J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: Co-Founder of Shine, Naomi Hirabayashi @naomi_nyc

Name: Naomi Hirabayashi Title: Co-Founder of Shine Twitter: @naomi_nyc

She loves great white sharks and went to four colleges in 5 years…you know I had to learn more about Naomi Hirabayashi. She’s the co-founder of Shine — a product of daily texts and customized responses to help women, and all working professionals slay the day with confidence tips, work hacks and humor: www.shinetext.com. Naomi is passionate about the intersection of media for good, closing the confidence gap for women — and great white sharks. Naomi is also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Naomi: First — I’m obsessed with the company I co-founded. I’m in love with what we’re building. I’m the target market for Shine and we’re creating content we want and need in our daily lives. Believing in the company’s mission, seeing a gap in the market, and knowing we’re the best people to create the product are the drive behind being an entrepreneur.

Second — I want more young women to see female and diverse entrepreneurs. Before Shine, people would frequently ask me “Would you want to start your own thing?” For a long time my initial response was “Oh no. I’m very career oriented, but I’m not someone who’s going to start my own company.”

Over time, and with Shine, I’ve realized, of course I can start my own thing. In the words of Mindy Kaling, “Why not me?” By being a female entrepreneur and a woman of color, I want more young women to see themselves in people of leadership, positions of power, and in entrepreneurship.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Naomi: The confidence gap. 50% of women report that they experience feelings of self-doubt about their performance and careers — one of the main drivers of the wage gap and why many mid-level women feel behind in their careers. Not okay.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Naomi: Advice I wish I had — you don’t need to see someone who looks like you, talks like you, or has the same personality as you running a company to start a company. You can make your own way and widen the options of examples for the next generation.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Naomi: Through Shine, closing the confidence gap for women and giving employees across the country the resources, personalization, and content to bring their A-game each day to their work, professional growth, and mental health.

Me: Who are your heroes?

Naomi: My gma, Myra- she was good through and through and she told me she believed in me every day. Her favorite saying was “pretty is as pretty does.” You’re only as beautiful as your actions. Those words stuck with me since age 5.

Amy Poehler & Tina Fey — smart, sexy and funny should not exist independently. In their humor, friendship, intellect, and vulnerability they’ve created conversations and elevated women’s issues for the everyday women.

My boyfriend Ruaraidh — He’s a constant force of support, love, and goodness. Making him proud brings me joy and he’s a huge advocate for strong women and women’s rights. Love you, Ruar!

Me: What is your best discovery?

Naomi: UNIQLO jeggings. They feel like pajamas but look chic & classy. They come in all colors and they are $29. Throw them on with a blazer and a scarf and you are good to to. You look put together, you are comfortable and you are ready for whatever the day throws your way. Comfort matters when you’re hustling through a busy work day.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Naomi: “The new look of entrepreneurship”

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Naomi: I don’t have any big regrets. Each step along the way brought me to where I am now and cliche as that may sound, I don’t think it’s healthy to live with regret. It’s important to process the past, recognize how you can change for the better, and move on. Life’s too short.

Me: Anything else we should know about?

Naomi: Join Shine and get daily texts to help you slay the day. Text “SHINE” to 30644 or sign up on the website: www.shinetext.com

This post originally appeared on Kelly Hoey’s website. Keep up to date with Kelly’s latest Insights by signing up for her Innovator Insights newsletter.

 

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