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Be Brave Series: Women Who Left Their Corporate Jobs to Start Their Own Businesses

June 15, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

This event is for Premium Members only. Please upgrade your Koa Club Membership, or if you are already a member, please log in to your account to register for this event.

Who can attend

  • This event is reserved for Beyond Awesome Members only and for registered participants of the 2021 GovWFollowMyLead Program or the 2021 PowWFollowMyLead Program.
  • Free for all Beyond Awesome members of The Koa Club to attend the workshop.
  • For participants of the 2021 GovWFollowMyLead Program or the 2021 PowWFollowMyLead Program, please use the promotional code found in the “Bonus Workshop” on the Workshop Dashboard to register for the workshop for free.
  • Any Awesome Members who would like to attend, please upgrade to a Beyond Awesome Membership through your Membership portal.

Presented by

A panel featuring:

  • Anne Penikis, Former Bay Area technologist and aspiring Pacific Northwest farmer
  • Meg Manazir, Owner at Fiona Wellness and Executive Communications at Microsoft
  • Sonja Kassebaum, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer, North Shore Distillery

Date & Time

Online via Zoom only:

*****Zoom link will be sent out to registered participants in their RSVP email*****

Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Time: 12pm – 1:00 pmPT/2pm-3pmCT/3pm-4pmET


According to a recent Inc. Magazine article, women start about 849 new businesses on a daily basis in the US and over the past 20 years, the number of women-owned firms has increased 114%, bringing women owned businesses to their largest market share.  Oftentimes, a person may decide to start their own business because of necessity, such as layoffs and looking for extra income.  So, if someone has a well-paying corporate job and is on the right path to move up the corporate ladder, why would she choose to her corporate job with the guaranteed salary for an uncertain future of starting her own business? Is it the desire to create something of her own, be the one calling the shots, have more flexibility in her schedule, or something else? We have the pleasure of speaking with a few incredible women who have chosen to take the bold step of leaving their corporate job to embark on their own adventure of being an entrepreneur. We want to hear what made them choose their new path, how do they decide it was the right path for them, how they made that transition and what insights they want to share about making that major career change.

There is no easy path to succeeding as an entrepreneur, it takes a lot of hard work but the rewards can be incredibly gratifying, as you will hear from our panelists.  As a woman entrepreneur, it is even harder, as women continue to struggle with gaining respect in the entrepreneurial community. According to an article in Fortune Magazine, female-founded companies only received 2 percent of venture capital funding in 2017. We will also hear from our panelists on how they continue to make strides in their entrepreneurial pursuits despite this and other challenges.


Anne Penikis

Anne Penikis is a recovering Bay Area technologist and aspiring Pacific Northwest farmer. She has nearly 20 years in the technology space spanning product and engineering management , strategic planning, client and web application development, and operations planning. She has led teams at Walmart US eCommerce and Hewlett-Packard and, most recently, was head of technology at World Pulse, a global social networking platform for women activists. She is now exploring roles and opportunities to address food security and sustainability. This is a recent pivot; pandemic inspired and driven by a desire to not return to the rat race of corporate life. She is currently working pro-bono with businesses that are driven to make a real impact on our future food security; from the soil we manage, to seed security, to safe and equitable distribution of food. Organizations and companies include; Wild Roots Farm, Vancouver Farmers Market, Remineralize and Planetary C.A.R.E.

Meg Manazir, Owner at Fiona Wellness and Executive Communications at Microsoft. Meg is a constant seeker of positive obstacles. Her career has been part strategy, part coaching, part crisis communications and a whole lot of playing with words. Her love of challenges took on a whole new meaning after an accident in spring 2019. Inspired to do something with the gift of life she had been given, she started Fiona Wellness, a health and wellness coaching practice. She now works with women to build their own healthy obstacles – sustainable habits for better stress management and more vibrant, happier lives. When she’s not working, you can find her completely disconnected from tech. She loves to get out in nature whenever she can – whether that be strapped to skis in the winter, or hiking, camping or in the water in the warmer months. Her favorite girl, Fiona, is always by her side for adventures.

Sonja Kassebaum

Sonja Kassebaum, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of North Shore Distillery, LLC.  Sonja started out as an attorney in a law firm, then became Global Human Resource Director for a publicly held, multinational consulting technology firm for several years, before deciding to take the big leap away from the corporate world to became a co-founder of the first craft distillery in Illinois, a thriving small business selling beautifully crafted spirits across the Midwest.

Membership to The Koa Club

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June 15, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


Online Only
Via Zoom link provided United States