Things We’ve Learned While Talking to Empowered Women

Today’s guest post is from The Passionista Project. If you haven’t already go check out their IG, website, and podcast (which goes live today).

We spend the better part of our days interviewing, researching and connecting with inspiring women for The Passionistas Project Podcast. We sit with women from all disciplines and walks of life and find out what they are most passionate about. Our mission is to inspire women of all ages to pursue dreams, overcome obstacles and take charge of their own destinies.

We’ve conducted over 1200 interviews in our career to date, but none have been more uplifting than the most recent conversations with these inspiring Passionistas. So far, our podcast has included talks with Coolhaus founder Natasha Case, chef Susan Feniger, Fred + Far founder Melody Godfred, Emmy-nominated costume designer Terry Ann Gordon, Tea Drops founder Sashee Chandran and volcano scientist and Congressional Candidate Jess Phoenix.

All of these women are incredibly brilliant, have great instincts and possess a confidence that clearly has helped pave the way towards achieving their goals. But we also discovered five other common threads that we believe all successful women need to flourish.

  1. Passionistas Persist

While discussing their accomplishments, everyone we spoke with also admitted to failure. In fact, they assert that these shortcomings and missteps are an important part of progress. Natasha spoke of “failing forward” and learning from the experience. Susan used a similar phrase “fall fast forward” and moving on to the next goal. Sashee may have put it best when she said, “The only thing that matters… the only thing… is persistence.”

  1. Passionistas Have Strong Female Role Models

We are all products of what we see in the world around us and our Passionistas exemplify this. Each of them has solid female role models leading the way and inspiring them to follow their dreams. Congressional candidate Jess was raised by a mother who was an FBI agent and terrorism expert. Every day she saw a woman who was a strong and contributed to our country’s safety. Jess was encouraged to greet life head-on, question everything and forge her own path. Terry talked about her three aunts who were independent, motivated, career women in a time when women were supposed to stay in the kitchen and clean the house. She stated that because of her aunts, “I never thought anything was restricted. I always felt like I could do anything I want. So, I did.”

  1. Passionistas Build Communities

Passionistas know that success only happens when you have the support of a strong team. Melody calls them her tribe and says it’s important for everyone to find a group of people with shared experiences who can support and empower you.

Jess has decided to put her career as a scientist on hold to run for Congress. And while her war chest is nowhere near the size of her opponents’, she knows the best way to be heard is to build a strong and powerful grassroots community. She told us, “I knew I wasn’t going to out-fundraise [my opponents]… I can’t beat them in dollars, but I can beat them in the number of supporters. I can beat them in the passion for what we are doing here.” And so, she spends her days out on the streets talking to as many constituents as possible to find out what is important to them. She stated, “A lot of politics comes back to that community engagement level. And if people take pride in their community, it’s going to reflect on everything you do and all the results that you see in making it a better place.”

  1. Passionistas Take Care of Themselves

As women, we have been trained all our lives to put other people first. And while every one of our interviewees is working towards the greater good in some way and have loved ones and family to take care of, they also realize the importance of taking care of themselves. Sashee has learned on her journey that you need to be aware of your mental health and take time to refresh so you can come back to your work stronger than before. Melody has built a business around the Self-Love Pinky Ring as a way to remind women that they matter. She says, “Sometimes all it takes to empower someone is to witness them and I get to do that every single day.”

  1. Passionistas Pay It Forward

Every woman we spoke to was keenly aware of the need to pay it forward and share their experiences in order to help empower others. Just by speaking with us, they displayed their willingness to tell their stories. But in addition, each of them gives back to the communities that support them. Susan serves on the board of several charitable foundations including the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Scleroderma Research Foundation. Terry Ann spends much of her time teaching costume design and hosting interns to pass on her knowledge. And Natasha speaks at seminars nationwide to help encourage female entrepreneurs. She also hopes to invest in women-owned companies one day. She says, “I’d love to sit on the other side of that table in the future and be a mentor and help invest in things that I see as promising and help them grow.”

To hear our podcast and the interviews with these Passionate, empowered women go to



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