“When I left [corporate] it was a difficult transition,” says Kate Isler who’d spent 20 years (most of them overseas) in international executive leadership and as a CEO for a digital health startup. “I always identified myself as a corporate executive. I had business cards and a persona. When I left I had nothing. People stopped returning my calls. I was just Kate Isler….It made me look across my life and reevaluate: what did I want to do?” Her first steps? Kate reached out to people on LinkedIn to set up coffees or phone calls: “98% of them said yes.” She then asked them to tell her about their job: “what are your aspirations? What did you learn? I got to know people who did a variety of things,” she says. When the calendar rolled around to International Women’s Day, however, she realized that while the holiday is a major celebration of women around the world, it’s not very big in the U.S. What was missing: A market place focused on women’s small businesses. So Isler co-founded TheWMarketplace, an eCommerce platform which supports women-owned businesses, service providers and gender balanced companies. “The site is [an] economic engine for women,” she says, “and [we] earned revenue from the launch day.”

 

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