Entrepreneur Nell Melrino is the kind of woman a woman wants to be. She had a successful company when she realized the importance of exposing young girls to opportunities in business and positive role models and invented "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" in 1992. When she did she took on the suits with a suit, leveraging a now famous research study to convince corporations across the country to support the effort. That study said that by 2009, women would make up an enormous part of our workforce.
Today, they do. Half of U.S. workers are female in America.
She didn't stop there. She then turned her life's work to helping women achieve equality in the business world, co-creating the insanely popular Make Mine a Million $ Business program with American Express OPEN, a national movement to help thousands of women entrepreneurs increase the bottom lines of their businesses and spark job growth. Today she's the president of Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, the leading not-for-profit provider of resources, education and support for women seeking to grow micro companies to millions. She's done work with amazing women like Hilary Clinton and has helped women around the world achieve, approaching everything like the true business woman she is.
If you want to an example of a Power Girl, this is it.
Nell is the kind of person you can tell treats everybody with the same kind of care and respect. In the thirty minutes we chatted this past week, I had never felt so inspired. She talked about what inspired her to create Count Me In (it was the success of Take Our Daughters to Work Day) and how moved she was to be at the largest gathering ever of women in China with Hilary Clinton and is so cool as a person it's infectious. Most of all you could tell that she had her fellow women's back - as far as Nell's concerned, she's just fine with everybody making a million dollars. In fact, helps people do it.
It brought me back to our very first New Power Girls articles on Huffington Post. The first ten articles we had ever written were about the common traits we had seen in the hundreds of women entrepreneurs we've met and knew. They ranged from having big dreams to business savvy to collaboration and community. Women who want success, Oprah style - but also strive to be great leaders, mothers, wives and friends and most of all, have their fellow woman (and man's) back. They're fierce and focused, among the growing generation of women who are founding high value, high profile companies on their own, women who don't just want to work at a big company, but own it.
Most of all they have the drive to get the job done.
"When VerticalResponse was started I was told I wouldn't succeed by several VC's, so I went around them by funding the company my own way, through family and friends," shared the company's founder and CEO Janine Popick. Today, she's a finalist in five different categories for the prestigious Stevie Awards. HappyBaby founder and Shine-A-Light finalist Shazi Visram, it was learning a whole new industry to launch her highly successful organic baby food company.
What defines a woman entrepreneur? Every single one of the nearly ten million women entrepreneurs in America, including these women.
Check out what Meghan and I have to say about being women entrepreneurs during this week's National Business Women's Week here.