Photo by Michael Stewart of Getty Images. From left: Natalie Zfat, Allison Wright, Mona Patel, Kristina Libby, Janice Chong, Nan J. Morrison

Photo by Michael Stewart of Getty Images. From left: Natalie Zfat, Allison Wright, Mona Patel, Kristina Libby, Janice Chong, Nan J. Morrison

Growing my own business - and helping others do the same - is easily one of the most fulfilling feelings I've experienced in my lifetime. So when I was asked to partner with NYU and E-School for Girls to speak about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur - alongside other leading female innovators - I was in.

The event, powered by Microsoft, took place at NYU's Stern School of Business, and was attended by over 100 guests, including decision-makers, students, educators, and press. 

Fellow speakers included E-School for Girls Founder and Program Director Allison Wright, Microsoft Consumer PR Communications Lead Kristina Libby,  Council of Economic Education CEO Nan J. Morrison, Motivate Design CEO Mona Patel, and Teaching Garage CEO Janice Chong.

Allison Wright, E-School for Girls Founder and Program Director 

Allison Wright, E-School for Girls Founder and Program Director 

Now approaching its third year as a premier summer program, E-School for Girls provides underserved high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial ideas and skills such as business planning, team building, and personal branding. The girls are also introduced to a network of business professionals and mentors across a range of industries. 

“It is my personal mission to ensure that our students get to experience entrepreneurial success, build their skills and confidence and learn how to support themselves and each other no matter their gender or socioeconomic background.” - E-School for Girls Director, Allison Wright

Each speaker then gave a five-minute talk, sharing personal career stories, entrepreneurial advice and personal definitions of success. I shared with the audience my personal criteria for success, which I'll now share here.

  1. Be genuine.
  2. Do something that no one else is doing. (Or, if you’re doing something that other people are doing, do it better. Make sure you find a way to stand out.)
  3. Use yourself as the barometer for what success is. Figure out what your definition is and hold on to it as strongly as you would your client or employer's definition.

Check out some of my favorite moments and messages from the event.

"The secret to being an entrepreneur is refusing to allow your vision of what’s possible be dictated by those around you." -Kristina Libby
"You should be able to say what you do in one sentence." -Nan J. Morrison
"You do you. Really think about what it is that you know, what it is that you can offer, how you can best offer it, and then design the company around that." -Mona Patel
"If you don’t have the passion, and you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s going to be tough." -Janice Chong