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Forbes Power Women’s Summit: Ashley Longshore, Daniella Pierson and Brooke Shields Talk Entrepreneurship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

On Thursday, Forbes hosted their annual Power Women’s Summit both online and in New York City. The event featured women from various backgrounds providing industry expertise and advice on turning innovation into impact. I had the opportunity to represent Her Campus at UCLA and virtually attend several standout panels. 

The first panel I attended was moderated by Maggie McGrath, editor for ForbesWomen and senior editor for Forbes. McGrath spoke with Ashley Longshore and Daniella Pierson about how they climbed from the bottom and established themselves as entrepreneurs.

Longshore, a self-taught painter from New Orleans, captivated the audience as she spoke of her humble beginnings as an artist. From there, Longshore discussed the grit and passion which propelled her to her current status as a pop art and fashion icon. “I think my love and joy of painting, combined with not having any money and wanting this big American dream, that’s the fuel,” she told McGrath.

Pierson also shared her insights into becoming a successful, self-made entrepreneur. Despite her young age, Pierson is the CEO of Wondermind, a mental fitness company she started with Selena Gomez earlier this year. From her talk with McGrath, it’s evident that Pierson understands the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurial life, especially as a young woman of color. Pierson shared some of her story, telling attendees of starting off as a college sophomore with big dreams. It was then that she started her first company, Newsette, and while she lacked VC funding, she made up for it with incredible drive. Her persistence resulted in $40 million in sales seven years later. Pierson, a Latina woman, also discussed her passion for empowering other BIPOC entrepreneurs. Her message is that the industry is hard, but progress is always possible. “I’ve always identified as a survivalist,” she said. “I guess that’s a core attribute of an entrepreneur.”

Wrapping up the summit, actress and model Brooke Shields spoke with interviewer Randall Lane about the unique experiences entrepreneurship provides. Shields had always been immersed in the entertainment world, but she shared that as she grew older, she strove to break into the realm of entrepreneurship. It was grueling work trying to “make it,” but Shields inspired the audience with her wise words on perseverance. “There’s always a way that you can keep picking yourself up and reinventing the way you see yourself,” she said. 

Shields didn’t end there. She also announced an exciting new project to add to her already long list of achievements. From the stage of the Power Women’s Summit, she revealed the launch of “Now, What?”, an iHeartPodcast centered around asking people about pivotal moments in their lives. Upon hearing the news, I was struck by how Shields remains an inspiration for women of all ages to push the limits of our careers.

As always, the summit was an inspiration to women like me who are trying to make some sort of impact on the world. Longshore, Pierson and Shields were honest about the difficulties of building up a career that you’re passionate about, but they stood as evidence that with enough grit you can do it too.

Louise is a junior double majoring in English and Economics. She loves reading contemporary fiction and making Spotify playlists.