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The following article is part of Like a Boss Girls’ Women’s History Month series, “Women Making History Today”.
Jennifer Iannolo is the founder of The Concordia Project™, an organization devoted to rewriting the conversation about female empowerment. The Concordia Project was created in response to the idea imposed onto young women ages 18-25 that empowerment comes from outside of the individual; that it is something to be given or granted. Whether the young women of today want to be founders and CEOs, teachers, politicians, artists, mothers or social advocates, The Concordia Project is devoted to teaching the female leaders of tomorrow how to create a more powerful future. Read more about Founder Jennifer Iannolo and The Concordia Project in her exclusive interview with Like a Boss Girls.
Name: Jennifer Iannolo
Company: The Concordia Project
Job Title: Founder
Current location: New York City
Originally from: New York’s Hudson Valley
Your superpower: I’m a catalyst for human empowerment
A woman in history that you admire & why:
Veronica di Franco, the famous Italian courtesan. She fought for her right to speak at a time when the only women who were allowed to be educated often had to sell their bodies for that right. She was also a published poet.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
No one is coming.
What inspired you to start your current venture?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 8 years old. Now I’m building an army of resilient female founders around the planet.
What are you and your company doing to make history today?
The Concordia Project was created to provide a global think tank for young women (ages 18 to 25) to come together, share experiences, and feel less alone in the world. We now have seven countries participating in our program. In my private practice, I’m a global speaker on empowerment and a featured speaker for the U.S. State Department. I also run a boutique coaching practice dedicated to female founders.
What is one thing you have accomplished that you are most proud of?
I’ve done speaking tours of India and Nepal to get women fired up about advocating for themselves and their businesses. The U.S. State Department sent me through India last year as the warm-up speaker for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
What is one project you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
I’m writing a book on empowerment, and the new model that I believe will make empowerment work for everyone.
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
Women are not getting enough funding for their companies. We have a very powerful set of scripts that transcend culture, age and economic status. I’m determined to break up those scripts.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
Women will create more and more venture funds to create a pipeline for female entrepreneurs.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced?
I’m doing this for a living because at the very peak of my dream career (I created the world’s first food podcast channel in 2006, and was traveling the world playing with chefs and winemakers), I burned out and developed autoimmune issues, including severe food reactions. I had to pivot my entire life, and going through that process helped me to understand what resilience means. No matter how dark it gets – and it can get pretty dark – there is always a way to pick yourself up.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
Stop waiting for permission.
Fun fact about yourself:
I know every word of the movie The Princess Bride.
If you are currently hiring or looking for potential partnerships, where can readers go to find more information?
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m a mentor and advisor to the UN Women Young Professionals group in NYC, and a five-time Harvard speaker. I also chaired a conference on social entrepreneurship in 1994.
For more information, visit The Concordia Project website.
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