Women Entrepreneurs International strives to empower women everywhere from all different backgrounds.
We are 100% volunteer-led, which means this organization is run by women entrepreneurs who are passionate about our mission and dedicated to giving their free time and resources to empowering other women.
May 1 represents the first day of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month and we are highlighting a several AAPI female founders on our platform! For those that want to learn more about AAPI Heritage month, click here to read more about it.
Keep reading to learn more about these amazing women and support their businesses!
Introducing 2021 AAPI Female Founders
Annie is the Co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Creative Director of Her Campus Media, the #1 media portfolio for college and Gen Z women. In her role, Annie oversees creative and technical strategy for the Her Campus, Spoon University, College Fashionista, InfluenceHer Collective, and Generation Hired brands. Under her leadership, these have become the most beloved, recognizable, and impactful media brands for young women today. She also oversees the design and integrated marketing teams within the company’s agency practice that creates award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns for the world’s most well-known brands. Annie is a Forbes 30 Under 30 list-maker and graduate of Harvard University.
Ari Krzyzek is the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Evanston, Ill.-based branding & digital marketing agency Chykalophia (read: see-ka-lo-fia). Her agency helps businesses who want to achieve their goals with their brand through strategic positioning. They attract ideal clients for the project by working on the digital marketing strategies, brand strategy & design, and escalate the client’s website for success.
A native New Yorker, Ms. Quill has worked in marketing for global brands including Yahoo!, MTV Networks, Disney, and Sony Music for over fifteen years. After working for NBCUniversal and start-up Magic Leap (as the sole employee in London), Ms. Quill was inspired to develop her own brand, Whiskey & Woof Candle Atelier.
Working in tech and being a member of the British Bourbon Society, Ms. Quill often found herself the sole female. She flushed out several ideas before developing a brand celebrating her two worlds of dogs and whiskey with respect for those already doing it well. After a long career in the digital area, Coco’s fascination with physical products was developed with sustainability in mind. Putting her skills to use for herself, Whiskey & Woof was born when she moved back to Brooklyn.
Corina P. Irvin
Corina P. Irvin is a Principal at Peninsula Commercial Real Estate Group. She started the company in 2019 after spending eight years at Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. Corina has been involved in over ten million square feet of transactions totaling more than $500 million in lease consideration. Corina specializes in helping clients lease or purchase office space that aligns with their unique branding, operational, and financial needs. Prior to starting Peninsula CRE Group and joining the C&W Los Angeles office, Corina spent several years with C&W in New York City.
Corina lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. She graduated from USC with a degree in business administration, with an emphasis in real estate finance.
Eunice Kim is a firm believer of creating change in the world with passion-driven purpose and impactful moves. As a first generation Asian American in her family, venturing into entrepreneurship wasn’t an anticipated career path. Furthermore, starting a business in the cannabis space was met with initial hesitation and skepticism by her family and peers. However, her company, HiVi, has grown over the past year to touch and inspire new consumers to explore the cannabis plant and this rapidly growing industry through a self-care lens. HiVi is currently in private beta of its data-backed Cannabis Concierge, which provides personalized product recommendations for new users who are looking for accurate and educated guidance on where to begin.
Gauri Junnarkar is an Author, International Keynote speaker, Nutrition Ayurveda & wellness expert .She is the Founder, Director of ‘Ayurnutrition’, an integrative and Holistic wellness practice in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Gauri Junnarkar is a highly accomplished Registered Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Vaidya (Ayurveda Practitioner), Panchakarma Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist. She earned her Ayurvedic Medicine Degree (BAMS) from the University of Mumbai. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.
Gloria Chou is a PR mentor and pitch guru who teaches early-stage founders how to “hack their own PR” with my proprietary 3-step CPR Pitching Method™, one that’s helped thousands of bootstrapped small businesses get over a combined 1 Billion organic views in top tier outlets such as the New York Times, Vogue, Fast Company, Forbes and more. As a former U.S. Diplomat that’s never worked in PR or had any industry contacts, Gloria’s mission is to make PR more accessible so all founders can learn how to get traction and build credibility without hiring an agency to do it for them.
Grace is an herbalist and the founder of Qi Alchemy, a Korean herbal company providing ancient Eastern remedies that are efficacious and time-tested. As a Korean-American pioneering the concept of K-Wellness (Korean Wellness), Grace is carrying on her grandmother’s legacy of holistic healing by bringing high-quality herbal Eastern remedies to the modern world while raising the quality standard of herbal remedies.
Hannah Chiu-Yi Ezra Yukon
Hannah Chiu-Yi Ezra Yukon is a hybrid artist from New Zealand and Singapore. She creates filmic narratives, theatrical comedic absurdist plays, concept albums about vegan food and aliens, board games about the inter-connectivity between lineage, knowledge and creation. She is the founder of TITTIESFORCHANGE; an anti-war + anti plastic artist collective that was founded by ravers and writers to address the intersection of the production of plastic, slaughter-houses, poverty, homelessness and war. She is the CEO of Liberatory Learners, an interdisciplinary Minecraft school that finds solutions to real world problems through personal research, astrology, movement, music and vegan culinary design. She is currently based in New York City. You can find out more at www.liberatorylearners.com.
Jenn Hanft is the CEO and Founder of JOUHCO, a copywriting studio for multi-passionate entrepreneurs and business owners looking to amplify their voice with words that deeply connect. She’s a personality-driven copywriter that specializes in high-conversion storytelling. Jenn crafts messaging that is irresistibly memorable, oozes personality, and inspires dream clients to become long-standing buyers.
Jaylissa Lea’s mission is to build brands that leave a legacy and create a movement that will better serve the world. Through the lens of business and psychology, she helps entrepreneurs rebrand so that they aren’t just simply “existing”. She also helps them set the highest standards for themself by redefining their meaning of luxury. She has a background in clinical psychology, academic research and luxury management which allows her to create premium, timeless strategies to redefine modern luxury and mindset.
Joanna Linton is the Founder and CEO of Rae’s Roots, a wellness brand that focuses on prioritizing mom’s wellness. Linton was inspired to launch her company after the birth of her second child – a time she admits was difficult for her physically and emotionally. “I didn’t know how to balance living for me versus living for my family. Moreover, I couldn’t find any products that spoke to me during this sensitive time,” Joanna Linton said. “Most products only consider women as moms, I needed something that empathized with me as a mom and as a person.” Linton had previously worked in buying at Macys Inc and Urban Outfitters. At the time, Linton was on maternity leave from the outdoor brand she co-founded, United By Blue. She decided not to go back and instead pursue what would become Rae’s Roots.
Founder and CEO Joss Richard is an AAPI Emmy Award winning Producer who was born and raised in Toronto where she worked as a Television Producer before moving to Los Angeles. At the age of 28 Joss has won a Daytime Emmy Award and worked at Netflix, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Walt Disney Company creating digital content and managing their content strategy.Joss has pivoted to the entrepreneurial world when she realized there was a gap in women’s access to mentorship and that women struggle with asking to be compensated for their time and knowledge. She has been featured in POPSUGAR, Medium, UncoverLA, and more.
Lisa “Liv” Estrella Yang
Lisa “Liv” Estrella Yang (she/her) is the Founder and CEO of Faceted Beauty®, a beauty tech startup that offers over 100 options to choose the ultimate at-home gel manicure with the focus on sustainability, evolving nail art, and manicure trends. Prior to Faceted Beauty®, in 2014 Lisa was one of the top four Nail Artists in Sally Hansen’s national #ihearnailart competition with over 16,000 competitors. Lisa led community development at The Indus Entrepreneurs Boston, one of the oldest chapters of a global not-for-profit fostering the growth of serial and first-time entrepreneurs from all walks of life. Thereafter she led the first Cambridge office for VoiceGlance, a Connecticut-based HR tech startup. Lisa was also recruited to help lead the operations of two departments (network engagement and community) at the Harvard Innovation Labs, a startup-focused epicenter dedicated to supporting Harvard student entrepreneurs across 13 different schools.
Marina started EQUO (www.equointl.com) in early 2020, launching successfully on Kickstarter with a crowdfunding campaign before launching in to market fully in mid-November 2021. She was born in Canada, years after her parents immigrated during the Vietnam War. She has over 10 years of brand management experience at companies including Unilever, Bacardi, LG Electronics and Spin Master. With the inspiration of trying to build a sustainable future for her nephew, working to support local economic growth and job creation from her parent’s hometown, and the desire to raise Vietnam’s profile as a global leader in sustainability and innovation, she decided to venture on her own to bring to the world truly eco-friendly solutions through the sustainable brand, EQUO. Recently her company was the recipient of the SME100 Fast Moving Companies in Vietnam award and Marina was named one of Flik’s 21 Womxn Entrepreneurs to watch in 2021.
Michelle Tu is a biologist turned creative entrepreneur. Years after launching her first skincare brand, she started pouring candles to help her de-stress. She fell in love with candle-making and decided to turn her hobby into a business. Michelle is the founder of Modern Theory, a line of chic, eco-friendly candles made with sustainability and social impact in mind. Crafted with non-toxic ingredients and fragrances, Modern Theory candles help spark moments of bliss and elevate your everyday living spaces.
Nadia has nearly 20 years of experience working in a variety of settings with people from various educational, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Her depth of experience spans program management, coalition building, leadership and workforce development, community outreach, health care reform and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training and consulting.
Dr. Noor is a Bangladeshi-American medical doctor from NYC determined to bridge the gap between patients and health insurance services through education, information and empowerment.She currently runs her own health insurance consulting practice out of Tampa, Florida serving clients all over the nation.
Dr. Noor offers all her consultations at no charge.With medical education and training from Bangladesh, award-winning global experience in public health, understanding healthcare systems is only just a facet of her repertoire jewel. Her latest research publication in the Journal of American College Health shines light on the topic of a stark lack of infertility services for women seeking higher education in universities across America.
Dr. Noor prides herself in being a first time mom, international doctor and patient advocate for healthcare services. When she is not taking care of her son or serving her clients, you can find her curled up in bed with a book!
Phoebe is the founder of okko, a digitally-native body wear brand grounded in minimalism. She started okko because I know we can do more with less. Her Japanese American father and Korean-born mother centered my upbringing around minimalism — that is, only bringing material possessions that add value into your life. It is this conscious mentality that guides everything we do at okko. Her Company is a reliable collection of undergarments done utterly, deliberately, and beautifully right.
Born in Los Angeles to Japanese parents, Sara Sakanaka moved to New York in 2003 to pursue design studies in fashion. Since that time, she has spent her career helping to hone and craft the vision of designers, both established and emerging. Ports 1961, Imitation of Christ, and HONOR have all put to good use her strong conceptual, design, and execution skills.
As Founder and Creative Director of Considered Objects, Sara oversees a concept and design studio in New York City. She launched the brand with a limited edition, hand-numbered offering of repurposed vintage kimono shirts. Each edition has been created to be sustainable and timeless, rich in narrative and meaning.
Sarina Jain is called the “Indian Jane Fonda,” as she is the pioneer in bringing Indian dance to the US Fitness at a global level. Recognized as a global game changer, she successfully moves, touches and inspires many people around the world with her knowledge and passion for Bhangra and Bollywood and fitness. Sarina has over 15 workout videos under her belt with Masala Bhangra® classes offered in over 12 countries around the world. In 2021, she will be celebrating 21 years of the inception of Masala Bhangra®! She has successfully bridged the gap of bringing people together of all cultures for one cause – to take fit, keep smiling and be part of a positive community!
Shazli Kojak is a Certified Public Accountant turned Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. Once she became a mom to her baby girl, her obsession moved from excel spreadsheets to baby bedsheets. She took a leap and created her personalized sleep consulting program, Sleep My Little One.
Her program is a labor of love dedicated to provide insight and personalized support for families dealing with the ever changing patterns of their child’s sleep. Shazli’s confidence in sleep training comes from her deep knowledge, passion for this field and personal experience. Being a first time working mom herself, she completely understands the female entrepreneur struggle and hustle. She knows what it takes and understands all that there is to gain from the journey.
Shazli’s mission is helping families find a sleep training method that feels right for their baby, family and parenting style. When she is not reading about sleep, learning about sleep or teaching about sleep, Shazli can be found fast asleep!
Sophia Yen, MD, MPH is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pandia Health, birth control delivery. Pandia Health is the ONLY Women-Founded, Women-Led, Doctor-Led birth control delivery company in the US. She has a passion for making women’s lives easier, preventing unplanned pregnancies, and educating women about #PeriodsOptional. She co-founded Pandia Health because she believes no one should suffer from “pill anxiety” – the fear of running out of birth control and the stress of having to obtain birth control each month. Dr. Yen enjoys educating the public and other physicians about birth control, menstrual regulation/elimination, sexually-transmitted infections, acne, obesity, and other adolescent health issues.
Tiffany is a southern California native and lives in Pasadena with her husband, two children and two dogs. She is a 16-year veteran of the retail industry with a continuous track record of growing apparel brands profitably through strategic financial and merchandise planning, data analysis, profitable inventory management, project management, establishing operational best practices, and creatively leveraging cross-functional relationships.
She bet on herself when she started her own business, Retail Results Consulting LLC, and left her lucrative career working for national and global corporations managing businesses upwards of $100MM annually. She intends to leverage the knowledge and tools she’s acquired from her lengthy corporate experience and apply it small businesses to launch their businesses to the next level, increasing sales and profit.
Vienne Cheung Brown
Vienne Cheung Brown is the founder of VienneMilano, a luxury hosiery brand dedicated to thigh high stockings that are made in Italy. Founded in 2011, Vienne transitioned her previous work in high tech product management to designing, distributing, and managing a fashion e-commerce brand. VienneMilano has also been featured on FOX, New York Fashion Week, and Spark and Hustle by Tory of Good Morning America and has been a popular accessory for celebrities and magazines in photo shoots across the world.
Zulaikha Aziz is a human rights attorney, researcher and social entrepreneur
focused on rule of law, women’s legal empowerment, and access to justice issues
internationally as well as civil rights, immigrant and refugee rights, and human
rights issues impacting communities in the United States.
Zulaikha was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and came to the U.S. as a refugee escaping
war. Her family settled in Northern Virginia where she grew up in a diverse
community and was raised with the value of service to others. She has built her life
and career around the principal that all humans deserve the same equal and