top of page

Where the most impressive women
creating change in the world get the spotlight.

leading visibly logo
Anchor 1

How These 36 Trailblazing CEOs, Founders and Leaders Are Creatively Innovating on Their Leadership

A black-and-white collage of four female leaders smiling.

When you're starting a company, movement, or other life-changing idea, you're often blazing a trail without a compass. Therefore, witnessing others leading by example can have a long-lasting, positive impact. That’s why we tapped into the insights of 36 trailblazing women leaders from the Dreamers & Doers collective to learn more about the creative ways they’re setting the precedent for future leadership practices.

From being open to the changes that come with aging to maintaining transparency about the ups and downs of their professional journeys, these women are redefining what it means to lead from the top down. Through their reflections, we have the opportunity to discover the impact that comes from leading with integrity, courage, and inclusiveness, as well as the positive ripple effect these qualities can have within our lives and communities.

We hope the following experiences serve as inspiration for how you too can align your work with your values, take the good with the bad, and ultimately influence those around you for the better. 

Liane Agbi's headshot

Founder of BAUCE Magazine, an online magazine for self-made women that provides content, resources, and tools to help Black women from disadvantaged backgrounds build their empires.

“As I built my career in New York City, I kept meeting other women who often complained about how they were struggling to make ‘real friends’ who were like-minded and uplifting. I was feeling that same void in my friendship circles. So instead of continuing to complain about the problem, I decided to go out and create the membership community I was longing for. My online community had more than 1,000 members at one point. It was exciting to hear how many women who joined felt inspired by my actions to go out and execute on their own ideas. I was transforming dreamers into doers!”

Bosky Mukherjee

Founder of PMDojo, on a mission to help one million women and minorities get hired, promoted, and rise in tech leader roles faster to make the tech industry more equitable and accessible.

“In a male-dominated tech landscape, I've made it my mission as a woman leader to challenge relentless doubts about belonging and credibility. Empowering a woman team member to lead and present a strategic initiative directly to the C-suite was unconventional but impactful. It showcased her work and fostered growth beyond her role. This small but powerful shift not only elevated her visibility but also sparked a ripple effect of empowerment, paving the way for more inclusive and equitable leadership in our company and beyond.”

Sarah Loughry

Founder and CEO of Em Dash Content Studio, a boutique team of expert writers and strategists that help businesses show up on search and establish themselves as thought leaders. 

“I lean into authentic content for my business, even if that means not being promotional or targeting keywords. Of course promoting your business is important. But showing who you really are often attracts clients who are already aligned with your values. It's easier to just be you.”

Bilen Mesfin

CEO of Change Consulting, the communications partner of choice for leaders and organizers driving racial and social justice.

“I believe leadership is about service. It's important to be in it with your team, taking action rather than dictating demands. While communicating clearly and casting our vision regularly are important practices, it’s also as important to be transparent about what we don't know and vulnerable about what we may be struggling with. As women and women of color leaders, we get to redefine and own what leadership and entrepreneurship means for ourselves.”

Claudia Richman

Co-Founder of Starling Training, offering cohort-based, virtual, synchronous training designed to sharpen the skills that build productive, supportive relationships.

“I’ve been very open about age and the changes that come with aging. I work with a lot of women in industries that tend to dismiss older women. This leaves younger women with no role models and very little information about what to expect as they go through menopause and are sidelined or exited because they’re older. I very publicly celebrated my 50th birthday and shared my experience with Lynch Syndrome and the resulting surgically induced menopause with the women’s group at the company I was leading. As leaders, being open about the experiences so many of us face will make it easier for the next generation to continue thriving and contributing as long as they want to.”

Tamara Kostova

CEO of Velexa, on a mission to simplify investing by making it easy for any business to provide a modern and seamless digital investing experience to their customers.

“Being transparent and vulnerable can actually encourage combined strength. I shared the story about how I lost a very important deal during a company town hall. This inspired the sales team to share their own shortcomings throughout the sales process. Sales-driven tech companies tend to have harsh, performance-focused cultures. By leading by example,I was able to galvanize the team through failures.”

Julie Zhu 

CMO at Julie Zhu LLC, a marketing consultancy helping continuers raise visibility and grow their business more efficiently.

“I strategically curate events that are specifically designed to uplift and support women leaders and entrepreneurs. These events serve as a platform for these women to showcase their expertise, share their unique stories, and enhance their professional visibility and profiles. This approach not only celebrates their individual accomplishments but also highlights the diverse perspectives that women bring to various industries.”

Catalina Parker

Co-Founder of Relatable Nonprofit, a community of changemakers who want to live their best nonprofit lives.

“I use humor to address challenges in the nonprofit sector. Humor can bring attention to issues like burnout, high turnover, and staff retention problems. This approach creates a relatable and approachable environment, making it easier to discuss serious topics and inspire positive change. I recommend this approach to women leaders as it fosters engagement, support, and well-being within organizations.”

Georgie-Ann Getton

CEO of GSD Solutions, advising and supporting small and medium business owners with technology. 

“As a leader, I use a ‘yes and’ approach. In this approach, I acknowledge the suggestions from my team members. Then, I add on to what they are saying or suggest an adjustment. This method helps my team and colleagues see that I understand where they’re coming from so that we can grow together.” 

Ashley Graham

Founder of The Conscious Publicist®, a concierge for PR and media innovation, reshaping thought leadership through strategic advisory and impactful partnerships.

“One creative way I've strived to lead by example is by maintaining transparency about the ups and downs of my leadership journey. I openly share my challenges and obstacles, not just my successes, with my connections and community. This approach gives a 360-degree view of what it's like to be in a leadership position and emphasizes that encountering difficulties is a natural part of growth and expansion. By demonstrating vulnerability and resilience in equal measures, I encourage others—particularly women leaders—to recognize the strength in authenticity.”

Emily Kenison

CEO and Founder of RobeCurls®, a heatless curling headband that offers effortless curls with a mission to inspire category-creating inventions that empower everyday routines. 

“I lead one-on-one curl classes with my customers, which gives me a unique perspective as the CEO and Founder of RobeCurls. The customer-centric approach to business has helped my brand grow while I develop a connection with customers that would not otherwise be there. I recommend women leaders to connect with their customers in meaningful ways that amplify the voices of women to address concerns with inventive solutions that only your company can bring.” 

Ariana Rodriguez

Founder and CEO of AR & Company, a boutique consultancy specializing in business development for small, mission-driven businesses and impact-driven enterprises. 

“I've embraced leading through vulnerability and storytelling. I've shared my own struggles and triumphs openly, using personal anecdotes as a bridge to connect, inspire, and foster a culture of trust and authenticity within my team. This method humanizes the leadership experience, encouraging others to bring their whole selves to work and creating a space where innovation thrives on mutual understanding and shared experiences. I recommend this approach to other women leaders because it not only empowers you to lead with empathy and authenticity, but it also inspires those around you to do the same. This cultivates a more inclusive and supportive work environment.”

Marissa Joy Pick

Founder of Marissa Pick Consulting LLC, providing strategic consulting focused on digital transformation, content marketing, social media strategy, personal branding, and more.

“Pushing the limits of creativity involves thinking outside the box and exploring new ideas, which is what I did in my previous role. I developed a social media lounge in the middle of a global conference and brought in a social-media-powered vending machine to leave a lasting impact in the financial services space. Attendees could win a prize by using the conference hashtag on social media. This innovative idea pushed my team outside their comfort zone and allowed us to meet global customers in a fun, exciting way and further understand our customer's content needs. As a leader, sometimes you have to take risks and push the box to achieve success.”

Stephanie Skryzowski

Founder and CEO of 100 Degrees Consulting, providing CFO and bookkeeping services to nonprofits around the world, helping them grow their impact and income.

“I promote work-life balance and lead by example by not emailing or sending Slack messages outside of working hours. If I happen to be flexing my time and working outside of normal work hours, I schedule my email to send the next morning so my team doesn’t get the false expectation that we should be working at all hours.”

Christina Salerno

CEO of Magical Teams, a hiring and operations consultancy for small businesses looking to uplevel and build their dream team.

“I regularly practice leading without ego. Instead, I choose vulnerability and normalize it by owning my mistakes. We have a Slack channel for learnings, but it's also the day-to-day moments that make an impact on the overall culture. When the team was small, this provided a lot of lessons to build resiliency and take ownership of improving themselves. As the team has grown, they perceive my authority with a lot of gravitas, which can hinder honesty, collaboration, and innovation. The more I remind and show them my humanity, the more they speak up, feel psychologically safe, and have creative solutions!”

Kelly Hubbell

Founder and CEO of Sage Haus, an online platform helping busy moms have it all without doing it all by outsourcing the mental load, reclaiming their time, and building their village.

“Leading by example means having the bravery to do the right thing, even if it means diverging from the ‘company line’ or popular opinion. Speaking up for others, especially diverse, underrepresented groups and magnifying their voice is the way to lead. Many times women leaders are unaware of their own unconscious bias when it comes to advancing inequities.  Other times, they are afraid of backlash. Using your voice and being brave is the path to being a powerful leader.”

Maya Sharfi

CEO of Build Yourself, an executive coaching and career strategy company that helps women rise into and thrive in senior executive roles.

“I often work with companies to run programs for rising women. Many of them have always had leaders nominate participants, which can keep doors closed to nontraditional candidates. I encourage them to ‘pilot-test’ a self-nomination process. Because it's a pilot, there aren’t many objections. By calling it a pilot, you get a chance to change the status quo and open up opportunities to more people.”

Meredith Noble

Co-Founder and CEO of Learn Grant Writing, helping burnt out professionals make money freelance grant writing.

“A recent example was sharing with my team why I had to let go of a key employee. I explained how I had messed up in the hiring process. I could have blamed it on poor performance, but at the end of the day, I had made the mistake. By communicating my honest assessment, I stitched our team closer together. Radical candor requires courage. Build this skill in your leadership, and you will be unstoppable.” 

Natalie Eagling

President of Hey Mr Media, the handcrafted social media agency hired by growth-driven brands  who want to reach new customers and build a fierce following. 

“A creative leadership approach I've adopted is leading with transparency, especially in the realm of work-life balance. As a working mother running an international marketing agency, I've had to navigate the complexities of balancing professional ambition with family life. I openly discuss how I manage these challenges with my team to normalize the struggles and triumphs of balancing multiple roles. This transparency has fostered a culture where team members feel seen and supported in their whole selves, not just their professional personas.”

Amanda Hofman

Co-Founder and CEO of Go To Market—Anti-Boring Branded Merchandise, a woman-owned company that is changing the way the world handles swag.

“Work-life balance is paramount to both me and my business partner. We lead by example and are unapologetically transparent with our team and clients about our schedules as moms. We schedule all of our calls between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. so we can get to school drop off and pick up, and we don't work on school holidays. Don't mistake our adherence to this schedule for laziness. We work incredibly hard and efficiently to get our work done. We also pick up work after-hours to go over and above for our clients. Even so, we respect the needs of our team and clients outside of work!”

Taryn Talley

Head of Marketing at Position2, a growth marketing agency committed to helping innovative companies thrive by delivering best-in-class digital marketing and creative design.

“For me, effectively leading by example starts with two behaviors. The first is consistency, and the second is accountability. It's hard when your leaders make frequent exceptions and create an environment where the team isn't sure how the leader will react or weigh in on any given issue. We all know that issues come up, and we need to be flexible. Coupling consistency with a culture of accountability can empower a team to execute without a ton of oversight.”

Amanda Lien

Founder of Minutiae Content Co., a writing and strategy firm specializing in authentic thought leadership and marketing content for tech founders, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

“I only speak or write when I have something to say—that includes emails, LinkedIn posts or comments, and even text messages. This gives me more time and space to listen to others. Doing so also makes me a better leader and storyteller. In a world where it's incredibly difficult to cut through all the noise of emails, message threads, and social media posts, leadership can often look like speaking when your heart is in it, not just when you feel as though you have to say something to fill a void. This empowers women everywhere to speak from their hearts and with authenticity, which then leads to more meaningful contributions for all!”

Lori Tiernan

Founder of Innovative Asset Growth, providing advisory and outsourced CMO services to high growth venture-backed firms. 

“In my early career, motherhood was a dirty little secret that women executives often hid out of sight. As I entered motherhood while forging a path as an executive, I learned to embrace the personal with the professional. Women are often looking for cues on company culture and work-life balance. The impact of owning parenthood while growing in your career is liberating and sets a standard for others.”  

Kendra Koch

Founder and CEO of Touchy Feely, a stigma-free social self-care community for late-diagnosed neurodivergent women. 

“It's important for me to foster well-being in the workplace. If employees don't see their managers and executive teams carving out space for well-being, they don't feel like they have permission to either. I put therapy, medical, sick, childcare, and other related personal appointments on my public calendar so my team can see me creating space for my health, mental health, and family. Hopefully this encourages them to do the same.”

Adelaida Diaz-Roa

Co-Founder and CEO of Robin House, making wealth-building in real estate accessible to all through fractionalized investments.

“In my leadership journey, particularly with Pawliday Inn, I practiced ‘empathetic immersion’ by taking on every role within the company for a week, from cleaning kennels to managing front desk duties. This hands-on approach not only fostered a culture of mutual respect and empathy within our team, but it also led to innovative solutions that improved our service quality and employee satisfaction. I recommend this approach to other women leaders, as it demonstrates a commitment to understanding challenges from the ground up, inspiring teams through action. Leading by example in this way cultivates a cohesive, innovative, and empathetic workplace environment.”

Marnie Rabinovitch Consky

Founder and CEO of Thigh Society, the leading direct-to-consumer brand of size-inclusive long leg undergarment solutions to sweating, chafing, and modesty.

“I lead by example in fostering a language-conscious culture at Thigh Society. I ensure we steer clear of talking about diets or weight loss unless it’s directly relevant to our branded content plans. I share news on topics related to diet culture to encourage conversation and dialogue among the team. It’s important to me that we have brand integrity both internally and externally so we not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Our mission is to empower people to feel comfortable in their skin. Language can have a profound impact on our self-perception and attitudes. How we speak to our customers should be mirrored in how we talk to one another.”

Anouck Gotlib

CEO of Belgian Boys, creating whole ingredient foods with a European twist so families can prepare less, smile more, and indulge better.

“I try to model for my team the humility to learn something every day. Many CEOs want to give off the energy that they know it all. Of course, that is one way to build confidence. In my case, I want to model that no one knows it all. I surround myself with talented experts via my advisory board, mentors, friends in my industry, and leaders on the Belgian Boys team so when I don't know something or want a second opinion, I have it at hand. I know if everyone on my team does the same, we will be so much stronger.”

Diana Lyman

CEO of Traction Advisory, a revenue growth consultancy that propels social impact startups from one to 100.

“Leading with authenticity is inherently creative. Each of our experiences in life are unique. The more we share our authentic selves at work, the more well-rounded, inclusive, and creative the perspective on the team becomes.”

Kinsey Wolf

Founder of Polaris Growth Studio, a growth marketing agency for future-focused technology startups and SMBs

“As much as I love my career, it's not the only thing I love. I've been very open about making the conscious decision to not work 40-or-more-hour work weeks. This enables me to invest time in my family, fitness, and creativity.”

Lauren Loreto

Founder of Brand Good Time, a good-times-only content marketing and web development agency that works with growth-stage startups to increase their visibility and share of voice.

“It all ties back to company values; flexibility and boundaries are two of ours that I constantly practice with myself and my team. I embrace flexibility by being open about my 2 p.m. hair appointment on a Tuesday because I don't want that to eat up my weekend. I encourage my team to not feel guilty doing the same so long as their work gets done. With boundaries, I don't text with my team members, and I ask them to do the same. I keep communications strictly to one channel. There I'll message at all hours of the day or night as things come to mind, but the expectation for my team is that they respond in their working hours. I recommend this approach because it creates a healthy work environment where work is work and personal time is respected.”

Jessica Sikora

Founder and CEO of Superbands, empowering youth through the universal language of music by reshaping the fan experience to change the stigma of youth mental health.

“I've consistently prioritized transparency and vulnerability in my leadership approach. By openly sharing my own struggles and triumphs with mental health, I've fostered a culture of trust and authenticity within our organization. This approach not only strengthens bonds with my team, stakeholders, and supporters, but it also empowers them to embrace their own vulnerabilities and advocate for their well-being. It lays the foundation for meaningful connections and supports a culture of resilience and empathy, which is essential for navigating the challenges of leadership in today's world.”

Sarah Burlew

Founder and CEO of Omlie, a certified women-owned consulting firm helping clients build transformative strategies and trusting teams to ensure they can realize their strategic vision.

“I lead by example by being authentically me. When I first became a people leader in my late 20s, I read a quote from my entrepreneurial role model, Sara Blakely, where she said, ‘You don’t have to be serious to be taken seriously.’ I took that to heart and infused my true, silly self into my work and leadership style. Women are so often coached to change who we are to have a seat at the table. When you’re courageous and vulnerable enough to be your authentic self, you create spaces where others feel safe being their authentic selves. When people feel this sense of psychological safety, magic happens!” 

Kat Lourenco

Fractional COO of Kat Lourenco Co., working with a new generation of leaders to avoid overwhelm, overwork, and burnout.

“I don’t discount my rates. Why? It adds financial stress in the short term. If I don’t, I end up not being able to focus on my clients. Instead, I have to focus my attention on making up for lost income. If I do that, it also means I can’t afford to invest in other women entrepreneurs. That’s a lose-lose cycle. I’ve committed to charging full price so I can pay full price.”

Ashley Chang

Co-Founder and CEO of Sundays, an executive assistant service that accelerates working parents in their careers while creating more quality time for family.

“I lead by example by making sure I can always get in the weeds and do the work myself if necessary. For our team today, that means helping to pick up tasks that need to be done and completing them thoroughly and timely while going above and beyond to anticipate their needs. I think this is important because it helps build respect for the work and feedback on how to do better work.”

Sydney Sherman de Arenas

Co-Founder and CEO of Montie & Joie, a company built on connecting people through ethically-made products.

“I've embraced a leadership style that values true transparency. I'm open about the challenges and setbacks I face, showing that learning is a continuous process. There is no shame in not knowing everything and asking for help, even though it might feel like it as a leader. Being open about both the good and the bad creates a collaborative environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and learning together. That's essential for building a strong, innovative team.”

Jordan Schanda King

Founder and CEO of Easy Scaling, an online consultancy and 20-person agency that combines effective strategy with done-for-you execution for women-owned businesses.

“One of my core personal values is radical transparency. When I started my business, I decided to integrate that value and approach into everything that we did with our clients, our public audience, and internally with our team. This has looked like sharing the company’s financial information, always involving my team in short and long-term planning efforts and decisions, and encouraging the team to openly share their ideas and opinions with me, the rest of the team, and clients. It’s not always comfortable or natural, but embracing radical transparency enables everyone to be more efficient and effective, allowing us to create unmatched loyalty and trust internally and externally.”

Want to learn more about

Dreamers & Doers membership?

Here's how our PR Hype Machine™ and award-winning community can amplify you.

bottom of page