THE BLOG
03/27/2015 09:09 pm ET Updated May 27, 2015

Meet Our First "Grow Your Value" Finalists

D Dipasupil via Getty Images

I know it is not an easy task to put yourself out there, but I assure you that the exercise is one that will help you grow your confidence from the inside out.

Today we announced the three AMAZING finalists for the first "Grow Your Value" bonus competition. These women -- who put themselves out there in a one minute pitch -- will attend the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute in Orlando, FL and train with coaches, receiving tools and resources for professional and personal transformations. On April 10, they will showcase their newfound skills and confidence onstage and under the lights to compete for a $10,000 bonus. The "Grow Your Value" bonus competition drives home the message that it is important for women to both learn their value and communicate it effectively. This will be a profound journey that we will take with our finalists, learning from them along the way.

Meet the finalists:

It was tough to choose three finalists among dozens of submissions from strong and impressive women, but I was especially moved by Joanna, Ashton and Denise. A counselor with a big heart, an ambitious small business owner and an HR professional who wants to improve the lives of veterans are our finalists competing for the $10,000 bonus!

Joanna Schwartz, 36, of Passyunk Square, PA is a holistic family counselor and founder of "Toolbox for Teachers" -- a program created to offer educators strategies in mindfulness and stress relief to combat the mental rigors of teaching. Her 60-second submission video struck me as incredibly sincere. "I could really use your help with my self-confidence," she told me. Let's face it: Joanna is not alone. We could ALL use a similar boost in how we see and present ourselves.

Just weeks after graduating college, Ashton Sweitzer, 25, of Lancaster County, PA opened Glitz, a boutique in Lititz, PA that sells a variety of women's accessories. Ashton is determined to contribute in a meaningful way to her community -- but as a small business owner, she faces a growing mountain of challenges. As a "Grow Your Value" finalist, she will hone her leadership skills as well as compete for that bonus to further invest in her business.

A human resources professional of 12 years, Denise Uzzelle of Lancaster, Texas launched her own company, Starting Point Human Capital Advisors, with the mission of helping our veterans retain their jobs. As the wife of a disabled veteran, Denise sees a growing need for us to invest in the professional futures of those who serve. She's competing so she can make a difference in veterans' lives.

I'm beyond inspired by these wonderful women, and I am excited to see the transformations they will make.

Know Your Value on April 10:

I can't wait to see the finalists again on April 10 -- after their exciting transformations at the Human Performance Institute. You won't want to miss the kickoff Know Your Value event, featuring interactive panels, individual coaching sessions, and inspiring discussions with many people I admire. Keynote speakers include Co-Host of "Today" and "Dateline" correspondent Hoda Kotb and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

We will also have actress Brooke Shields; André Leon Talley, former editor-at-large of Vogue; Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and NBC News Senior Political Analyst; Thomas Roberts, host of "MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts"; Denice Torres, President of McNeil Consumer Health; Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist and Professor, Harvard Business School; Katty Kay, lead anchor for "BBC World News America"; TV Personality Donny Deutsch; and Renee Chenault-Fattah, NBC10 news anchor.

If you're interested in attending this event in Philadelphia or any of the other four events, you can snag tickets online at msnbc.com/knowyourvalue. Philadelphia tickets are on sale through April 9th. Also, keep submitting your one minute pitches for a chance to be picked as one of three finalists in DC, Chicago, Orlando, or Boston. Let's embark on this journey with Joanna, Ashton and Denise, and learn to know -- and grow -- our value together!