Women is...: 2008

Join Trade Organizations

We found our national trade organization soon after we published our first issue. At the annual conference, we met people like us, who didn't mind that we jumped in with questions before we said hello. We subscribed to several trade publications that proved helpful; they gave us ideas and showed us what things other publications were doing that worked (sometimes we followed up with a phone call to the publisher who'd been written about). The library reference desk is a good place to start looking for trade organizations and publications.

Agree on How to Disagree

Many entrepreneurs start off with more than an idea; they have a partner or two. At the urging of our accountant, we drafted a simple agreement about when to call a halt if things didn't work out and how to divide the assets or the debts. When my partner's job responsibilities grew and she had to bow out after three years, the split was amicable.

Homegrown Business
The magazine has grown slowly; it only moved off my dining room table and into an office after three years. Another lesson learned: If you work at home, your business needs its own room. Otherwise, your life and your business will spill over into each other. For most of the time it's been a labor of love -- or a headache that won't go away -- depending on the day. But this year I will finally be able to take out a nice salary and even consider starting a second publication.

Lunch a Bunch

For the price of lunch, we hired many private consultants. For example, over soup and salad with an ad agency media buyer we set our rates for ads. During lunch with the owner of a business weekly we learned how to hire and pay advertising salesmen. (Note: We generally treated our consultants to restaurants with white tablecloths.)

Write a Marketing Plan

After we published our first issue, we put together a marketing plan. For demographics, we called schools for enrollment figures, got birthrate statistics from the state health department and census figures from the regional economic-development agency. A survey in the magazine generated a profile of our typical reader.

We worried about putting it all down in the proper format, but we found that the most important thing is to get it on paper -- unless, of course, you are presenting it to a bank or other lender. (Although we never actually did it, the exercise of writing a business plan would have helped us clarify our ideas, pinpoint our weaknesses and generally would have saved us time.)

Define the Business

Shock set in when we realized that those enthusiastic readers were not the first market we needed to tap. Prototype in hand, we found ourselves in the business of selling advertising. That's when we discovered that both of us loved producing the product and neither of us knew anything about sales or liked doing it. Lesson learned: If you've got a partner, make sure at least one of you knows how to bring in the money month after month.

Jessica Yu, Independent Filmmaker

profession: Producer, director, writer. "Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien" received an Oscar for best documentary short.

born: Feb. 14, 1966, in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

education: BA, English, Yale University. "I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I just knew I liked studying English. And they had a really good fencing program."

the basic story: Fell into film production because she needed a job with flexible hours in order to compete in fencing -- a sport she has since given up. Worked on commercials in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles, where she learned the ropes of documentary work. Entered the national spotlight with her film portrait of Berkeley, Calif., writer and poet Mark O'Brien and his life in an iron lung, as well as her humorous and poignant Academy Awards acceptance speech. She currently lives in Glendale, Ariz., with writer/husband Mark Salzman.

inauspicious beginnings: "My very first job was on a pasta commercial, arranging frozen noodles on a plastic fork for six hours. It was incredibly humbling."
true confession: Threatened to fold up her director's chair. "I credit the experience of making 'Breathing Lessons' with re-igniting my faith in the idea of making films. I remember telling all my friends, stupidly, that this was the last film I was going to make. The process of fundraising was just so enervating. Then, of course, making the film was so rewarding -- and I was so happy with it and happy that Mark liked it -- that the drama went out the window."

current project: "The Living Museum," a documentary of New York's Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. "There's such a strong feeling of community and goodness coming out of this place. I think the film will explore that area between art and healing; not art as therapy, but as a way to find some meaning and beauty in what seems like the most traumatic and terrible experiences."

past projects: At 31, she's made six films, including "Breathing Lessons"; "Men of Reenaction," a feature documentary about Civil War buffs; "Better Late," a short about an elderly man preparing to propose marriage; and the humorous short, "Sour Death Balls."

on diversity in the film world: "I haven't encountered any situation where I felt I was denied something solely because I was an Asian and a woman. In independent films, there's not a lot of money, and it's really your own motivation, your own hard work that determines how far you go." Still, she says, it was "startling" to be one of only three minorities at the Academy Awards nominee luncheon.
how the Oscar changed her life: Helped launch other projects. Oliver Stone is talking with her about a feature film on Mark O'Brien. "There are so many opportunities, and it's slightly jarring for someone who came out of the independent world. I find that as much as we like to bitch about not having help along the way, there's something very strengthening about working in your own little circle and making your own decisions."

film tastes: Eclectic. She admires Ang Lee for his "realistic" Asian-American characters. "Sick," a documentary on the life and death of a super masochist, also impressed her. "It's so memorable because it exceeds your expectations, it really surprises you. That's what I look for in films."

tech savviness: "I don't really cruise the web a lot. If I have a specific research need, I'll run some sort of search." And she can finally afford digital film editing equipment.

Ruth Vitale, Hollywood Powerbroker

profession: President of Fine Line Features, a division of New Line Cinema.

basic story: One of the handful of high-ranking women in Hollywood. Since 1995 she's been responsible for acquisitions, development and production of all films for Fine Line.

education: BA in literature from Tufts University; MS in journalism, Boston University.

claim to fame: Nabbed "Shine" at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival. This year the movie received seven Oscar nominations, and lead actor Geoffrey Rush walked away with an Academy Award for best actor.

the way up: Before she landed her first film job -- buying flicks for the Movie Channel -- she worked in advertising and media. Made her mark at Vestron Pictures as a senior VP on the hit sleeper "Dirty Dancing."
then what: After a stint at United Artists, where she was involved in the making of "Child's Play" and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," she hopped over to New Line as an EVP of Worldwide Acquisitions, where she oversaw all New Line/Fine Line theatrical, video and international distribution outlets. Some of the films she brought to the studio before "Shine" were "Corrina, Corrina," "Widows' Peak" and "Don Juan DeMarco."

industry salute: Named one of the Top 50 Women in Entertainment by Hollywood Reporter magazine in 1996.

on picking movies, projects, scripts: "You try to decide what you think is going to touch people's hearts or be controversial, interesting or evoke a response. But ultimately all you have are your instincts to go by, and that makes it a horse race."

biggest moment so far: "I would have to say 'Shine': How many times do you get to go to the Academy Awards with seven nominations? That happens to people only once at best and sometimes never. It was really a celebratory day when we heard the news."

"Shine"'s underlying appeal: "It's the little engine that could. In the end the pianist [played by Geoffrey Rush] finally makes it, and that's what's so great about the movie."
women and the biz: "There are certainly more women now than when I started. But I've never been one of those people who say it's tough for women to be in this business. I'm not so sure this business divides itself by sexism. It divides itself by talent, aggression and intelligence. And you can succeed if you have a sane head on your shoulders, you're smart and hard-working.

advice for breaking into Hollywood: "First you have to decide what part of the business you want to be in. You can start as an assistant out of college and work for someone in production if you think you like production. Or there is the mailroom/assistant talent agency route at an ICM, William Morris or CAA. I've always believed that working in an agency gives you a really good overview of the business, and you can decide from there."

on balance: "You have to realize that no matter how many hours in the day you work, there will always be more work the next day. To keep a sanity level, you have to say, I'm going to have a professional and a personal life, and I'm going to keep them in balance. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can't."

current & upcoming projects: "A wide range of films." David Cronenberg's "Crash"; "The Quiet Room" by an Australian director, Rolf Deheer -- "a wonderful, simple, elegant movie about a little girl whose parents don't get along, and as a result she stops speaking"; "Love! Valour! Compassion!" with Jason Alexander based on the Terrence McNally Broadway play; "For Roseanna" with Mercedes Ruhl, directed by Paul Weiland, and "Gummo" by Harmony Korine -- "a very startling -- almost documentary -- view of what kids without love do in the suburbs."

tech savviness: "I don't personally use the Internet but Fine Line has a site."

Radio host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger

born: In Brooklyn, to a Jewish father and an Italian mother, in 1947.

education: Ph.D., physiology, from Columbia. Post-doc work in marriage and family therapy at USC.

her formula: She gained ratings and market share by sidestepping the typical "nice" shtick of other hosts and taking a tough look at personal issues. Says hers is not one of those "pure shrink shows, which tend to be exceptionally liberal and exceptionally men-bashing -- I bash everyone." Combines non-discriminating advice, with traditional morals and ethics. "My views are extremely healthy," she says.

what else: Has written two books -- the first, "Ten Stupid Things Women Do," crept slowly up the best-seller list as her show expanded into new markets. Her new book, "How Could You Do That?!" (left), debuted at No. 3.
the next step: More of the same. She's been approached by TV producers, but has decided against the tube. "I love radio. I like the immediacy, the intimacy and the power of the three hours, just people and me, without any foo-fah or necessity for visuals, garbage. To me, that all detracts."

web site: None, but many stations brag about her.

the competition: "Mostly I hear yelling and screaming, very little content, the host usually has very little knowledge. They're just there to get ratings by ranting and raving and stirring the pot and getting people's emotions revved. And they call that radio. I call that an abuse of airwaves."

making it as a broadcaster: She may be a role model for some, but Dr. Laura doesn't advise trying to follow in her footsteps. "You can't use my career as a blueprint, because this is bizarre. My life is bizarre. A woman talkin' tough? And a shrink? Shrink shows have failed nationally. So, you gonna put on another shrink show? That fails! You gonna put on a woman, and she's not sounding so maternal and sweetsy? Never. It's been the story of my life. There's always a set of rules, and then there's me. I like that."
household: Husband and manager Lew Bishop, and son, Deryk, 10.

balancing career and family: While most broadcasters move around, from station to station, from morning to night shows, Dr. Laura held out for breaks in LA. Broadcasts from home. "I was not willing to move. I was not willing to take a different time slot. I never put my career ahead of everything else. I still don't. My career is not ahead of my family."

raising kids: "I yell at both moms and dads. I don't care, flip a coin, but somebody ought to be home (with the kids)."

if she weren't on the air: In her pre-radio days, she taught at the university level, but she wouldn't go back: "The way universities are being run now, there's no place for somebody like me...No, I'd be in rabbinical school."

Windham Hill's Anne Robinson

profession:President and CEO of Windham Hill Records.

company's annual revenue:Around $30 million.

the basic story: In 1976, William Ackerman, Anne Robinson and 60 friends each pitched in $5 and Windham Hill Records was born. Today, Robinson is one of the few women heading a major independent record company and is considered the grand dame of New Age music. (She prefers to call it "acoustic instrumental.") In 1992, Ackerman sold his part of the business to German-owned Bertelsmann Music Group (owners of Arista, RCA Records, Zoo Entertainment, etc.) The Windham Hill label is as well known as some of its artists: George Winston, Alex de Grassi, Liz Story.
born: January 31, 1948.

educated: BA in history and fine arts from Stanford.

household members: Her husband, "a rabid reader who challenges my mind daily;" Makai, a golden retriever/Australian sheep dog mix; and Swimmer, her "15-year-old sweetheart" cat.

favorite music: "I'm crazy about the French ambient group Deep Forest, and the jazz pianist Bill Evans." (There's a baby grand in the office lobby, for artists and employees.) " Lenny Kravitz is overrated and I couldn't sell rap or grunge to save my soul."

favorite places to hear live music: "Wetlands in New York, way, way, way downtown and a real dive. Fez, a trendoid place for contemporary rock and roll, also in NY."

her hot artists in 1996: "subdudes: a rock and roll group from New Orleans and their new album Primitive Streak; master American Indian flautist Douglas Spotted Eagle; and Hawaiian slack key guitar music (artists include Ray Kane and Keola Beamer)."
favorite pastime: "Looking at art. Using my etching press to make monotypes. Collecting antique quilts."

mentor: "Figurative artist Nate Olivera. I studied with him at Stanford."

life goal: "Spend more time in my garden, getting hands in the dirt. When the days are short, I garden at night with a miner's headlamp."

life philosophy: "There is no such thing as a stupid question."

on managing stress: "Remember that no one knows everything. Don't be like men; often they take themselves too seriously in business.

how life might be different if she were a man:"I wouldn't laugh as much. I wouldn't get away with as much stuff. Women don't realize how much power they have; they should take more advantage of it, and I don't mean in the obvious traditional way."
tech-savviness: "I rate myself an eight out of ten. We've been on the cutting-edge for years -- Apple used our music for the advertising launch of the Mac."

future plans: "Double the company's size in five years and have more time in my own life. I have a burning need to make more art for myself."

Lynda Obst, Hollywood Producer

profession:Producer of such hit films as "Sleepless in Seattle" and the upcoming "One Fine Day," Obst is one of a handful of successful female producers in Hollywood. She heads up Lynda Obst Productions, and she's just written a book, "Hello, He Lied," about how to get things done in Hollywood -- and in life.

born: April 14, 1950

education: BA, Philosophy, Pomona College, CA. Dropped out of Columbia University grad school in philosophy. "I had no expectation to leave Columbia. Then I got a C- on a metaphysics test because I wrote about love, and they told me it was an inappropriate topic." (Oddly enough, spiritual guru Marianne Williamson was her college roommate.)

the basic story: "I wouldn't have ended up in Hollywood left to my own trajectory. My first husband, David Obst, went to Hollywood for his career, and I had a baby, so I had to go." (David Obst was a big-time literary agent, representing journalist Bob Woodward among others, before he became a TV producer.)
why she stayed: "What hooked me, and I discovered this during the success of 'Flashdance' [her first movie], was having an influence on pop culture. A year after 'Flashdance' came out, all over the country there were girls in torn sweatshirts following their dreams."

first realization that she had power in the industry: "Very recently [around age 40] agents started calling me with their breaking movie stars. That meant I had influence in casting with the studio."

on making her presence felt (she's five feet): "When you can't be seen in elevators, you compensate, so I make a lot of noise. But the first step is to take yourself seriously."
movies she wishes she had made: "'All About Eve' -- the definitive portrait of women, and I think it's the most terrific screenplay. I'm in love with 'Inherit the Wind' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' They have huge cultural implications."

on cigarette smoking (she puffs away audibly during the phone interview): "Sadly, I'm a yogi who smokes," she says. "I quit on 'Sleepless,' then Drew Barrymore, my 'daughter' on 'Bad Girls,' re-eroticized smoking for me. I don't smoke on the weekends. It's totally associated with work for me."

what inspired her to write a book: "Ultimately, the voice of the producer is deferred. Once you get a script into production, you have to defer to the director, which is appropriate, because it's a director's medium. There's a part of me that wanted to escape from that deferred voice."
phone with stars, but Nora Ephron [the director of 'Sleepless in Seattle' and an old friend] and I email. It's challenging to email Nora, because she's so bloody clever; her emails are publishable."

projects: "'Contact' - I was executive producer -- and shot with [director Robert 'Forrest Gump'] Zemeckis. I worked on 'Hope Floats,' with Sandra Bullock, a wonderful little character piece kind of in the tradition of 'Terms of Endearment.' There's 'One Fine Day,' which I produced solo, a Tracy/Hepburn for the cellular age, with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. "

what she really wants to do: "I hope (by the end of 1997) to be directing, a picture called 'Tornado Jam,' my West Texas 'Flashdance.' I'm actually getting a lot of submissions as a director since I came out of the closet as one."

MTV honcho Judy McGrath

Profession: President of MTV, a.k.a. Music Television

Her reach: 265.8 million households in 75 territories on five continents.

The basic story:Talented creative who was in the right industry at the right time. Rose through the ranks at MTV from copywriter to president.

born: July 2, 1952, in Scranton, Penn.

education: B.A., English, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Penn.

first job out of college: Worked as a copywriter for a radio station in Scranton.

then what: Moved to New York in the late '70s to do magazine journalism for pubs such as Mademoiselle and Glamour. Wrote features like 'Model's Party Tips' and the 'Do's and Don'ts' column.
why she left journalism: "I learned I was a better copywriter than writer-writer."

The way up: With MTV since its launch in 1981. Started out writing on-air promotions. Moved up to become creative director. "Grew up" in MTV's creative department. Much of the MTV Pantheon was invented on her watch, including "The Real World," "House of Style" and the 1992 "Choose or Lose" political awareness campaign.

Now what: Promoted to prez, after sharing the job with Sara Levinson, until Levinson left to become president of NFL Properties. McGrath is now solely responsible for the network's strategic and creative direction. She describes the station's creative process as "a group let's-put-on-a-show mentality." Assisted in the launch of M2, an MTV spin-off channel.
on her rise to the top: "Copywriters don't usually run the company. But the great thing about this business is it isn't really traditional."

on MTV's scope: "We give up tremendous amounts of air time to stuff like 'Rock the Vote.' This is a place you can do that freely...You have to have an eensy weensy polka dot bikini element in music. We have to have that on our network. But we can slide some other stuff in between."

on MTV's role: Says it's not "too powerful. Music would be here without MTV. It certainly was before it. I don't think TV ruined the movies."

where she got her taste: "It was definitely the Beatles." As a kid, she wanted to be a writer for Rolling Stone when she grew up.
On online: "What's so appealing about it is it's so unmanageable. I hope MTV can stay connected to it in a good way."

her regrets: "Lots of things. I try to keep my personal taste out of this. A lot of T&A videos, the year we had spring break with strippers, many ideas that came and went quickly. We didn't play a Neil Young video because it had advertisers in it. Every time we make a decision for crass commercial reasons, it sort of blows up."

her management style: "I really like my staff. I try to give them room. I'm probably like Bill Clinton. I want everyone to like me so I say 'yes' all the time. But that's more useful in cable TV than I think it is in Washington."

how life might be different if she were a man: "I probably would have gotten a job at Rolling Stone and would be pissed off I wasn't at MTV. Because I was a woman, I got into an industry that was considered B+, but I got to get in early and take over."

Lisa Brown Leopold, Music Supervisor

profession: Music supervisor for Ocean Cities Entertainment in West Hollywood, Calif.

education: Several years at UCLA as a political science major.

musical background: Childhood piano lessons.

the way up: While in school, landed a summer internship at Capitol Records. Her interviewer turned out to be the head of A&R, and the internship -- unbeknownst to Brown -- was a much sought-after stepping stone into the music world. "It was a fluke that pretty much spun my head around," she recalls. Her next internship came from Interscope Records. Her first job in the industry was at Hit and Run Music, a publishing company co-owned by Phil Collins.
the scoop: "I deal with all aspects of music in the film -- music coming out of a car radio, background music and on-camera performances."

choosing music: "It's most important to carry out a director's visions. You're always asking, 'What does the director want the audience to feel?' When I hear music, I can visualize story lines and themes. I'm really conscious of how it makes me feel. Music is really subtle, the way it can change your mood."

average number of CDs screened per week: 50 to 100

getting the music: "I'm on the phone with music publishers, record label reps, managers, record producers, artists and songwriters, trying to find that perfect song for each scene."
the bottom line: Commissions for music supervisors -- independent contractors on films, much like set designers, actors and actresses -- range from $30,000 to $200,000 per film.

projects Brown supervised or coordinated: "My Best Friend's Wedding" (Summer, 1997), "Chasing Amy" (Spring, 1997), "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (Fall, 1996), "Kazaam" (Summer, 1996), "Bed of Roses" (Spring, 1996), "Flirting with Disaster" (Spring, 1996), "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" (Spring, 1996), "Dead Presidents" (Fall, 1995) and "Captive" (Spring, 1995)

perks: Free CDs, concert tickets and movie premieres.

breaking into the biz: "It's a small, competitive field. Paying dues is part of the process." But it's 80% to 95% women-dominated, and it's expanding: "Movies are always being made. The studios are beginning to recognize the importance of music supervision, and are even beginning to hire in-house supervisors."
on her name: Married in April 1997, Brown is undecided on whether to use "Leopold" professionally. "I feel that I have a handful of credits and people are just starting to recognize my maiden name. I want to keep that momentum going. But in the big picture, I don't know if adding on another name will make that much of a difference."

favorite movie moments: Janet Lee humming "Que Sera Sera" in the shower scene of "Psycho"; Robert DeNiro cruising into a Little Italy bar to the sounds of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" in "Mean Streets"; Michael Madsen -- as Mr. Blonde -- carving himself a piece of ear to "Stealers Wheel" in "Reservoir Dogs."

tech savviness: Brown regularly consults the Billboard Phonolog Music Reference Library on CD-ROM. She also visits the web sites of ASCAP and BMI, performing rights organizations that help her find the owners of particular songs.

Christy Haubegger, Magazine Entrepreneur

profession: founder, president and publisher of Latina, the first glossy national mag for Hispanic women in the U.S.

the numbers: Started in 1996, the magazine made it to the newsstands. In 1996, it's circulation was 300,000, and not yet profitable. (Few magazines are in their first year.) Latina went monthly in July 1997.

born: Aug. 15, 1968 in Houston, Texas.

education: BA, Philosophy & Spanish literature, University of Texas. JD, Stanford Law School.
the magazine: Headquartered in Manhattan, Latina covers a range of women's issues -- with a Hispanic flavor. Recent features include a cover piece on "La Bombshell" actress Salma Hayek, and the first all Latina sex survey. The main articles are in English (features are summarized in a Spanish sidebar), and many of the ads are in Spanish.

Aimed at a range of Latinas, aged 18-49, the magazine find its readers in areas of the U.S. with large Hispanic populations, such as LA, NYC and parts of Texas.

beginnings: Born to a Mexican-American mother, Haubegger was adopted as an infant by an Anglo couple who strove to raise her with a strong awareness of her ancestry. She started learning Spanish in pre-school.

the inspiration: Haubegger says the blonde, blue-eyed models she saw in women's magazines as she was growing up did not reflect her body type or her beauty concerns. And when she went on to college and law school, she found that she and her fellow Latinas had trouble finding professional role models.

"I wanted to change the way Latinas see themselves, as well as how others see them," she explains.
"I felt it [a Hispanic women's pub] was the one women's magazine that I'd want to read, and I kept thinking, 'Somebody should do it.' And finally I realized that that somebody was going to have to be me."

the way up: At Stanford she took several entrepreneurial classes while getting her law degree. Spent her first year out of law school doing her financial homework and looking for the financier most likely to support her niche.

the backer: Edward Lewis, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc., and founder of Essence Magazine (which 25 years ago was the first publication targeted specifically at African-American women) vowed years ago never to start another magazine from scratch. And he didn't -- until he saw Haubegger's proposal. "It was one of the best business plans I had seen in almost 20 years in this business," he said. "It was extraordinary for a person her age [27]."

Judith Regan, Polymedia Mogul

who she is: Maverick publisher whose clients include Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh.

recent claim to fame: Posed on the inside cover of her ReganBooks catalogue wearing a pink Vera Wang dress.

profession: President and publisher of the Regan Company, a "polymedia" division of News Corporation Ltd., a Fox enterprise run by media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch.

education: Vassar

Regan on polymedia: "Poly means many, and one of my authors, Doug Coupland, described me as a polymedia person because I am doing it all: books, TV and movies."

revenue: From 1994 through 1997, company revenues totaled approximately $100 million. For the fiscal year ending in June 1998, the Regan Company is projected to make $20-$30 million.

basic story: As VP and senior editor at Simon & Schuster, Regan was dissatisfied with the publishing world's grueling hours and less than great pay. But meeting Rupert Murdoch turned her career around. During a power lunch with the media guru, she asked for it all -- and she walked away with a book deal, a production company and her own weekly TV show.
recognition: In 1996, ReganBooks was named one of the most successful imprints in the publishing industry. In 1997, Entertainment Weekly listed Regan as one of entertainment's most powerful people. Also in 1997, The Hollywood Reporter included her in its "Women in Entertainment" issue as one of the eight "females who wield clout in publishing."

book projects: Howard Stern's "Private Parts," Judge Robert Bork's "Slouching Towards Gomorrah," Christopher Darden's "In Contempt" and Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone," a New York Times best-seller and Oprah Winfrey's pick for book of the month, plus her follow-up novel "I Know This Much Is True."

on the way: A reporter and editor for the National Enquirer and TV producer for "Geraldo" and "Entertainment Tonight"

TV projects: Hosts her own one-hour talk show, called "This Evening with Judith Regan" on the Fox News Channel.

movie projects: "I'm producing a movie for Universal from Doug Coupland's book 'Microserfs,' about a bunch of genius kids who work at Microsoft and have no life. I'm also doing a film for DreamWorks about a custody case; and for Lifetime, 'How a Gentleman Should Treat a Lady,' which aired in the winter of 1998. It's based on my own idea. When my son started dating, he asked me what he should do and how to behave. I told him the bottom line is to treat a woman with respect, put her on a pedestal and worship the ground she walks on."
picking best-sellers: "You try to make an informed decision, but this is not a business that does research. I think it's a combination of intuition and good fortune. I also think I have a guardian angel, my grandmother, who is watching over me to make sure."

doing what you love: "Basically, I have fun all day long. Everything I enjoy I've incorporated into my work, except for cooking. And I am trying to figure out how to incorporate that into my job by doing a cookbook. With what little time I have left, I like to play with my daughter. We go for walks and play games."

advice for women entering the field: "If you want to be in television, film and publishing you have to know what's going on. I read a zillion newspapers, a zillion magazines and watch a lot of television. You have to pay attention and keep your eyes and ears open. Then you've got to listen to your friends and family -- what people are saying and not just what is being reported. Basically, you have to work your tail off."

handling frustration and rejection: "I just say, 'NEXT!' I don't waste a second. I don't focus on what isn't happening."

Shelley Day, Kids' Software Wizard

profession: President and CEO of Humongous Entertainment, makers of the popular "Freddi Fish," "Putt-Putt" and "Pajama Sam" CD-ROM titles for kids.

the basic story: Day's brainchild, a purple cartoon car named Putt-Putt, was born of the bedtime stories she told her toddler back in 1992. That was the year that she founded the Woodinville, Wash.-based Humongous, which makes clever, animated CD-ROM titles.

Humongous -- which Newsweek has called "the Disney of children's software" -- now surpasses Broderbund, Living Books, Microsoft and Edmark in its share of the fiercely competitive children's software market. Acquired by GT Interactive Software in July of 1996, Humongous inked a deal in spring 1997 with Lancit Media Entertainment to create TV programs, movies and videos based on Putt-Putt and friends.

her reach: Three million of her CDs have been sold around the world.
on the acquisition by GT Interactive: Day insists that her small, independent multimedia company hasn't been swallowed by a big, greedy fish; rather, as a wholly owned subsidiary, Humongous has gained valuable distribution channels and deeper pockets without having to sacrifice integrity. "GT Interactive is actually younger than we are," she explains. "Running their own business keeps them busy, so they don't want to fiddle around running the companies they acquire."

her biz philosophy: When Day co-founded Humongous with creative director Ron Gilbert, they focused intently on the quality of their products, "rather than on the money we would make." Boatloads of awards are testament to the wisdom of that judgment.

her hiring philosophy: Day's a stickler for working with the right people. "You've got to find the best people you can for every position in the company, even if you have to wait to hire them," she says. "I'd rather hire someone I have to rein in than having to push them forward. And if something's not right, you have to walk away from it, even if it's at the last minute."

coming attractions: Look for an online multi-player game for kids in fall 1997, courtesy of the Humongous web site.

Barb Weidmann Music Maker

Who She Is: Owner of Baby Music Boom, Inc.Babymusic, a Minneapolis-based children's record label that has put out eight albums and a video since 1993. The company has won numerous Parent's Choice Awards and the Family Channel Seal of Quality.

Born: 1953

First Break: More than 20 years ago, Weidmann "got a job as a receptionist in a recording studio. I had absolutely no background in music."

Learning the Biz: Weidmann spent 20 years working in the field. In 1983, she became an executive at dmp, a high-quality audiophile jazz label in New York City and, ultimately, a talent agent for musicians.

The Big Idea: The Baby Boom concept came to Weidmann after her first child was born in 1992. "I started getting gifts of children's music and I noticed there was a big gap in the quality [between that and adult music]. I decided to dive in."

Secret to Her Success: "We work with artists who are well established in the adult music world."

Biggest Hit: Baby Boom's top seller is Peter Himmelman's "My Best Friend is a Salamander," which one reviewer described as "rib-tickling, at times soulful flights of fancy." In the title song, a child learns you shouldn't judge a pal by how he looks (kinda slimy) and what he eats (grasshopper feet and roasted flies).

On Music: "Kids are used to getting things so fast on TV and the computer -- completely visual. But music comes at them a different way and really stimulates their imaginations."

Favorite Bands: The Grateful Dead, the Beatles and Blind Faith

Lucia Watson Restaurateur, Chef & Sommelier

Who She Is: Owner of Lucia's, an upscale, Lucia Watsonuptown restaurant recently named one of Minneapolis's best by the StarTribune food critic.

Born: 1954

Education: On the job, with periodic chefs' seminars and wine-tasting classes.

Following Your Passion: "I love food -- I love to eat it; I love to cook it. And I love the business. There's a wonderful camaraderie in restaurants that makes me feel so at home."

Getting Started: Lucia launched her restaurant on Valentine's Day 1985, and worked 80- to 90-hour weeks for many months.

Advice to Future Restaurateurs: "Find a restaurant you admire and go to work there. Then do everything, from dishwashing to waiting tables to cooking. And while you're doing that, find out everything you can about how to run a business."
Downside to Being Your Own Boss: "Tough hours, certainly [she currently works six days and at least 45 to 50 hours a week]. And you can never rest on your laurels. In this business, you're only as good as that meal you set down in front of a particular customer on a given day."

It's Worth It: "The best thing about my job is that it requires spontaneity at all times. There is high value placed on thinking on your feet."

Future Entrepreneurs: "Widen your expectations of what is success. Do research on companies and be smart enough to know that you can shop around and find a place that's good for you."

Anne Tynion Healthy Profits

who she is: President and CEO, Unicorn Financial Services Inc. She founded the firm with her significant other, Steven Deli, who serves as chairman.

the biz: Unicorn is a start-up loan company for the medical industry. Doctors contract with Unicorn to offer patients financing on medical services not covered by insurance, such as cosmetic surgery. Average credit charges to patients is about 10%, and Unicorn, not the doctor, assumes financial liability for late payments.

clients: The fast-growing company has signed up 300 doctors' offices as clients since December 1997, and financed 1,300 elective patient procedures in March 1998.

how she got there: After graduating from Georgetown, Tynion got her start at a New York advertising agency and skipped across several industries on her path to starting Unicorn in 1997. She was vice president of global marketing and brand management for Harley-Davidson Inc. and was a senior officer in two major corporate-identity firms, Anspach, Grossman and Portugal and Siegel & Gale.

big break: As a 25-year-old advertising agency vice president, Tynion was tapped to work on a "think-tank'' project with industry legend Mary Wells Lawrence, who became her role model. "She had a tremendous amount of capabilities, but also the ability to be a woman. I learned from her to be smart, have a presence about you, be loyal to clients and know your business.''

secret to her success: A"I always asked for more work, and I changed careers a couple of times to become well rounded. If you're going to do that, though, you have to have a road map so you don't get stuck somewhere where you're not learning.''

current challenge: "The biggest challenge is to develop a strategy and stick to it. Every day you say you could change this or that, but you have to resist that to move forward.''

Christy Ten Eyck Bridge to the Outdoors

What She Does: Landscape architecture

Born: 1959

Landscape Architecture Her Biz: In 1997, Ten Eyck opened her own firm and, with her staff of three, is working on some 30 projects, including the design of the public park that will go on the 77-acre site of the former Phoenix Indian School.

The Profession: "A landscape architect creates the transition between the building and the natural world."

Secret to Her Success: "It's important to be able to put yourself in the clients' shoes, speak their language and look at the project from their perspective."

Local Landscaping Trends: Because of the water situation, Phoenix is a forerunner in using indigenous plants.

Breaking the Mold: "In the past, this field has been male-dominated, but it's changing. One of the toughest things to get used to is being on construction sites, which are pretty macho. It's a matter of learning how men communicate in that environment. The discrimination I see more often is the perception that landscape architects are totally subservient to architects."

Advice to Aspiring Landscape Architects: "The only prerequisite is a love for the outdoors. Explore all the different facets of the field -- from large-scale master planning to residential garden design to working with a golf course architect."

Pet Peeve: "Circular driveways. They force you to give up your front garden to the automobile."

Her Own landscape: "My yard is totally wild. I've got coyotes and javelina sitting on my patio. The previous owners had planted a lot of things that didn't belong here so I'm trying to bring the desert back."

Debra Root Mrs. Peanut Butter

who she is: Founder and CEO of Malibu-based Mrs. Malibu Foods Inc., Root invented Mrs. Malibu's 92% Fat-Free Peanut Better, a low-fat alternative to peanut butter.

the nut of the matter: Root's peanut product contains 2.5 grams of fat per 2-tablespoon serving, whereas regular peanut butter contains 16

the spread: Mrs. Malibu's Peanut Better is available in health-food stores nationwide, and Root recently inked a deal with the Kroger supermarket chain to sell her product throughout the United States

mother of invention: "Just before I gave birth to my daughter, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and promised myself that I wouldn't have another until I was pregnant again. Well, two years later, I couldn't wait any longer and since there was no fat-free peanut butter on the market, I decided to make one myself."

in the lab: Root, who has a master's degree in nutrition, spent about a year experimenting with ways to take the fat out of peanut butter. "One day I realized, I've got something here! So I trademarked it."

family matters: A former Miss Oklahoma and professional singer, Root relied upon family and friends to raise the $400,000 she needed to get herself going. "Once I had invented a fat-free peanut butter, I had to figure out how to manufacture it. I had to buy $250,000 worth of equipment."

the grind: Root's been at the peanut game for the past four years, but still handles most of the day-to-day duties herself, including in-store demos and trade-show trips. "I feel like a one-woman army. If anyone had told me how hard it was, I never would have believed them!"

in the works: "I'm looking into getting my own cooking show aimed at kids. Kids love to cook, plus it's a great way for them to learn fractions!"

Elizabeth Myers Sweet Sound of Success

Who She Is: Elizabeth Myers is a songwriter and composer for commercials, independent feature films and TV themes. Elizabeth Myers Myers is co-owner with her husband of Trivers/Myers Music Inc., a multiaward-winning music company based in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Myers composes original music predominantly for commercials, traversing genres from calypso to Italian opera to technopop for clients ranging from Pioneer to Ford to Aprilia Motor Scooters.

Born: 1952

How You Know Her Work: Trivers/Myers composed the melody for the "CBS Evening News" theme and scores for numerous major commercials, including Polaroid's "Dog and Cat," in which an intrepid dog documents the bad behavior of a mischievous cat.

How She Got There: Myers earned a master's in composition and continued to study classical composition in Paris, eventually moving to New York to orchestrate ballets for choreographer Agnes de Mille. "I was lucky to have mentors who weren't afraid to recommend me," says Myers, who went on to score several plays and then to become musical director of "Grease" on Broadway.

Number One Tool: Her Steinway grand piano. "It's unusual these days because it's so cumbersome. I practiced on one every day for 20 years. Now things are different -- I also have a computer as a sidekick."

On The Process: "Music is such a personal statement. I spend a lot of time with directors and producers trying to get it right. But music has another life. If it doesn't match this time, maybe you can use it another."

Angela McLean Psycho Sister

who she is: Angela McLean, owner of Psycho Sisters Consignment Boutique

claim to fame: In 1993, she opened a boutique for funky, fashionable second-hand clothing. Since then, McLean has franchised five Psycho Sisters in the metro area and opened three more herself or with partners. She is now looking to launch stores throughout the Southeast and to develop a Psycho Sisters fashion label.

her routine: At work, McLean cranks up the music, changes outfits several times a day and socializes with customers. "What could be better than a job where you shop all day, have all the friends in the world, set your own hours and make money?"

on becoming her own boss: A stint at an advertising agency convinced McLean that the corporate world was not for her. "I realized I would rather wait tables and go to the beach every day than do that. Freedom was more important to me than anything."

setting up shop: McLean inaugurated her first store, Clothing Collection, in Tallahassee, Fla., with 20 boxes of clothing culled from garage sales. She charged $1,500 worth of advertising materials and passed out flyers in nightclubs and restaurants and on street corners. When she opened, on a Friday, she didn't have the money to pay rent. "I wrote the landlord a check and asked him to hold it until Monday. Then we opened, and I held my breath."

McLean sat cross-legged on the floor with a shoe box until she could afford a register, and customers tried on clothes in the bathroom. But, by the end of the first week, she had made enough to pay rent and her credit card bill.

the payoff: Each of her stores averages about $12,000 a month in sales. For franchises, McLean gets a one-time payment of $10,000 to $25,000. But the rewards have been more personal than financial. And, she says, she has time off for other things she loves. "I've been backpacking in 20 countries over the last three years."

on franchises: "These women have become like my wives," says McLean of her partners. McLean has had to learn to "let go of control," and allow each owner survive or fail on her own.

on making it in the rag trade: "It took courage to break loose from what everybody was telling me to do."

Jeanine Lobell Making It Up

What She Does: Lobell, a makeup artist, launched Stila cosmetics in 1994.

Jeanine Lobell Born: 1964

The Foundations: Her success is rooted in her concept -- she makes user-friendly, richly formulated cosmetics for busy women who want to look great without a complicated routine.

Turning Point: "I had a friend who was opening a boutique, and she asked me if I wanted to put a makeup line in it. I said, 'Sure, why not?' I had no idea what I was getting myself into."

Experience: "I trained at the London School of Makeup and, because I used so many different lines of makeup, I learned what I liked best."

Starting Up: "I never had a business plan -- though I did have the background in makeup artistry -- and I simply started finding the labs, developing formulas, putting together a color palette and designing packaging."

The Look: Inside each package is an inspirational quote from the likes of Emily Dickinson and Amelia Earhart. "When I started, the only package available was basic black plastic. Both from an aesthetic and an environmental point of view I knew that's not what I wanted. So I started looking elsewhere. I thought it would be great to have those quotes in something you look at every day."

The Style: "We have a base collection of colors and we also do seasonal colors so every spring and fall there's new stuff to play with. I don't want women to say, 'I can't do that, because I'm not Kate Moss or Gwyneth Paltrow.' Stila takes fashion colors and makes them wearable."

Her Message: "The way a lot of advertising works is negative, in an 'if you have this you'll be younger, better, perfect' sort of way. That's not my message."

The Company's Growth: "So far, we've surpassed everything we thought we'd achieve," says Lobell. Stila is distributed in several department stores -- Barneys, Saks and Nordstrom included -- as well as boutiques both in the U.S. and abroad. Lobell projected $15 million earnings in international sales in 1997.

Her Advice: "I've found that when it came to doing something I loved and fighting for it, things worked out. If you're going to kill yourself to develop something, you've got to enjoy it."

Her Family: Lobell's husband, InStyle magazine reports, is actor Anthony Edwards from "ER."

Terri Gardner Making Permanent Waves

Who She Is: President and CEO of Soft Sheen Products Inc., the nation's largest provider of black hair-care products Terri Gardner

Born: 1956

Annual revenue: $15 million

How she got there: At age 8, Gardner started filling shampoo bottles in the basement of her parents' South Side home in Chicago. Soft Sheen founders Edward and Bettiann Gardner still serve on the company's board of directors, but have turned the day-to-day operations over to Terri.

The biz: That basement operation became a hair-care company carrying more than 200 products with brand names including Baby Love, Care Free Curl and Wave Nouveau; it made $95 million in sales in 1997.

On hair and beauty: "This is the most eclectic style period I can ever remember, especially for our African American female consumers. Anything goes, and everyone wants to feel like an individual. This makes the life cycle of products and packaging shorter, but it also makes the business more exciting."

On her plate: Gardner is currently launching Alternatives, a line of styling and relaxer products targeted to young girls who vary their hairstyles daily.

On working for the family business: "There is a price to be paid for success in a family business," she says, explaining that you have to put the well-being of the business ahead of your desire to help a family member. "Our approach has been that first, everyone has a responsibility to create wealth in the company."

Life in the fast lane: Gardner's driving passion outside the Soft Sheen factory is, well, driving. She owns a Toyota Land Cruiser and a silver Porsche 911 Turbo. She also has a Porsche track car, which she races at speeds up to 120 mph on the weekends.

Debra Frasier Storyteller for the Ages

who she is: Author of "On the Day You Were Born," a best-selling children's book and winner of the Parent's Choice award, and "Out of the Ocean"

family: Husband, a photography professor at the University of Minnesota, and 10-year-old daughter, Calla

home: Minneapolis

how she got started: Frasier worked as a sculptor and paper cutout artist for 10 years after college. Then a high-risk pregnancy intervened. "I began publishing thanks to my daughter. In the hospital, I asked the nurse for a pen and paper, and I began to write down words I thought would bring my daughter here. It was like a prayer."

on getting published: After one of the illustrations from her unfinished manuscript was used in a local book review -- incorrectly captioned as part of a published work -- requests for Frasier's book began to roll in. "It was just a chain reaction of accidental events."

mutual admiration society: When Frasier was given the opportunity to interview one of her heroes for a library publicity event, she selected Vera Williams, author of "A Chair for My Mother." "I read all of Vera Williams's books to my daughter. They're about strong women and love and all the real things that are important for young girls to know."

on reading to kids: Frasier was the 1997 spokesperson for the "Read to a Child" campaign. "All the brain research tells us reading to children is critical to brain development -- it's like food."

the importance of the arts: Another topic of interest to Frasier is arts in schools. Her book has been turned into a children's symphony by composer Steve Heitzeg, as well as a complete creative-arts curriculum that is used by schools around the country. "I'm most proud of this project, because it brings really exciting and beautiful things into classrooms."

a theory on age: "Writing, for children in particular, means the older you get the more information you can bring. This is a field where you truly get better as time goes by."

her advice: "Creating picture books is a hard way to make a living. If it's what you really want to do, read all the picture books you can before getting started."

Irma Elder A Dealer with Drive

who she is: Owner of Troy Motors, a car dealership in Detroit. It's one of the top 50 woman-owned businesses in America according to the 1998 Working Woman magazine list. Elder serves on several Detroit boards and is active in many charities.

the biz: Troy Motors grossed $381 million in 1997. Elder employs approximately 250 people throughout her network of dealerships.

how she got there: Elder was raising three adolescent children when her husband died in l983 and she inherited the business, which at that time consisted of just one dealership.

how homemaking helped her business skills: "Most women don't realize how much they learn as housewives. There are management skills: managing your husband and children's schedules, managing your own time and learning how to manage money. I was very active on committees at my children's schools. It's amazing what we learn from raising funds and serving lunch."

her influences: "My parents are my heroes. I learned about integrity, honesty, respect for other people, hard work and determination from them. My father, an entrepreneur, was aggressive, a hard worker and good marketer.

on becoming a businesswoman: "I was a very shy homemaker before going into the business, but everyone has an innate ability to survive."

her advice: "It's all right to dream and to work hard at making their dreams happen. Always be positive."

to those wanting to get into the industry: "Get a job in a dealership or apply for a job in a corporation. Start by selling or working in an office. You must love it -- you spend so much time doing it!"

Camille Eber A Woman and Her Cars

who she is: Owner, Roth & Miller Autobody Inc.

beginnings: "My parents bought the autobody shop in 1963. I began working for them in 1986 for minimum wage -- sweeping shop, doing bookkeeping -- with the understanding that at sometime in the future I would have the opportunity to buy in or buy them out."

turning point: "A year after I started working there, my mom unexpectedly died. A lot of her responsibilities fell on me. About two years later, Dad decided to sell, and I purchased the business."

about Roth and Miller: "Our main focus is to repair collision-damaged cars. You can have a severe collision without damaging your engine. The quality of work we offer is a cut above your average repair shop."

quality control: "We demand that our technicians do a good job. We have a comprehensive checklist to make sure that everything is put back together securely. I or one of the technicians personally check each car before it leaves the shop."

overcoming distrust: "Every industry has its bad apples and unfortunately ours has a lot of them. Too many mechanics look at the short-term goal. I don't operate that way."

on being a female shop owner: "Every once in a while I run into a customer who can't believe I'm the one who's going to look at the car. Sometimes it works to my advantage. I had one guy come back and tell me I got the job because I was a woman and because I seemed to care about his job."

advice to future shop owners: "Remember that you're in business to serve the customer and treat them fairly and honestly."

marketing secrets: "I had to apply for some of the awards I received. And I take extra effort sending out press releases to announce the award once I get one." She won the Northwest Motor Magazine's 1998 Shop of the Year award and the Better Business Bureau's 1997 Integrity Award.

on auto appeal: "A lot of it is visual. I also like the feel of driving certain cars, ones that handle well and accel nicely."

dream racer: "I didn't race formally, but I've had my share of speeding tickets."

Gun Denhart Mail-order Maven

Who She Is: Founder and chair of Hanna Andersson, Gun Derharta mail-order children's clothing business. The company is famous for its brightly colored 100% cotton Swedish-style outfits.

Born: 1945

1996 revenue: $50 million

The Biz: Hanna Andersson sends out about 7 million catalogs a year and operates a call center for phone orders in Tokyo that produces nearly 20% of the annual revenue.

Experience: "I didn't know anything about clothing. Or mail order. Or retail. My husband and I were our first customers."

Beginnings: "I wanted a business that had something to do with Sweden." (Denhart was born and raised there.) "My husband and I considered importing Swedish water and Swedish prefabricated houses, but then my son, Christian, was born and I dressed him in Swedish clothes. People would stop me on the streets and ask, 'Where did you get those clothes?' So in the summer of 1983, I called around to children's clothing manufacturers in Sweden. I found only one who wanted to work for us. Our first catalog went out in 1984."

Why Catalogs and Not a Retail Store: "My husband had an advertising background and was familiar with mail order. Plus, it's a business we could do from anywhere and that was very appealing."

Stiffest Competition: "Gap Kids. They started marketing for kids after we did ... but last year they grossed $1 billion in the kids' division alone."

Making a Pick: "First, we look for clothes that let children be children. Comfort clothes that are engineered for maximum kid mileage, in bright lollipop colors. Second, it has to be easy for parents to care for."

Best Sellers: "The Swedish sweat pants, zippers [one-piece toddler outfits] and long johns."
Toughest Year: "1995. Paper prices went up 40% and postage increased by 14%, and that was the year we had tried to grow. We had already bought all the inventory but when the catalog prices went up, we had no time to react."

In the Trenches: "Every Tuesday from 10 to 12, I take any call that comes in. We advertise it in the catalog. I want to set an example for the employees and hear what the customers have to say. If it weren't for the customer, we wouldn't be around."

Family Time: "I have three sons and, recently, a granddaughter. I have lots of time for my family. They're more important than anything else."

On Women in the Workplace: "There's an underutilized work force of well-qualified women who want to work part time. We've created job opportunities that allow parents to balance work and family life."

Naming the Business:"My first name, Gun, is, of course, not a very good name for a children's clothing catalog. My Swedish grandmother, Hanna Andersson ... is a bit easier for the American ear."

Doris Christopher Cooking Up a Business

who she is: Founder, The Pampered Chef

annual sales: $394 million

the biz: This Addison, Ill.-based utensil company has carved a healthy chunk of business for itself since 1980, when Christopher held her first in-home party to display her wares. The company now employs more than 615 workers locally and 42,000 sales representatives nationwide.

career path: Christopher took a typical "woman's degree" (a B.S. in home economics from the University of Illinois) and turned it into a moneymaker. When her two daughters came along, she yearned for a career with flexibility. "I saw my friends didn't feel the same way I did about being in the kitchen, and I knew it was the stuff in the drawers that made the difference; [proper kitchen tools] could save people time."

growing the business: Struggling to make a name for the company outside the Chicago area, Christopher's fledgling company got some publicity in national women's magazines just as direct selling (offering products without a middle-man retailer, such as at home parties) became an even bigger phenomenon in the 1980s.

biggest mistake: "You think you can do it all yourself as an entrepreneur. We were a little slow to bring in top-level managers because we were trying to keep the business very simple and cost-effective. We brought in our first vice president about seven years ago and now have a wonderful team of managers."

all in the family: After some soul searching about whether they'd be able to work well together, Doris hired her daughter Julie, 26, in the company's public relations department after Julie completed a journalism degree and spent a few years in publicity at other firms.

secret to her success: "The key was that we had the structure to capitalize on uneven growth spurts. When we finally got some publicity, we were ready for it."

Gertrude "Ma" Boyle The Mother of Sportswear

who she is: Chairman, Columbia Sportswear

born: 1924

beginnings: "My mother and father started Columbia as a wholesale hat company. My husband joined the company when we married. He died suddenly in 1970, and we had this loan to pay off. I had to take over even though I wasn't involved in the business."

toughest thing: "To inherit a job rather than earn it."

survival: "I'm a big mouth; I was able to b.s. my way through a lot of stuff."

growing the business: "We designed the first fishing vest in 1960. The fishing vest led to rain pants, and so on. The vest was a result of a whole bunch of fisherman sitting around our living room. I don't fish, but I listened to their ideas."

turning point: "The times have helped us. Fifty years ago people didn't dress in sportswear. Now they do."

on designing sportswear: "I don't design anymore, I just criticize."

her motto: "'Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.' The way we advertise sets us aside from the other companies. Not many others let a 74-year-old woman be the spokesman."

most popular outerwear: "Our Bugaboo coat, which we invented with a liner and a shell. We've made over 3 million of those coats since 1983, and they've stayed the same for a decade and a half."

latest addition: "We got into the shoe business. Now we make a Bugaboot. It's very much like a Sorrel boot but structured differently so it's as comfortable as a tennis shoe."

satisfaction: "It's nice to go to a basketball game and see everyone wearing your clothes. If we sold underwear, we couldn't see the results."

Terri Bowersock Furniture Franchiser

Who She Is: Founder and owner of Terri's Consign and Design Furnishings Terri Bowersock

Born: 1956

Annual revenue: $15 million

The Biz: Founded in 1979, Terri's consignment furniture superstores (averaging 18,000-25,000 square feet each) sell gently used, new, model home, estate and liquidation furniture and accessories. Today, there are 17 stores across the country. Terri's is the only consignment furniture franchise in the country.

How it all started: "I was 22 when I opened my first store with a $2,000 loan from my grandmother. I lived in it. I got my mother's living room furniture and my bedroom furniture, and I set it in a room. When people walked in and said, 'What is this?' I'd say 'It's a consignment store. If you have something to sell, bring it in and I'll sell it for you.'"

What she has in common with Albert Einstein: "We're both dyslexic. But everyone has a disability. Ask any successful person their story and they'll tell you things like, 'I grew up poor,' but they'll also tell you what drove them to succeed. I can honestly say that one of the reasons I started this business was I wanted to go to my class reunion in a limo. In school, I knew I was smart and I knew I had talent, but I was the kid least likely to succeed. I learned about business through trial and error."

The secret to her success: "It's like a playground compared to the rest of the industry, but we sell the same stuff."

Advice for would-be entrepreneurs: "Start with your own money and value your intuition. It's all about endurance in the beginning. Your dream and passion to succeed must be stronger than your fear of failure."

Phyllis Applebaum Getting It There

how she got there: Armed with a $3,500 inheritance from her father and an eighth-grade education, Applebaum fought City Hall to become the first woman with a messenger's license in 1974. After 17 unsuccessful hearings, she burst into a commissioner's office and demanded a license. She got one.

first job: "I went to work at age 12. I was a big, chunky girl and could pass for 15 or 16. I worked at a bakery, unloading equipment and working the cash register. It was there I learned I had a talent for dealing with customers."

biggest mistake: "My first few years in business I had a zero-tolerance attitude. I held on to control so tightly that I didn't realize I could be working smarter by getting out of the office and networking. Then I met Hedy Ratner [co-director of the Women's Business Development Center in Chicago], who showed me how to work a room. But back at the office, I had hired people who could only act like robots. It was very painful in the 10th year of business to have to undo the mess I had created by hiring people who could think and grow the business."

favorite pastime: Though she's clawed her way to success in a tough, male-dominated industry, her favorite pastime is her flower garden at a weekend home in Wisconsin.

Gloria Feldt, Family Planning Advocate

profession: President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the reproductive-health nonprofit org with over 900 affiliated clinics in the US.

annual budget: $40 million.

basic story: Married at 15 with three children by the age of 20, Feldt worked her way up through the ranks at Planned Parenthood to her current position as prez. born: April 13, 1942.

education: Received her high school degree by mail. At 32, got a BA from the University of Texas at Permian Basin.
first steps: Worked as a Headstart teacher before becoming director of Planned Parenthood's Odessa, TX, office, (where her bookkeeper had a sign on her desk that said "Sexretary").

the way up: Four years later, she became executive director of the organization's Phoenix, AZ office, a job she held for 18 years.

her current gig: A veteran and an insider, Feldt was reportedly promoted to national president of PPFA to "soothe tensions" at the organization after the resignation of her predecessor, Pam Maraldo. (Maraldo had tried to expand PPFA services outside of reproductive health to compete with HMOs.) Appointed in June, Feldt will live part of the year in New York City and part in Phoenix.
household: Divorced in 1975, Feldt then married a member of the Planned Parenthood Phoenix affiliate's board, Alex Barbanell. She and her husband have six children and eight grandchildren between them, with another grandchild on the way.

her management style: "I'm very task-oriented and goal-oriented. I'm not a very good process person. I want to get it done and I believe all things are possible. Sometimes that does stretch people just a bit."

her top priorities: Spreading the organizations's messages about the need for abortion rights, family planning and responsible sex education. "(We have to) rethink how we get our informational services out to people. Yes, there's a specific place to get a Pap smear, but our education ideas should be everywhere."

web-savviness: PPFA's extensive site is one way it gets the word out.
on clinic violence: Since the 1994 deadly shootings at a PPFA clinic in Brookline, Mass., Feldt says that attacks on clinics have declined: "Numerically, incidents have gone down. In intensity, they're just as bad. Our adversaries can't mobilize numbers the way they used to. The people who are left are very hard core and very fanatic and they are scary."

Planned Parenthood products?: Yes, Planned Parenthood plans to start licensing merchandise. "A condom probably, a home pregnancy test, maybe a package with both of those. Other things: a video and workbook to help parents talk about sex with preadolescents. Our most recent book, the 'Planned Parenthood Women's Health Encyclopedia,' is on the racks."

on how things have changed: As a young mother, Feldt says she lived the life that "the right" is trying to force on women. "Women do have more choices today and I'm very proud they have more choices, and I want them to realize those choices and have even more."

Children's Advocate Marian Wright Edelman

profession: Founder & prez of the Children's Defense Fund, a privately funded children's advocacy group.

annual budget: $14 million.

the basic story: Feisty, fast-talking, tireless crusader for kids. Through the Children's Defense Fund, organized the Stand for Children march on Washington, D.C., which drew 200,000+ people to Washington last June. Recently, she publicly criticized long-time friend President Clinton for signing a bill cutting welfare benefits, saying that it makes a "mockery" of his professed advocacy for kids.
born: June 6, 1939, in Bennettsville, S.C., the youngest of five children of a Baptist minister.

education: B.A., Spelman College, 1960; J.D., Yale Law School, 1963.

the way up: Just out of law school in 1964, she opened and ran the Mississippi office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She brought then-New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy to the homes of poor Mississippians in a successful quest to draw attention to the problem of hunger and make federal food stamps free.

what next: Helped Martin Luther King Jr. plan the Poor People's March on Washington, which took place after his death, and in the process formed the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm. It in turn started the Children's Defense Fund in 1973.
on how things have changed: "We now take it for granted that children who are mentally, physically and emotionally challenged go to school," Edelman says. "I love going to Harvard Law School and seeing kids who started out in Headstart."

the march: While critics called the Stand for Children march a defense of big government, Edelman says, "It wasn't about big government, it was about a just government. We ought to hold the Defense Department to the same standards of effectiveness and need as we do Headstart. We have to stop the slogans."

on family values: "We talk about family values, but then we make it very hard for parents to care for their children. And then we say, `Don't go on welfare! All you middle class women, don't work and neglect your children!'"
household: Husband Peter Edelman is the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the department of Health and Human Services and a former Robert F. Kennedy staffer, whom she met when RFK came to Mississippi. They have three sons, Joshua, 26, Jonah, 24, and Ezra, 21. Her best-selling book, "The Measure of Our Success," was born of a letter she wrote to Joshua on his 21st birthday.

balancing work & family: "Parenting is such a hard job. I know how hard it was for me to hang on with a husband, a good job and healthcare. I don't know what I would have done had I been a single parent."

on her reputation: "I know people talk about my not being willing to compromise. On the other hand I don't know what middle ground there is between immunizing a child and not immunizing a child. Between children dying from guns and not. If that's self-righteous or holier than thou, then sorry."

Gloria Allred, Civil Rights Champion

profession: A partner at the law firm of Allred, Maroko and Goldberg in L.A., she fights the good fight for women, children and minorities.

the basic story: A resolute attorney who's argued many high-profile sexual harassment suits, as well as employment discrimination and family law cases. Allred's also the founder and president of the Women's Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund, and is a KABC radio talk show host.

born: July 3, 1941, in Philadelphia.
education: BA, English, University of Pennsylvania; MA, English, New York University; teaching credentials, University of California at Los Angeles; JD, Loyola University School of Law.

beginnings: Moved to Los Angeles in 1966 to teach at a high school in Watts. She was the first full-time employee of the Los Angeles Teachers Association, the precursor to the union. Went on to law school with the goal of improving teachers' rights.

a new focus: While fighting for teachers' rights as a lawyer and volunteering for the National Organization for Women in the '70s, "I realized what a great need there was to improve the status of women, to bring women into the mainstream as equal partners with men," she says. "I began to accept women's rights cases because I wanted to do something for women, but never knew this is what I would be doing from then on."

memorable cases: Winning the right for a custodial parent to move away with the children after a divorce, and obtaining damages for an HIV-positive person denied a pedicure. "It is a luxury to be frustrated," she says.

claim to fame: With 20 years' experience working on groundbreaking civil rights cases, her firm's taken on more womens' rights cases than any other in the nation. "We've earned the trust of many women, and we win cases."
on the Simpson civil verdict: Allred, who represented the Brown family during the criminal case against Simpson, stresses that "nothing can bring back Nicole and Ron. No amount of money can soothe the pain that the families will forever feel from the loss that they have suffered. But justice is nonetheless sweet."

current cases: A suit against the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of a little girl, which will go to trial in May '97. She's also representing Hunter Tyloe, an actress who entered into an agreement to appear on "Melrose Place," then lost the contract when the production company discovered she was pregnant, and Brittany Ashland, an alleged victim of battery at the hands of actor Charlie Sheen.

predictions: Says that we'll see an increasing number of child support cases. As welfare reform kicks in, more and more women and single parents will be forced into poverty, Allred says. "It's a major problem, and the government is failing miserably." Sexual harassment will continue to be an issue, and abortion will remain a "portable football."

on being a woman in the '90s: "I don't see it as being all that much different than several decades ago. I don't see significant change ... I see mostly token change."

family: Daughter, Lisa, who is an associate with her firm. Two grandchildren, Sam and Sarah.

parting shot: "We need more good women lawyers fighting the battle. I don't see any alternative; it's unacceptable not to be involved. Most of the voices we hear are men's voices, distorting or ignoring what women want. We need more women's voices, more political representation in all positions."

Madam C.J. Walker, Historic Entrepreneur

profession: A black hair-care tycoon, Madam C.J. was America's first woman self-made millionaire (of any race).

lifespan: Dec. 23, 1867 - May 25, 1919.

the basic story: Today the only African-American woman in the U.S. National Business Hall of Fame, she was the founder and CEO of the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, the nation's first successful black-hair-care products firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

first steps: Born Sarah Breedlove to former slaves on a Louisiana cotton plantation, she was orphaned at age 7, married at age 14, widowed with a small daughter at age 20. At age 37, after working for 20 years as a laundress, she invented an effective grooming and conditioning product for African-American hair.

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South," she said. I was promoted from there to the washtub. Then I was promoted to the cook kitchen, and from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations."
the way up: Starting with $1.50 in capital (her week's wages as a washerwoman), she mixed her first products in her washtub and personally peddled her "Wonderful Hair Grower" door to door. From those beginnings, she built a fortune that was estimated, upon her death, at $2 million.

her empire: Founded in 1905, her company included a factory employing 50. Thousands of women were trained in her Walker Hair Care Method at her beauty school, Lelia College, and through special courses she set up at other black schools and colleges. Many went on to operate their own hair salons.

"I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself, for I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of women of my race," she said.

Madam C.J. also organized a sales force of more than 20,000 agents in the U.S., the Caribbean and Central America.

household: Madam Walker took her professional name from her third husband, Charles James Walker -- a sales agent for a black newspaper -- whose marketing skills were helpful in building her company. Although the couple divorced in 1912, he remained a Walker sales agent for the rest of his life, and she kept his name and her franchise.
her legacy: Madam's daughter A'Lelia moved the business to New York City, where she held a well-known salon for artists and intellectuals, earning her the title "Joy Goddess of the Harlem Renaissance" from poet Langston Hughes. A'Lelia's daughter and granddaughter went on to run the business in Madam Walker's stead, until it was sold in 1985.

on overcoming barriers: "If I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. I never yet started anything doubtingly, and I have always believed in keeping at things with a vim. There is no royal flower-strewn road to success, and if there is, I have not found it, for what success I have obtained is the result of many sleepless nights and real hard work."

on the image of her business: "Now I realize that in the so-called higher walks of life, many were prone to look down on 'hair dressers,' as they called us. They didn't have a very high opinion of our calling, so I had to go down and dignify this work, so much so that many of the best women of this race are now engaged in this line of work."
on black women entrepreneurs: The girls and women of our race must not be afraid to take hold of business endeavors and. . . wring success out of a number of business opportunities that lie at their very doors."

On philanthropy: While still a laundress, she developed the habit of giving back to her community, by serving as a member of the missionary society of the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Louis. Later, as a wealthy businesswoman, she contributed money to the likes of the NAACP (especially its anti-lynching campaign fighting mob violence and racist terrorism against blacks), the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, the YWCA, YMCA and many black educational organizations.

on her support for the black community: My business is largely supported by my own people, so why shouldn't I spend my own money so it will go back into colored homes?"

her two landmarks: The Walker Building, an office and theater complex built by Madam Walker in Indianapolis, and her grand Villa Lewaro, a Hudson River mansion in Irvington, N.Y., are maintained today as National Historic Landmarks.

The preservation of the villa fulfills Madam Walker's hope that her magnificent palace --"that only Negro money had bought" -- would stand as a monument "what a lone woman had accomplished."

Cherylann Siegel, Model Citizen

what she does: Founder/owner of Siegel Represents, a Denver-based modeling agency whose models work for Versace and Calvin Klein.

born: 1961

how she got there: "I started modeling in Houston at 21 and was recruited by Elite-Chicago [a high-powered agency whose alumni include Cindy Crawford]. After having a good fling at it, I quit the modeling industry and went into hotel management. Then Elite-Chicago asked me to come back and open a new division. And that's how I became an agent."

turning point: "A girlfriend of mine from Chicago came out to Denver, and she just didn't feel the agencies here would represent her effectively. I had a four-month-old baby who was still nursing, but this was a very, very good friend, so I represented her."

the biz: Siegel's roster includes 100 or so models, who appear in everything from print ads and TV commercials to runway shows for such designers as Versace, Moschino and Calvin Klein.
what a modeling agency does: "We market people the way Palmolive markets bars of soap. From the moment we agree to represent somebody, we start developing a marketing strategy: Where is this model going to work? Is she going to be commercial, or is she going to work in high fashion? What kind of hair? You may change your mind down the road, but you start with a concept and you develop it."

what she looks for: "Usually it's the tall, gangly, kind of weird-looking girls. Their eyes will be kind of wide, their faces will be kind of chiseled. The camera loves that, because their faces pick up so many different angles."

best age to start modeling: 14 to 17

advice to those considering a modeling career: "A girl needs to have her value system and emotions in place. She should understand that this is a very superficial business. It can be a great adventure but you don't just walk in the door, have one test, and make $100,000 your first year. You may not start making money for three years."
on working with teenagers: "If I have a model who starts slacking off in her schoolwork, and modeling starts to become an excuse for poor grades, I will not call her. And I'll tell her that. I don't care how much money she's making. You can't live the rest of your life on your looks. You have to have your brain."

her greatest asset as an agent: "My ability to nurture these young girls getting into the business. I can remember what it was like when my agent told me I needed to lose five pounds. I know how it feels to go to an audition where no one even knows your name, and you're talked at, not to. Girls getting started in this industry need somebody to listen to them."

on beauty: "I believe there's nothing more sexy to a man than confidence -- the way you carry yourself. I do not think being thin makes a woman sexy; I do not think having high cheekbones makes a woman beautiful. I think it's her confidence and her ability to feel good about herself no matter what her waist size."

Marsha Serlin, Scrap Metal Maven

profession: Founder and president of Illinois United Scrap Metal, which picks up industrial waste from Chicago-area manufacturers and demolition companies and delivers it to scrap metal dealers.

annual revenue: $45 million.

the basic story:The high priestess of scrap metal, Serlin started her company in 1978, after being left with a staggering debt from her soon-to-be ex- husband's failed business. She launched into a career that she knew little about with only $200 and a rented truck.

age: Late forties.

education: Dropped out of the University of Oklahoma in her sophomore year. "My parents said the university had gotten too expensive so I said, 'OK, I won't go.'"

beginnings: "I was married at the time and my husband had always provided for our family. I was a housewife. His business went sour, and I had to be resourceful. I wanted my husband to work with me at this business, but he didn't like this kind of work." The couple was divorced within a year.
biggest break: Being forced into the workplace. "If my marriage had continued the way it was going, if I didn't have to go to work to survive, then I never would have known I was capable of this kind of achievement."

biggest motivator: Fear. "Anyone who has experienced a time with no money or security never forgets it," she says. "If you wake up panicked about money, you will get to work."

on the competition: "It is a very labor-intensive business and not terribly glamorous. I was the first woman to start a scrap metal business. Because I was female, my competitors didn't take me seriously. Therefore, they didn't pay attention to me or what I was accomplishing. I just kept quietly working hard and expanding my business."

In April 1996, the US Small Business Administration honored Serlin as National Small Business Subcontractor of the Year.

role models: "I had none, given there were no women in the industrial environment. Today there are lots and that is very exciting."

on micro-managing: "I have had a lot of trouble relinquishing control of areas of my business to employees."
management style: Very unstructured. "Sometimes we hold spontaneous sales meetings in the hallway. I am very positive and never discourage an idea. I know that my greatest assets are my people and I always listen to them. My door is always open."

on keeping employees: Serlin offers financial incentives for her employees to continue their education. "Given the labor-intensive work at United Scrap, proficiency in English is not required. Many of my employees are immigrants, a lot from Mexico," she says.

"I want them to be educated so I offer GED classes for them to take while at work, and they are given financial incentives to pass. An educated worker is a better worker. It also allows them to break out of the original job they were hired for and move up into sales or working with our computer system."

household: Daughter, Cindy, and boyfriend, Jerry.

tech-savviness: "I use a laptop, but I'm not super computer-literate. I'm in the process of getting my modem installed at work."

Restaurateur "Mama" Ninfa Laurenzo

profession: Founder & chair of the Board of Ninfa's Mexican Restaurants -- "An institution in Houston."

company's annual revenue: Around $75 million.

the basic story: Started with one small taco stand at the age of 49. Turned it into a 51-restaurant, diversified chain.

born: May 11, 1924 in Harlingen, Texas. (That's in the Rio Grande Valley, partner). She was the fifth of six children.

education: "Most of my education has been life. It taught me a lot of things. It was a different world. We were taught to cook in the house. I think most women weren't aware of careers back then."
beginnings: Humble ones, indeed. She and her husband, an Italian-American named Tommy Laurenzo, opened a pizza and tortilla plant in Houston in 1948. "We were making the bread of our peoples." When Tommy suddenly died in 1949, Mama Ninfa was left struggling to make ends meet for herself and her five children. As a last resort, in 1973 she mortgaged her home and borrowed $5,000 from family and friends to open a small restaurant in the factory where she'd made tortillas.

the way up: The whole familia worked in the first restaurant, even the kids. It was a tiny place in an industrial area with only ten tables. But as word of her good and friendly service spread, her business took off. "We worked really hard at making it wonderful. We put a lot of love into our cooking, and before you knew it, we had lines out the door."

today: There are 23 restaurants and 14 other licensees in Florida, Louisiana and Georgia. Another licensee is in the process of opening the first Mexican restaurant in Leipzig, Germany - - featuring a chef trained by Mama herself. Her eldest son is the president of Mama Ninfa's holding company, RioStar Corp., which also owns several cafes, fast food joints and one Lonesome Steer steak house.
claim to fame: One of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States. Also alleges to have first introduced fajitas into the popular palate. "At first we called them Tacos a la Ninfa."

key to success: "Quality and family. Everybody is involved."

why everyone calls her "Mama:" "I would say it's the charisma we create in our restaurants. We're cooking with love. As we adopted more and more employees that became an extension of my family, everybody began to call me Mama. Now the whole city does."

how things would be different if she were a man: "There wouldn't be a Ninfa's, because you can't find a man with that name... There are women who have the determination and the guts to go out there and make it happen. I started with $16 in my pocket. I'd sell food and with the money I made I'd send the kids out to buy more food. It was a wonderful way of keeping my family together and making a lot of people happy."
favorite meal: Tacos a la Ninfa, tambien. "They're very good. We cater to the masses, but we're also very conscious of health. So if you want to go crazy and want to have fajitas a couple of times a week, you can." (Why thank you, don't mind if we do).

best present ever: "That would be my only daughter, born on Dec. 13, 1953. I would say that was a great Christmas present."

what to tell your daughters: "If you make a plan, you have to follow through. That's the advice I would give. Make up your mind and go for it. I have."

if she weren't a restaurateur: "I know that I'd be running some kind of business. I was oriented to not be dependent on someone else."

household: "I live alone in Houston with a housekeeper who is a very old friend. I never remarried, but I've stayed very busy, and I have 19 grandchildren who are always over."

car: A Lincoln Town Car. "I like a big car, because I'm kind of a big woman."

Christy Haubegger, Magazine Entrepreneur

profession: founder, president and publisher of Latina, the first glossy national mag for Hispanic women in the U.S.

the numbers: Started in 1996, the magazine made it to the newsstands. In 1996, it's circulation was 300,000, and not yet profitable. (Few magazines are in their first year.) Latina went monthly in July 1997.

born: Aug. 15, 1968 in Houston, Texas.

education: BA, Philosophy & Spanish literature, University of Texas. JD, Stanford Law School.
the magazine: Headquartered in Manhattan, Latina covers a range of women's issues -- with a Hispanic flavor. Recent features include a cover piece on "La Bombshell" actress Salma Hayek, and the first all Latina sex survey. The main articles are in English (features are summarized in a Spanish sidebar), and many of the ads are in Spanish.

Aimed at a range of Latinas, aged 18-49, the magazine find its readers in areas of the U.S. with large Hispanic populations, such as LA, NYC and parts of Texas.

beginnings: Born to a Mexican-American mother, Haubegger was adopted as an infant by an Anglo couple who strove to raise her with a strong awareness of her ancestry. She started learning Spanish in pre-school.

the inspiration: Haubegger says the blonde, blue-eyed models she saw in women's magazines as she was growing up did not reflect her body type or her beauty concerns. And when she went on to college and law school, she found that she and her fellow Latinas had trouble finding professional role models.

"I wanted to change the way Latinas see themselves, as well as how others see them," she explains.
"I felt it [a Hispanic women's pub] was the one women's magazine that I'd want to read, and I kept thinking, 'Somebody should do it.' And finally I realized that that somebody was going to have to be me."

the way up: At Stanford she took several entrepreneurial classes while getting her law degree. Spent her first year out of law school doing her financial homework and looking for the financier most likely to support her niche.

the backer: Edward Lewis, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc., and founder of Essence Magazine (which 25 years ago was the first publication targeted specifically at African-American women) vowed years ago never to start another magazine from scratch. And he didn't -- until he saw Haubegger's proposal. "It was one of the best business plans I had seen in almost 20 years in this business," he said. "It was extraordinary for a person her age [27]."
why now: Advertisers are finally getting hip to the buying power of the American Hispanic community -- estimated in 1995 to be just over $200 billion. And with the Hispanic population growing at four times the rate of the general U.S. population, marketers are sitting up and taking notice. "Now I can show them the numbers that say we buy 15% of the country music and 10% of the lipstick, and suddenly they're interested," Haubegger says.

household: "Incredibly single," she says, laughing that, in her office, anyone who gets the publisher a date wins a prize. Still, there are perks to being publisher of a women's mag. TV actor Jimmy Smits once kissed her on the cheek at an event.

exit strategy: Some 900 new magazine titles launched in the U.S. in '96 alone, although few had Latina's established backing; so what will Haubegger turn to if the magazine fails, as most start-up pubs do? "I can always be a lawyer," she says.

web-savviness: "Some 85% of our readers have access to an online service through work or school or at home," she says. "We're planning on growing the magazine through the web, but not in a way that will compete with our paper product. We want to feature things like how to email your favorite celebrities, or the anti-Macarena site." Look for the Latina site in mid-'97.

Leslie Hindman, Wheeler and Dealer

born: 1954

the biz: In July 1997, Sotheby's bought Hindman's auction house and tapped the entrepreneur to run its Midwest beachhead. In 1996, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' sales totaled $15 million.

how she got there: "In 1978 I landed a job as assistant to the woman who opened Sotheby's Chicago office. After two years of grunt work, I became office manager, but at 27, I decided I was never going to be the head of the Chicago office. So I went out and formed Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. After 15 years, Sotheby's approached me [about the merger]."

best part of the job: "Dealing with people and their possessions, learning why they got them, why they are selling them."

toughest part of the job: "Oftentimes, you're part psychologist, because you're handling property for people who are under duress. We work with clients going through at least one of the three D's -- death, divorce or debt."
warning to aspiring auctioneers: "This business is difficult to enter, and it doesn't pay well in the beginning because so many people are interested in [the field]. I worked really hard, feeling like I was putting in more hours in five years than a lot of people put in their entire careers. But if you do what you love, you'll rise."

parental advice: When she asked her dad to invest in her business, he refused, telling Hindman to have babies instead. "Now it's a huge joke in my family, and I know he's really proud of me."

school daze: When Hindman dropped out of Indiana University, she wrote "boredom" on the school form asking the reason for departure. Boredom, she says, also drove her from the office manager job at Sotheby's to found her own company.

how she celebrates Easter: Every year, right before Easter, she dons a bunny costume and parades down Michigan Avenue, handing out candy to passersby. When she reaches her office she doles out plastic eggs filled with money to her staff.

Beth Cross & Pam Parker, Equestrian Entrepreneurs

profession: Co-presidents and founders of Ariat International, an athletic riding boot company based in San Carlos, Calif.

annual revenue: Approx. $40 million (estimated by industry analysts).

born: Parker, San Francisco, 1960. Cross, outside Philadelphia, 1959.

education: Parker, University of California at Berkeley. Cross, University of Colorado at Boulder. They met at Stanford Graduate School of Business where they both got MBAs, in 1989 and 1988, respectively.

first steps: Post-biz school, both went to work for Bain and Company -- an international consulting firm -- managing marketing strategies for Fortune 100 companies.

the inspiration: Both avid equestrians, they wondered -- when changing into sneakers after riding -- why nobody had bothered to design comfortable riding footwear. "Unlike the Nikes and Reeboks, we saw riding as a lifestyle. And we saw the gap and jumped in," says Parker.
the plunge: In 1990, they started Ariat from Parker's home, using both their life savings. "I will never repeat that experience, though. There was no privacy, not to mention the fact that most of my neighbors don't speak to me," Parker jokes. They hired top designers to create a riding boot that can be worn comfortably when you're not on a horse. "It was a superior product. We refused to take money from investors and spent all our own money."

why riding: "It's a lifestyle, more than a sport. It's part of what I identify with," said Parker.

why it works: "We're not Donna Karan, but image counts in riding. Our boots reflect that, which is why 30% of our customers are non-riders," says Parker. The company is now the leading manufacturer of English-style riding boots in the United States. It also sells Western and English riding boots in Canada, Western Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.
what next: Grow, grow and grow. "We'd like to become the leading equestrian company for both English and Western riding worldwide. But for the time being, we want to sit back and pat ourselves on the back," says Parker.

why they get along: Mutual respect and admiration. "We used to joke that one plus one equals three. The combination of us together is so much greater than one alone -- the sum of the whole overshadows everything else. Besides, neither of us are egomaniacs. Fundamentally, we are entrepreneurs; we enjoy creating the company, the daily management and the success," said Parker.

management style: Methodical, but easygoing and accommodating -- so much so that one can run into various pets and children at Ariat's headquarters in San Carlos. "Our goal is to create a culture and a flexible working environment. Life is stressful enough. We have the motto that lives come first and jobs second. We cannot be versatile enough," Parker says.

inspiration: Parker was inspired by her mother and father, an artist and a scientist, who encouraged her to start her first venture -- a jewelry business -- at the age of 16. Another role model for both entrepreneurs was one of the company's first investors: the late Frank Chambers, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist "who believed in us. That was kind of liberating," Cross says.
on success: "It's a great feeling. What we have is very special -- doing what we love. Our stars were aligned and we gave it a go. But the real key to our success is that we have the best team of people working for us. We're darn lucky," Parker says.

household: Parker's single and lives with her two cats in Burlingame. Cross is married and has three children, a four-year-old and two-year-old twins. "They come first," Cross says. She lives in San Mateo.

on the woman thing: The riding industry didn't offer a smooth ride. "At times, people [investors] thought it was a joke because we were seen as those two girls from California. By the time they paid attention to us, we were flying," says Parker.

advice to other women: "Work hard, hard and hard," says Pam. "Be committed. But the bottom line is that you have to be fearless about decisions and go for them. Never look back. After all, it is OK to fail, but not OK to stay still."