St. Petersburg (Russia), and…
Favorite indulgence: The CW!
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: My mom’s alcoholism taught me that one cannot help someone who does not want to help herself/himself.
Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy serving as writer, mentor, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” In 2010 with a popular YouTube video, she called for the inclusion of people with disabilities in beauty campaigns. Xian is currently working with NYU’s Initiative for Women with Disabilities, leading a workshop she created, “Cultivating Beauty and Self-Esteem,” with girls and women 14-32. Xian has previously spoken for groups such as the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend, New York Life’s Enable Program and the ReelAbilities Film Festival. Xian is a blogger at Positively Positive (an online community of over 1 million), a member of the New York Women’s Foundation’s Committee for the Future and NYC’s iMentor. Xian loves to dance and is rediscovering her love of karaoke. Follow Xian on Twitter @XianForBeauty83.
Favorite quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates.” -Marianne Williamson
Role model: An energetic cross of the best pieces of Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah. It’s hard to model after humans. Nobody’s perfect, but we are all beautiful!
Spirit city: Any city in California (says the lifelong New Yorker)!
Favorite indulgence: As Alexia can attest, chocolate!!!
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: “Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.” -Elizabeth Bibesco
Christina Rasmussen is, technically speaking, a grief counselor — but she prefers to call herself a Strategist for Life After Loss. She’s crusading to change the way we cope with grief, devastation, and longing, and Second Firsts is her global coaching portal for reinvention and transformation — devoted to helping people step out from the shadow of excruciating loss, and come back to LIFE. Christina has lived in Greece, England, Denmark, Massachusetts, California, and Texas. She taught herself English over the course of two years — while studying psychology on a full scholarship at an Ivy League university. She’s served clients as a licensed therapist, crisis intervention specialist, HR consultant, and certified life coach — and her revolutionary Life Ignition methodology combines sophisticated neuro-mapping reprogramming with compassionate counseling and coaching. Christina is also the mother of two beautiful girls who watched their father die of cancer — and saw their mother alchemize that tragedy into a new business, a renewed sense of purpose, and a life of joy and laughter. In addition to working 1-on-1 with Life Ignition clients, Christina is developing a self-guided program anchored in her 5-step Life Re-entry Model, a membership-based community site, and her first book with Hay House coming out in 2013. Catch her in action in 2012 during her 6-city speaking tour, and connect with her — and 38,000+ Second Firsts fans — on Facebook. Follow Christina on Twitter @SecondFirsts.
Favorite quote: “Just start it! Never again, at any other point in your journey, will you have so much to gain as you will if you just get started today.” – Mike Dooley
Role model: Sheryl Sandberg
Spirit city: Sedona, Arizona
Favorite indulgence: Chocolate
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: How you present yourself to the world is more important than education, money, or even life experience. Who I am with myself is truly who I am with the world. Never think that people can’t see the real you. It is hidden in the details of your actions. It is hidden in the split second eye contact and body movement you make. When I realized that…. I truly saw myself for the very first time. I now first hold my own mirror up, before I can service my tribe.
Tammy Tibbets is the founder and president of She’s the First, a social-media driven and rapidly growing non-profit organization that sponsors girls’ education in developing world countries, so that they can be the first in their families to graduate from high school. In 2011, She’s the First sponsored 161 girls across eight countries through creative campaigns that included tie-dye cupcake bake sales, the GIRLS WHO ROCK concert during Internet Week, and the efforts of college students who have started more than 20 She’s the First chapters across the country. Tammy graduated as a journalist from The College of New Jersey, and she started her career as the youngest web editor in Hearst Digital Media. She has been the social media editor of Seventeen, which she made the fastest growing Twitter presence in the magazine industry in 2011, and she will soon be leading She’s the First full-time. She’s proud to be left-handed, closely associated with hummus, and an original Jersey Girl. Follow Tammy on Twitter @TammyTibbetts.
Favorite quote: I have many favorites! At the top of the list: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” – Madeleine Albright
Role model: Ruth Whitney, legendary editor-in-chief of GLAMOUR
Spirit city: New York City
Favorite indulgence: Tie-dye cupcakes!
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: To never again be “Most Shy!”
Jacquette Timmons, the author of Financial Intimacy and creator of the Financial Intimacy Conference, is known for leading thought-provoking conversations about money, choices, relationships, and life. An investment expert and financial coach, she is the founder of Sterling Investment Management, an investment education and financial coaching firm. She has worked in the investment industry for twenty-four years, dedicating more than a decade to teaching intelligent people how to be smarter with their money. Jacquette is a darling of the media. Appearances include CNN’s Your $$$$$, Your Bottom Line and The Help Desk, FOX’s Good Day New York and Good Day Street Talk, NBC’s Today in New York, BET Tonight’s Nightly News and American Public Media’s Marketplace Money. She has written for and been quoted in such media as the Wall Street Journal, NY Daily News, REDBOOK, Essence Magazine, Curve Magazine, Forbes.com, Real Simple, Teen Vogue, and Black Enterprise. Jacquette holds an MBA in finance from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and a BS in marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology. At her core, Jacquette is is a cool nerd who loves vintage clothes and glasses; the Yankees (especially Mariano Rivera); reading and running. Fortunately, she doesn’t do the last two simultaneously. Though she’s been teased for bringing a book to dance club! Follow Jacquette on Twitter @JacqMTimmons.
Favorite quote: “Revolution begins with the self, in the self.” -Toni Cade Bambara
Role model: My mother – Fontilla A. Timmons (sounds cheesy, but it is so true!)
Spirit city: Brooklyn, NY – all the way!
Favorite indulgence: Red Velvet Cake – especially from Cake Man Raven
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: Courage is sexy; courage without a strategic plan is not. The day my accountant said, “…you are mortgaging your life…” was my wake-up call to approach my business differently! Once I got past the sharpness of his message (which didn’t take long), I got to work learning how to work on my business.
Sheryl Victor Levy currently leads Digital Strategy for PHIL & Co., a marketing and communications firm for people, non-profits, and private sector companies doing good. Sheryl is also the founder of Savvy Strategy, a digital coaching and marketing consultancy working with individuals and clients in the entertainment and non-profit space. Prior to Savvy, Sheryl led worldwide brand development of products and services at Hearst Magazines. Prior to Hearst, Sheryl was VP, Marketing Director for BaseSix, a boutique digital firm based in Boston. Sheryl has also led Account Management at The Sloan Group. Sheryl spent the first 8 years of her career in marketing and brand development at MTV, VH1 and USA Networks. Sheryl is a graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College and can put lip liner on without looking in a mirror. Follow Sheryl on Twitter @MktgMavn.
Favorite quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
Role model: Linda Descano, COO Citibank (my mentor)
Spirit city: Paris
Favorite indulgence: Handbags, British Hello@ Magazine
A lesson in “moxie” I never need to learn again: Negotiate your salary. Don’t be told. Ask. Know your worth.