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#LadyBoss: redefining what a boss looks like

Too many of us grew up only seeing one kind of boss or leader in the media. The lack of representation for other groups reinforced harmful stereotypes and acted as a self-fulfilling prophesy, but would our opinion of what a leader looks like be different if the media did a better job at representing the true diversity of leadership in America?

Women and other under-represented groups are already leading many great companies, organizations, & academic institutions; others are authoring best-sellers, building engaged audiences, leading movements and more.

We had the honor of connecting with many of the best and brightest female leaders from in and around the city and we asked them our question of the month: What is the best advice you have for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds.

We encourage you to check out the female leaders we’ve highlighted below, follow them on social media if you find their work or story interesting and most importantly do your part to #fightstereotypes.

Leni Gruber | Travel Blogger

If you never try, you never know 🙂 So just think positive and try your best ‘cause always remember: “nothing is impossible“ .


Sally Elbassir | Foodie Travel Blogger

Passport & Plates

Most challenges feel insurmountable when we first start – whether it’s making a big life change, training for a physical challenge, or making a drastic lifestyle change. My best advice is – break it down! Set small goals and steps to achieve those goals. Rather than trying to deal with the challenge in its entirety, deal with parts of it at a time. Before you know it, it won’t seem so daunting.


Jennifer Ilene Perry | Producer | Director | DP | Editor | Creator

My best advice to someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to have faith in the Universe.  I have dealt with a lot of challenges in my life as an artist.  I still have them.  I know I can look back and say I dealt with the challenges to the best of my ability and awareness at the time and that I learned from them.  We all need to take accountability for where we are in life and dig in and do the work necessary to change what we do not like.  We have the power within us.  Being aware of that first helps a lot I think.  Also, I am very in tune to the spiritual world and rely heavily on guidance from above.


Chelsea Luckey | Pilates instructor & Medical Sales Representative

Taryn Kelly

I’ve been here before, when I lost my father 2 years ago, I felt like there was no way for my life to continue forward. I wanted to jump into being “okay” again and simply put, I couldn’t. It was during this time I learned about moving the needle, inch by inch and being present in each moment. My best advice is, we can’t skip steps in the process but we can break it down into pieces to manage it easier. Avoid looking at the challenge as a whole but accomplishing one small step everyday. If you buckle down in the process, put one foot in front of the other with your mind on the prize, you will build something bigger than you originally dreamed. In sales, it’s small daily moves to meet a big quarterly goal, in fitness, it’s building each segment of your routine & in life, it’s the same. Always keep the peak of the mountain in mind, but your head down and climb step by step.


Molly Schoneveld  | Founder/CEO The Storied Group

First, learn to master your mind. It’s the only thing you can control. Your mind will want to tell you that you can’t, that the challenge is too great. It will convince you you’re doomed. I love the Calm and Headspace apps for practicing mindfulness and getting you out of that panic mode that comes with great challenges.  Second, start with baby steps. Think of a tiny thing you can do right now that will move you in the direction you wish to go. If you need motivation for putting one foot in front of the other, literally go put one foot in front of the other. Take a walk. Change your scenery. It’s amazing what moving the body will do for our minds. 

Lorna Shirley | Founder and Social Media Director of Pistol Social

The first step is to believe in yourself and recognize that you WILL overcome this challenge. Maybe not tomorrow, but that you’ll get there. Any problem or challenge can be solved with action items. Identify these steps and make sure you’re dedicating time every day to overcoming this challenge.

Isabel Dominguez | LA adventurist

As a young adult, insurmountable challenges seem to be the beginning of adulthood. What I’ve learned best is to always remember why you’re there in that moment and where you’ll be after you’ve overcome this challenge. Remembering to stay patient, positive, and true to yourself all in the process. Things don’t ever come easy, but its good that they don’t because it’s the things that make us who we are. And that i believe is my best advice for those insurmountable challenges.



Sabrina Russell | Actor & Creator

First you must realize that you have made it through every challenge you have faced so far. Everything you need is already within you. Sometimes you just need to dig a little deeper to see your own strength. When things feel difficult and overwhelming that is when you have the most room for growth. Lean into difficulty. The more you fight comfort and complacency the more beautiful you and the world around you become. Keep your head up. Take it one step at a time. All you can ever do is your best and that is enough.


Roxanne Flett | Los Angeles Home Staging Business Owner & Awarded, Certified Home Stager | Los Angeles Board Secretary RESA®

As a mother, wife and Home Staging business owner, I am faced with challenges on a regular basis and at times, those challenges can feel insurmountable.  One of my greatest success stories I share with new Home Stagers that are feeling overwhelmed and facing what appears to be insuperable obstacles dates to my first vacant staging job. I had received a call from a Realtor that wanted staging done within 48 hours and at the time, the only inventory I owned were a few accessories and one framed canvas.  By compartmentalizing what needed to be done to successfully complete the job, breaking down what resources I would use to achieve success and turning those plans into action with a “yes I can do” attitude, the home came out beautifully.  As a result of that staging job, I now have an ongoing partnership with that Realtor for all her staging projects and was awarded Top Ten Rising Star Home Stager of the Year Vacant Category by RESA® (Real Estate Staging Association).  My words of encouragement to anyone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to never underestimate yourself, never give up and remember that in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.

Danielle Crook | Voice Teacher | Singer and Folklorist

I’ve definitely gone through periods of time where my challenges seemed to be insurmountable. I’ve faced chronic illness, the loss of a loved one to suicide, and domestic abuse.   Here are a few things that kept me going in the darkest times.  1. Brainstorm actionable steps, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.  Tiny steps keep you going and you just don’t know when that one phone call (or email, interview, appointment, application, or person) will be the catalyst for change, turning a downward spiral into an upward one.   2. Praise the hell out of yourself for the small things you do!  You showered, made it to your job, and made one phone call on your action list today? That’s enough! You deserve to feel proud of yourself.  You’re still here, still trying, and that’s the bravest thing you can do.  3.  Imagine you are a sword being tempered by fire.  The strongest swords are the ones that have been melted a bit. Fires can’t burn forever, and you’ll come out with strength no one can take away from you.  4. You deserve to feel heard and understood.  Find friends who listen without judgement, and then return the favor to them.  It’s amazing how just being allowed to share your true feelings can help you realize the solutions yourself.

Angela Griswold | Actress | Singer & Pun Maker

Don’t ever give up, and don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. There is not one person out there who can tell you how or when to chase your passion, that you’re not good enough, what you need to do to get there; as women and as creatives, or however we identify, we have to face each and every new day with fierce determination and diligence. But always remember: you are a work of art, as well as a work in progress. Be kind to yourself, no matter how tough it gets.




Whitney Allen | Yoga Teacher and Dog Mom AF

If you’ve already used all the tools in your bag to confront a challenge head on, and you’re still stuck feeling overwhelmed, try to let it go for a while. Set the burden aside, as much as you can, and know that time will eventually help change the situation for you. If taking action to face your problem hasn’t worked so far, giving up your attempt to control it will also shift your relationship to your obstacle. When your energy is fully engaged in solving a crisis, it’s difficult to gain new perspective if you’re all tangled up in it. Be patient, solutions generally don’t appear overnight, but they do appear eventually. In the meantime, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to show up in your life and simply do your best. Keep your relationships healthy, your body in motion, and your words and deeds loving.  No one likes to sit with discomfort. Still, we must, from time to time. And during that time, stay in good karma, do no harm. Above all, remember: This too, shall pass.  

Klaudia Kudelko | Concert Pianist


The most difficult moment is always just before you start, so be brave enough to trust yourself and always be the first person who believes in you. It doesn’t come easily, but your mindset is the key, and believe me – everything starts there. Give yourself time, work hard, but also at the same time remember, that what’s meant for you, will happen for you.


Miranda Lauren | Fashion Creative & Entrepreneur

Be patient with yourself, and with the challenges you face. You may have moments of feeling completely overwhelmed by obstacles, and that’s okay. Try to practice patience, and you’ll soon see that you are much more capable than you give yourself credit. You can handle anything. You can face anything. Nothing can break you, unless you let it. So, be patient; try your best, and watch what happens when you don’t let anything or anyone tell you that you can’t do something.   

EJ | Experience Collector

For me personally, if I think about a challenge as a whole I can feel really overwhelmed, though when I break the challenge into smaller pieces it becomes much more manageable. For example, I work on developing my musical ability one piece at a time and then refining single pieces of that skill. I practice singing and playing piano, little by little they come together and help me overcome my challenge of teaching myself about music.


Jennifer Navarro | Media Executive & Lifestyle Blogger

The best advice I can give to someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable, is to remember to breathe. Take a moment to reflect and try to make sense of your feelings and the challenges at hand. Understand that there will be happy, sad, and sometimes confusing moments that lie ahead, but continue to work toward developing a solution. Never lose sight of all the positive things in your life. There is so much to be thankful for and it can be easy to let the bad overshadow the good. Remind yourself to be grateful for even the simplest blessings such as waking up in the morning, driving to work in your car, your family, your health, etc. Lastly and most importantly, remember that this too shall pass. When something seems insurmountable to me, I always remind myself that one day I will look back and everything will make perfect sense.


Annie Smith | Vegan | Life Enthusiast, and Girl Boss

I always try to take a challenge head on. Whether it be in your relationships, in your work life, or internally – sometimes the best thing to do is to run headfirst into something that terrifies you. You really can get through anything with a lot of (faux) confidence and a good support system. It’s okay to lean on others for support in times of need, and to return the favor in your better seasons.


Alina Grafkina | The owner of “Grafkina Photography”

Daily I am facing different kinds of problems that sometimes can seem insurmountable. Therefore, facing any issues in the field is a great challenge for the artist that makes him or her irreplaceable. If I face an issue or challenge I always try to find different options for its resolution. Yes, sometimes it might seem frustrating and irritating if one or two solutions don’t work. Although, I never give up and work every day really hard to come up with a better plan. Also, I find it very helpful to find everyday inspirations and mentors that could be helpful and supportive. I always look at the higher end photographers who inspire me. Challenges make us stronger. It makes us grow up and mature in our field. If you don’t face the challenges and problems in your industry you don’t grow up as a professional. 

Yaiza McDonald | Entrepreneur

Take it one day at a time and focus on what’s in front of you.  There is no need to worry about the future because everything will fall into place.



Katherine Cabrera | Nursing Student

Personally when I go through a tough time and feel overwhelmed, I try to focus on the simple fact that it will pass. No matter how impossible it may seem… with faith, positivity, and staying grounded in the present moment the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and the emotions are easier to deal with. Talk to a friend, check out articles such as VoyageLA, or blogs relating to hardships and realize that you are never alone.


Kelley Raye | Entrepreneur and Photographer

The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to get incredibly clear about what you want and why. With clarity comes your next best move. Decide on next steps you can take, and just start moving, one step at a time. Looking into the future can be overwhelming because we want to get there so quickly but don’t know how. The best way to break down a challenge is simply by being patience, staying detached from any particular outcome, and just chipping away at that crazy huge goal, little by little. So whatever you can do, whomever help you can enlist, whatever resources you do have already, focus on that, and all the tools you need to complete your challenge will 100% find their way to you. 

Gina Colin | Speaker & Educator

Everyone goes through tough times, and everyone needs help at some point. Holding on to your faith, trusting  the process and taking pride in the struggle will shape and mold you into the most incredible version of yourself. 

Jessica Schatz | The Core Expert™ Master Pilates Instructor, Yoga Teacher, Health and Wellness Coach, Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher, JOGA® Coach

If you let go of your “idea” of what your life has to look like, your world will get so much bigger. Many years ago a mentor of mine said this to me. At the time, I was not in a place in my life where I knew how to receive it. Nor did I understand how it would apply to my life. I had suffered a traumatic injury resulting in the end of my dance career, leading to all kinds of physical and emotional turmoil. I struggled to comprehend how to share my gifts with the world without dance. Through the darkest times, I was able to discover and hone the tools and skills to overcome these things and find my way through to the other side – to a life of health and wellness. To a life where I could let go of my “idea” of who I was and what I was meant to do.  I’ve dedicated my life to helping others do the same.While adversity can feel like a disaster when it presents itself, adversity – even the most challenging – offers us an opportunity for the most enormous growth. In fact these times, steeped in pain and difficulty, hold the potential to transform our lives for the better. It is through hardship that we learn nothing in life worth having comes easy. In fact, I believe I was lucky to experience, survive, and grow from episodes of anxiety, panic, and depression because all of these things inform my work, life, and the journey on the road ahead. Overcoming challenges has offered me the opportunity and resolve to reach out and help others thrive, despite their own debilitating obstacles.We teach best what we most need to learn. Together, we each push through to higher versions of ourselves. The task is to embrace vulnerability, bravely face and accept who we are, and believe in who we are meant to be. So remember, the more you let go of your “idea” of who you are supposed to be, and what your life has to look like, the bigger your world becomes. Don’t be afraid of opening your door, and your heart, and letting the world in. We are all in this together.​

Crystal St. John | Actress & Singer

When I look back onto some of my greatest challenges, I now have the eyes to see that they were gifts wrapped up in discomfort. Each challenge became a pivotal moment that launched me forward into the growth I needed to step into bigger things in my life. I chose to be more upset by complacency and safety than the fear of taking a risk and making a change. With that said, you may feel things you wish you could run away from feeling in order to face your challenge. But, the only way to growth is through those feelings. You must face them. You must look yourself square in the mirror, see yourself in the exact condition you’re in, and choose yourself to rise above. Fight against your fear of being vulnerable. Fight against the lies that say you aren’t worth it. Fight against your fear of failing or caring what people think or awkwardness or whatever it is. Because, at the end of the day- it’s less about the outcome of this challenge. It’s more about who you are becoming. With every risk you take, you become stronger, you become more resilient. And resiliency is the material that takes you places. Don’t you want to go places?


Myra Kelly | Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist

Oh, seems like the perfect question for me as I’ve had to deal with many situations what seem impossible lately. In these situations people react differently. It’s normal to experience some sort of stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed right? Well, if you’re anything like me the best advice I can give in this situation is to realize (the cliche) that things will work out the way it’s suppose to. Easier said than done, I know. To help ease the “fight or flight” mode, I recommend doing some sort of meditation. Meditation may look different for many people. Some may count breaths, some may use some guided meditation or even walking meditation may work for others. Whichever works for each person it will help ground the mind. Now that you’re grounded, sit down and write out a plan. Break it up into steps till you attain the goal. Once this is written out into simple steps, it’s easier to attain the “insurmountable” situation. Helps if you do this while listening to “Eye of the Tiger” 😉 However long it takes to achieve the end goal, make sure you do some self care like acupuncture/cupping, eating well, massages, and to surround yourself with nature, inspiring people/podcast/Ted talks to empower you!!


Eugenia Gul | Life&Business Coach | Women’s Rights Activist| Model | Author of WorkGulBook |WIFE

Stress less and don’t lose hope for a better future, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Remember the one thing, you still have a chance while your heart is beating. 


Oby Grace | Model & Content Creator

If there’s just one pieces of advice I can give someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable, it’s to just think about it in 5 minutes increments. Just think to yourself I can do this for 5 more minutes and after that five minutes passes you can do it for another five more minutes. It will seem less daunting and by the time you know it , the challenge will have passed, you have face the challenges head on instead of procrastinating on it.


Heather Alvarenga | Media Strategist & Content Creator

Try to always remain positive, love on yourself, and surround yourself with people who choose you and root for you! Always remind yourself that you are so much stronger than you may seem and stronger than any challenge that comes your way. Let the insurmountable challenges in life make you a stronger person and I promise you will learn and grow tremendously. In other words, “You’ve got this!”




    February 12, 2019 at 20:48

    Ayeee JillianVita is the best! Taught me to be strong in who I am. Love it!

    • JillianVita Lore

      February 12, 2019 at 23:29

      Thank you SO much…What an honor to be featured in such an amazingly empowering way! All of these women are absolutely incredible!

  2. sage

    May 4, 2019 at 00:51

    Thank you so much VOYAGE LA for the feature. I appreciate being apart of the #GIRLBOSS movement!

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