Transforming Communities with Female Founder Collective’s Director of Community + Brand Partnerships Elisabeth Leonard

“When women join together to enact change, ANYTHING can happen.”

Today I’m sitting down with the woman behind the Female Founder Collective. Meet Elisabeth Leonard. A dynamic woman that has partnered with fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff to lead a network of businesses led by women, that support women. Tune in for advice on how to start and transform your own community, learn what women inspire her along the way and much more!

Elisabeth Leonard Brava Podcast


Elisabeth is calling in from…Santiago, Chile! She works remotely by using email, Slack, Facetime, GoogleDrive and more to keep in touch with her team at Rebecca Minkoff (1:25.)

She worked with Rebecca for almost 6 years and started with the company as a temporary receptionist. It turned into her career! After her first 3 months in her temp position she was hired as Rebecca’s Executive Assistant. From there, she continued to work with the PR and Events team. Together they always had a shared passion of supporting female founders and women. For instance, be sure to check out their Superwomen Podcast as just one of the many examples of how the are creating change (3:30.)

Elisabeth focuses on community management and the growth of the Female Founder Collective and works alongside Rebecca as a mentor and friend (5:25.)

Every female entrepreneur is fighting for the same thing. Recognition. Rather than fighting against each other we need to cheer each other on and support each other!
— Elisabeth Leonard

One of the greatest practices that the members focus on is collaboration. They do this by sharing resources, ideas, and experiences (9:15.)

Interested in joining the Female Founder Collective? You can apply here. Once you are part of the community, you can receive the FCC seal. Elisabeth adds that there are a lot of ways to support female founded organizations through sharing love on social media, mentoring, shopping and purchasing in their shops, and more (13:30.)

On being a receptionist, Elisabeth shares that you learn so many different things because you are the first and last face people see each day. She built relationships with so many people in the office from different departments. It gave her an advantage to understanding where she wanted to see her own career go. It was one of the most incredible experiences she was given (17:00.)

Elisabeth’s mom and Rebecca Minkoff are her role models as they always encourage her to always strive for happiness and never to stop asking questions (20:34.)

In the near future, the Female Founder Collective is hoping to continue pushing the FFC seal to change shopping behaviors. They also hope to continue growing the collective and encourage everyone to buy and support women-owned businesses (21:58.)

Ready to join the Female Founder Collective? Check it out here.

Excited to learn more and follow Elisabeth? Follow her story now.

Thank you readers, to tuning into the Brava Podcast. If you like the show please leave a review on iTunes

What from our conversation inspired you today? What do you hope to hear next? Tweet or message us on Instagram @BravaPodcast to tell us what you want to hear, even if it’s your own story! 

Leading Yourself Well With Marissa Nash

Today on the Brava Podcast I am so pleased to introduce you to Marissa Nash. Marissa is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Team Coach that specializes in helping YOU to make an impact whether it be within your own organization, your community, with your family or the world.

In today’s episode we discuss everything from how to avoid burnout, how to incorporate self-care into your routine, and even how to perform your own life audit! So use this next 20 minutes with Marissa as your own personal time with your new life coach. She’s got your back because she knows you have big plans for your future. Let’s get started!

Marissa Nash and the Brava Podcast


Marissa’s company, The Vine Collective, is a great resource for leaders, teams, and women everywhere! Her background stems from being a yoga instructor. She now coaches women in the corporate and entrepreneurial space (1:15.)

A lot of her work that she integrates into her practice is by John Maxwell and how to lead well (3:34.)

Looking to create a real impact on others? Marissa believes you can do this by having a positive influence on the people, the environment, and the cause you are most passionate about. It’s creating change that is sustainable. It means to leading with wellness and wholeness and working to inspire others to be the best they can be (5:12.)

Marissa’s Leadership Growth Plan is a roadmap for women to plan their growth for their life and leadership. Check it out here! (6:00.)

On Sunday nights, Marissa plans out her workouts for the week because that is her priority. It creates self-accountability as she plans to succeed in the week for what matters most to her. What’s your priorities? Share in the comments below! (8:00.)

Curious on how you can perform a life audit? You have to know where you are before you know how to make change in your life. She walks women through a 7-step process beginning with your why and your purpose on what you want to do. Continue tuning in to hear all of the 7 step process in her interview (9:34.)

Looking to create change? Marissa would suggest getting clear on what matters to you. Then, identify what gaps there may be in your community. Lastly, take action and remember, it’s ok to start small (11:37.)

Marissa is very inspired by Brené Brown because she is focused not only on strategy but also the heart (13:11.)

Need help with focus? She recommends writing 3 things each morning of different tasks you want to accomplish (14:45.)

Let’s talk books that inspire! Marissa loves the “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John C. Maxwell and “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown, but via Audio! (16:55.)

Want to learn more from Marissa? She is starting her next Mastermind in the fall! Be sure to check it out here.

Thank you readers, to tuning into the Brava Podcast. If you like the show please leave a review on iTunes

What from our conversation inspired you today? What do you hope to hear next? Tweet or message us on Instagram @BravaPodcast to tell us what you want to hear, even if it’s your own story! 

Celebrating Life’s Moments with Entrepreneur Kristen Ley

Today on the Brava Podcast we’re going to hear from a powerful, creative entrepreneur and CEO who turned her passions into a thriving business by simply celebrating life’s moments. I’m SO excited to introduce you to Kristen Ley, CEO, er, actually I should say, “Chief Confetti Maker and Founder” of Thimblepress. Tune in below to get real with Kristen and her start-up story, learn more about differentiating products in a competitive space and advice on how to make your dream a reality.


Interview Kristen Ley is a party in a podcast! Can’t wait to get started with our interview (1:40)

Kristen has been creating art as early as she can remember. Her parents have always been very encouraging with everything Kristen has gone for despite her family coming from a medical background. She went to school for art and design. She graduated with a BFA in business and graphic design and a minor in marketing (2:40)

She started her career with an internship at Matchbox Studios in Dallas and loved it (4:30.)

She remembers going to the library in Charleston, SC to learn the ins and outs of how to start her business…from scratch! Her and her colleague hustled to launch and sustain their own marketing and branding business (5:00.)

Then she was offered a full-time offer to be a full graphic design artist that was closer back to home and she took the job. After about a year she quickly realized she was not wired for a 8 to 5 job (7:15.)

She used her letterpress as a creative release for years before making it part of her future career. During Christmas of 2012 she was convinced by her friend to start an Etsy and have a craft show (8:00.)

In 2013, she decided to make it official and launch Thimblepress, LLC inspired by her grandmothers and mother who influenced Kristen’s crafting (11:15.)

Thimblepress comes from the deep desire to want to encourage, lift up others, and show others how they can be present and celebrate friends and family (13:00.)

Kristen used to have 20 employees. Over the years she learned a lot about herself and her personality and realized a larger team is not for her. She’s very interested in the enneagram and it also helped her learn more details about her personality and how she can lead in the best way possible. Now she has a very lean team and she loves it both for her business and her wellness (17:45.)

When it comes to competitors, she keeps herself in her lane and focuses on her customer’s happiness and loving them like they are family and friends (20:00.)

My strategy? Do what’s best for me!
— Kristen Ley, CEO and Founder of Thimblepress

Looking to launch your own product? Kristen wants you to know that you are already amazing and a success no matter what. Allow opportunities to flow into your life and jump, even if you are afraid. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect others to believe in your business? (21:56)

Stay in touch with Kristen’s next steps and business ventures! She recently launched to be open and honest with her own business. Check it out! Be sure to check out Thimblepress too and celebrate others along the way!

Thank you readers, to tuning into the Brava Podcast. If you like the show please leave a review on iTunes

What from our conversation inspired you today? What do you hope to hear next? Tweet or message us on Instagram @BravaPodcast to tell us what you want to hear, even if it’s your own story! 

5 Ways to Never Stop Learning with Walnut Capital


BRAVA celebrates women and their accomplishments, normalizes the success of women, and advances women through a community of their contemporaries. You could be in undergrad, just starting off your career, beginning your family, or maybe transitioning into your side-hustle after your retirement. For whatever your next step may be, you need to create the right space in your life to keep learning along the way.

I’ve partnered with Walnut Capital, Pittsburgh’s best in city living, to help share how I use my space and my community to further my education and never stop learning! Continue reading below to find 5 ways to keep guiding yourself in small and big ways.


1. Take an online course: Getting your graduate degree or MBA isn’t always a must for furthering your education in the direction you particularly may need. Try enrolling in an online course! The benefits? They are a minimal cost; they can be specific to further an expertise you are looking to hone in on; and they sometimes can be done at the comfort of your own home! I’ve tried classes with Brit+Co and really loved how simple and easy they were to sign-up for. There are other classes like the Code Academy, SkillShare, and that can really up the ante on your knowledge base on…almost anything you have your eye on!


2. Listen to a podcast: Branch out of your comfort zone by plugging in for 10-20 minutes a day on the way to work with a conversation that feels completely new! That may mean the powerful women on the Brava Podcast, CEOs sharing their start-up stories on NPR’s “How I Built This”, or maybe it means your favorite role model talking all things finance. Whatever it may be, tuning in is a great way to keep learning a habit.


3. Attend community events: Each month, I look to my apartment community to find new and fun events to explore in the Pittsburgh area! Walnut Capital has a blog that lists different local events from yoga outside in the city to Earth Day celebrations to local weekend markets that promote local businesses. Find your community’s calendar and work to attend at least one event each month to step outside your comfort zone and try a new spot.

4. Read books: It was hard for me to get back into reading after completing my MBA. It almost felt like I was still reading for school! The trick? Pick books that actually interested me! Not the biggest revelation, but honestly, it’s what I needed to tell myself. My favorites as of late? “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, and “The Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell.


5. Ask: …about educational opportunities! Whether it is at work or in your community, the first step is reaching out to see what resources may be available to you already. There may be seminars and trainings at work that are free to you, which you never knew about. Arrange meetings or grab coffee with your leadership team and learn more about how they got to where they are. The same can be applied to role models in your community! Reach out and see what stories they have to share. It may inspire your next big move!

If we don’t continue to change, we don’t continue to grow. How do you keep learning? Comment and share below!

This article was brought to you in paid partnership with Walnut Capital.

Negotiating, Equality, and Inclusivity with Talent Recruiter Jeesoo Sohn

What does it take to build talented teams and to grow outstanding companies? Inclusivity, equality, and transparency. Today, I’m thrilled to have Jeesoo Sohn on the Brava Podcast. Jeesoo is a Senior Talent Recruiter for Glossier focusing on managing and leading talent efforts to create the strongest people powered eco system. Prior to Glossier she worked with Pittsburgh’s own Duolingo as their lead recruiter . From today’s conversation you’ll learn how to work towards inclusivity and diversity in the workspace, how to negotiate your way to equal pay and benefits and more!


Jeesoo has an educational background in…music! She studied music at Carnegie Mellon. In college she learned a little bit more about herself and that while she was passionate about music, she realized that she enjoyed her work at her part-time job in the Office of Admissions (1:57.)

Duolingo’s decision for diversity and inclusivity in the workplace was a natural next step for the team (4:00.)

On why it’s important to have women represented equally in the workplace: “when you have the same type of person you’re going to be making very unilateral decisions that only reflect the values of those people” (5:00.)

Inclusivity drives diversity.
— Jeesoo Sohn

Want to practice inclusivity…now? The familiar is a lot more comfortable than the unfamiliar. Be sure to ask questions and genuinely get to know people with different backgrounds than you. Jeesoo suggests to never judge others and that we all probably have much more in common - that is where she leads from (8:02.)

My first rule when starting a new job? You should ALWAYS negotiate!
— Jeesoo Sohn

You need to know what your bottom line is when negotiating. Physically write it down and never stray from that bottom line (10:14.)

Salary is not the only thing you can negotiate when entering a new position. You can negotiate title, sign-on bonuses, re-location and more! Whatever is right for you (12:07.)

Jeesoo is a fantastic planner and it’s one of the best ways she can stay organized to produce the best work-life balance (13:40.)

Jeesoo’s favorite quote? “It’s better to have a whole than an a$$hole.” - Her explanation? “It’s more beneficial for the business and the team to wait for a quality candidate than a quantity candidate.” I couldn’t agree more (16:00.)

Thank you readers, to tuning into the Brava Podcast. If you like the show please leave a review on iTunes

What from our conversation inspired you today? What do you hope to hear next? Tweet or message us on Instagram @BravaPodcast to tell us what you want to hear, even if it’s your own story!