Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky On Leading While Grieving, Navigating a PR Crisis, And Managing Mansplainers | Forbes Failure Factor Podcast

In this episode of The Failure Factor, Megan talks resilience, sexism, and changing the world with Julie Smolyansky.  Julie became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over Lifeway Foods at the age of 27 in 2002 after the tragic death of her father.  Even through her grief, she managed to send the company’s growth trajectory and revenues soaring, while considerably expanding distribution. 


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Meg Bruneau
The American Equality Failure With Sari Rosenberg | Forbes Failure Factor Podcast

In this special episode, Megan sits down with her good friend and sociopolitical expert Sari Rosenberg to clarify myths around feminism and how it relates to sexual assault, dating, body image and eating disorders, and more. If you want to participate in the conversation but feel under-resourced, are curious or skeptical about the movement, or want to know how not to be a “white feminist,” this is a great place for listeners of all genders to start.

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Meg Bruneau
A Battle With Acne Inspired This Founder’s Business — And His Resiliency Mindset | Forbes

Earlier this year, a New York Times’ article summarized recent findings that acne can increase the risk for depression. Responses to the article ranged from “Well obviously!” to heartbreaking comments like “Acne destroyed my life [because of] relentless bullying, mockery, and humiliation.” Walter Faulstroh, founder and CEO of HUM Nutrition, knows the physical and emotional pain of acne well, struggling for years to find a sustainable solution for his breakouts.
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I’m Finally Getting Sh*t Done, Thanks To This Weekly Practice (No, It’s Not Meditation) | Forbes

As someone who chooses not to medicate their ADHD, I’ve accepted I’ll always require multiple sets of apartment keys and will keep replacing my credit cards monthly until I finally muster the focus to sign up for Apple Pay. But my distractibility and disorganization are well worth the tradeoff for the creativity, energy, enthusiasm, and intuition that have been integral in my success. Yet another strength of the “entrepreneurial superpower” is an affinity for multitasking – I love dividing my energy between coaching, writing, speaking, podcasting, creating digital content, and managing team members (who are much better at the administrative and production tasks on which I have trouble focusing)

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Running a Business With A Significant Other? Varley Activewear Cofounder Shares Her Success Secrets | Forbes

You should never mix business and pleasure, right? Dismissing the adage, millions of couples choose to start companies together. In 2000, it was estimated that 3 million of the 22 million US small business were couple-owned, and that number has likely risen. As a therapist and executive coach, I’m often privy to the challenges (and sometimes colossal disasters) that can emerge when romantic partners start businesses – or when business partners start romances. Help-seeking selection effect aside, most partnerships can agree there are inevitable strains placed on both the relationship and the business. Thus, I’m always curious to learn from the cofounder couples who are doing it right. Lara and Ben Mead, founders of Varley women’s activewear and lifestyle brand, are an example. 

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This Woman Turned a Humiliating Networking Experience Into a Business | Forbes

To call Lana Pozhidaeva “dynamic” is an understatement. The Russian-born entrepreneur and activist arrived in the United States as a model, before founding a nonprofit foundation that provides scholarships to minority students. Her latest venture, WE Talks, is a monthly event series for women entrepreneurs and professionals – an idea Pozhidaeva came up with after attending “a very intimidating, big-time networking event.” Pozhidaeva mustered the courage to ask a question into the microphone, yet was cut abruptly cut off by the host in what she describes as a “horrible” experience. Pozhidaeva turned her anger into action, recruiting the help of a friend in experiential marketing with the goal of creating events that feel truly empowering for women. 

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Meg Bruneau
How To Optimize Your Profile And Handle Rejection: Dating Advice From ‘The League’ Founder And CEO

I often (half) joke that dating is great training for entrepreneurship. Lack of predictability and control is common to both, and the discomfort of anxiety, rejection, disappointment, frustration, anger, powerlessness, and so on are inevitable. If we want to grow our businesses, we have to learn how to navigate the entrepreneurial emotional roller coaster – and dating in 2018 is excellent practice in said proverbial emotional roller coaster (especially in New York City).

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I Disliked So Much About This Conference I’ll Go Back Every Year

It’s been quite the summer for me, networking-wise. I kicked off the adventure by accidentally attending a cryptocurrency conference at a castle north of Paris; shortly thereafter I returned to France to join 70 professional singles on a boat-cruise along the Seine; and most recently, I spent three nights at Fireside Conference: an annual technology-free event hosted at kids’ summer camp in rural Ontario – in the company of 399 full-grown entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers.  

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Meg Bruneau
Why Leaving New York City Was The Best Move This Founder Made For Her Mental Health — And Business | Forbes

As a therapist and executive coach, part of my job is helping my clients get to know themselves really well – and learn what contributes to their optimal mental health and success. While one person might thrive in a fast-paced, high-energy environment, another might feel overstimulated and suffocated. Nikisha Riley, social media influencer, model, and skincare line entrepreneur was the latter. Raised in Brooklyn, the Folie Apothecary founder knew she needed an environment more conducive to mental health when she began having panic attacks, heart palpitations, and couldn’t leave the house unless a friend was with her. Unable to cope in the city, Riley moved to Austin, Texas, where she was later diagnosed with anxiety, mild depression, and ADHD.

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The League Dating App Founder Amanda Bradford on Having Difficult Conversations And Getting Comfortable With Rejection | Forbes' Failure Factor

Ah, dating – a topic close to Megan’s heart. In this episode, she interviews The League founder and CEO Amanda Bradford on the building of the elite dating app. They discuss what it’s like to date as an “alpha woman,” the parallels between dating and entrepreneurship, why the skill of difficult conversations is integral to both dating and hiring, and how to cope with rejection.

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The Next Time Someone Is Sad Around You, Do This Instead | SHFT

You know how you always forget you’re so thankful there isn’t a screaming child on your plane, until there’s a screaming child right in front of you on your plane? This happened to me last week.

And, as desperate passengers shook their keys and made faces in a futile attempt to silence the human alarm, and couples everywhere rethought their plans to conceive, it got me thinking:

We need to be more comfortable with people being sad around us.

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This Founder Once Battled Anorexia. Now She’s Calling Out Weight Watchers And Helping Others | Forbes

When you hear Melainie Rogers’ story, it’s not surprising she had the courage to call out Weight Watchers on their recent – and highly controversial – marketing strategy: Oprah’s favorite diet-empire announced it was offering free memberships to teens for the summer. This move that was met with understandable outrage from the eating disorder recovery community, as nearly 100 percent of eating disorders begins with a diet; teenage years are accompanied by natural pubescent weight-gain; and heck, confidence as a teen is difficult enough without feeling pressured to shrink.

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This Founder Couldn’t Find A Resource For Her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, So She Created One | Forbes

Solome Tibebu’s journey to becoming a leader in healthcare innovation, award-winning social entrepreneur, and advocate for mental health and diversity began with a blog: while still in high school, Tibebu experienced severe panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Through various therapists, medications, and psychoeducation, she finally learned how to best manage her symptoms. She was, however, dismayed by the lack of online resources or community for youth going through something similar – which ultimately left her feeling isolated and misunderstood. So she decided to do something to change that, starting Anxiety  In Teens and equipping young adults worldwide with tools and community to advance emotional wellness.

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7 Reasons Entrepreneurs Are Particularly Vulnerable to Mental Health Challenges | Forbes

Over the past few years, much of my work has been dedicated to hearing entrepreneurs’ stories of struggle and perseverance. Whether I’m interviewing them for The Failure Factor or coaching them to optimize their mental health, I’m constantly in the midst of an informal qualitative research project exploring entrepreneurial resilience.

My curiosity in entrepreneurs' mental health was, unsurprisingly, influenced by my personal history. A decade-plus-long battle with perfectionism-fueled eating disorders, depression and anxiety led me to pursue a masters in psychology and a career as a therapist. Uncomfortable with relying on others or acknowledging to them my limitations, I took matters into my own hands and decided to "figure myself out" (fifteen years later, I'm still in the process...). But I realized many of the characteristics that caused my suffering came from the same roots as the characteristics that caused my entrepreneurial strengths (more on this later) and became fascinated with entrepreneurs' psychological well-being. LEARN MORE

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