This month is Women’s History Month and here at the agency, we are so honored and privileged to work alongside such hard-working women business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the country. We are so proud to support, represent, and learn from these women driven to create their own success. We are equally as impressed with the breadth and depth of the various industries our partners represent, from hospitality to entertainment to senior living and everything in between, these women are paving their own way and making their mark in their industries.

We interviewed a few of our partners, as well as our very own fearless leader Noreen Heron, to hear more about what they have learned throughout their careers, and any advice they would like to pass on to aspiring women in business. Read on below for what some of some of them had to say:

Shannon Ridgeway – General Manager, Roosevelt Collection Shops
“Success does not happen overnight. It takes hard work and time to build. No one knows everything and there is always something new to be learned. Take advantage of these opportunities as they come. Your career is yours and what you make of it. Nothing will happen unless you put in the effort to find and take advantage of these stepping stones. You will make mistakes along your journey, but the important thing is to learn from these mistakes and make changes so they don’t happen again.”

Dr. Julie T. Chen – Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Wisdom In Wellness
“When you’re starting out, the most important thing is to just get going and jump in. The only way to learn and figure out what you need to work on and learn about is to start going down the path you are wanting to go. This seems intuitive but a lot of the times, fear holds us back. You have to be fearless and start. Look for mentors and people in the field you’re jumping into and reach out for support and guidance. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to help, you won’t know though unless you ask.”

Liz Jaquez – Corporate Director of Marketing and Digital, Janko Hospitality
“Don’t be complacent out of fear. I was at the same company for the first 10 years of my career mostly because I was comfortable. Studies have shown that men apply for jobs when they only meet 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100%. Since making the leap, I have had so many new experiences and met so many smart people who have positively influenced my career. Also, when interviewing, make sure that you like your hiring manager on a personal level and trust your gut. Don’t expect to be BFF’s, but a good rapport and mutual respect with your direct manager is extremely important in your day to day job satisfaction.”

Winnie Park – CEO, Paper Source 
“Support other women, always. If we don’t support each other, who will? In every meaningful job I have had in my career, I have been lucky enough to have a female boss or mentor push me to do more, be better, but also to stand up for me. This has been critical in my career progression and is something I take really seriously in my current role at Paper Source.”

Stella Yu – Director of Marketing, Kinka, KINTON Ramen
“The restaurant industry has long been male-dominated. One lesson I have learned as a woman in this space is that despite this difference, it is important to always display confidence in yourself. If 2020 showed us anything, it is that no two days in the restaurant world are the same. With things constantly changing in this business, you will be forced to make decisions quickly on your feet. In these moments, it is important to have unwavering trust in yourself. Make your ideas known and speak up for yourself when needed. You know you are capable, so confidently show others that you are just as capable as your male counterparts in the field.”

Micaela Haas – General Manager, The Rose Hotel
“One of the biggest lessons in my career was to embrace change, and doing what makes you uncomfortable to keep growing in your career. Meaning, if you are scared of doing it, but you see yourself doing it; if it makes you uncomfortable, then it is the right challenge for you. This is how you grow in business. Taking on challenges that you think you are not ready for, but you see yourself doing. Who gets to decide if you are ready? YOU. You need to have the courage to try new opportunities and challenges.”

Marlena Karwowski – General Manager, The Forester Hotel, Hyatt
“Beginnings are often challenging and intimidating. The unknown may be frightening.
One lesson that I have learned quickly in my career was to find supportive mentors who acknowledged my potential and allow them to guide me. Great leaders take the time to share their experiences and take satisfaction of paying it forward.”

Elaine Frei – Owner, LUFT Balloons
“Keep pushing and pursuing. When you feel like you can’t get to where you want to be (like you feel not even close) just pivot and keep going. Look up the definitions of resilience and persistence. They are your friends.”

Dr. Saloumeh Bozorgzadeh – Founder, Caring 4 Our Caregivers
“Keep moving. Don’t get discouraged with the losses and carry them with you. Also, don’t get caught up in the gains, remain humble. Focus on your purpose/goal and keep moving, that’s where the balance is. The gains and losses will even out around you.”

Sian Stevens – Chief Operating Officer, Caledonia Senior Living/Chicago Scots
“Early in my career I was the youngest member of a leadership team by over a decade. I looked even younger than I was. I made sure I was the most prepared person in the room. This gave me confidence, helped me to gain the trust of my peers and reminded me that I deserved to be there. Pretty quickly my age didn’t matter.”

Wendy Stevens – Chief Operating Officer, Maverick Hotels and Restaurants
“My advice to women starting out is: know your value. Always trust that you’re in the position you’re in for a reason!”

Noreen Heron – CEO and Founder, Heron Agency
“It all starts and ends with passion and energy, both professionally and personally. Don’t ever take a job just for the money. Operate from a place of integrity that makes you feel that what you are doing is contributing to making our world happier. When you love what you do, a strong work ethic is easily developed because you find joy in it. Once you find success in your career, share that knowledge and experience with other women by being a mentor, and in turn learn from them too.”