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Female Disruptors: Stephanie David is creating a better humanity

I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie David, founder and Chief Storyteller at POPNOD.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie David, founder and Chief Storyteller at POPNOD, a global marketing studio that champions women-led brands.

Through their work with women-led brands across the U.S., Australia, and Europe, Stephanie and her team have helped fund thousands of months of education for children in developing countries, and delivered hundreds of messages of hope to survivors of human trafficking.

During POPNOD’s first year, Stephanie was selected by Business News Daily as one of “10 Female Entrepreneurs Who Inspired Us in 2013.”​

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Two events changed my life. My father, who had never been in a hospital, was suddenly in need of a quintuple heart bypass.

My now-husband was walking out of the World Trade Center when he heard a loud boom. He turned around as a plane hit a tower on September 11, 2001.

These events made me realize how unexpected moments can drastically change your life. Life is too fragile to not have the courage, curiosity, and creativity to make a bigger, more positive impact. I decided the impact I wanted to create is to help others succeed in creating a better humanity. I left a 12-year career in Fortune 50 corporations, most recently Microsoft, to found POPNOD.

Why did you found your company?

Along my journey, I have been inspired by passionate women who are building brands with purpose. These women are doers, and forces in their communities. POPNOD’s mission is to help take their business to new heights, beyond their own communities, and help them make an even greater impact on the world.


What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I believe in providing support, new ideas, opportunities, and a sounding board to help advance women-led businesses. Our marketing and branding work is a bit untraditional; we see ourselves as a marketing studio rather than an agency.

Our relationship with our clients is a true collaboration in sharing powerful stories that matter, growing communities, and creating meaningful conversations. We have worked with women-led businesses in tech, fashion, art, lifestyle, and thought leadership, among others. However, what all of our clients have in common is they are pushing the boundaries, challenging the status quo, and disrupting the industry in some way.

For example, one client is on a mission to teach ten million humans how to future-proof happiness by 2025.

She is transforming lives and organizations, by humanizing the future and sharing how Artificial Intelligence and technology can be used to amplify human potential rather than replace it.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

Prior to POPNOD, I worked in Fortune 50 companies for over a decade. I took on male-dominated roles, in environments where my colleagues and bosses were many years older than me.

However, I was fortunate to have had supportive mentors, both men and women, who helped me navigate the complexities of big corporate environments. It is their unconditional support and advice that helped me build the resilience, courage, and curiosity needed in running my own business today.

They also showed me what it means to be a good leader — one who inspires, is humble, and helps their team thrive.

How are you going to shake things up next?

My goal for the next 6–12 months is to amplify the amazing work of women-led businesses even more by teaming up with like-minded organizations to build greater communities and conversations around the advancement of women. It is an exciting time we live in now. Women are more confident, vocal and empowered than ever before in creating impact and change.


Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

Faith it until you make it. A fellow business owner recently shared this with me. It takes on a different, more positive connotation than “fake it until you make it.” I, like many business owners, fell into the imposter syndrome which can feel inauthentic and energy-draining. Instead of faking it, truly trust and believe in yourself. Your days will be filled with positive energy and more fruitful experiences.

One person can make a difference. But together we can rock the world. When your single goal is to run a successful business, it is easy to compare yourself to others and feel competitive with those similar to you. However, opening yourself to others, building communities and relationships, and collaborating with those who have similar values as you can amplify your voice even more. The more you surround yourself with smart, supportive, and successful people, the more impact you can make together.

When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. I was the shy one growing up, never speaking up in class or sharing my opinions in fear that the whole world would disagree with me. A person close to me once said that if you don’t stand for anything, you stand for nothing. What would life be like if you didn’t value your own voice? These are words that I keep close to heart and are more meaningful now more than ever.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

What I’m reading now is Rethink Creativity by Monica Kang. It has helped me think about how to find creative solutions to familiar problems — in work and in life. It encourages you to not take everything at face value, just because we were formally taught certain things. It encourages us to question things, be curious, and nourish our creativity just as much as we care about nourishing our bodies with a healthy diet and exercise.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Emma Watson. The way she has leveraged her celebritism as a platform to fight for global women’s rights and men’s involvement in feminism — it’s inspiring. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.” Not to mention that she has impeccable style when it comes to sustainable and ethical fashion.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow our work on Instagram at @popnodshop and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/popnodapp . I also love connecting with others on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniedavid1/ .

Originally published at medium.com

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