The Role Models Podcast

The Role Models Podcast Podcast

The Role Models Podcast is a series of interviews that captures and shares the stories of inspiring women. These are far-reaching conversations with female leaders we look up to. We discuss how they got to where they are – including the lessons they’ve learned, the decisions they’ve made, and the challenges they’ve tackled.

#46 How Seedcamp co-founder Reshma Sohoni’s unwavering optimism helped her succeed
Reshma Sohoni is the co-founder of Seedcamp. As one of the most important women in Europe's startup and technology ecosystem, Reshma Sohoni works with founders of 300 portfolio companies and interacts with around 3000 startup founders every single year. Reshma founded Seedcamp in 2007, creating a diverse team of founders, makers, operators, executors, investors and tech-enthusiasts who actively promote early-stage tech. In the 11 years since founding, Seedcamp has amassed 300 portfolio companies and works...

#45 – How Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase is creating a world she wants to live in
Robin Chase is the co-founder of Zipcar and the author of Peers Inc. Robin is a serial entrepreneur within the mobility and transportation sectors with a special focus on sustainability. Her mantra is to “everyday, create the world you want to live in”, meaning she’s helping to create cities that are livable, environmentally sound, and full of joy for all who pass through them. Working closely at the intersectionality of transportation and climate change, Robin is a passionate advocate of our environmenta...

#44 – How founder turned investor Soraya Darabi started investing in the future of living well
Soraya is the founder of Trailmix Ventures, a venture investment firm focused on the future of living well. About Soraya: Soraya began her career as manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, where she positioned the global news leader on social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, partnered with startups large and small, and established award winning campaigns. She went on to co-found the application Foodspotting, named by Apple and Wired Magazine as an “App of the Yea...


#43 - Activist & actress Sophia Bush on owning your wins and how to listen to the “gut of the gut”
Sophia Bush is an actress and activist. After debuting on-screen in the 2002 comedy Van Wilder, Sophia went on to have major roles in the television series One Tree Hill as well as films including John Tucker Must Die, The Hitcher and The Narrows. From 2014 to 2017, she starred in the NBC police series Chicago P.D. Alongside her acting roles, Sophia effectively leverages her Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blog platforms to raise awareness of world events, causes and political campaigns – encouraging mi...

#42 - Deutschland ‘83 & ‘86’s creator & writer Anna Winger on how to create a hit TV drama
Anna Winger is the creator and screenwriter of hit television dramas 'Deutschland 83’ and ‘Deutschland 86’. For 15 years, Anna worked as a freelance photographer before switching to write her first novel, ‘This Must Be the Place’ as well as personal essays for The New York Times Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She then went on to create and write the screenplay for the hugely successful Deutschland ‘83 and ‘86 trilogy series which broke international barriers with the...

#41 – How ski-mountaineer Tamara Lunger first faced death then never stopped exploring
Tamara Lunger is a high-altitude ski mountaineer. A big Thank You to The North Face for making it possible for us to record this episode with Tamara. Tamara was born in Bolzano, northern Italy, as the daughter of ski mountaineer, Hansjörg Lunger, she started ski mountaineering in 2002. Since 2009, Tamara has been a high-altitude climber meaning she makes her ascents without oxygen. On 23 May 2010, Lunger became the youngest ever female climber (aged 23 years, 11 months, and 17 days), to have reached the ...


#40 – Seed.com founder Ara Kratz on finding your path without following the recipe
Ara Kratz is the founder of seed.com Newly launched in June 2018, seed.com is a science-based company that supports health, wellness and wellbeing through the application of microbiome science in people’s everyday lives. Seed.com has succeeded not just in translating science into a beautiful product, but in translating science, period. seed.com is currently setting the gold standard in a future where microbes play an increasingly important role in our daily lives. Talking to Ara so soon after seed.com’s l...

#39 – #Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso on how to redefine success
Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal Vintage; author of #Girlboss; and founder of Girlboss Media. About Sophia Sophia started Nasty Gal Vintage from her bedroom at the age of 22 and grew it into one of the world’s fastest growing companies. In 2016, she was named one of the richest self-made women in the world by Forbes, and Netflix created the show Girlboss based on her story. When the company subsequently filed for bankruptcy, Sophia founded Girlboss Media bringing events, conferences, multiple po...

#38 – How Reddit’s Anna Soellner communicates with and on behalf of 300 million active users
Anna Soellner is Director of Communications at @Reddit. With over 300 million active users spread across 138,000 different communities on the number 6 most trafficked website in the world, it’s fair to say Anna Soellner has a pretty daunting role as Reddit’s Director of Communications - a website which positions itself as “the front page of the internet”. Recorded live at The European Communications Summit in Berlin, Anna shares her personal journey from working in governance alongside Dianne Feinstein an...


#37 – How to cultivate your own leadership style with executive coach Carolyn Coughlin
Carolyn Coughlin is an executive coach, facilitator, and leadership development specialist. Carolyn’s journey began as a management consultant first at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and later at McKinsey & Co. She was introduced to the idea of adult development shortly after leaving the corporate world 15 years ago, and instantly felt passionate about helping people not only to grow into their biggest selves, but also to live as fully as they can. Throughout all of her work, Carolyn acts as a coach for executive...

#36 – How InStyle’s Editor in Chief Laura Brown champions "badass women" with a reach of 30+ million
Laura Brown is the Editor in Chief of InStyle magazine. Laura spent eleven years at Harper’s Bazaar, rising to the role of Executive Editor before moving in 2016 to head up one of the world’s most successful fashion media brands. At InStyle Laura is responsible for the print magazine (which reaches 1.8 million readers every month), 13 international editions and digital across all platforms as well as the voice, content, strategy and brand extensions that reach 30+ million women across the world. This multi...

#35 – How Tina Roth Eisenberg aka @swissmiss turned her side projects into businesses
Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka @swissmiss) is the founder of CreativeMornings - a global monthly lecture series; TeuxDeux - a to-do list app; Tattly - a design-led temporary tattoo shop; and Friends Work Here - a co-working space in New York City. Swiss-born Tina started swissmiss in 2005 as her personal visual archive and watched it grow into one of the internet’s most popular design journals with over 1 million visitors a month. After working in several prominent NYC design firms Tina decided to start her own...


#34 – How to make resilience and adversity your friend with author Ama Marston
Ama Marston is the author of “Type R - Transformative resilience for thriving in a turbulent world” and a thought leader on the topic of “transformative resilience”. In today’s world we’ve become ever-more focused on “bouncing back” and “recovering” from periods of stress, adversity and resilience. But Ama is reframing the ways we talk and understand these challenges, so that we can use them to our advantage. “Adversity is a terrible thing to waste” she says, and by helping us to check our default setting...

#33 – Refinery 29’s Amy Emmerich on how to hustle (positively)!
In our first ever live episode recorded at Hamburg’s OMR Festival, we speak to Amy Emmerich - Chief Content Officer at Refinery29. As Chief Content Officer, Amy oversees all Refinery29 content with an audience footprint of over 500 million. During her time in leadership with the platform, Refinery29 has launched numerous successful franchises and content brands; as well as scoring exclusives with leading female voices including Cecile Richards. This success is thanks in part to Amy’s 20 years of experienc...

#32 – ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis – “What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?”
Rebecca Jarvis is the ABC News chief Business, Technology & Economics correspondent; the host and managing editor of the podcast No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis; and the host and managing editor of Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis. After studying economics in college, Rebecca began her journalism career writing for Crain’s Chicago Business and Business 2.0 alongside gruelling hours working in investment banking and foreign currency trading. This early experience on the trading floor proved invaluable in giving R...


#31 - Reboot’s Ali Schultz on how to practice radical self inquiry and enhance your leadership
Ali is co-founder and COO of Reboot.io. Reboot is first and foremost a coaching platform - a place where Ali and her team take on the mental models that CEOs and founders use to make decisions so that they can reaffirm their business relationships, enhance their leadership and greater practise resilience. As a coach Ali is skilled in getting her clients to tap into their innermost sense of self to find the original source of their creativity, often helping them to tune into motivations they’d forgotten. ...

#30 – Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin on hacking habits and happiness
Gretchen Rubin is a New York Times bestselling author, podcaster and happiness expert. Gretchen started writing about happiness almost ten years ago, at a time when it wasn’t as much a part of our everyday dialogue as it is now. Over the years Gretchen has worked incredibly hard to identify not just her own core beliefs about happiness and habit forming, but also those which apply to a wider understanding of how different personality types respond to the inner and outer expectations which ultimately lead t...

#29 - How Rianie Strydom became one of South Africa’s leading winemakers
Rianie Strydom is the General Manager and Winemaker at Haskell Vineyards and Dombeya Wines. A graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, Rianie decided to become a winemaker at the age of 14 working in Burgundy, Bordeaux and travelling extensively throughout Europe, America and Australia before returning to South Africa to work within her native country’s terroir. After ten years as winemaker at Morgenhof Estate, Rianie took up the dual role of General Manager and winemaker at Haskell Vineyards and Dombe...


#28 – How venture capitalist Ann Miura-Ko became “the most powerful woman in startups”
Ann Miura-Ko is co-founding partner at FLOODGATE, an early-stage venture capital firm. As the child of a NASA rocket scientist Ann grew up, literally, surrounded by emerging technologies in California’s Silicon Valley. And as a young champion debater (she placed first in the National Tournament of Champions and second in the State of California whilst at high school), Ann forged a considerable skill set which has since helped her complete a PhD at Stanford (a place where she now a lecturer in entrepreneurs...

#27 – Facebook’s VP of Product Design Margaret Stewart about leadership lessons and career advice
Margaret Stewart is the VP Product Design at Facebook. Margaret credits being the youngest child of 9, as well as having initially studied Theatre as incredibly useful tools in the collaborative nature of all her work today. She then did a graduate studies at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunication Program before starting her career at Tripod - one of the big homepage building sites in the first dot.com era - and rising up the ranks through the design teams at Google Search and Google News, to ...

#26 – How Ayse Birsel's creative process can help you design a life you love
Ayse Birsel is a designer based out of New York City, Co-founder and Creative Director of Birsel + Seck, the award-winning design and innovation studio, and creator of the workbook 'Design the Life you Love". Born in Izmir, Turkey, Ayse later attended the Pratt Institute in 1986. Since then she has been based in New York and owns the studio with life and business partner, Bibi Seck. Birsel + Seck have worked with Herman Miller, GE, Colgate-Palmolive, IKEA and Toyota, among others. Ayse was identified by F...


#25 – How life coach Lauren Handel Zander enables people to own their personal growth
Lauren Handel Zander is the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Handel Group, creator of The Handel Method coaching methodology, and author of the book ‘Maybe It’s You’. Lauren has coached everyone from famous movies stars and business executives to everyday men and women who need support pushing through challenging life and career barriers. The coaching methodology that she created, the Handel Method, is designed to help people be honest with themselves and start taking action on the wishes they want to fulfill....

#24 – Megan Devine – How to best help someone who is grieving and in pain?
Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, grief advocate, and author of the book ‘It’s OK That You’re Not OK.’ For almost 20 years, Megan has dedicated her life to helping people live through things they never thought they’d face. Having witnessed her partner drown almost 9 years ago, today Megan is leading an effort to change the Western culture of grief by proposing new models for grief and by creating an online community and resource that helps people survive some of the hardest experiences of their lives. Th...

#23 – TED's Kelly Stoetzel on how to become a great public speaker
Kelly Stoetzel is TED’s Content Director and the curator of the TED Conference. At TED, Kelly and her team are responsible for all of TED’s programming, content, and editorial and in more than a decade, she has worked with hundreds of some of the best and most inspirational speakers in the world. If you’re looking to exercise your public speaking skills, this is a great episode for you. In the first part of the interview, Kelly and I talk about her background and how she started to work for TED. In the s...


#22 – Lydia Denworth – What do you do when your son can't hear?
Lydia Denworth is an author, science journalist, and speaker. Lydia’s most recent book of popular science is I Can Hear You Whisper. The book is a memoir of her youngest son’s deafness and her subsequent exploration of sound and language and the brain. Reviewers called it “rigorous,” “enthralling,” “tender” and “luminous." She is working on her third book--about the biology and evolution of friendship--and writes regularly for Scientific American and Psychology Today. Her work has also appeared in Newswe...

#21 – How Alex Constantinople became the CEO of The Outcast Agency
Alex Constantinople is the CEO of The Outcast Agency that works with clients like Airbnb, Instagram, Spotify, Facebook, or Patagonia. Alex started her career as a publicist for CNN, NBC, followed by marketing and communications roles at GE before switching coasts to join Wired Magazine and eventually The Outcast Agency, first as their COO and then as CEO. Alex is based in San Francisco and the mother of 3. In this episode we talk about Alex's favorite books, how she prepared herself and the company for he...

#20 – Beth Comstock – the most senior woman in one of the world’s biggest companies General Electric
Beth Comstock is the Vice Chair at General Electric, one of the largest companies in the world. At GE, she leads efforts to accelerate new growth. She operates GE Business Innovations, which develops new businesses, markets and service models; drives brand value and partners to enhance GE’s inventive culture. This unit includes Current, GE Lighting, GE Ventures & Licensing and GE sales, marketing and communications. In this episode, Beth and I talk about what makes a good leader, how to learn to ask for h...


#19 – Robin Berzin – How would you redesign medical care?
Dr. Robin Berzin is a doctor and entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Parsley Health, a service that is redefining medical care. Robin believes that medicine should put nutrition, wellness and prevention on the front lines of health care, while simultaneously making care smart and data-driven to meet our needs in today’s world. Parsley Health, the company that Robin founded, is her answer to the question how she would rethink medical care from scratch. Parsley’s mission is to redefine how we think abo...

#18 – Lesli Linka Glatter – the woman behind your favorite shows like Homeland, Mad Men, Good Wife
Lesli Linka Glatter is a film and tv director based in Los Angeles and known for directing tv shows like Homeland, Mad Men, The Good Wife, and The West Wing. Lesli Linka Glatter started her career as a modern dancer and choreographer before a series of (sometimes lucky) events led her to take a path towards film directing. Today, Lesli is an accomplished film and tv director and has directed countless episodes for shows like Twin Peaks, The Good Wife, Homeland, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, and many many o...

#17 – Birchbox co-founder Mollie Chen on what it’s like to leave the company you co-founded
Mollie Chen is the co-founder of Birchbox, a subscription service for makeup and beauty samples. Mollie shares what it’s like to start and grow a company like Birchbox to millions of customers and 300 employees and also what it’s like to decide to leave the company that you co-founded after 6 years.  We talk about the early days of Birchbox and the moment Mollie decided to join her friends from college Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna to turn Birchbox from an idea into a real company. Mollie takes us beh...


#16 – Kara Swisher, how did you become so fearless?
Kara Swisher is the co-founder and Executive Editor of technology news website Recode, host of the Recode Decode podcast, and Co-Executive Producer of the Code Conference. In her career as a technology journalist that spans over more than 20 years, Kara has become one of the most respected and prominent journalists who cover the business of Silicon Valley and is known for her insightful reporting, hard work, and straight-shooting style. She has interviewed thousands of people – most notably Steve Jobs and...

#15 – How Megan Quinn went from building products to investing in companies that build products
Megan Quinn is a General Partner at Spark Capital, a venture capital firm that has invested in companies like Twitter, Postmates, Tumblr, and Slack. Megan grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by 4 sisters and first didn’t intend to enter the technology sector. After moving up north to graduate from Stanford, she took a job at Google and helped the then-small company go public. As an avid collector of historical maps, she found her perfect dream job in Google’s Maps division where she has held several leadersh...

#14 – How film producer Debra Martin Chase launched Anne Hathaway and Blake Lively’s careers
Debra Martin Chase is a television and movie producer and known for having produced movies like ’The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’, ‘The Preacher’s Wife’, and ‘The Princess Diaries’, amongst many others. Debra graduated from Harvard as a lawyer and practiced law before eventually moving into the movie business to pursue her passion for film and television and fulfill her dream to entertain. She says: “Movie and television need to entertain but if along the way you can be given messages or values can ...


#13 – What is life and work like as a ballerina, Kathryn Boren?
Kathryn Boren is a professional ballet dancer and member of the corps de ballet at the America Ballet Theatre in New York City. Kathryn started dancing at the age of 3 and decided that ballet was her thing at the age of 5 and for the next 20 years she never lost the drive to push forward to master and perfection the art form. Kathryn spent a few years in Berlin, then moved to New York at the age of 15 for a scholarship at the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School where years alter she ...

#12 – Cindy Gallop on why female role models are just as critical for men as they are for women
Cindy Gallop is a former advertising executive turned startup entrepreneur, consultant, and public speaker. With a background in brand building, marketing, and advertising, Cindy founded the co-action software company IfIRanThe World and is currently focused on building and funding MakeLoveNotPorn, a venture in the emerging #sextech category, a category in tech that she says is ready for disruption. Before starting her own companies and growing her consulting and public speaking business, Cindy was an ad...

#11 – Elisa Goodkind & Lily Mandelbaum of StyleLikeU and The What's Underneath Project
Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum are the co-founders of StyleLikeU, a company that creates the documentary-style video series “What’s Underneath” that explores how style is not about trends, money, or presenting a facade of photoshopped perfection. Rather, true style is the result of radical self-acceptance. In this episode, Elisa and Lily — who are mother and daughter — share how and why they started StyleLikeU in 2009, and how it has evolved from an idea to a video series that has been viewed over 35 m...


#10 – Dakota Weiss is the Executive Chef of Estrella and Sweetfin Poké in Los Angeles
Dakota Weiss is the Executive Chef at Estrella, a modern American restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. She’s also the Executive Chef of Sweetfin, a series of California-style poke restaurants. Having learned the first basic cooking skills from her mother and grandmother, Dakota found her way into cooking instead of becoming an international business woman. She studied in culinary school in Arizona and worked all over the United States to learn from some of the best chefs in the industry. Pickin...

#9 – Ana Guerrero – Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti
Ana Guerrero is the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. Daughter of Mexican immigrants (her dad came to the United States as part of the guest worker program), Ana has devoted a large part of her career to community organizing and in helping people mobilize to create collective power. She has been working with Mayor Garcetti for 16 years, more than half of those as his Chief of Staff. In this episode, Ana talks about the role of Chief of Staff–what it entails and how to become effe...

#8 – Kim Vandenberg – Competition Swimmer, Olympic Medalist, Swim Coach, and Mentor
Kim Vandenberg is a competition swimmer and won an Olympic medal with the U.S. swimming team. Kim started swimming at a young age and always loved competing. The road to the Olympics is hard and long, and Kim shares the journey to two of the highlights of her career: a silver medal at the World Championship in 2007, and the bronze medal at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. Kim's story is a story of persistence, determination, and hard work. It’s a story of transitions, overcoming self-doubt and failures,...


#7 – Samantha Barry – Head of Social Media and Emerging Media at CNN Worldwide
Samantha Barry is the Head of Social Media at CNN Worldwide where she leads the social teams at all of the CNN bureaus and works closely with the CNN Digital leadership in their editorial strategy. Under Samantha’s leadership, CNN has become the most followed and fanned news organization in the world. Born near Cork in Ireland, Samantha has worked in over 25 countries, reporting and training other journalists in broadcasting, technology and social media. Her lifelong career in journalism and news media has...

#6 – Samin Nosrat - Cook and New York Times Bestselling Author of 'Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat'
Samin Nosrat is a cook, teacher, and author. Equipped with a letter and the determination to work at Chez Panisse, the legendary French restaurant founded by Alice Waters, Samin chose the path of cooking instead of the path of poetry. 17 years later, she turned her many lessons learned into her first book ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’, a beautifully illustrated book by Wendy MacNaughton that empowers us to learn how to master the fundamentals of cooking. In this episode, Samin and I cover many different topic...

#5 – Cindy Holland – Netflix's Vice President of Original Content
Cindy Holland is the Vice President of Orignal Content at Netflix where she's responsible for all creative development and business aspects of some of our favorite shows like House of Cards, Chef's Table, Orange Is The New Black, and many more original series, comedy, and documentary series. Cindy has held three different roles in her 15-year tenure at Netflix and we discuss her background, her passions for artists and their creative process, and lessons learned of growing from being a doer to leading a te...


#4 – Liisa Pierce Fiedelholtz, former Senior Vice President at Ann Inc.
Liisa Pierce Fiedelholtz is the former Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Sourcing for Ann Inc., a holding company of women's fashion retailers. In this episode, Liisa reflects on her work of three decades in the industry and shares a series of things she has learned: how to negotiate, how to sell, how to manage and lead, how to speak in public. As an avid surfer, Liisa also speaks about her work as the chair of the board of the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of our...

#3 – Joanne Wilson of Gotham Gal Ventures
Joanne Wilson aka Gotham Gal is an angel investor, blogger, and podcaster. After starting her career in women's fashion retail, Joanne transitioned into the web and tech industry to eventually become an angel investor. Joanne has invested in over 100 companies and more than 70% of companies in her portfolio are founded or led by women. Joanne and I talk about her journey and career, lessons learned along the way, and how it's been like to start her own podcast. https://gothamgal.com https://soundcloud.co...

#2 – Kate Burson of Tesla Energy
Kate Burson currently leads the North East market and business development for Tesla Energy. Prior to joining Tesla, Kate was the Chief of Staff to the Chairman of Energy and Finance under the Governor of the state of New York and drove the implementation of the state's energy policy. As an Assistant Attorney General, Kate worked to help solve the largest financial fraud case in the history of the United States and rather than pursuing a career as a professional tennis player, she helped rewrite the const...


#1 – Jillian Mercado of IMG Models
Jillian Mercado is an American-Dominican fashion model and one of the few professionals in the industry who has a physical disability. As an activist, she advocates for more diversity in the fashion industry. In this first episode of The Role Models Podcast, Jillian describes her journey into the fashion industry – from collecting magazines as a young girl, to graduating from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, and eventually becoming a professional fashion model for campaigns like Diesel, Beyonce,...