Every woman has her own definition of success, but there are certain traits that most successful women share. We look to our President, Suzanne Lerner for inspiration on how she succeeds at it all.
From overseeing operations at Michael Stars and managing a nationwide wholesale fashion showroom, to her involvement in women’s empowerment campaigns and fundraising initiatives, Suzanne appears to have it all figured out. Success though, does not come overnight. It takes years of experiences, dedication and self-confidence to attain. We got a chance to sit down with our Co-Founder and President, Suzanne, to get insight on how she achieves it all.
Suzanne’s impressive leadership is the thread that holds everything together at Michael Stars, and she does it with grace. Her insight has helped transform the company into a successful contemporary lifestyle brand.
Many would say her second career is philanthropy because of the dedication and passion she has in wanting to help and empower others. She serves on the board of Women Thrive Worldwide, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Prosperity Catalyst and also serves on the advisory board of Children Mending Hearts.
Suzanne supports numerous organizations like, Joyful Heart Foundation founded by Mariska Hargitay, We Advance, a non-profit co-founded by actress Maria Bello, and Ms. Foundation which will be honoring Suzanne with a Women of Vision Award.
Beyond her work with these organizations, she funds many international NGO’s and has made a commitment to advance the health and well being of women throughout Haiti. In partnership with Maria Bello, she launched We Advance University, an online education portal with instructional videos for Haitian women and their communities.
Impressed? So are we. Luckily for us, Suzanne shares with us how she is able to achieve it all and still stay on top.
Q&A: HOW TO ACHIEVE IT ALL
What is your typical daily routine… when you aren’t traveling across the world?
I’m usually up by 5am having my first cup of coffee and coconut almond milk, sitting on my patio watching the dawn break, gazing at the ocean and reviewing my to-do list.
How do you stay focused and organized?
My mind goes in a million directions and I am constantly thinking of projects so Stephanetta, my Executive Assistant, is my other brain along with my iPad calendar.
You’re a woman of many hats. Are there any challenges you face in accomplishing all your goals?
I face challenges every day. I just go for it and luckily, somehow it always falls into place. There are so many intersections in life and one thing always leads to another.
What are some challenges you faced early on and how did you overcome them? Are there other challenges you faced as a female entrepreneur?
Some of the challenges I faced were not getting a job or promotion because I was a woman or trying to break into the fashion industry without any experience. I was not taken seriously, but just continued to persevere and didn’t take “no” for an answer.
What is the best career advice anyone has ever given you?
Accept failure and learn from it, never give up and make the most of what you have.
Listen and you can learn.
What advice do you have for young professionals?
Do what you love, or just do what you need to in order to make a living for yourself. It’s all about being financially independent from your family. Use their advice, but build your own platform.
How does someone set themselves up for success?
Learn, grow and find mentors. Don’t spend too much time on Instagram and social media! READ!
What are your personal goals for the summer?
I’ll be taking a little time off as it’s important to look back and reflect. I’m excited to partner more with Haitian artisans and continue to fund women-led organizations. I’ll also begin mentoring young professionals soon.
Michael Stars & Women Thrive Power Breakfast (New York, November 2014) bringing awareness to International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).
Left to Right: Rachel Leventhal (Executive Director and Founder, Women’s P2P Network), Danielle Saint-Lôt (Founder, Danielle Saint-Lôt Haiti Women’s Foundation and Ambassador-at-Large, Republic of Haiti), Suzanne Lerner, Nadia Todres (Photographer and Founder, The Center for the Arts, Port-au-Prince)