Platform Issue: I am passionate about encouraging others to follow their dreams so that their dream life becomes their reality.
Career Accomplishments: As a former Fortune 50 top executive, I built and drove marketing and distribution systems for some of the most respected companies in the US. After losing my job following the events of September 11, 2001, I used the opportunity to take stock of my life, create new goals, and move forward to fill my lifetime dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
In 2003 I joined forces with my sister in law Lisa to create Bonitas International, the home of BooJeeBeads™, whose flagship product line is a collection of fashion ID jewelry that lets women wear their employee ID or conference credentials with style. Today, our multimillion dollar company sells its’ product throughout North America at over 4,000 retail outlets, big box stores and on www.BooJeeBeads.com and www.EyeGlassHolders.com
It’s been an incredible journey! I’ve met Vogue fashion editor André Leon Talley at New York Fashion Week. I’ve been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Entrepreneur, as well as Smart Money, Reader’s Digest and BusinessWeek.
TV appearances include the Today Show, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC and HSN. I’m a Make Mine a Million $ Business Awardee and a finalist for the 2009 Fortune 10 Most Powerful Women in Small Business award. I am also a co-author of two best-selling books “The Next Big Thing” and “Women Who Mean Business”.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Where I live today -on an island in SW Florida, directly on the Gulf of Mexico. For me and my three children it doesn’t get any better than Paradise Found!
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would they be? That’s an easy question; Eleanor Roosevelt- she was such a trailblazer! She overcame a very difficult childhood to later serve as “first lady of the world” based on her outstanding work to further human rights. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention; on a few occasions, she publicly disagreed with her husband’s policies. Her famous saying “Well behaved women rarely make history” is the bumper sticker on my car!
Best advice you have ever been given: Though not personally given to me, I take a quote by Henry Ford to heart. It’s “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, your right.”
Who is your role model and why? This is another question that I don’t even have to think about. My role model is my father, John Harrington, who passed away last year. He was the son of a factory assembly line man and a cafeteria worker, he was the first person to go to college in his family and became an entrepreneur who successfully ran a business for 25 years, providing for his family and living the American dream. He was my encourager and cheer-leader.
As a child, my father’s success enabled my mom to live her dream of being a stay at home mom to raise my brother and me. My dad attended all of our sporting and school events and was always there for us. He supported my every dream and was quick to offer a big hug and a cloth hanky when things didn’t go quite as planned.
When my sister-in-law Lisa and I started Bonitas International, he provided us start-up funds in the form of loans and worked at no cost in our company in any role we needed- from packing orders to providing strategic insight by serving on our board of advisors. He was my “Excalibur”… – an endless source of wisdom and strength as we grew from a dream to a multimillion dollar enterprise.
My dad grew his business without the advice and counsel of his family, never had any networking group to work with or the fingertip knowledge available at the World Wide Web. I have no idea how I would have made it without those resources.
As a single mom, I aspire to provide the best parts of my father and my mother to the life I create with my children.
Something interesting about you: I am a scuba diver who earned a “Shark Diving Certification” in a diving adventure in Tahiti
Three words that describe you best: Courageous, Optimistic, Dreamer
Favorite Book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Favorite TV Show: I don’t have a ton of time for TV, but I do like to watch “Modern Family” with my kids.
Favorite Foods: Stone Crabs, cold with mustard sauce, raspberries with mint and tiramisu
Favorite Sport: I am newly addicted to Paddle boarding