History Historical Badasses

Madam C.J. Walker was the first Black female millionaire

Earlier this year, a mini-series on Netflix was released called Self MadeThe mini-series is inspired by the life of the first self-made Black female millionaire Madam C.J. Walker. The life and work of Madam C.J. Walker is an important story to tell because it celebrates the success of a Black woman and the beauty of Black hair.   

A few months ago, Kat Graham from The Vampire Diaries did a morning routine video on Vogue’s YouTube channel called “Kat Graham’s Natural Hair Beauty Routine.” During the video, she explained to her viewers that this is the first time that she has been completely without additional assistance when taking care of her hair. While Graham was talking about a hair care product that she was introduced to that really helped her hair throughout quarantine, she started crying and getting emotional.

Watching the video made me reflect on my own experiences with my hair as a Black woman. It also made me reflect on how having Black hair is an emotional, personal, and empowering journey. Madam C.J. Walker is a woman who truly understood the emotional and empowering experience of having black hair. And ultimately, she was able to use her experience to become a successful entrepreneur and help other Black women. 

Before she was known as Madam C.J. Walker she was born as Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, on a Louisiana plantation. Her parents were both enslaved before the Civil War ended and later became sharecroppers. At the age of seven, her parents passed away.

After their deaths, she moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi with her sister and worked picking cotton. At the age of 14, she got married to escape her abusive brother-in-law and had her daughter A’Lelia Walker at 18 years of age. Two years after giving birth to her daughter, Walker’s first husband died. After his death, she and her daughter moved to St. Louis, to work for $1.50 a day at a barbershop owned by her four brothers. In St. Louis, she joined the St. Paul A.M.E. Church and the National Association of Colored Women. She also got married to her second husband, but the couple eventually divorced.

A newspaper Ad for Madam CJ Walker's for Wonderful Hair Grower product that is titled "Is Your Hair Short?" On right is a picture of her and on the left there is an article promoting the product.
[Image Description: A newspaper Ad for Madam CJ Walker’s for Wonderful Hair Grower product that is titled “Is Your Hair Short?” On right is a picture of her and on the left there is an article promoting the product.]  Image Source
Walker’s hair care journey began in the 1890s and early 1900s. She was struggling financially and developed a scalp disorder that caused her to lose her hair. In order to work on growing her hair back, she sought advice from her brothers and experimented with home remedies. She also tried hair products by Annie Malone, another prosperous Black hair-care entrepreneur. After using Annie Malone products, she became a commission agent and moved to Denver in 1905.

In Denver, she met her third husband, Charles J. Walker. Soon after meeting her husband, she began her brand. Her husband encouraged her to use the name “Madam C.J. Walker” so that her brand name would be more recognizable. She began traveling throughout the South and Southeast for almost two years selling and promoting her “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, which was a scalp conditioning and healing ointment.

By 1910, she was able to settle down in Indianapolis where she built a factory, a hair salon, a nail salon, and a hair care training school. Throughout her life, she used her own personal experience of losing and regrowing her hair to build a prosperous Black business.  Today, she is known not only as the first Black self-made female millionaire, but also as a Black woman who supported her community as a pioneer of hair care for Black women.

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Startups Tech Money Career Advice Now + Beyond

10 female entrepreneurs who are changing the way things are done in the Arab World

Presented in partnership with Womena.

There’s a clear lack of funding in the startup ecosystem, with female founders getting only 2% of venture capital in 2017.

However, Womena is leveling the playing field by ensuring female entrepreneurs are supported so they can succeed.

One of their game-changing initiatives, the Womentum Accelerator program, is the first early-stage accelerator that focuses solely on female-led startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Womentum graduated their first cohort, with a diverse portfolio covering everything from employee engagement and satisfaction to investment platforms and on-demand beauty services.

These female founders are taking over the world by creating regional and global waves.

1. Mennat Allah,  XPay, Egypt

Image description: The founders of XPay, a man and woman are standing together smiling.
Image description: The founders of XPay, a man and woman are standing together smiling.

Using blockchain technology to power a cashless community-powered family wallet?  The future of finance is here and Mennat Allah and her husband, Mohamed Abdelmottaleb, are implementing it in people’s everyday lives.

2. Amira Cheniour and Inès Hamida, Seabex, Tunisia

Image description: The six founders of Seabex, three women and three men doing funny poses for the camera.
Image description: The six founders of Seabex, three women and three men doing funny poses for the camera.

Seabex is a smart-automation and e-monitoring system that tracks environmental factors to help farmers make better decisions as well as automating things like turning irrigation systems on or off depending on what is needed. This will help farmers work smarter as well as helping the environment, proving that sustainability doesn’t have to be a limiting factor in developing agrarian economies.

3. Sarah Bacon, We Share Property, United Arab Emirates

Image description: The founders of WeShareProperty, a man in a blue shirt and a woman in a dark tank top.
Image description: The founders of WeShareProperty, a man in a blue shirt and a woman in a dark tank top.

We Share Property is an investment platform for the real estate industry to professionalize and streamline the experience of real estate investment making it more accessible to people than ever.

5. Romouz Sadeq, Mrayti, Jordan

Image description: The founders of Myrati, three men and three women crowd in to take a selfie together in a mirror.
Image description: The founding team of Mrayti, three men and three women crowd in to take a selfie together in a mirror.

A unique mobile salon for the Arab world where customers can book different services of their choosing, the salon features a booking system for stylists and artists that smoothly integrates with their calendars. It provides a mobile salon, allowing customers to access on-demand beauty and personal care.

6. Nouf Al Saleem, Mathaqi, Saudi Arabia 

Image description: The founder of Mathaqi, a woman wearing black with long, dark hair.
Image description: The co-founder of Mathaqi, a woman wearing black with long, dark hair.

Mathaqi‘s mission is to provide home-cooked meals from international cuisines delivered to users on demand. The company allows home cooks and small businesses to be able to provide a professional, deliverable product without taking the risk of setting up a business on their own.

7.  Houda Miroche, Zelij, Morocco

mage courtesy of Womena. Image description: The founder of Zelij, a woman in a white shirt and long dark hair speaks into a microphone in front of a crowd with the logo of her company behind her.
Image courtesy of Womena. Image description: The founder of Zelij, a woman in a white shirt and long dark hair speaks into a microphone in front of a crowd with the logo of her company behind her.

Zelij is working to turn plastic waste into sustainable building materials, such as eco-friendly paving stones and floor tiles made from plastic waste. Their Paveco product is made with 80% plastic waste and is comparable to standard paving.

8. Dara Alsulayman, Jaazi, Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates

Image description: The founder of Jaazi, a woman in a white shirt and blue blazer with long dark hair.
Image description: The founder of Jaazi, a woman in a white shirt and blue blazer with long dark hair.

Meet the future: an employee engagement tool that looks to combat disengagement in the workplace using a perks and benefits marketplace and a pulse-survey tool. Jaazi is working to create a more empathetic work environment in the Middle East by opening up channels of communication and engagement between employees and employers.

9. Reham Elmasry and Ingi Naguib, Furnwish, Egypt

Image description: The founders of Furnwish, two men and two women stand in front of a blackboard.
Image description: The founders of Furnwish, two men and two women stand in front of a blackboard.

Using immersive augmented reality experience, Furnwish allows users to try out and see furniture in their own spaces, in real-time. This is the perfect fix to making sure users don’t invest in furniture or the hassle of bringing it home – only to find out it doesn’t fit the space as they may have expected.


Laila Alawa speaks to Entrepreneur Before 25 podcast about the story behind The Tempest

The Tempest’s CEO Laila Alawa spoke with Chelann Gienger from the Entrepreneur Before 25 (EB25) podcast. EB25 interviews inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs like Laila who began their journey whilst aged 25 or under.

[bctt tweet=”I found that I started being put in situations where my people pleasing hurt me. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Laila talked about her background, her family, why she started The Tempest, and life as an entrepreneur.

Whilst explaining the realities of chasing your dreams, Laila also divulged some gems of advice for budding entrepreneurs. She dived in deep and discussed why being a people pleaser has the potential to destroy freedom.

“I used to live my life very afraid of hurting others, I found that I started being put in situations where my people pleasing hurt me.”

Listen to the entire podcast here.

Beauty Lookbook

Pakistan’s coolest new skin-care brands that you haven’t heard of yet – but totally need

As of late, there have been numerous home-based skin care brands popping up online from Pakistan. From hair treatments to face masks; you can buy everything and all of the products boast organic ingredients with no harsh chemicals.

All of these brands have a huge following on Facebook, and they’ve really utilized the platform for operations and for promoting their business. Facebook has given entrepreneurs a great way to sell their products online since consumers do not always visit websites.

As a skincare junkie, I have tried my fair share of these brands and their products – so here’s the full rundown. Trust, you’ll want to snap them up ASAP before everyone else does — there’s nothing like being in-the-know to better your Instagram feed and irrationally boost your self-esteem.

1. Conatural

No automatic alt text available.
Conatural Facebook

First of all, Conatural probably has the best customer service I have witnessed for an online page. They get back to you as soon as possible and discuss your needs with you as well. The products are a bit on the expensive side but they are totally natural. I used the Restorative Eye Gel from the company. I did not see any changes from the first two months that I used it but I was promised slow appearing but long lasting results. And it did work; it lightened out the dark circles in three months but the puffiness was still there.

[bctt tweet=”@CONATURALintl probably has the best customer service I have witnessed for an online page.” username=”wearethetempest”]

P.S. your dark circles come back with a vengeance as soon as you stop using the product.

2. Hair Matters

Image may contain: one or more people
Hair Matters Facebook

I have a lot of issues with hair fall, dull and frizzy hair. It is always a challenge. So when I came across sponsored posts on my Facebook feed for Hair Matters; I was intrigued. One of the friends tried their oils first and recommended them saying they made her hair softer. I decided to give it a shot.

[bctt tweet=”I have a lot of issues with hair fall, dull and frizzy hair. It is always a challenge.” username=”wearethetempest”]

While the brand is a little expensive, they usually have sales and bundle deals going on which make it much more affordable. I ended up buying the Hair Strengthening Oil and Healthy Hair Mask; I felt the oil did indeed make my hair softer and little less frizzy.  And while the hair mask smells very strong even after you wash it off, it does do the trick and helped reduce hair fall quite a bit!

3. Gonatural

No automatic alt text available.
Gonatural Facebook

The first time I came across Gonatural, I felt like they were trying to rip-off Conatural, but they seemed to be the only store I could find which had 100% pure Rosehip Oil. In addition to the Rosehip oil, I bought a Balance Me Face Toner. I didn’t even need the toner, they just had an active discount at the time and I have no self-control.

[bctt tweet=”Gonatural seemed to be the only store I could find which had 100% pure Rosehip Oil. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Anyway, the products do not have their ingredients listed anywhere. So when I got the oil and cleanser, I did not know what the latter contained which irked me quite a bit. And when I used it, the smell was very strong to the point that I stopped using it since I had no idea what good it was supposed to do and it was not doing me any good anyway. The Rosehip oil, however, was a winner! It moisturized my face and helped me get rid of some belligerent pimple marks! Win!

4. Harvest Tree

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Harvest Tree Facebook

Harvest Tree is a very affordable skin care brand. They usually have deals where you can buy 4 of their products in PKR 1000. What an absolute steal! This brand was recommended to me by a friend; she asked to get the activated charcoal soap. I went ahead and purchased a Coffee and Cocoa Mask and a Rosewater Activated Soap. Which the mask was great since I was able to see a visible difference in my skin; as it made my skin softer and smoother. The soap was a personal nightmare.

[bctt tweet=”@HarvestTree is a very affordable skin care brand. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

I usually do not like soaps since they tend to get icky sitting in the soap dish. So after a wash or two, I stopped using the soap since even touching it made my skin crawl. But then again, this is a personal choice. My friend loves their soap but due to my personal hang-ups, I was not able to use it enough to form an opinion about it.

5. Spa in a Bottle

No automatic alt text available.
Spa in a Bottle Facebook

I had read endless rave reviews about Indian Aztec Clay (Bentonite clay) but could not find it anywhere in stores or an online store which delivered to Pakistan. And then as if by magic (read: Facebook’s data mining) I was shown a sponsored post by Spa in a Bottle selling jars of Healing Bentonite clay. I ordered one for myself immediately. And let me just say, it is the BEST thing I have ever used on my face. You just add apple cider vinegar to the clay, mix and then apply the paste to your face. This mask has made my skin just oh-so amazing! Soft, supple and it’s also reducing the few pesky pimple marks I had left!

[bctt tweet=”The Spa in a Bottle Healing Bentonite clay is the BEST thing I have ever used on my face.” username=”wearethetempest”]

While my online skin care adventures still continue, there are a few products I have mentioned which I keep on repurchasing. However, it should be noted that everyone’s skin is different so what worked for me might not work for you.

Tech Now + Beyond

8 women who are changing the financial world through technology

Fintech, the technology and banking revolution that sounds like aquatic animals suddenly figured out technology, first exploded onto the financial scene in 2015. The premise of the movement is that the traditional banking model was outdated, especially considering the technology that we have access to today, and that combining technology with new ways to share and use money would make life easier.

Like most technology-related fields, fintech suffers from a lack of women in the field as compared to men. However, that doesn’t mean that women have made no contributions to the field. Here are some of the women who have made a difference in the field.

1. Archie Puri

The Muse
The Muse

Puri is the product manager at Braintree, a company that provides online payment options for people who want to make transactions on the web. The company’s specialty is that they allow merchants to receive payments in many different currencies, making it a truly international banking app. She has worked with the company for a long time and in many changing capacities over the years, and now often handles multiple projects at once.

2. Céline Lazorthes


Lazorthes has crafted two fintech companies, and MangoPay. Her website focuses on how to collect and pool money from many different users online. Lazorthes developed MangoPay as part of, to automate the payout from the pool, but soon turned into its own product. This resilient woman views graduating in 2008 after the financial crash as a benefit, because the lack of other jobs allowed her to focus fully on her own product.

3. Anne Boden

Starling Bank website
Starling Bank website

Boden had a long list of experience in executive positions at banks before she took time off to travel the world in 2011. Her travels lead her to realize that the banking system was inadequate, and to envision an entirely new bank system centered around cell phone use. She has since developed this bank into a reality, and it is now called Starling Bank.

4. Cristina Junqueira

Junqueira wanted to sell a credit card to smartphone owners. It sounds easy, but in Brazil where she is based, banking processes are very complicated and take a long time. So Junqueira started a company with a co-founder to make the process more transparent and accessible by mobile phone.

And the company exploded.

5. Lisa Jacobs

Jacobs currently serves as the Chief Strategy officer for a fintech company called Funding Circle, which focuses on connecting small businesses with lenders to allow them to get funding. She develops business strategies for the company as they serve the US, the UK, Spain, Germany and The Netherlands.

6. Ginger Schmeltzer

Schmeltzer once worked in corporate banking but left to start her own consulting firm. She did not start a fintech company, but she works with many of the fintech corporations in the Atlanta area. She believes that banks will still have a role to play as a place to store money even after the development of new corporations that center around technology, but believes that smaller corporations will likely be responsible for making transactions between individuals.

7. Juhi Gore

Heisenberg Media
Heisenberg Media

Gore is a founding member of PixelPin, which aims to increase cybersecurity by eliminating the traditional password. Instead they propose a photo password, like the ones on some Windows computers, which must be touched in three or four different locations to unlock an account. Best of all, this startup helps other fintech companies, who are often victims for hacking.

8. Shreya Hewett


Like many other fintech companies, Hewett’s company TransferGuru deals with sending money internationally. Unlike other companies this one allows you to choose the countries that you want to send money from and to, choose a bank transfer or cash pickup and then input a money amount. Then the service compares the other international money transfer options to see which will give you the best deal.

Tech Now + Beyond

These toys are literally changing the future for little girls

Move aside, Barbie. Another blonde-haired doll is taking over the market for little girls’ toys.

GoldieBlox is not like any other toys aimed at young girls. They’re designed to inspire young girls to build — and not a doll house either, unless they want to. GoldieBlox toys can quite literally have children building a bridge to their future of being an engineer or a develop a love for STEM.

After graduating from Stanford with a degree in mechanical engineering and product design, GoldieBlox CEO and inventor Debbie Sterling wanted to disrupt the pink aisle of girls toys so that young girls would be inspired to go into STEM during their childhood. As an engineer, she found that men outnumbered women in STEM by staggering amounts. So if she could encourage girls to create a engineering mentality while they were young, it might just be the motivation they need to push through the path to a career in STEM.

GoldieBlox is both a book and a construction box. The main character Goldie and her friends build machines which are solutions to the problems they find on their adventures. Through the construction process, children will develop spatial skills as they build and follow along a story.

After launching in 2012, GoldieBlox has won a couple awards and gained popularity. It’s now available at Toys R Us. With a GoldieBlox cartoon, an iOS app, follow along videos, and more characters being added, the company is growing, becoming more diverse and showing no signs of slowing down.

Love Wellness

This Youtube fitness instructor was body-shamed – but won

Cassey Ho was on the path to a career in medicine, graduating with a degree in biology. Her career in fitness began in college, teaching in a studio near her campus. A pilates student since her teens, she worked as an instructor in college. By the end of her time at Whittier College, she had started selling yoga bags she designed because she wasn’t happy with what was on the market.

When she left her native California for a corporate job, she started making videos for her students she left behind. It was when her yoga bags became popular that she decided to pursue a full-time career in fitness.

Calling it quits on the corporate world, she dived into a particular type of pilates she calls PopPilates – quicker pilates movements timed to the beats of pop songs. She then began blogging more about Pilates, fitness and health on her blog Blogilates and making more videos for her growing audience on YouTube. 

[bctt tweet=”What you choose in college isn’t always your career path. @blogilates is proof.”]

Releasing free monthly workout calendars on brightly colored backgrounds with accompanying Youtube videos, makes her PopPilates routines easily accessible to anyone who is interested. Introductions to meal plans and recipes both on her blog and Youtube channel meant her viewers have the resource of a fitness instructor without having to pay for one, or even leave their rooms, for that matter.

Underscoring her desire to create a Blogilates community of ‘Popsters,’ she shares her personal stories as she began her entrepreneurship dream and openly talking about body shaming  and her eating disorder shedding light on taboo topics in fitness, health and society. Frequent meetups and social media interactions with her 1.2 million followers on Instagram, plus new PopPilates certification workshops, have allowed more people an active role in this community of 3 million.

Designing clothing, yoga mats and water bottles with Blogilates taglines, she ventured into her first line of active wear called BodyPop in 2014. 

In 2015, she released her book “Hot Body Year Round” and designed a fitness journal, citing her love for colorful designs. Just a few months into 2016, she’s already taking the market by storm with release of her new active wear line Popflex.

And yet many still can’t take this 29-year-old entrepreneur, designer, author, blogger and vlogger seriously…because of the red romper she wore while speaking on a panel alongside the CEO of Tinder and the business magnate Sir Richard Branson?


Tech Now + Beyond

Serial entrepreneur Jennifer Chizua is breaking stereotypes in Nigeria


Nigerian-born entrepreneur and inventor Jennifer Chizua is an incredibly interesting woman. Like me, she’s a graduate of the University of Exeter in the U.K. Unlike me, she graduated with degrees in human biosciences and sport science. She calls herself a “serial entrepreneur.”

This lady loves to create something out of nothing, finding gaps in the market to create jobs and products that can revolutionize the industries.

She’s an award-winning entrepreneur with firms in two sectors: Elite Sports International Clubs is a sports business and management firm, and the other is Startpreneurs, an entrepreneurial ecosystem based out of Abuja, Nigeria.

It was a bit of a challenge to juggle the six-hour time difference between us, but Jennifer answered some of my questions about being a young woman blazing a trail in the entrepreneurial world.

The Tempest:  What is the mission of your business?

My current firm is Startpreneurs. It is a seed-fund and accelerated program that allows entrepreneurs to incubate, and we also match them with industry experts. It’s also similar to the tech clusters in Silicon Valley. At the moment, we don’t have a website but we will be going live in January. In the meantime, I want to do a pilot video and compile videos of the entrepreneurs before that happens.

Back in 2013, I created my own product, Chijen Beauty Limited, which is the world’s first automated cleaning machine. It uses innovative technology to clean, dry, and disinfects makeup brushes for professional makeup artists. It was with the financing of the U.K. government that I was able to do this, and now I’m hoping to get a licensing deal with L’Oreal.

The idea for the product came about in university, when I had to do two dissertations while studying at Exeter University. One of these was called “A Chemical History of Cosmetics.” I realized then that there is a lot of bacteria on our makeup brushes. I heard one horrible story of a woman who became paralyzed after sharing makeup brushes with her friend due to lack of hygienic care.

What’s your background in business and how did you start as an entrepreneur?

While I was in the U.K., I also started to work at Manchester United as well. This lead to me doing a lot of networking and finding out about Business Growth Hub in Manchester, so I started taking classes for my master’s degree there. I grew up with parents who were entrepreneurial – for example, my mother is an entrepreneur. I also knew that I wanted to be independent and rely on myself, and always knew I wanted to create my own company. So I took it and ran with it.

Have you faced any difficulties being a female in the business?

With starting Startpreneurs, I have faced difficulties. This is because in Nigeria, for example, women are not equal to men. The general idea is that we should be at home. I have to break that stereotype.

I also meet investors who buy shares into the company, and a lot of these are men. A lot of times they will treat you differently because they feel like you don’t have enough experience or that you don’t know your place. I’m almost overly prepared when I meet them – in fact, I’m the very best I can be when I meet them. It’s very sexist here. Very sexist. I’ve been told, “Why are you working so hard, don’t you have a boyfriend or husband who takes care of you?” Even in business, if you’re a married woman, people tend to take you more seriously because you have ‘settled down’ in comparison to being single and working.

The greatest challenges by far are that women are being put in a box by society, and I have to break out of that stereotype. It’s more of a cultural thing, really. When you’re a female, you’re expected to know your place as a woman. But I see people as equals. I can still be female and be assertive at the same time. But here in Nigeria, the society doesn’t allow you to have a personality and be a female simultaneously. For me, I’m very much out there as a woman. Every day is a fight for me as a professional. But for men who do what I do, they don’t have to fight so much.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to see Startpreneurs grow and support entrepreneurs in Nigeria. I’d also like to create international exposure for Nigerians. If they have software or hardware ideas, it should be visible to the international market. I’d like to export technology in and from Nigeria.

What advice would you give to young women looking to become entrepreneurs?

My advice would be to have their own identity and career path, as well as being an expert and having great knowledge in what you’re going into. Tenacity goes a very long way. As entrepreneurs, we have the highest highs and the lowest lows, and your tenacity will get you through these things.

Along with consistency, remember that it’s going to be a long, hard, rocky road, once their vision is clear and they know what they want to do. Also, I can’t stress this point enough, but it is so important to have a mentor or mentors. You need to have industry experts around you, especially when it comes to offering you free advice. You’ll have to self-learn, always be curious, and learn to teach yourself too. Understanding every part of the business is critical as well as being very knowledgable.

Don’t let yourself be confined by cultural restrictions, because in the end they will celebrate when you make it.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Find out more about Jennifer Chizua here.

Books Pop Culture

Top four books for a #Girlboss


#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Cover of #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso’s made quite a splash a few years ago; she tells an honest and absolutely inspiring story about her journey towards establishing Nasty Gal, a multi-million dollar fashion company. Some fantastic pieces of advice Sophia highlights in her book are, “A #Girlboss knows when to throw punches and when to roll with them” and “fortune favors the bold who get shit done.” Her book also offers practical life advice, and emphasizes how important it is to not always worry about what other people think and to know when to move on from failure.


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Cover of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In is one of those books that every women in the workforce should read. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, examines all of the barriers that prevent women from reaching top positions in various job sectors. It’s no surprise that women face a ton of sexism in the workforce and also often have to bear the brunt of childcare, but her book really highlights just how much traditional gender roles are preventing women from receiving leadership roles. Sheryl also discusses how much women need to “lean in” at the table more; as she states, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.” If you want to learn how to build your confidence and stop holding yourself back, I highly recommend picking up this book.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

Cover of Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post wrote this self-help book on the importance of emphasizing self-care and not becoming a workaholic. She decided to write this book after she fainted from exhaustion, hit her head on her desk, and woke up in a pool of her own blood; after this happened, she decided to reexamine her life and realized that she needed to integrate sleep, digital detox, and meditation into her life. I came across this book during my first year of graduate school, when I was staying up late trying to complete problem sets every night and being insanely exhausted in class the next day. Ever since I’ve read this book, I’ve tried go to bed earlier and make sure that I take care of my body. After all, one cannot become a #Girlboss without being 100 percent charged.


Bossypants by Tina Fey

Cover of Bossypants by Tina Fey

I’m a massive Tina Fey fan and loved reading about her career journey. There aren’t too many female comedians out there, and it’s really interesting to read about the various problems that Tina faced as a woman trying to make it in a traditionally male industry. This book is hilarious and Tina gives some fantastic life advice. Some of my favorite quotes from the book are: “There are no mistakes, only opportunities,” and “In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” Also, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook for this one; Tina narrates it and she’s incredibly engaging.


There are many more books out there about how to become a #Girlboss, gain confidence in the workplace, and learn how to balance work and social life — but these are the four that have most helped me. I’m not the most confident of people, especially at work where I’m usually the youngest person in the room, but the one thing that I’ve learned from all of these books is the importance of speaking up and not being afraid of contributing to the discussion. Yes, most of the time you won’t say something earth-shattering, but in the end, it’ll pay off to not be a wallflower.