A NOTE FROM OUR EDITOR – The New Year is quickly approaching and with that comes reflection on the accomplishments and shortcomings of the past 12 months, as well as optimism for the next 365 days. Some will create a list of New Year’s resolutions that they’ll quickly discard by February, while others, like those in this month’s issue, will make lasting changes to ensure future prosperity.
Cheryl Contee, the subject of our cover story this month, is most certainly not one to discard her future ambitions during any given year. In fact, she quit a high-profile job at a top public relations firm to pursue her passion for working in the technology industry and has gone on to cofound Attentive.ly, #YesWeCode and Jack and Jill Politics, and is the current CEO at Fission Strategy. She believes that social media can revolutionize the way we consume information, and even more than that, it can have the power to change the world as we know it. Her forward-thinking mentality and fearlessness within the professional arena is something we should each aspire to emulate.
Another such trailblazer is Katerena DePasquale, founder of Kat Cashmere, a woman who refused to let her modeling career define her as just a runway body without brains. She’d been working as a model since the age of 14, always paying attention to the behind-the-scenes aspects of the industry and sketching her own designs. An interview with acclaimed designer John Galliano and a subsequent job as a design assistant, allowed her to break away from the runway and continue her career in the industry as a designer. She has certainly proven that there’s more to models than just a fierce runway walk.
Features on Rahama Wright, founder of Shea Yeleen, and Maggie Campbell, head distiller at Privateer Rum, round out this year’s final issue of Lioness Magazine. Wright has dedicated her career to ensuring that female shea butter producers in West Africa earn fair wages while bringing their product to the global marketplace. Joining Shea Yeleen has allowed these women to grow their earnings by 130 percent, a figure that is sure to increase as they become more financially independent. Wright said her mission is to aid her fellow Ghanaians, making the selling of shea butter an afterthought.
Campbell’s career personifies the old adage, anything men can do, women can do (better). At only age 30, Campbell is already a head distiller, working in a male-dominated industry. She said the secret to success is to always “ask for more” and “to just kind of go with it and make it happen.” We should all be so fearless!
If the aforementioned women have taught us anything it’s that we should all be trailblazers. Each of us has it in our personal and professional psyches to choose to be more than what we’ve become, it’s just a matter of taking that leap. We at Lioness Magazine hope you see your potential and take those chances in 2015. It’s not just a New Year; it’s a New Life!