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Women Who Disrupt

Meet Giovanna Silvestre: The Woman Who Turned Healing Crystals into Activewear

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Giovanna Silvestre grew up in San Luis Obispo, California. She is a popular travel blogger and
founder of the unique yoga wear brand Confused Girl in the City.

She went on to work in the entertainment industry for several years. Some of her accomplishments include working with director Kenneth Branagh on the Marvel film “Thor”, co-producing a short film, “The Wind in the Willows,”  with Peter Jackson’s company “Weta,” and working as a post production coordinator on the ABC show, “The Mole.” As an influencer Giovanna has worked with some of the biggest global brands including T-obile,Vitamin Water, Coca-Cola, Target, Walmart, Skinny Cow, Skype, Match.com, Bigelow Tea, Crocs, Lindt Chocolate, Vaseline and many more.

What inspired you to start your business?

“Confused Girl in the City” started as a blog 6 years ago. I was lost at the time and wanted to share my feelings with others. I figured I couldn’t be the only confused one out there. It’s funny how we feel we’re the only ones when every human being has either been there, is still there or is going to be there again! My blog took a life of its own and put me on a spiritual journey to find my true nature. Along this journey I met a healer who had a profound effect on me. He had a collection of crystals and told me to pick two to take home. I had these crystals in my room and felt so much joy when I walked past them. One day I was  editating and I had a vision of creating a line of women’s activewear that was inspired by these crystals. So with no money and an idea, I started the journey. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen but I knew I had to do it. I used my part-time job money to fund my business and step by step I was able to create an international activewear business. Now, six years later, I have sold my designs all over the world, we have been featured on Thrive Global, Yoga Digest, Yoga Magazine, Silicon Beach Magazine and on the cover of LA Yoga. We are in select stores in LA and expanding.

What was a major challenge you had to overcome in getting to where you are today?

Fear of failure. I had to realize that failure doesn’t really exist if you follow your gut. Either you do something or you don’t. The failure is in never trying. As long as you try, you either win or you learn.

What exciting projects are on the horizon for you?

I am very excited about my book coming soon, “Seven Things Every Confused Girl Should Do.” I think it will help a lot of confused girls in the world.

Be sure to follow her on Instagram, YouTube and check out her website
http://confusedgirlinthecity.com

Angelo Raguso, alias FAW9 : For almost ten years, he has dealt with electronic music, first as a Music Producer, releasing his music on top Labels in the sector, such as Spinnin 'Records, Elrow, Trax Records, Freakin909, Hotfingers and many others, to name a few, and then as a Label Owner for various record labels that launched and then sold or entrusted in permanent management to various collaborators. Today he is a Social Media Strategist, has worked and offered his services to top names in the American and European entrepreneurship sector, and writes as a freelancer, for sites like Disrupt etc

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Women Who Disrupt

Rock Bottoms To Success with Veronika Abrams

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What’s your backstory? 

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last 10 years. 3 years ago I hit my personal rock bottom. I was struggling with depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction in addition to a broken heart. It was a pivotal point in my life where I had the choice to either give up on my dreams or take radical responsibility and demand the best from myself and pursue my highest potential. I had to become my own Hero. I realized how I needed to curate my life in every way so that it was in alignment with my values rather than my feelings. I rebuilt my confidence and identity from the ground up again.

What made you decide to choose this career path? 

I decided to get into confidence and transformation coaching because I wanted to help others through their own rock bottom times too. I want them to understand that they can become the hero in their own story. That’s also the focus of my podcast – to highlight the hero stories of industry experts and the most successful entrepreneurs you see on social media. At one time, some of them had the water shut off, or their car repossessed. Your rock bottoms can be a launching pad to create a new identity, rather than it becoming a death sentence.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Everything about starting something new is clumsy and ridiculous. The first coaching videos I created for IGTV on instagram, I was using a kitchen blender to prop up my laptop that I used to prop up my iphone because that camera was better – and that’s how I recorded my videos. The phone kept falling over and I’d have to start again. Thank goodness my laptop didn’t fall – I would have been really screwed! I’d have to record only at a certain time of the day, because that was the best lighting. I didn’t have a ring light or anything fancy. I’m really glad though that I took messy action like that though, because I can tell others that their imperfect yet consistent execution is worth 1000x more than waiting for that “perfect time” or doing it “the perfect way”, which never ends up happening. So just fucking do it – even if you suck. You’ll get better.

What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out? 

I’ve very much leaned into that hero story narrative. That means telling the good, the bad, and the ugly. Things are not always great. Sometimes I even struggle with depression and I’m a coach. I truly believe that although people might aspire to is your highlight reel, what they actually connect with are your mask-off moments. The struggles. The pain. You’re doing your audience a disservice if you don’t tell them to the bad with the good. Heroes have weaknesses. Heroes fall. Heroes feel pain. And Heroes get back up again.

What’s a quote that you live by? 

Do it afraid – Joyce Meyers. I was such a shy kid growing up. I heard this quote when I was maybe 7 years old. I’ve done so many things I’m afraid of. Funny things happen though when you get in the habit of doing things that scare you – you become more resilient and less afraid of the unknown over time.

Veronika Abrams

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Women Who Disrupt

How a Cuban-American, 20-Something Woman Founded the First Female Business Coaching Brand in Florida, Isabella Silverio

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Isabella Silverio

When it comes to building businesses, investors tend to look for brands with experienced management teams. They choose ventures with a successful track record, carefully laid-out business plans, and great products and services.

That’s just how it was. But is it how it should be? While experienced entrepreneurs certainly have a lot going for them, I have been seeing a significant shift in the business community—one defined by creativity and out of the box thinking that usually, only the idealism of 20-something ingenues can deliver.

Yep—I said it: 20-somethings are fast becoming the rising stars of business.

Does that surprise you?

I first started my coaching business in my early 20’s. I was young, green, and idealistic. From a very traditional perspective, these weren’t qualities that would bolster business success. Yet I managed to grow my brand into a thriving, successful venture. I—a young, Cuban-American woman, founded the first business coaching brand focused on women in my city. And I can confidently say that my success is anchored on these qualities.

Going All Out

When you start your business young, you’re more likely to take bigger risks. That’s not to say that you’re not careful and calculated when you do, but you definitely are more open to the idea.

I grew up believing anything is possible. While studying, I was already involved in over ten tech startups, I gained solid experience in business through various programs that gave me a global perspective of business management, I learned graphic designed, mastered social media marketing—all the skills that would be a very attractive candidate for an established, blue-chip corporation. Yet I chose to start my own consultancy instead.

At the time, I figured I had the skills and experience to devote to my own venture. I was determined to ensure that my vision for my startup would become a success. And if I fell short of it, I had the time to gather my bearings and explore plan B.

In short, I had the option to go all out on my dream, and I took it.

Inexperience Breeds Creativity

We also have to stop seeing inexperience as a disadvantage.

While I may have a solid background in business, as far as the world was concerned, it wasn’t enough. That’s a big hurdle that a lot of young entrepreneurs have to contend with.

The truth is though, it was inexperience that allowed me to recognize opportunities in the business world that were largely unmet. This is the reason why I focus a lot on empowering women in this industry. For me, inexperience means you get to see things from a different perspective. I got to approach problem-solving from a totally different mindset because I wasn’t hampered by “how things should be” in business. I had the energy and the drive and it allowed me to be creative and consistent. Through the years, as I built my business, these same values continued to be essential pillars of how I run my company. Instead of following traditional strategies, my approach is recognized for bucking convention, for being innovative, and even groundbreaking.

Go For It

So if you had to take one thing away from this entire piece, let it be this: GO FOR IT.

There’s a lot of opportunities out there and if the only thing that’s stopping you is the fear that your youth is going to work against you, I stand as proof that it won’t. There will never be a better time in your life for you to take the leap and pursue that dream.

 

This is a guest article written by Isabella Silverio of Guava Empowerment LLC. For more info on Isabella be sure to follow her on Instagram.

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Women Who Disrupt

Isabella Silverio on Being a Woman in Male-Dominated Startup Culture

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Isabella Silverio

Did you know that only 28 percent of startups have a female founder?

While small, rest assured that it’s a number that’s about to rise steadily. According to the same report, “more women are joining startup boards and filling executive roles than in the recent past. […] we are moving in the right direction and need to seize the opportunity to expand inclusion of women—and other underrepresented individuals—across the startup ecosystem.”

It’s also worth noting that despite the modest number of women founders, they have consistently managed to make an incredible impact in their chosen industries. In fact, women-founded and co-founded startups are proven to yield 78 percent ROI per dollar spent.

Since my freshman year at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, I have been involved in over 10+ tech startups. And going into it, I knew the real value that women brought to the table. Still, being in a male-dominated industry felt intimidating and was generally challenging, especially as I tried to make my mark in my chosen field.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for me stems from expectations of women having to incorporate stereotypically “male” attributes when it comes to careers—aggressive and overly competitive. But my decade-long immersion in startups proved that embracing your femininity and staying true to yourself is the secret to finding your voice and making yourself heard.

Unfortunately, finding the confidence to do all that can be hard. In male-dominated startups, it can often feel like earning your place in the organization is a struggle. And despite your skills, training and drive to succeed, finding your voice can be more difficult than you can possibly imagine.

When I founded my consultancy back in 2017, I started it knowing that until more women found their voice and gained the confidence needed to really be heard, this would forever be a challenge we will have to face. To that end, one of the primary goals I had, when I started my company, was to empower women.

I started what was the first and only female-focused consulting firm in the entire state of Florida. My vision was to eliminate the stigma surrounding women founders, women in business, and women entrepreneurs. And not by changing their approach to business and entrepreneurship either, but rather by empowering them and building their confidence. I was given an opportunity to do this by showing them that pre-existing biases and prejudices against women’s ability to grow their ventures shouldn’t in any way affect their success; and that women are just as competent and driven, no matter what industry they choose to be in.

My process circumvents the uncomfortable pressures that women-owned businesses face—ones that people all too often, gloss over. But if my experience in startups has taught me anything, it’s that knowing how to transform these situations is the key to our success as women. We only need more women uplifting women to nurture the confidence that is already inside of us to make an indelible mark in whatever industry we choose to be in.

 

This is a guest article written by Isabella Silverio of Guava Empowerment LLC. For more info on Isabella be sure to follow her on Instagram.

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