Meet 7 of Southern California’s Inspiring Boss Babes
International Women’s Day is March 8, which honors and celebrates women and gender equality. While this should be celebrated everyday, we can take this time to learn about female founders and powerhouses making a difference, starting businesses and supporting other women. Today, we’re highlighting five inspiring women in Southern California. Female Founders Southern California
Name: Lara Worm Female Founders Southern California
Job Title: Owner, President and CEO of Adventure Guide
Bivouac Ciderworks was founded in 2017 and is a woman-led company with a woman-led product. Offering a canned cider that’s packed with nutrients, carbonation and a little booze, founder Lara Worm explains that Bivouac is all about embracing adventure and enjoying the best things in life. “Our brand is an ode to outdoor adventurers—those wanderlusters with a deep love for fine food and drinks and a thirst for life that can only be quenched by going off the beaten path. Our cider tastes just as great at the top of a mountain as it does accompanying a gourmet meal,” explains Worm. Check out the outdoor Bivouac tasting room in the heart of North Park in San Diego, or pick up a few cans from your local grocer, Whole Foods or Total Wines in San Diego and Orange County.
Word of Advice: “Support other women!! Women have been my greatest allies, network, braintrust and support system and have gotten me through some very hard times in this business. Be ready to work! Owning a business requires hard work, determination, confidence and the strength to never give up—and it’s not easy. Be willing to do any job in your company, get your hands dirty, be kind to your colleagues/staff/employees and make sure they know that you wouldn’t ask them to do a job that you weren’t willing to do yourself. Have fun! Life is all about the ride, don’t take anything too seriously and if you’re not having fun, it’s not worth it. Embrace your adventure!!” —Lara Worm
Name: Amy Will Female Founders Southern California
Job Title: Founder, Girl Gang
Girl Gang the Label is a multi-channel platform and clothing brand that emphasizes creating a community of supportive women. Founded in 2018 by Amy Will, the brand represents female empowerment. Products can be purchased directly on their website, and you can also listen to stories from female founders on the podcast, Girl Gang the Podcast.
Word of Advice: “Honestly, just go for it! Analyze your risk and set yourself up to fully dive in, whatever that means for you. For example, if you have a full time job and can’t risk quitting today, maybe set aside one hour per day to chip away at setting up your business and make a 90 day plan to go full time. For clothing specifically, I would encourage aspiring brand builders to know who is making their clothes and with what material.” —Amy Will
Name: Helene Henderson
Job Title: Chef, Owner and Founder of Malibu Farm
Helene Henderson is the chef, owner and founder of the beloved farm-to-table restaurant, Malibu Farm. “My goal, [my] mission, has always been to bridge the gap between the carnivores, fast-food eaters and more plant-based eating,” Henderson notes. You can find a variety of salads, bowls and vegetables at Malibu Farm, encouraging guests to eat and embrace more greens. Henderson explains, “Often, especially in kitchens, there are so few women around that we fight against a current so strong we can barely stay afloat ourselves; finding enough footing to help other women can be a challenge, but as the work environments change, hopefully we will soon swim with the current and not against it, making it easier to lift each other up.”
Word of Advice: “Change is in the air, in the water and in the soil; what was true or impossible in the past is no longer a precedent for the future. We have been saying, hoping, teaching that women can do anything and be anyone they dream to be, and [taking] one step at a time has finally led to a giant leap forward for womankind, and the only boundaries are the ones we set for ourselves.” —Helene Henderson
Name: Jillian Sassone
Job Title: Founder and Designer of Marrow Fine Jewelry
Marrow Fine Jewelry offers stunning, one-of-a-kind designs for engagement rings, wedding bands and other extraordinary pieces. Founder and designer Jillian Sassone says, “I work in an industry that is still run predominantly by men, but our Marrow team is 93% women. We actively talk about career pathing with our team. Where are they now, where do they want to go and what education/experience do they need to get there? If we can facilitate it through courses or including them in different segments of our business, we do. Women shouldn’t feel bad to ask for exactly what they want.”
Word of Advice: “You can 1000% do anything you want—don’t ever let anyone diminish your dreams. If you’re willing to do anything to get your foot in the door and keep working hard, it will happen for you. For example, one of our employees started as an entry-level shipping manager but was willing to do anything—no task was too small or below her. Three years later, she has been promoted several times and is now our marketing manager, overseeing a million-dollar budget in an incredibly dynamic role. It’s been so much fun to watch her blossom and grow personally and professionally. If you’re willing to put in the work with a positive attitude, you will absolutely stand out in the crowd!” —Jillian Sassone
Name: Ashley Smith Female Founders Southern California
Job Title: Co-Founder of LOCALE Magazine
Ashley Smith joined Erik Hale in February of 2010 to create LOCALE Magazine. Since then, the company has published over 120 print magazines and thousands of web editorials. “Growing up in a small town instilled the importance of helping your neighbors and sourcing everything locally, which is exactly the backbone of what Locale Magazine is,” says Smith. She explains how her role has changed over the years, and how she’s had to dip her toes into every department to ensure the company runs smoothly and efficiently. “Above all else, I love the people I have met along the way. I have learned so much from the people we’ve worked with and am so grateful to have had the experience to grow through every challenge we’ve encountered,” Smith says.
Word of Advice: “To be steadfast in your goals, be patient with yourself as you learn and develop, trust your intuition and know your worth. I’ve met so many incredibly intelligent and talented women along the way who didn’t ask for what they deserve, and therefore never got what they needed. Being direct and transparent about your goals and needs is key to being successful. Enjoy the ride, there is something to be learned from every up and down, if you are open to it.”—Ashley Smith
Name: Reilly Heine Female Founders Southern California
Job Title: Co-Owner and Art Director of LOCALE Magazine
Reilly Heine joined the LOCALE magazine team in 2013 after graduating college. “I had been on many other job interviews but when I arrived at the LOCALE office, I knew it was the right fit. The vibe was super laid back but I got a sense everyone still worked very hard. After two years I was promoted to Art Director and in 2016 became a partner alongside Erik and Ashley,” Heine explains. She loves having the freedom to be as creative as possible, whether it’s designing the magazine, a web story, an ad or an email newsletter.
Word of Advice: “Work hard but don’t burn yourself out and absolutely only do something if you love it.”—Reilly Heine Female Founders Southern California
Name: Caroline D’Amore
Job Title: Founder of Pizza Girl
Caroline D’Amore founded Pizza Girl in 2019. Pizza Girl is an organic pasta sauce that includes great ingredients like fresh tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. D’Amore says, “I tried for several years to work in my family business D’Amore’s Pizza. I found it extremely hard to do what I knew was best to bring the brand current and spice things up. I had gotten so much push back from my family that it made it nearly impossible to continue. So, out of my frustration of not being able to do what I knew could do to take D’Amores to the top, I swallowed my pride and chose to start fresh with a clean slate on my own.” Pizza Girl sauces can be purchased online.
Word of Advice: “Make a business around something you truly love. Make it the best version of the product, the greatest new idea and something you would love to have in your kitchen or home. Then surround yourself with a team that has the same vision but opposite skills, so everyone has their role. Also, have fun! When you are busy, it doesn’t feel like work, then I think you are living your dream!”—Caroline D’Amore