Katrina Lake, Founder and CEO of Stitch Fix
"There were three powerful women who let me know that anything was possible. My great-grandmother and her sister both lost their husbands early in life. They had five kids between the two of them. They combined their households — one went to work, one stayed home to raise the children — to get through a tough situation. My grandmother grew up in war-torn Japan during World War II. She dreamed of being an American. She encouraged her two daughters, one of whom is my mom, to move to the U.S. and pursue a life here, and then she moved herself here too even though she didn't know any English. Because of the influence of these women, I've always looked at challenges as an adventure."
"I sent out my pitch to a handful of businesses telling them what my interests were and what I could do for them, and I ended up at Polyvore in San Francisco. This is where I met Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who was then the CEO. I think I underestimated how big of an impact working for a powerful woman would have on me. I wasn't thinking, Oh, I could really use a female role model in my life. But just watching her inspired me. She was the first woman [executive] I met who had her own authentic leadership style not modeled after a man's. It was my first exposure to seeing how there is more than one way to be successful."
Cosmopolitan, Photograph via TotalRetail