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Spotlighting Our Community on International Women's Day

We are created for women, by women, and we strive to uplift one another every day through a supportive community and fashion that empowers us all to seize each moment. This International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the incredible women that make up our community, including spotlighting five inspirational individuals.

Spotlighting Our Community on International Women's Day

We are created for women, by women, and we strive to uplift one another every day through a supportive community and fashion that empowers us all to seize each moment. This International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the incredible women that make up our community, including spotlighting five inspirational individuals.

Taryn Brumfitt | AU

Award-Winning Filmmaker, Bestselling Author, Accomplished Keynote Speaker, and 2023 Australian of the Year

Taryn is the founder of the Body Image Movement and director of the EMBRACE and EMBRACE KIDS documentaries. Taryn is a fiercely passionate advocate for social change, with her message having reached more than 200 million people around the world. She was also recently named the 2023 Australian of the Year.

“Women have shown up for me in every way possible. From small projects to big, from menial tasks to epic ones.”

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

Women have shown up for me in every way possible. From small projects to big, from menial tasks to epic ones. Day, night, through the night. In emergencies, on WhatsApp, email, phone! You name it.

I remember a few years ago, during COVID and the breakdown of my marriage, it was Emma Isaacs and Lorna Jane Clarkson on the end of a phone call supporting me. They’re the kind of friends who I don’t get to speak to regularly, but I know when sh*t hits the fan, we’re there for each other.

I make it a point to try and always show up for the women in my life in the same way.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

That we learn and grow together. And support one another—flaws and all.

As (majority) women, we’ve all had very similar experiences and I’ve just been fortunate enough to be in a situation where I can advocate for others for change.

I’ve made enough mistakes over the years, but everyone gets it and is very supportive. They’ve helped pick me up when I’ve fallen down, and again, I try to do the same for them.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

One: There are so many I admire but I have to say the one woman I still fan-girl over, even after knowing her for many years now, is my friend Natasha Stott Despoja AO. I admire her strength and grace, her grit, her determination and her genuineness.

Two: I most admire the women in my life that show up in a way that is raw and real, and authentic. They are the kind of women that roll up their sleeves to get their hands dirty and to do good in the world. And they swear a lot, and are always up for a laugh—maybe a bit like me.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

I’ve never met anyone that has learned to Embrace their body and regretted it! The best thing about my work is hearing the stories of what people are doing with their lives, energy and time since learning to accept and appreciate their body, instead of spending their time at war with it.

I get told every day about the joyful adventures people are embarking on because they no longer hate their bodies or feel held back by their body image—there is nothing better for me than passing this message on and then seeing it in action.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

I’ve been obsessed with FRANKIE4 forever, I love all the shoes but my faves are the Nat White sneakers. I live in them—literally.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

Over the past decade we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to improving body image and increasing positive health behaviours—and we know that shame and judgement are not the answer. Despite this, not enough has changed.

So my academic counterpart Dr Zali Yager and I have formed The Embrace Collective—a not-for-profit at the forefront of a new, evidence-informed, creatively-led approach to improving body image that does away with the shaming and judgement.

The focus is on teaching body appreciation and inclusivity, while at the same time changing the environments around us - think schools, community, sport, online and media settings—so they are safer and more inclusive.

It’s a big job, but we’re doing it with style in FRANKIE4 shoes! Thanks for your support xo

Dr. Laura Genovesi | AU

Cancer Biologist and Research Fellow

A cancer biologist whose research and ongoing work is dedicated to fighting paediatric brain tumours. Currently, Dr. Genovesi is consulting and holds a research fellow position.

“I’m incredibly grateful to have such a supportive circle of women and cannot imagine where I would be without this.”

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

I could not agree more. The best thing about my community is that not only are they truly supportive and have my back, but they also always push me to put my best foot forward. There are so many individuals in my circle who inspire me with what they have accomplished and what they stand for, and this act alone drives me to want to be my best.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

What I love about the women in my life is that they always, without fail, have each other’s back. We can be in completely different career paths or have different challenges, however, irrespective of this, collaboration always comes before competition. I’m incredibly grateful to have such a supportive circle of women and cannot imagine where I would be without this.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

So much! One of the most exciting and rewarding things in my work is seeing what we can achieve as a team. I work with so many kinds of scientists that all have different fields of expertise. What’s so rewarding and inspiring is seeing everyone come and work together on one research question or problem, developing research plans and techniques together on how best to answer this particular question or problem—and then seeing the results at the end of this! This can take years to get to that final result but nothing beats that feeling—making a new discovery that can help to improve survival rates for children diagnosed with brain cancer.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

FRANKIE4 heels. I’m on my feet all day and it’s hard to find a comfortable high heel that you can walk in all night! I’ve had them for years but still wear them all the time.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

I can’t thank FRANKIE4 and the FRANKIE4 community enough for supporting children and their families that are dealing with a brain cancer diagnosis. Every year, brain cancer kills more children than any other disease. Enormous advances in medicine have been made in the past few decades, but sadly when it comes to brain cancer, very little has changed. The FRANKIE4 community is directly driving a conversation for paediatric brain cancer and enabling a way for the broader community to help those that truly need it. We could not be more grateful.

Tahnee Passmore-Barns | AU

The Kangaroo Sanctuary

Wildlife carer and co-owner of The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs, a remarkable sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of orphaned kangaroos. As well as helping to educate the public about Australia’s special wildlife through her work, Tahnee is also co-owner and CEO of Centre Bush Bus.

“I am fortunate to have many women in my life who I admire and am inspired by…all doing incredible things.”

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

I was lucky to have two amazing female mentors through my 20s and 30s who provided incredible guidance and motivation. And now many incredible and inspiring women who support me daily.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

For our kangaroo sanctuary, we love the passion and kindness our fellow volunteer wildlife carers, visitors, followers, etc. demonstrate every day.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

There isn’t one woman in particular. I am fortunate to have many women in my life who I admire and am inspired by. They include friends, family, wildlife volunteers, colleagues, Central Australian Aboriginal women, and other women out there, all doing incredible things. All who I admire and am inspired by for different reasons, including their compassion, kindness, humour, love, nurturing, passion, and profound connection with nature.

And of course, I am in awe of, am inspired by, and am nurtured by Mother Nature every day.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

That we are able to be mum to orphaned joeys so that they are given a chance to survive, to grow strong, and to be released back to the wild. Or to live their life at our 188 acre sanctuary. Our oldest rescue who lives at our sanctuary is gorgeous Abi at 16 years young—she is pure love.

Through our BBC documentary Kangaroo Dundee, our few million followers on social media, and our guided tours that we inspire people around the world to be kind and caring to animals and nature. That we inspire people to rescue animals and many become wildlife carers, animal shelter volunteers, vets, etc.

And to care deeply for nature.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

Tabitha Dusty Rose Canvas. Comfy and a great colour!

Dr. Shruti Singal | US

MD, MBA—Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer Optum

With a passion for encouraging lifelong learning and a focus on access to care, Dr. Singal (MD, MBA) has transitioned from a practicing emergency room physician to leadership over her impressive career. She is Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer at Optum, a renowned pharmacy benefit manager and health care provider.

“We all start from the ground up. It can be really difficult to do it alone. Find a support group of friends that can help you expand and stretch…”

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

My mother immediately comes to mind. It started with simple things like cooking me my favorite foods to get me through the rough years of medical school. The long days, the hundreds of pages of anatomy and physiology, and all the tests…oh the tests…..it was all doable because I knew my mom was there for me….even though miles away. After residency, I moved far from home with my husband to a place with no other family. Having three babies in six years could have been so much harder if it wasn’t for my mom helping me through the tough weeks after bringing each of them home. She understood how important it was for me to have a family and still continue to grow and excel in my career.

What advice would you give to women starting to build their dreams and aspirations from the ground up?

We all start from the ground up. It can be really difficult to do it alone. Find a support group of friends that can help you expand and stretch. Also keep learning—whether it is on the job or external. Learning can be done anywhere.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

I love my community of women. I actually have two. My neighborhood “village of moms” who have helped each other look out for our children from when they were toddlers. We watch these kids grow and move on to college and cheer them on. My other community resides all over the country. Women I have met through work, through school and training and others just through social media. I am so grateful for all of them.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

I most admire my mom…..I will never be the mother she has been to me. She came to this country with a two-year-old (me) alone. My father had flown out a year before. She had never been on a plane or out of India. They were not well off and had to learn a new way to get through the days without any family or support. She is a great mom and grandmother.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

I am so lucky to be in healthcare. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I was able to work with people one-on-one for years in the emergency department and now I can make decisions that affect large populations of people as Chief Medical Officer at Optum. The patients and the people that deliver healthcare are always top of mind.

I also feel so lucky to have had great mentors, so I have made it part of my mission to give back. I'm a part of many mentoring projects—one being CSweetener. It’s a healthcare based program where healthcare executives are invited to be mentors. I have had the opportunity to meet with young energetic newcomers to the healthcare world. I have learned so much from my wonderful mentees!

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

I am a petite 5’2” and a great heel is my go to. I love that I wore my FRANKIE4s all over Vegas. They are comfortable AND stylish.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

I am so honored to be a brand ambassador for FRANKIE4. FRANKIE4 as a company is about more than shoes. At their core they care about women, sustainability, and innovation.

Erika Hanafin Feldhus | US

CEO, HeyMama

Erika Hanafin Feldhus is the CEO of HeyMama, one of the first membership communities for moms in business. She seeks to raise women up globally through leadership, philanthropy, and collaboration.

“Be clear on your values and then surround yourself with people who align with them.”

HeyMama

Erika Hanafin Feldhus

EQUI-KIDS

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

As the oldest of 4 girls, I guess you could say women have always been an important part of my life. I was fortunate to have a beautiful childhood surrounded by strong, confident women. My mother, who raised 4 girls under the age of 7, was extremely active in our church and community and taught us at a young age the importance of getting involved and giving back. My grandmother, the CEO of a medical products company, was one of the original advocates for women’s rights and equal pay. She made it quite clear to me that I was capable of doing any man’s job, and probably better! They both taught me how to be a strong independent leader, and the importance of self-worth. And through example, they inspired me to be a philanthropist and advocate for women early on and throughout my career.

What advice would you give to women starting to build their dreams and aspirations from the ground up?

Be clear on your values and then surround yourself with people who align with them. As an entrepreneur and leader, it is easy to be swayed and sometimes that can take you off course. When you are surrounded by people who have similar pillars, they will naturally help lift you up, guide you, and support you when you most need it.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

HeyMama is THE community for moms in business at any stage of their careers—whether they are just coming back into the workforce or are actively building an empire. The overall goal at HeyMama is to help members succeed in their careers while at the same time normalizing motherhood. This shared connection and vulnerability naturally builds a safe space for our community and I am constantly blown away everyday by stories of meaningful collaborations and bonds between members who are actively supporting each other—it truly does set our community apart.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

My grandmother, Marcella Hanafin, was a woman well ahead of her time. Her and my grandfather founded a medical device business in their garage while raising 5 children! She was a huge advocate for women – in fact was the first woman honored by the Health Industry Manufacturer’s Association, traveled extensively (her favorite place to visit was FRANKIE4’s home country), and worked on setting up scholarships, educational opportunities for students of all walks of life, mentored and received numerous awards for her work. She continues to be my source of inspiration every day.

I’m also incredibly grateful for the women I have in my life today, especially HeyMama’s co-founder Amri Kibbler who is a visionary community builder. I admire Amri and her consistent ability to spread joy and happiness by helping women develop self-worth personally and professionally. She is truly an inspiration.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

Giving back is part of my mission to compassionately raise women up through leadership, collaboration, philanthropy, and funding, on a global level. I have the privilege of working among an amazing team and with some of the most inspiring women I have ever met. Women who are raising families (some as single parents) and caring for aging parents while building remarkable companies. Each of these women inspire me daily and help me focus on being my best self.

Additionally, I mentor for several young women, am an advisor for a startup changing the wagon industry and sit on the board of EQUI-KIDS, a 501c3 organization that provides life-changing equine-assisted services to a large and diverse community of children and adults with special needs, active-duty service members, veterans, and first responders in Virginia Beach and within Hampton Roads. The work is rewarding to me on a very personal level. I am helping to make a difference in someone’s life. And I can see the impact my actions have, no matter how small, in the grander scheme of things.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

I love FRANKIE4’s sneakers, especially my Jackie III White/ Rose Gold Lizard Emboss sneakers. They go with everything, and I can change up the laces to fit my mood. They are my go-to for travel and playing outside with my son.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

A gentle reminder to all women, especially moms—there is no such thing as perfect, and you must put your oxygen mask on first. In the hierarchy of needs, you simply cannot succeed personally or professionally until you have taken care of yourself.

Taryn Brumfitt | AU

Award-Winning Filmmaker, Bestselling Author, Accomplished Keynote Speaker, and 2023 Australian of the Year

Taryn is the founder of the Body Image Movement and director of the EMBRACE and EMBRACE KIDS documentaries. Taryn is a fiercely passionate advocate for social change, with her message having reached more than 200 million people around the world. She was also recently named the 2023 Australian of the Year.

Women have shown up for me in every way possible. From small projects to big, from menial tasks to epic ones.”

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

Women have shown up for me in every way possible. From small projects to big, from menial tasks to epic ones. Day, night, through the night. In emergencies, on WhatsApp, email, phone! You name it.

I remember a few years ago, during COVID and the breakdown of my marriage, it was Emma Isaacs and Lorna Jane Clarkson on the end of a phone call supporting me. They’re the kind of friends who I don’t get to speak to regularly, but I know when sh*t hits the fan, we’re there for each other.

I make it a point to try and always show up for the women in my life in the same way.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

That we learn and grow together. And support one another—flaws and all.

As (majority) women, we’ve all had very similar experiences and I’ve just been fortunate enough to be in a situation where I can advocate for others for change.

I’ve made enough mistakes over the years, but everyone gets it and is very supportive. They’ve helped pick me up when I’ve fallen down, and again, I try to do the same for them.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

One: There are so many I admire but I have to say the one woman I still fan-girl over, even after knowing her for many years now, is my friend Natasha Stott Despoja AO. I admire her strength and grace, her grit, her determination and her genuineness.

Two: I most admire the women in my life that show up in a way that is raw and real, and authentic. They are the kind of women that roll up their sleeves to get their hands dirty and to do good in the world. And they swear a lot, and are always up for a laugh—maybe a bit like me.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

I’ve never met anyone that has learned to Embrace their body and regretted it! The best thing about my work is hearing the stories of what people are doing with their lives, energy and time since learning to accept and appreciate their body, instead of spending their time at war with it.

I get told every day about the joyful adventures people are embarking on because they no longer hate their bodies or feel held back by their body image—there is nothing better for me than passing this message on and then seeing it in action.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

I’ve been obsessed with FRANKIE4 forever, I love all the shoes but my faves are the Nat White sneakers. I live in them—literally.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

Over the past decade we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to improving body image and increasing positive health behaviours—and we know that shame and judgement are not the answer. Despite this, not enough has changed.

So my academic counterpart Dr Zali Yager and I have formed The Embrace Collective—a not-for-profit at the forefront of a new, evidence-informed, creatively-led approach to improving body image that does away with the shaming and judgement.

The focus is on teaching body appreciation and inclusivity, while at the same time changing the environments around us - think schools, community, sport, online and media settings—so they are safer and more inclusive.

It’s a big job, but we’re doing it with style in FRANKIE4 shoes! Thanks for your support xo

Dr. Laura Genovesi | AU

Cancer Biologist and Research Fellow

A cancer biologist whose research and ongoing work is dedicated to fighting paediatric brain tumours. Currently, Dr. Genovesi is consulting and holds an honorary research fellow position at The University of Queensland.

“I’m incredibly grateful to have such a supportive circle of women and cannot imagine where I would be without this.”

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

I could not agree more. The best thing about my community is that not only are they truly supportive and have my back, but they also always push me to put my best foot forward. There are so many individuals in my circle who inspire me with what they have accomplished and what they stand for, and this act alone drives me to want to be my best.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

What I love about the women in my life is that they always, without fail, have each other’s back. We can be in completely different career paths or have different challenges, however, irrespective of this, collaboration always comes before competition. I’m incredibly grateful to have such a supportive circle of women and cannot imagine where I would be without this.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

So much! One of the most exciting and rewarding things in my work is seeing what we can achieve as a team. I work with so many kinds of scientists that all have different fields of expertise. What’s so rewarding and inspiring is seeing everyone come and work together on one research question or problem, developing research plans and techniques together on how best to answer this particular question or problem—and then seeing the results at the end of this! This can take years to get to that final result but nothing beats that feeling—making a new discovery that can help to improve survival rates for children diagnosed with brain cancer.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

FRANKIE4 heels. I’m on my feet all day and it’s hard to find a comfortable high heel that you can walk in all night! I’ve had them for years but still wear them all the time.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

I can’t thank FRANKIE4 and the FRANKIE4 community enough for supporting children and their families that are dealing with a brain cancer diagnosis. Every year, brain cancer kills more children than any other disease. Enormous advances in medicine have been made in the past few decades, but sadly when it comes to brain cancer, very little has changed. The FRANKIE4 community is directly driving a conversation for paediatric brain cancer and enabling a way for the broader community to help those that truly need it. We could not be more grateful.

Tahnee Passmore-Barns | AU

The Kangaroo Sanctuary

Wildlife carer and co-owner of The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs, a remarkable sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of orphaned kangaroos. As well as helping to educate the public about Australia’s special wildlife through her work, Tahnee is also co-owner and CEO of Centre Bush Bus.

“I am fortunate to have many women in my life who I admire and am inspired by…all doing incredible things.”

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

I was lucky to have two amazing female mentors through my 20s and 30s who provided incredible guidance and motivation. And now many incredible and inspiring women who support me daily.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

For our kangaroo sanctuary, we love the passion and kindness our fellow volunteer wildlife carers, visitors, followers, etc. demonstrate every day.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

There isn’t one woman in particular. I am fortunate to have many women in my life who I admire and am inspired by. They include friends, family, wildlife volunteers, colleagues, Central Australian Aboriginal women, and other women out there, all doing incredible things. All who I admire and am inspired by for different reasons, including their compassion, kindness, humour, love, nurturing, passion, and profound connection with nature.

And of course, I am in awe of, am inspired by, and am nurtured by Mother Nature every day.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

That we are able to be mum to orphaned joeys so that they are given a chance to survive, to grow strong, and to be released back to the wild. Or to live their life at our 188 acre sanctuary. Our oldest rescue who lives at our sanctuary is gorgeous Abi at 16 years young—she is pure love.

Through our BBC documentary Kangaroo Dundee, our few million followers on social media, and our guided tours that we inspire people around the world to be kind and caring to animals and nature. That we inspire people to rescue animals and many become wildlife carers, animal shelter volunteers, vets, etc. And to care deeply for nature.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

Tabitha Dusty Rose Canvas. Comfy and a great colour!

Dr. Shruti Singal | US

MD, MBA—Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer Optum

With a passion for encouraging lifelong learning and a focus on access to care, Dr. Singal (MD, MBA) has transitioned from a practicing emergency room physician to leadership over her impressive career. She is Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer at Optum, a renowned pharmacy benefit manager and health care provider.

“We all start from the ground up. It can be really difficult to do it alone. Find a support group of friends that can help you expand and stretch…”

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

My mother immediately comes to mind. It started with simple things like cooking me my favorite foods to get me through the rough years of medical school. The long days, the hundreds of pages of anatomy and physiology, and all the tests…oh the tests…..it was all doable because I knew my mom was there for me….even though miles away. After residency, I moved far from home with my husband to a place with no other family. Having three babies in six years could have been so much harder if it wasn’t for my mom helping me through the tough weeks after bringing each of them home. She understood how important it was for me to have a family and still continue to grow and excel in my career.

What advice would you give to women starting to build their dreams and aspirations from the ground up?

We all start from the ground up. It can be really difficult to do it alone. Find a support group of friends that can help you expand and stretch. Also keep learning—whether it is on the job or external. Learning can be done anywhere.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

I love my community of women. I actually have two. My neighborhood “village of moms” who have helped each other look out for our children from when they were toddlers. We watch these kids grow and move on to college and cheer them on. My other community resides all over the country. Women I have met through work, through school and training and others just through social media. I am so grateful for all of them.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

I most admire my mom…..I will never be the mother she has been to me. She came to this country with a two-year-old (me) alone. My father had flown out a year before. She had never been on a plane or out of India. They were not well off and had to learn a new way to get through the days without any family or support. She is a great mom and grandmother.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

I am so lucky to be in healthcare. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I was able to work with people one-on-one for years in the emergency department and now I can make decisions that affect large populations of people as Chief Medical Officer at Optum. The patients and the people that deliver healthcare are always top of mind.

I also feel so lucky to have had great mentors, so I have made it part of my mission to give back. I'm a part of many mentoring projects—one being CSweetener. It’s a healthcare based program where healthcare executives are invited to be mentors. I have had the opportunity to meet with young energetic newcomers to the healthcare world. I have learned so much from my wonderful mentees!

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

I am a petite 5’2” and a great heel is my go to. I love that I wore my FRANKIE4s all over Vegas. They are comfortable AND stylish.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

I am so honored to be a brand ambassador for FRANKIE4. FRANKIE4 as a company is about more than shoes. At their core they care about women, sustainability, and innovation.

Erika Hanafin Feldhus | US

CEO, HeyMama

Erika Hanafin Feldhus is the CEO of HeyMama, one of the first membership communities for moms in business. She seeks to raise women up globally through leadership, philanthropy, and collaboration.

“Be clear on your values and then surround yourself with people who align with them.”

Hey Mama

Erika

EQUI-KIDS

What role have the women in your life played in empowering and supporting your goals?

As the oldest of 4 girls, I guess you could say women have always been an important part of my life. I was fortunate to have a beautiful childhood surrounded by strong, confident women. My mother, who raised 4 girls under the age of 7, was extremely active in our church and community and taught us at a young age the importance of getting involved and giving back. My grandmother, the CEO of a medical products company, was one of the original advocates for women’s rights and equal pay. She made it quite clear to me that I was capable of doing any man’s job, and probably better! They both taught me how to be a strong independent leader, and the importance of self-worth. And through example, they inspired me to be a philanthropist and advocate for women early on and throughout my career.

What advice would you give to women starting to build their dreams and aspirations from the ground up?

Be clear on your values and then surround yourself with people who align with them. As an entrepreneur and leader, it is easy to be swayed and sometimes that can take you off course. When you are surrounded by people who have similar pillars, they will naturally help lift you up, guide you, and support you when you most need it.

Creating a community who uplifts one another is crucial, what’s the best thing about yours?

HeyMama is THE community for moms in business at any stage of their careers—whether they are just coming back into the workforce or are actively building an empire. The overall goal at HeyMama is to help members succeed in their careers while at the same time normalizing motherhood. This shared connection and vulnerability naturally builds a safe space for our community and I am constantly blown away everyday by stories of meaningful collaborations and bonds between members who are actively supporting each other—it truly does set our community apart.

Who is the woman you most admire and why? / What do you most admire about the women in your life?

My grandmother, Marcella Hanafin, was a woman well ahead of her time. Her and my grandfather founded a medical device business in their garage while raising 5 children! She was a huge advocate for women – in fact was the first woman honored by the Health Industry Manufacturer’s Association, traveled extensively (her favorite place to visit was FRANKIE4’s home country), and worked on setting up scholarships, educational opportunities for students of all walks of life, mentored and received numerous awards for her work. She continues to be my source of inspiration every day.

I’m also incredibly grateful for the women I have in my life today, especially HeyMama’s co-founder Amri Kibbler who is a visionary community builder. I admire Amri and her consistent ability to spread joy and happiness by helping women develop self-worth personally and professionally. She is truly an inspiration.

Like yourself, giving back is so important to us, what do you find most inspiring and rewarding about your work?

Giving back is part of my mission to compassionately raise women up through leadership, collaboration, philanthropy, and funding, on a global level. I have the privilege of working among an amazing team and with some of the most inspiring women I have ever met. Women who are raising families (some as single parents) and caring for aging parents while building remarkable companies. Each of these women inspire me daily and help me focus on being my best self.

Additionally, I mentor for several young women, am an advisor for a startup changing the wagon industry and sit on the board of EQUI-KIDS, a 501c3 organization that provides life-changing equine-assisted services to a large and diverse community of children and adults with special needs, active-duty service members, veterans, and first responders in Virginia Beach and within Hampton Roads. The work is rewarding to me on a very personal level. I am helping to make a difference in someone’s life. And I can see the impact my actions have, no matter how small, in the grander scheme of things.

What’s your go-to FRANKIE4 style and why?

I love FRANKIE4’s sneakers, especially my Jackie III White/ Rose Gold Lizard Emboss sneakers. They go with everything, and I can change up the laces to fit my mood. They are my go-to for travel and playing outside with my son.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or have to say about your cause, work, or FRANKIE4? 

A gentle reminder to all women, especially moms—there is no such thing as perfect, and you must put your oxygen mask on first. In the hierarchy of needs, you simply cannot succeed personally or professionally until you have taken care of yourself.

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