2015 Honoree

Lori Greiner

Entrepreneur, inventor

“If you command respect, you get it. If you command equality, you can and will get it. We cannot change others, but we can change how others perceive us. To me it is completely crazy for anyone to think we are not equal to men.”

Who inspires you the most?

It’s more what inspires me the most. I get inspired by creating things that help make changes in the world. Things that help others, things I feel passionate about. I hope that I can help to make the world a better place even if just by little things. Sometimes it is the little things that make people happy and those are actually great things to me.

What do you now know about yourself that you wish you knew ten/fifteen/twenty years ago?

I think, for me, it’s more about what would I tell myself when I was younger that I know now, which would be: don’t worry so much about things, everything is solvable.

Fill in the blank: You can never have enough _______

Love and confidence.

What city best describes your personality?

I think “The Windy City–Chicago,” where I am from. It is strong, creative, vibrant, exciting, and diverse.

What gets you through even the toughest days and what are you most grateful for?

I’m most grateful for my husband, Dan, and for all of the wonderful experiences I have been able to have in life!

What socio-political women’s issue do you care about the most? Do you feel that women are typically presented fairly in the media? Why or why not?

I care about so many issues! I’m a huge supporter of women and I often think we can have a harder time of things, not media related necessarily, just in general. I’m not sure why this is, as it is 2015 and we are at least 1/2 the population. Seems a little crazy, but the one thing I tell women everywhere is don’t think of yourself as a woman in business, think of yourself as a person in business, equal to, if not better than everyone else, depending on the situation.

What is your best read? Favorite character you would most like to be?

I don’t actually have a character I’d like to be as I am super happy to be who I am, but I do have some favorite books: Angela’s Ashes, Glass Castles, Memoirs of a Geisha, Anything by Tennessee Williams, and Pinter. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten much time to read in the past few years…one day.

What will it take for women to be viewed as equal to men? Are sexist jokes problematic, and how do you feel about people’s view that women should just “lighten up” about them?

I think women should conduct themselves as equals to men, and in doing so, you become so. It really relies on us to believe we are, to act as we are, and to own it. If you command respect, you get it. If you command equality, you can and will get it. We cannot change others, but we can change how others perceive us. To me, it is completely crazy for anyone to think we are not equal to men. Jokes are a whole different thing. Some people think certain jokes are funny and can blow them off and others are offended. We as women need to react according to what’s right for each of us and feel confident in our own reactions to things. I have always felt when anyone criticized anyone else it is solely their opinion, and what makes them right?

What was your best decision to date? Worst decision?

Best decision was to steer my life in the direction I have (in all choices) and to do so confidently. I don’t regret anything.

Within the past few years, social media has exploded. How can women use it to market themselves without seeming narcissistic? How do men market themselves without seeming narcissistic?

Social media is challenging as it is a medium in which you are inherently talking about yourself. This was one of the toughest things I had to get used to when I first started. I thought, “why would I put out pictures of myself or what I ate, or where I am, or what I’m doing?” It seemed so self-centered and, as you say, narcissistic, which was very uncomfortable for me. Then many members of my staff said you have to do this–this is what people want, this is what people are interested in. So, slowly–and believe me, it took a very long time–I did it. Still to this day, it is very challenging, but funny–they are right. When I post things with others, or about others, they don’t get nearly as many likes and I think this is just because if someone is following you, you are their interest. What tipped it for me was that I realized who I followed and that I too wanted the pictures about them, what they liked, and what they were doing–not so much other things. Now, I try to embrace it and be more comfortable.

Write a fortune you’d like for all women to receive in a fortune cookie.

You are amazing! Do exactly what you want in life and don’t do things because they are what others want you to do!

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Having a strong intuition for what people need and want, being fearless in business–can that be made into one?

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