5 Secrets to Negotiate Anything You Can’t Ignore

Do your knees shake, your pulse fastens, your hands sweat when you need to negotiate anything? Get over it. Discover 5 seldom-discussed secrets to negotiate your salary, a contract, a promotion or your new car. I’ll tell you how I did it!

To negotiate from strength you must first know what you’re negotiating

Negotiation quote by Sheryl Sandberg

Negotiation quote by Sheryl Sandberg

1Whatever you’re negotiating, that is not the only thing on the table

Say you sell web design and support services and you’re sitting with a prospective client. If you are only prepared to negotiate your fee you’re missing the point. Many people can design a website. And there will always be someone who can charge less than you. What do you offer that is worth hiring you to do it? What are your terms? What kind of service do you offer once you turn the site over to your client? Can you offer to design a second, personal website, for free? Could you offer an update after a year?

The same is true if you’re negotiating a promotion or a salary. To negotiate from strength, remember to be creative. Think beyond what’s in front of you. Even circumstances and rules you might think are fixed, are not. Everything is negotiable.

Learn to negotiate how to buy your car

Learn to negotiate how to buy your car

Here’s my own example. I recently ordered my new Acme car (obviously not the real brand!) It was my fourth Acme. My third with the same dealership. Second time leasing. I was scheduled to pick up my car on Friday. On Wednesday, I received a call. It was about a $1,000 cash back sale that was taking place at my dealership on Saturday. When Paul, the salesperson who sold me the last three cars, called me to confirm my pickup date, I asked for the $1,000 cash back. Here’s a synopsis of the dialog that followed:

“You don’t qualify because you ordered the car several weeks ago. You have to buy your car on Saturday to qualify. It’s the rule.”

“Paul, the rules are relative. Who do I have to talk to in order to get my discount?”

“It doesn’t work like that. The rules come from Acme Headquarters. There’s not much I can do.”

“Wait, are you punishing me for being a loyal customer? This is the third Acme I buy from you…”

So what do you think happened? Read on to find out!

Don't miss 3 key negotiation strategies for women!


You always negotiate with a person

Whether it’s a job offer or a car lease you always negotiate with a person. Regardless of the size of their organization. Obviously, it could turn out that a couple of people make the final decision. But you get what I’m saying. This means it’s important to connect with the person who’s there to negotiate with you. The more you know about them and what would make them look good, the better. So research the person you’re likely to negotiate with, ahead of your meeting. Think about what would benefit the other person. What they need to win and what they can afford to lose.

In my conversation with Paul, I knew he didn’t want to lose a loyal customer. I also knew there was a problem that he could pass on to his organization so that he could save face with me. So that he could look like he was on my side.

Here’s how the dialog continued:

“I don’t care what the small print says. Your dealer hired a company to conduct the flash sale and gave them the list of customers. You guys should’ve removed those customers who already bought cars. So we wouldn’t get a call like this.”

“Let me see what I can do.”

Can you guess how it turned out?

Women tend to think that circumstances are more fixed than they really are.

Women tend to think that circumstances are more fixed than they really are.


Decide ahead of time your bottom line

Yes. You have to have a number, below which you refuse to negotiate. Why? Because if you don’t, you run the risk to negotiate against your own interests. This goes for your salary, for any project and for anything you sell. And it’s the reason why cultivating ingenuity and creativity goes a long way. Think of a variety of items to negotiate above and beyond what’s on the table.

My call with Paul was an active negotiation. My goal was to get the $1,000 discount. But I had already given a down payment on the car and was bound by the contract I had signed when I ordered it. So, I decided that if I could get $500 I’d be happy.

When I walked into the dealership that Friday, the lease was already written out. With my $1,000 discount! Yes. It was that simple. I just had to ask and insist on it. But wait. Because the negotiation didn’t end there.


Build your confidence right before you have to negotiate

If negotiation doesn’t come naturally to you, here’s a trick. Create a ritual that you do before you have to negotiate. It could be that you strike a power pose for a couple of minutes. Hands on your waist, standing on open legs. (The Wonder Woman stance.) Or, with your arms up in a V shape as a champion. (Like the athletes do when they win.) It’s proven to elicit a chemical boost of confidence.

You can also create a mantra. “I’m a powerful negotiator.” “I love to negotiate. It’s fun and exciting.” Whatever suits you. It will help you feel stronger and focused right before you hit the ground running.

A couple of weeks after I drove my cool new car home, I received a letter from Acme Financial Services. It was a bill for around $1,000! What? They listed items that shown “excessive wear and tear” of my previous car. The one I had turned in. So guess who I called first? Yup. Paul.

He promised to look into it. And he did. He got his dealership to knock $300 off the bill. Now I had to call the financial company and get the rest taken care of. Ommmmmmm…

Build your confidence with a power pose

Build your confidence with a power pose


Beware of signs that “this” is not a negotiation

Let’s be honest. There are times when people offer you a job interview even though they already have the candidate for the position. It’s a legal thing. They have to interview certain number of potential candidates. Or they already have the vendor they want to use. Stay alert so you pick up those signs and avoid investing too much time and energy. But don’t waste the chance to make a great impression. You’re there already. You never know what might happen in the future. So take advantage of the opportunity and show your best self.

Okay. So I called Acme Financial Services and spoke very kindly to the customer service rep.

“I don’t understand… You guys inspected the car and everything was fine and suddenly, 200 miles later, when I turn it in, the car needs new tires? At 19,000 miles? Could you please look into it for me?”

He didn’t really know what to respond. He knew this wasn’t a negotiation. He knew he had to make this bill go away.

And so he did.

Career Quiz: Test Your Negotiation Skills!

Innovative packaging helps manage women’s periods at work

Cora has designed a chic and smart packaging to help manage women’s periods at work. Never again hide a tampon up your sleeve on your way to the bathroom! Their sleek black clutch could be a cosmetics case. And with a 100%  organic product, there’s one less stress factor to worry about at work!

Molly Hayward, founder of Cora, a company that offers an innovative method to take care of women's periods

Molly Hayward, founder of Cora, a company that offers an innovative packaging to help manage women’s periods

Meet Molly Hayward, the female founder of Cora. As in, yes, there’s also a male founder. When I first heard about a company focused on how to manage women’s periods with a 100% organic product wrapped in the most stylish packaging I’ve ever seen, I was struck by the co-founders. A man and a woman who, as I’d learn later, didn’t know each other before they got into business together. Today we interview Molly to find out what inspired her to create a product to better manage women’s periods wherever they happen to be. We then talk about the stress connected to women’s periods at work and we ask her about what it took to get investors to buy into such a female-oriented idea.

Molly is a young entrepreneur with a strong social conscience. She practices business with soul. In the last ten years, her travels through five continents became the springboard for her interest in how to manage women’s periods. The seed of a brilliant idea for Cora, a business that favors the circular economy. A business that helps professional women manage “that time of the month” fearlessly, openly, and with style.

I’m sure you didn’t grow up thinking, “When I grow up I’ll found a company focused on how to manage women’s periods.” How did you stumble upon this as a need?

The idea for Cora originated from my travels throughout the developing world, meeting girls who were missing days of school each month because they couldn’t access or afford safe and effective menstrual products. I had the idea to create a brand and a company that could offer women in my own society a better period experience, while also helping girls in need.

For too long women's periods have been a source of stress at work. Molly Hayward is set to change that!

For too long women’s periods have been a source of stress at work. Molly Hayward is set to change that!

What’s different about the product itself?

Cora offers only 100% organic tampons, made from premium cotton. This is vastly different from conventional tampons, which are made from non-organic cotton (one of the dirtiest crops in the world) and synthetics like rayon and polyester (which have been linked to higher risk of toxic shock syndrome.)

Cora is also one of the first companies in the U.S. to offer an organic tampon in a compact plastic applicator (BPA free.)

Is there any research regarding the stress at work women feel due to the stigma surrounding women’s periods?

Research in this area has been primarily focused on the effects of stress in the workplace on women’s menstrual cycles, as opposed to our menstrual cycle’s contribution to stress at work. But there’s no denying that the workplace isn’t always the easiest place to easily manage our periods. From shoving tampons up our sleeves to walking to the bathroom from our desks to forgetting tampons altogether to the anxiety of wondering if we are leaking through our pants in the middle of a meeting, periods definitely bring stress into our working lives.

That’s why Cora created high-performing organic tampons, as well as accessories for stylishly and discreetly storing and carrying them whether you’re at home, the office, or out on the town.

How much are people attracted to the product because of the chic packaging that looks like cosmetics and jewelry cases? Do you think this contributes to a more seamless work-life integration?

Cora's products chic packaging makes it easy to manage women's periods at work. Gone are the days when you had to hide your tampon on the way to the bathroom.

Cora’s products chic packaging makes it easy to manage women’s periods at work. Gone are the days when you had to hide your tampon on the way to the bathroom.

I think the sophistication of Cora’s brand and products makes women feel confident at work—a place where we all want to feel more confident. We want women to feel like wherever they are, they can manage their periods without fear or shame.

You met your business partner while seeking investors, right? How did it happen? Did you think that a man would be a good partner for a company selling a product for women’s periods?

Yes! We were introduced by a mutual colleague. She knew that we were both working on similar concepts independently and suggested we meet. After our first conversation, we knew we would work together because our value around organic products, sophisticated design, and giving back to women and girls in need.

Walk us through the process of getting funding for an idea. What did you need to show your investors in order to receive your first round of funding? And how hard was it to get funding for a product that dealt with women’s periods?

With unique packaging like this black clutch, Cora makes it easy to carry your supplies as any of your other accessories, reducing stress at work.

With unique packaging like this black clutch, Cora makes it easy to carry your supplies as any of your other accessories, reducing stress at work.

Early on, we showed investors the positive data and reviews from our early Beta customers, and shared our future vision for the brand and everything we were doing to prepare and execute to make the vision a reality. We laid out our plan and showed where we’d already accomplished goals.

Can you share any negotiation strategies that you used during the meetings with investors to get to a Yes?

For us, it’s never been about negotiating. When seeking funding, we bring investors into the story and mission of Cora. We show them the negative experience that women currently have because other brands on the market don’t actually solve the pain points of having a period. When they consider the magnitude of the problem, it becomes a logical decision to join us.

You can find out more about Cora via social media:

Instagram: @corawomen

Twitter: @corawomen


Finding Your Passion: The True Door to Success

Nothing makes better company than a good storyteller. And there’s no better way to become one than finding your passion and purpose.

Let’s face it: One of the reasons why you may not be as successful in your career as you wish is because you may not have made finding your professional passion a priority. When you stop to think for a moment about what really intrigues you, what interests you, what engages you in a way that time dissolves between your fingers, what do you come up with? Are you involved with “that” (whatever it is) in your professional life? Or is what you do when you leave work?

Finding Your Passion is the true door to success

TSalon’s founder Miriam Novalle

Many people weren’t raised with a mindset that made finding your passion a priority. And in many areas of society and the world, women still aren’t encouraged to go down that path. We grew up with predetermined ideas of what we could and couldn’t do or what we should or shouldn’t study. Many of us got to were we are by putting one foot in front of the next: high school, college major, Master’s degree… Only the very lucky ones discovered early on what their passion was. The rest of us just got here. So if when you take stock of your life you realize that your most treasured activity happens outside of work, it’s very unlikely that your career is as successful as you wished it were.

Today we talk with a woman who oozes passion from every pore of her body. That passion is tea. But before tea it was fragrances. Miriam Novalle, founder of T Salon, is not only one of the most successful women in business in New York but one of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. She’s a consummate storyteller, something that happens naturally when finding your passion in your career.

Finding your passion and purpose with your nose

Let’s start at the beginning. Before you founded T Salon. How did your professional career start?

During the early 70’s two of my dear friends and I inherited a 400 seat movie theater in the Catskills. Out of nowhere we were selecting our favorite movies and creating concerts on the weekends, building an organic health bar and living out our fantasies, Always staying true to our passions and sharing that with our fans.

Would you like to know how Finding Your Passion changes everything? read on!

TSalon at Chelsea Market

I moved from the Catskills to Woodstock where I met a lady who was developing and creating essential oils. I knew then that I had found my true-hearted passion. In 1975 I opened up the first “Body Shop”-style store in Woodstock NY, We blended and created fragrances out of essential oils that were sold alone and added to lotions, bubble baths and love oils. As the business grew, so did the product line to include lingerie and women’s accessories. It grew from one store to five.

In 1982 I sold the concept to Sears and Roebuck. They failed at it royally because they were a self-service store and the product needed a hands-on sales team.

If you’d like to read about another very successful woman in the chocolate business, don’t miss this interview with the founder of Mariebelle, one of the most iconic NYC chocolate boutiques and now a global empire!

What does it mean to be “a Nose”?

A nose is someone who can smell and define flowers, herbs, and barks, and understand their level of intensity. It’s someone with the ability to know how to mix and blend these smells into a successful perfume.

TSalon loose tea samples- Finding your passion is not a one-time thing. Your passion may change along your life.

TSalon loose tea samples- Finding your passion is not a one-time thing. Your passion may change along your life.

I am a self-taught “nose”. I opened my senses to the universe and developed a fine ability to create notes for fragrances and blends of perfumes. My nose was later insured by Lords of London for a million dollars because of its value to the industry.

Want some additional incentives to follow your passion? Read this blog to learn how finding your passion changes everything!

Was finding your professional passion a one time thing or did you have to look for another passion once you changed industries?

Yes, fragrances were a passion of mine. But my true love has always been and still is – painting. I sold my first art installation to Chase Manhattan Bank. I traded my art and abilities while I was in school at Lorenzo de Medici in Florence Italy for a used BMW. (The dealership wanted their family portrait painted.)

I showed my work at the Royal Academy in London. I also concluded a 2 -year study in studio arts in NYC and learned to collaborate with other artists to create installations, knowledge which I would later use to design and create all my packaging for my tea business.

Leverage your passion. Read the top qualities of a leader, explore this blog!

From fragrances to tea

What was the turning point when you decided to get into tea?

My sister was about to marry a man from Liverpool England. I was going to school in Florence at the time, and went to meet her new family and about to be husband.

We had something that I’d heard of but had never been treated to personally, “Afternoon Tea.” What a delight of tastes and smells and tea. Wow. We had scones, Devon cream, jams, and small tea sandwiches, along with tea. Except that the tea was an awful, dark water with loads of sugar and milk. I then realized where to put my nose and my palette of colors: into the tea biz!

Love and passion of what I do fuels the fire within- Quote by Miriam Novalle

Love and passion of what I do fuels the fire within- Quote by Miriam Novalle

How did your experience in the fragrance industry help you in the tea business?

I was blessed and honored to partner with Herb Albert of A&M. He wanted to create a personalized perfume. I would put up my nose and he would fund it. We became partners and we launched a successful, first ever, celebrity perfume called “Listen.” What an amazing ride.

I learned that notes of fragrance were similar to notes of tea. Both fill the senses.

Fragrances to me are on the emotional side, they have a memory of someone that you once loved, someone that you met in a fleeting moment, and the only thing you can recall is that fragrance whiffing by, or that pillow the next morning… Tea to me has the same memory, it’s the morning after, it’s the sitting in that quiet place with yourself or someone else. It is as ancient as the fragrance industry.

Tea is thousands of years old. It was drunk by the old Tibetan teachers, and Buddhist monks in order to achieve wonderfully long and silent meditations. I think they both have historical value. We are steeped in history with both products.

You went from having the largest tea salon in the world to having no stores. Were these adjustments you made in order to continue finding your passion and purpose?

TSalon Private label lines

TSalon Private label lines

“Adjustment” is an understatement. It was a true internal ride to avoid falling into the depths of depression when you think that you have failed and wonder where did you go wrong. It was a process to realize that you have the ability to manifest what you believe in is a great product, but in a different format. To give others the ability to communicate your passion in a different viral way through social networking, newsletters, blogs, mentoring, through your website, through creating pop-up stores, through other stores carrying your product, through hotels serving them in their lounges, restaurants and spas.

Do you ever get bored? How do you continue to fuel your passion?

Never, never do I ever get bored. I collaborate with so many amazing folks daily on new ideas, new ways to bring tea to the forefront. Ideas flow out of my head every day. Love and passion of what I do fuels the fire within…

If you manage Millennials, here's a great piece on how to leverage their enthusiasm and passion!

Advantages of successful women in business

Are there any gender advantages that successful women in business share?

Internal intuition!!!! Vibrationally, women of the past and women of the future speak the same language. We could do anything we put our hearts into… We have big hearts and we are the elders who share our wisdom with the younger generation, and we rock!

You are very interested in health and sustainability. Tell us about some of the initiatives you’re involved with.

Do we have all afternoon? I’m on the board of The American Sustainable Business Council. We go to the White House to speak to men up on the hill on sustainability, on women in business, on making a difference for the next generation.

I’m involved with Urban Zen created by Donna Karan. Bringing yoga and tea to hospitals, wellness centers, and educating the health practitioners to understand there are many ways of healing the body and mind, and tea is big factor.

You’ve had and continue to have a fascinating life. Do you find the stories or do the stories find you?

Both. I think when you’re truly in your skin your life becomes a story.

You can connect with Miriam Novalle at:


Twitter – @TSalonNYC @TSalonLA


Successful Women in Business: MarieBelle New York

An in-depth and exclusive interview with Maribel Lieberman, one of the most successful women in business in NY, owner of MarieBelle tells us how she built her global chocolatier empire! A must read.

Maribel Lieberman one of the most successful women in business at her NY store

Maribel Lieberman one of the most successful women in business at her NY store

Your mouth waters immediately when you walk into this chocolate boutique that feels like an expensive jewelry store. The glass shelves exhibit a collection of delicate truffles decorated with artistic images, MarieBelle’s signature blue and brown tin cans of Aztec chocolate powder, and chocolate bars that you could send as postcards! But this Soho store, with an adorable coffee shop in the back where you can have the best hot chocolate you ever tasted, is only partly responsible for Maribel Lieberman being one of the most successful women in business we know.

She also sells her delicious MarieBelle brand at some of the finest U.S. department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, and she has recently opened four stores in Japan. This native of Honduras, who at 17 came by herself to the U.S. to study fashion design, can often be found at the Broome Street store offering a taste of her latest creations to grateful visitors.

Successful women in the family

Are there other successful women in your family? What about women in business?

I come from a family of eight children – six girls and two boys. All of us graduated college and one of my sisters and I are entrepreneurs. My mother and grandmother were very entrepreneurial. They were seamstresses and worked for the local men’s fashion tailor. My grandmother, who died in 1996 at 108 years old, started working as a single woman when she was 20 and continued after she got married and had children. That was back in 1908 when women didn’t work.  My mom worked for the same tailor to help put all of us through college. As a young girl I always saw these two women in business for themselves and I was inspired to have my own little businesses selling candy.

Where did the idea to open a chocolate boutique come from?

MarieBelle, a chocolate boutique in Soho - Successful women in business

MarieBelle, a chocolate boutique in Soho

I was at a point in my life when I didn’t know what I wanted. I was cooking a lot because I had just gotten married to an artist and was entertaining quite a bit in my house. I enjoyed visiting different neighborhoods, being exposed to various cultures, picking up different food ingredients and experimenting.  I fell in love with food and I eventually opened a catering business from my house. I catered for the U.S. Mission to the UN when President Clinton was in office and even catered for the President. I think I got those types of gigs because I always loved beautiful things. Presentation for me was always key, so it wasn’t only about the food but the presentation of it and everything that surrounded it.

Five years later, when I was already working out of a rented kitchen, I wanted to move the business to the next level and open a gourmet store like Dean and Deluca where I could feature food from various countries. But I needed a lot of money to do that, and I couldn’t get it. So I started sharing space at an eyeglass boutique store with a friend of mine, which we called Lunettes et Chocolat (Eyeglasses and Chocolate). That’s when I plunged into research about chocolate, and I fell in love with it. I realized that chocolate came from the Americas and I wanted to bring the credit back to the region because most people think chocolate comes from Belgium, France and Switzerland. 

The power of your brand

It’s evident to anyone who walks into your store that you are all about branding. The colors, the style, the look and feel… MarieBelle is absolutely unique. How did you come up with the brand? And I don’t just mean the name, which is a play on your own name, right?

Successful Women in Business: MarieBelle New York - Her store front in Soho

Successful Women in Business: MarieBelle New York

I’ve always been a visionary. I never wrote a business plan, but I had vision. Blue was always my favorite color and when I decided to go into chocolate I had to add brown. I just imagined people would come into the store and see blue everywhere. I loved the vintage look of the blue and brown. Then when I started designing the packaging I would do different versions of the same blue and, without realizing it, I was creating a brand.

In terms of the product, I did a lot of research in Belgium, Switzerland and France; and I saw very similar things everywhere. In France they were mostly the same flavors: praline, cinnamon – nothing interesting, really. In Belgium chocolates are a lot sweeter, filled with liquor and milk. In Switzerland the milk chocolate is one of the best in the world.

I wanted to start with tropical flavors like passion fruit, pineapple, cardamom, chipotle, saffron… things I enjoyed eating when growing up. Back then nobody was doing those kinds of flavors. And most of the French chocolates looked the same with a little fleur de lis on top. The Swiss put lines across the top of theirs. I decided to put some of my husband’s paintings on my chocolates. Then I added more fashion images. Now the images on the chocolates include scenes from my daily life in New York.

Leadership style of women in business

Many women in business find that they have to adapt their leadership style to a more masculine style to get the respect they deserve. What kind of leadership style do you have?

I don’t need to do any adjustments of style in my company, because I don’t need to compare myself to any guy. I think everyone should respect their own way to lead. I’m a firm leader, but I’m also kind; I understand people. I’m not ruthless. I treat my employees like family.

Successful women in business and their brands

Successful women in business and their brands

Do you look at other successful women as inspiration to run your company? Who?

I admire people who lead big companies like Yahoo or Google. I read Coco Channel’s story, and I admire her a lot. She came from nothing and built something huge. She followed her instincts, and, although she was criticized because she was one of the few hard-working women at the time, she didn’t care about what others said. Nowadays is very much the same: If you have a good vision you should follow your instincts. Of course you should hear other people’s opinions, but always follow your vision.

Biggest challenges faced by successful women entrepreneurs

Your business is doing really well. Your product is unique and every time we visit your store there’s a mob lining up to buy your chocolates. What are some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome to become one of the most successful women in New York?

There are always challenges. There are ups and downs and competition. When you create something good people copy you so you can’t sit down and relax and go on vacations. You have to stay ahead of the game. One of the challenges has always been to keep up with the trends of eating habits, ingredients, and packaging. (Think about it, ten years ago people weren’t eating chocolate with salt or hot pepper.)

Successful women in business MarieBelle | I wanted to start with tropical flavors like passion fruit, pineapple, cardamom, chipotle, saffron… things I enjoyed eating when growing up.

I wanted to start with tropical flavors like passion fruit, pineapple, cardamom, chipotle, saffron… things I enjoyed eating when growing up.

And what are some of the great advantages of being a woman in your industry?

I feel that in America it’s the perfect time to be a woman in business. Everything is changing so fast. Even companies that buy my product tend to prefer women-owned businesses. In a few years there will be a much greater number of women running companies in all industries. I’m biased but I think women are much smarter than men when it comes to running a business, because they have a sixth sense; they have more knowledge of psychology.

A large percentage of your clientele comes from Japan, and you recently opened four stores in that country. Why do you think there’s such a passion for MarieBelle’s product over there?

Since day one the Japanese were attracted to my brand. I remember there was an article in a Japanese newspaper saying that my chocolate reminded them of sushi. The good thing is that the Japanese are the toughest customers to please. So if you can make it in Japan, you can make it anywhere.

Women in business | The MarieBelle store in Soho | If you have a good vision you should follow your instincts.

If you have a good vision you should follow your instincts.

What suggestions do you have for successful women entrepreneurs looking to expand to other markets?

Everyone wants to come to the U.S. to sell their products, because this is a huge market with a very sophisticated consumer. Master your product here first, and then you can try expanding to other countries. I was first approached in 2009 to go to Japan. but I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have enough variety of flavors and I needed to research that market before I entered it. It took me until 2012 to be prepared, and that’s when we opened our first store with a local partner.

Where are you going from here?

The plan is to open several more stores under the brand Cacao Market by MarieBelle in Japan. It’s a more casual brand for impulse buying. It has an old pharmacy feeling, old-fashioned packaging. We also serve ten types of different hot chocolates and coffees to go. After that we want to expand to Singapore and Hong Kong.

FB: MarieBelle
Twitter: @MarieBelle
Instagram: MarieBelle

Successful women in business | MarieBelle brand is sold at some of the finest U.S. department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

MarieBelle brand is sold at some of the finest U.S. department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Successful women in business | Maribel Lieberman can often be found at the Broome Street store offering a taste of her latest creations to grateful visitors.

Maribel Lieberman can often be found at the Broome Street store offering a taste of her latest creations to grateful visitors.

One of Our Favorite Famous Entrepreneurs: Randi Zuckerberg

Famous Entrepreneurs: Randi Zuckerberg wearing the RSM charms!

Famous Entrepreneurs: Randi Zuckerberg wearing the RSM charms!

It’s always thrilling to meet famous entrepreneurs, those who disrupt industries and create new products and services that suddenly none of us can live without. They are usually young, vibrant, passionate men and women who didn’t set out to be famous entrepreneurs but whose indomitable spirit drove them to fulfill their dreams bringing along millions of followers. At only 31-years old Randi Zuckerberg is one of our favorite famous entrepreneurs not because she was there to support her brother Mark to launch Facebook but because she made a name for herself within that company and most importantly, because she has decided to walk away from it and start her own business.  I had the good fortune of meeting Randi during the presentation of her first pair of books —Dot, for children and Dot Complicated for adults, both published by HarperCollins— at the iconic Books and Books bookstore in Coral Gables.

Working with Famous Entrepreneurs

When you were working with one of the most famous entrepreneurs in modern history who happened to be your brother, it must have been awfully difficult to ponder the decision to walk away; to consider all that you would lose and decide to let it go. What internal process did you go through to arrive at the decision of leaving Facebook?

I loved working at Facebook and I could easily see my self being there for 10 more years and being very happy. But for me it was important to make a mark in the world and for that to happen it was inevitable for me to leave and do my own thing. It seemed that hosting the President during an event I helped organize at Facebook was a great moment to exit when I was on a high note, and start a new chapter in my life. I was also about to have my first child so it felt like the right time to take leave.

What other famous entrepreneurs do you admire and why? Any women come to mind?

There are so many women, especially in the media who I really admire, Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucas Film, was a real mentor to me. She’s such an awesome badass woman. She was behind the merger with Disney and it’s especially interesting when you think that Star Wars is mostly men and yet behind it there is a woman.

Leslie Blodgett founder of Bare Essentials, she created her company from nothing and made it into a billion dollar company.

There a lot of famous entrepreneurs who are women and that maybe are not as loud as men but they are doing some amazing things.

Executive Presence

You’ve been very visible and have interacted with very powerful people from a very young age. How did you project the executive presence needed to be taken seriously?

I was 24 when I started at FB. It was interesting because people would book a meeting with “Randi” and they probably thought they were going to meet a guy so they seemed disappointed when they saw it was a young woman they were meeting with. It was hard for me because people assume if you’re young you’re inexperienced. The good thing is that in Silicon Valley people don’t take age as seriously as other places. It’s cool to be young in Silicon Valley and be creating something new.

It’s important for women to surround themselves with a network that promotes them rather than doing it themselves

It’s important for women to surround themselves with a network that promotes them rather than doing it themselves

I encourage women to be patient, work hard, and keep their head down because as you accomplish small achievements they shout louder than self-promotion.

But isn’t that what women do? Keep their head down waiting to be recognized while men self promote and get the recognition?

Yes, you are right. But unfortunately there is a double standard, so it’s important for women to surround themselves with a network that promotes them rather than doing it themselves. Because when men self promote they are cool, they are great, but when women self promote they are seen as self centered. So it’s best when you let others promote you.

Any suggestions for women who wonder whether you’re born with executive presence or you can develop it along the way?

You can 100% develop executive presence along the way. If you had told me when I was 22 years old that I would do a lot of public speaking I would’ve never believed you because it was one of my biggest fears. Nobody is born with the ability to speak concisely in front of a large audience, or to convey confidence. You’re not born with any of these skills. They are all skills you can learn. Take a Toastmaster’s speaking class, take an online course, practice with friends. As Malcolm Gladwell says “10,000 hours will make you an expert on anything.”

A Woman in Technology

Let’s make sure everyone reading this knows YOU did graduate from Harvard with a marketing degree. But you’ve always been very involved in technology and part of your focus now is to help people achieve life-technology balance. Give us a few ideas of when it’s good to use technology and when we should turn it off.


One of Our Favorite Famous Entrepreneurs, Randi Zuckerberg, at her book signing

One of Our Favorite Famous Entrepreneurs, Randi Zuckerberg, at her book signing

This is a great topic to discuss over the holidays because in some ways tech can bring the family together. There are some fun games like a fun Charade game where everyone puts a phone over their forehead with the picture of who they are, everyone knows except for the person holding the picture. On the other we need to understand that if you’re hosting a party you can set the tone by telling people you expect them to be in the moment and not on the phone. There’s another fun game we play, called Phone Stacking, Everyone puts their phone in the center of the table and the person who reaches for it first does the dishes.

And when it comes to teens, you should give them a digital allowance over holidays. For example you tell them you have 4 hours of digital allowance for the week. If you want to expand your allowance you need to play outside or do chores, or anything else you think is important for them to do.

What can each of us do to motivate more girls to get involved in the technology field?

We can talk to young girls about how much impact they can have. There is no other industry out there where with few lines of code you can reach millions of people.

It’s good to encourage them to go into design, a growing area in the tech industry which is a skill that women have innately. We don’t need to encourage girls to just be technical coders.

Dot Complicated

Tell us about your new projects, Zuckerberg Media and Dot Complicated.

Zuckerberg media is doing media production, shows online, TV, radio, consulting with brands around the world to make the most of their companies.

Dot Complicated is an online community aimed at “untangling” our wired, wonderful lives. We are reaching our one-year anniversary and we will continue to grow the community with great content.

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You can follow Randi on Twitter @DotComplicated