We love seeing brilliant women do inspiring things, which is why we can’t get enough of Claudia Chan and her site, claudiachan.com. The online hub is designed to be a resource for women to empower them and help counteract any negative forces that might hold them back in their personal and professional lives. “Women who expose themselves to empowerment messages are more likely to transform our culture for the betterment of the world,” Chan says. With over 100 exclusive interviews archived on the site and the first ever S.H.E. Summit Week taking place later this month (which Chan is, of course, running), it’s easy to see why her star is on the rise. We asked her to share the up-and-coming women entrepreneurs she has her eye on, her best advice, and more.
1. What’s the best advice someone ever gave you?
I read somewhere, “Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.” As an entrepreneur, fear of the unknown makes risk taking an emotional roller coaster. As I am about to launch a massive “women’s week” of events called S.H.E. Summit Week in NYC— featuring 35 experiences designed for, by and about women—I go back to this mantra to keep fear at bay and even laugh it in the face if I have to.
Read more of Chan’s advice after the jump.
2. What should every entrepreneur know?
I think that it is important to remember that every obstacle can turn into an opportunity in disguise. If we don’t suffer through the negative moments, we often miss the chance to discover the gains that only become apparent because of the pain. I’ve started three companies and with each venture, there was the opportunity to develop my sense of self. When I started ClaudiaChan.com, I knew that I was stepping into my purpose. Today I live a life based on values and passions that are truly and uniquely mine.
3. Who are your five female leaders to watch and why?
Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of “Unbinding the Heart,” is helping people around the world recognize the power of their own stories. It’s a powerful message that we are important because of who we are and that sharing ourselves creates a connection with others.
Zainab Salbi started Women for Women International, an organization that is helping survivors of war rebuild their lives. Zainab grew up in Iraq under Sadam Hussein’s rule, where she couldn’t do anything about injustice. Now she spends her life fighting injustice and helping women recover from the terrible atrocities they have experienced to go on to live happy and productive lives.
Jane Wurwand founded the innovative skincare company Dermalogica. But her most recent project, JoinFITE.org, is bridging her brand and philanthropy to create incredible opportunities for female entrepreneurs in developing nations using microloans. I believe that women helping women is one of the keys to making sure we achieve leadership roles in society, and Jane’s work serves as a wonderful example.
Rachael Chong left corporate finance to serve the greater good by helping BRAC USA create a strategy to mobilize dozens of volunteers and raise $40 million in less than nine months. As the founder & CEO of Catchafire, the world’s first and largest online pro bono service provider, Rachael’s new mission is to connect social good organizations to high quality professional talent. Her career vision has evolved into a lifestyle with the goal of always being socially conscious and action-oriented.
Rachel Lloyd is founder and executive director of GEMS, an organization that helps domestic survivors of human trafficking. As someone who was trafficked herself, Rachel is a credible voice on a subject most people know little about. People think of human trafficking as a problem in other countries, but it’s happening in our backyard and it’s one of the most pressing issues of our time.
4. What are some of your favorite Conversations on ClaudiaChan.com and why?
I loved my interview with Lauren Ruotolo, director of Entertainment Promotions at Hearst Magazines. Growing up with McCune Albright Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has had her in nine body casts, Lauren continues to beat the odds and blow me away with her confidence. When she said that she simply removed ‘no’ from her vocabulary, it resonated so deeply with me, because we all have to wake up every day and decide if we are going to own our day or let it own us. With her book, Unstoppable in Stilettos, she’s sharing her story and rocking the world with a new outlook.
5. What startups are you crushing on right now?
I am getting married two months after my big S.H.E. Summit Week… yes ’tis the year of big events in my life! So a guilty pleasure has been sharing and saving wedding ideas on Lover.ly (think Pinterest for wedding inspiration only). But I am sure the savvy Birchbox community already knows them!