September 22 is American Business Women’s Day, a day to honor and reflect on the accomplishments, successes, and contributions of American women and female business owners in the workforce. The day was first celebrated in 1949 by the American Business Women’s Association and officially recognized by Congress in the early 1980s.
Today, Junior Achievement celebrates the 75 million women in the workforce by shining a light on 3 women from various industries who have reached and accomplished business success.
Tammy Barlette is co-founder of Athena’s Voice, a professional speaker company featuring 13 female fighter pilots from around the United StatesBarlette is a fighter pilot who served in the United States Air Force for over 20 years, retiring in September of 2018 as a Lieutenant Colonel. She has flown multiple aircraft, including the T-37 Tweet, T-38 Talon, A-10 Warthog, MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, accumulating more than 3,000 total flying hours and over 1,500 hours of combat support time assisting and protecting troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She is also a graduate of the prestigious US Air Force Weapons School and has a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry. Lt Col Barlette lives in Tucson, Arizona, is married to a Federal Agent and has three children.
Yeva is the Co-Founder and CEO of SoloLearn, a global community of mobile code learners participating in the most engaging way to learn and interact with fellow coders around the world. With millions of coder profiles, SoloLearn is becoming a popular hub for young people to improve their competitive ranking in today’s world. Yeva holds an MBA Degree from Maastricht School of Management (the Netherlands) and is an Executive Program graduate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She started off implementing World Bank and USG programs in business and education, then sales, developer ecosystem development, and strategic partnerships as a general manager at Microsoft. More recently, she’s built a startup accelerator that created mobile games, robots, and ag-tech solutions. A coding boot camp was founded back in 2010 to pay for this, and still boasts of an 80% placement rate. It took a lot quick thinking, learning from successes and mistakes, from non-existing sources. These experiences were reflected in SoloLearn, which changes how programmers learn, build their professional reputations, and get jobs.
Yunha Kim is the Founder and CEO of Simple Habit, an award-winning app for daily stress relief.Simple Habit offers a personalized approach to your mental wellness needs. Discover more than 2,000 guided audio sessions from world-class meditation teachers, therapists and coaches. Simple Habit helps busy people care for their mental wellness in just 5 minutes.
Founded in 2016, Simple Habit is now the #1 rated meditation app in the App store and 2018 Google Play Award Winner for Standout Wellbeing App. The app boasts 40,000 five-star reviews. Simple Habit has raised $12.8 million from investors including Foundation Capital, Y Combinator, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and many other prominent CEOs in Silicon Valley, including Dropbox’s CEO Drew Houston and Gusto’s CEO Joshua Reeves.
Kim began her career in investment banking and built her first startup Locket when she was 23-years-old. Kim began to meditate to help manage the stress of startup life. The idea to build a more diverse, practical meditation app came to Kim when she was pursuing her MBA at Stanford. She dropped out of Stanford after one semester to build Simple Habit into the leading mental wellness platform for busy, stressed-out people. In 2017, Kim was honored by Forbes 30 Under 30 and Marie Claire's New Guard.
Get to know the Trio: JA Q & A
What does American Business Women’s Day mean to you?
Tammy Barlette: Having a day designated to honor women in business is a great opportunity to appreciate the challenges that have been overcome by so many. For me, it is a reminder to stop, and recognize the accomplishments of women in business, paying particular attention to the pioneers. So many of the stories of those who were first have gotten buried and uncovering them is fascinating, inspirational and educational.
Yeva Hyusyan: I am not a big fan of days dedicated to Some Group. If such a day exists, it indicates an unresolved issue, such as Women’s Day signals that there is something wrong with women in society. That's why I’d rather not have any “special” days. I’m not talking about holidays like Christmas or Halloween though.
Yunha Kim: It's an opportunity to celebrate businesswomen who have made a positive impact on our world.
What is the best business or life advice you ever received?
Tammy Barlette: The best advice all around that has been given to me is, “it is not about you, it is never about you.” This is something I always felt in my heart and one of the reasons I almost did not go into the speaking business. I had thought, “I am not special, I just took a unique path and worked really hard. I do not want to be in the spotlight.” The ladies of Athena’s Voice speak to share the wisdom they have gained from their very unique life experiences. The powerful messages shared through their stories shifts the way people think, guides them down different paths or highlights opportunity where they had not seen it before. It is about the audience…always, in life and in business.
Yeva Hyusyan: “If you want quick results don’t think and act as a woman in man-dominated environments.”
Yunha Kim: “If you have an idea and you are passionate about it, pursue it to the best of your ability.”
What were, or is, your biggest challenge in being a woman in business or in your business industry? Biggest Advantage?
Tammy Barlette: Specifically addressing my current industry of professional speaking, the biggest challenge is shifting people’s mindsets away from the idea that our primary audience is women. This is clearly a very important group to us and we take every opportunity we can to make a positive impact. It is just as important, if not more, that we get in front of diverse audiences. Our stories and messages offer unique perspectives that a broad range of audiences can benefit from. Additionally, by getting in front of audiences that are predominantly male, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on how women are perceived in the world. That alone is a powerful influencer on the path to opening more opportunities for women.
I will be quite frank here, even though being a women in the working world has come with many challenges, there are places where being a woman has the advantage. The immense opportunity given to women in this day and age due to the movement to equalize things has opened a lot of doors that are not open to men. I recognize that, don’t let those opportunities pass and utilize them to make the world a better place. Balance is optimum and I look forward to the gender gap closing and a merge taking place where gender is not such an issue anymore.
Yeva Hyusyan: I find being a woman an advantage today because the world is in need for a different perspective. The challenge is to learn the language that has been created and refined over hundreds of years in male-dominated businesses.
Other than the above, the business is about being the best – the smartest, the fastest, the most agile… being of a certain gender doesn’t help much…
Yunha Kim: Being a woman hasn't impacted my ability to fundraise or grow our company. Like many situations in life, I think it's all about how you frame your perspective.
What is your favorite song or quote to inspire or motivate you?
Tammy Barlette: “When quitting is not an option, you find another way…don’t let it be an option.” -Tammy “G.” Barlette
Yeva Hyusyan: There are many. Very much depends on the mood and what I’m up to.
Yunha Kim: Mark Twain said it. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”