#GirlBoss Entrepreneurs Coming to the 2018 Net Impact Conference

By: Izzy White - Net Impact Fellow | August 28, 2018

Hear the stories of six women who turned their dreams into reality by starting their own businesses. All will be speaking at the 2018 Net Impact Conference, including Laura Clise, pictured here (second from left) on the Net Impact stage in 2016.


In an era when advances in women’s empowerment through such channels as the #MeToo movement are often juxtaposed by setbacks like the 2018 25% decrease in female Fortune 500 chief executive officers, progress in the United States can often seem like a flimsy concept that is hard to define and impossible to judge. Female leaders so frequently face gender discrimination in the workplace that it can feel difficult to imagine women ever reaching adequate representation in institutions such as Fortune 500 Companies and the US government.

Fortunately, there are powerful women in our midst helping pave the way for strong #GirlBoss leaders. Net Impact spoke to six female CEOs who did not let anything stand in their way of founding companies. Each of the women will be speaking at the 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, taking place October 25-27.

Meika Hollender, co-founder and CEO of women’s products company Sustain Natural, has the entrepreneurial spirit engrained in her DNA. “I'm a child of the natural products movement,” she told Net Impact. “My dad founded Seventh Generation 30 years ago, and so my formative years were literally immersed in all things eco-friendly.”

For CEO Laura Clise, her career in the world of entrepreneurship had a bit of a more reluctant start. “I often joke that I started my company, Intentionalist, because I ran out of reasons not to,” said Clise. “I was inspired by an opportunity gap that I spent the better part of five years pondering—thinking about how consumer spending might be part of the solution.”

No matter where the ideas for starting their companies came from, one thing that unites these women is a commitment to using their self-made platforms to create meaningful change within sectors they are passionate about. “I have always enjoyed creative problem-solving and am passionate about social justice,” said Catherine Berman, founder and CEO of financial services company, CNote. “Entrepreneurship was my avenue for creating businesses and products that drive greater economic empowerment and opportunity.”

Starting a company from scratch is not something that comes easily to people. It takes intense dedication in order to get through the long and arduous journey of turning a dream into reality. “Perseverance is key,” said Emily Lamia, founder and CEO of career consulting company, Pivot Journeys. “You have got to have grit to handle the entrepreneur roller coaster and perseverance to keep building your way forward.”

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, in the United States, more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women.

Undoubtedly, all of these women have astute insight into how to start successful businesses. But not surprisingly, each has unique advice on how to best navigate the process. Ayesha Barenblat, founder and president of fashion advocacy organization, Remake, has some words of wisdom: “Stay focused and believe in yourself,” she said. “You will get lots of wanted and unwanted advice, so be sure to filter it.”

Lindley Mease’s perspective? “Start with your values,” said the founder and CEO of Blue Heart, an organization that funds grassroots groups. “Staying connected to your values ensures you are accountable to yourself.”

Hear more from each of these six fearless entrepreneurs at the 2018 Net Impact Conference. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” said Clise about the Conference. “It is the inspiring intersection of ‘tried and true’ impact professionals and up-and-coming impact leaders of the future.”

The 2018 Net Impact Conference will facilitate the conversation between thousands of women and men on how to best tackle today's top problems.

For Barenblat, her role as a speaker at this year’s Net Impact Conference will be particularly special. “When I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, joining Net Impact is how I found my passion for sustainability,” she said. “I am excited to be back all these years later to share how sustainability has been so core to my professional and personal life.”

Each of these women will be speaking on topics around which they have centered their entrepreneurship. Hollender believes that membership in communities like Net Impact is essential to brands and businesses in order for them to further positive social change. She stated, “The Net Impact Conference is an incredible platform for us to use our collective voices to educate and inspire the future generation of leaders.”

In this day and age, it is increasingly important to encourage women to step into leadership roles. By highlighting stories of powerful women who have achieved great success as a leader, we can set the example for future generations of female empowerment. Net Impact is thrilled to be able to host these six female entrepreneurs at NI18. 

To learn more about these incredible female entrepreneurs, check out their speaker profiles here.

Tickets for the 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, AZ on October 25-27 are on sale now here. Register by September 17 to receive a 20% discount!

Ayesha Barenblat is the Founder and President of Remake, a nonprofit organization focused on making fashion a force for good.Catherine Berman is the CEO and Co-Founder of CNote, an award-winning savings platform that seeks to combine investment with social impact.Laura Clise is the Founder and CEO of Intentionalist, a guide to intentional spending that supports small businesses and diverse local communities.Meika Hollender is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sustain Natural, a company committed to creating eco-friendly and reliable women's products.Emily Lamia is the Founder and CEO of Pivot Journeys, a consulting group that is passionate about helping people grow and develop in their careers.Lindley Mease is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Blue Heart, an organization that seeks to promote and fund the stories and solutions of grassroots movements.

*Hover over a picture to meet each woman!

Izzy White - Net Impact Fellow