Whitney Wolfe

How did you get your start?
I learned how to set up my own company in college when I launched a charitable tote bag line. I then went to work for a tech incubator, where I went on to become a co-founder of Tinder. I started Bumble in 2014.

 

What is the best advice you ever received?
Two things:
1) All that matters is your customer. If they are happy, success will follow.
2) K.I.S.S: Keep it simple, stupid.

 

What would you advise someone today?
Follow your dreams, because they are only as unobtainable as you believe them to be.

 

How would you describe your style?
Classic, elegant and simple. Gwyneth Paltrow in Great Expectations is the most iconic style I can think of.

 

Name 3 characteristics required to do your job well.
Fierce dedication, passion, integrity.

 

What is your greatest achievement to date?
Being able to use the brand to raise money for women-driven causes close to my heart.

 

How would you define success?
Positive impact on others.

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Maya Rodale

Remember Fabio? The suntanned, herculean figure, pectorals bulging from his wind-swept blouses, who shot to first-name fame as the face of the ’80s and ‘90s romance novel. The multibillion-dollar genre is one of the publishing industry’s most profitable and popular—a success enjoyed long before 50 Shades of Grey introduced it to the mainstream. “They are stories written by women, about women, for women,” explains Maya Rodale, the 34-year old bestselling romance novelist and contributor to The Huffington Post and Bustle. “They offer a much needed image of women succeeding—professionally, personally, romantically by being true to themselves.” The insatiable appetite of romance readers keeps Rodale busy. Up at 5am, she’s already put away 1000 words (on a single cup of coffee) before most of us have even managed to hit the snooze button. “I usually write a book or two a year,” she says. The next one, It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke, will be her 13th romance novel to date.

How did you get your start?
I was just out of college and an aspiring writer when an agent suggested that I write romance novels because I loved reading them so much. One year—and many rejections—later I sold the book that launched my career.

 

What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
Either a rock star or the first female president.

 

What do you love most about your job?
That I am the boss of everything.

 

What is the best advice you ever received?
If you’re not getting a rejection every week you’re not trying hard enough. That reframed rejection for me.

 

How would you describe your style?
A Person Who Works From Home But Hasn’t Given Up Completely Yet. For evenings out I like to wear a fabulous dress.

 

Name 3 characteristics required to do your job well.
Imagination, optimism, discipline.

 

How would you define success?
Happiness.

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Jennifer Zuccarini

Growing up in Toronto, Jennifer Zuccarini was “obsessed” with lingerie. Her first bra (aside from those stolen from her sister’s underwear drawer) was a black floral balconette from Aubade. Though she’s a formally trained designer, Zuccarini is best described as a brand builder, a creative, a big-picture person. Her first venture, the high-end label Kiki de Montparnasse, garnered as much success for its sex toys as it did lingerie. “We redefined them as this luxury concept.” Corporate megawatt Victoria’s Secret soon came knocking, hoping Zuccarini could elevate product—and she did. By 2012, it was time to go it alone and Fleur du Mal, a new lingerie/lifestyle brand, was born. “It’s really about approaching lingerie as part of your wardrobe” she says, “I think of our woman as powerful, but not afraid to express her femininity and sexuality. She owns it.”

How did you get your start?
I moved to New York and got a job working for Nanette Lepore. I just walked in there, dropped off my resume and they hired me as a freelance designer.

 

What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
A designer. At age 8 I asked my mother to buy me a sewing machine and get me sewing lessons.

 

What do you love most about your job?
Having an idea, sketching or planning it out and seeing it come to fruition the way you envisioned it is very satisfying.

 

What do you dislike about your job?
Financial stress.

 

What was the best advice you ever received?
When faced with a stressful situation, thinking, “Will this matter in 1 or 5 years from now?” Most of the time the answer is no.

 

Name 3 characteristics required to do your job well.
Resilience, maintaining a strong vision and a love for the product.

 

How would you define success?
The balance of doing something that truly inspires you, being surrounded by people you love, having your health and never wanting for anything—except maybe a Gucci bag or something.

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Heather Havrilesky

Imagine you’ve just been dumped. Totally out of the blue, ghosted. How do you get over it? Many people ask Polly, AKA 46-year-old LA-based Heather Havrilesky, who writes the weekly advice column for New York Magazine’s The Cut. Self-described as “rambling and aggressive” (the New York Times calls it “best friend wisdom”), “Ask Polly” offers an unpretentious but intelligent mix of practical advice, philosophical musings and girl-power support. “Some people would say I mostly inspire women to stick up for themselves, avoid lukewarm men and follow their dreams.” How to Be a Person in the World, a book filled with Havrilesky’s best columns (some previously unpublished), came out last year. “People really need someone to talk them through the scary-as-hell twists and turns in the road,” says Havrilesky. I think a big part of my job lies in inspiring people to believe that they can live a different way.”

How did you get your start?
I was hired as an editor at Suck.com in 1995, wrote essays about online culture for them, and collaborated with their illustrator, Terry Colon, on a weekly cartoon that had 50k viewers a week—which was a ton in 1996.

 

What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
A movie star, so I could marry Harrison Ford.

 

What do you love most about your job?
It uses all of my strengths and weaknesses—mixed together!

 

What do you dislike about your job?
I am always running late on one deadline or another, so every hour of my day includes a "Do your homework!" panic to it.

 

What would you advise someone today?
Do what you love and believe in passionately. Whatever you're obsessed with, that you’re also embarrassed to tell people you love, might just point you to your passion.

 

How would you describe your style?
Soft clothing covered in dog hair. Yes, I work from home.

 

Name 3 characteristics required to do your job well.
Tenacity, blind faith, and an ability to tolerate bad first drafts.

 

How would you define success?
Working hard every day at a craft that makes you feel deeply connected to others and to your own strange gifts.