Don’t let your gender hold you back. “Being a woman is a business advantage,” says Young. “Many women are excellent multi-taskers and natural leaders, who are community-minded and want others to share in our success.” All are positive attributes of any successful business owner. “Ultimately, your attitude and work ethic matter far more than your gender.”

Identify your niche. Don’t be a “Jane of all trades, master of none.” Find a niche for your skill set and make it your own. LoLo’s Seafood Shack serves a mixture of coastal comfort foods and Caribbean street food, drawing upon the heritage of Young and her husband, who is the executive chef. The unique combination helps set LoLo’s apart in the crowded New York restaurant scene.

Every day is an opportunity to learn. At the beginning of her culinary career, Young invested in specialized training at the International Culinary Center’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program. Today, she’s taking free business courses through a community education program. “I knew I had a lot to learn about the business side of things,” said Young. “So, I got the help that I needed to get ahead. No matter your time and budget, there are opportunities to learn, grow and improve.”

Find a mentor. Mentorship is critical to success, with women in mentorship programs garnering more promotions, higher salaries and more career satisfaction overall. But it can be challenging for women to find a female mentor. If needed, search beyond where you work, or look for someone who is where you aspire to be in 10 years.

Get practical experience. “A mentor once told me that before I opened my own restaurant, I should open three restaurants for someone else,” said Young. “Higher education helps immensely, because you understand the strategy and theory behind your work. But when you encounter a business challenge, nothing beats having past experiences to draw from.”

Ask for help. Many women try to do it all, often sacrificing their own health or happiness in order to complete the task at hand. “Asking for help does not mean you’re incapable. It’s an indication of strong leadership and self awareness — two excellent qualities in an entrepreneur,” says Young.

Be your own advocate. When you’ve proven you have the skills to do the job, stand up for yourself and say so. Confidence is a valuable business asset. When you believe in yourself, others will sense it and be more inclined to believe in you, too.

Find your own work/life balance. No one can tell you what type of balance is right for you. Find what works for you and focus on the mix of professional and personal time that allows you to be best satisfied at home and at work.

Don’t forget to have fun. You can work hard, produce a good product and still have fun. When you are a positive influence on the people around you, you elevate the entire team — people who feel encouraged and appreciated will take pride in what they’re doing and become not only employees, but also ambassadors.

Share your success. Stories of women who have succeeded help encourage those who are still striving to accomplish similar success. “Don’t be afraid to speak proudly about yourself and what you have accomplished, you never know who is listening — and who your story will inspire,” says Young.


To learn more about Stacy’s Rise Project and opportunities to advance your entrepreneurial dreams, visit