Home LifestyleCareer International Women’s Day: Local Women Who Inspire Us

International Women’s Day: Local Women Who Inspire Us

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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While we celebrate amazing women in the community all year long, March is the time where we honor the amazing accomplishments of those who have come before us and look to the future of how women will continue to change our world. Commemorated as Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the world pauses to celebrate our leading ladies. Hudson County is home to some fabulous women who are trendsetters, business moguls, fearless leaders, and more. Read on to learn more about a few breakout ladies in our area.

Amanda DiPasquale of Amanda Bananas Food Truck

Amanda DiPasquale

Please describe what you do.

My business is Amanda Bananas Food Truck. We offer a healthier alternative to ice cream and frozen yogurt. Our product’s base is made from 100% fruit with no dairy or added sugar. We’ve recently expanded our menu to also include smoothies and blurries. You can usually find me working the truck every day from April through October.

Outside of your career, what is something people would not realize about you?

Something people would not realize about me is I love watching college basketball and am a huge Villanova basketball fan.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?

My advice to the next generation of women leaders would be to surround yourself with people who will motivate you, cheer for you, and want the best for you. When women support other women, incredible things can happen.

What is the proudest moment of your life?

I am a former math teacher and receiving the Teacher of the Year Award was a very proud moment for me.

What do you do for fun locally?

When I’m not working, I love trying new restaurants with my husband and spending time with my cat and dog.

Read More: This Women-Owned, LGBTQ+ Business Is Making Waves at Local Pop-Ups

Ariel + Hannah of Happy Box 

Ariel Hannah happy box

Please describe what you do. 

We run a custom gifting e-commerce company called Happy Box! With Happy Box, you can build and send a totally custom care package in a few clicks by picking a box design, adding some fabulous gift items (we have hundreds to choose from), selecting your card, and writing your gift note. Our team hand-packs your box, handwrites your card, and ships your gift right to your recipients’ door. Happy Box also does custom corporate gifting for some major brands (think: Uber, Spotify, Amazon, Accenture, etc). We’ve also built giving back into our business model and donate to amazing organizations each month. We’re happily headquartered in Hoboken in the Monroe Center.

Outside of your career, what is something people would not realize about you?

We’re sisters and co-founders, which people may know, but what catches most people off-guard is that we’re Venezuelan and grew up bilingual. Our mom came to this country when she was 25 to study film and fell in love with New York, and our dad, who’s from New York. We are proudly MWBE certified (Minority Women in Business Enterprise) and for that reason also support many other women and minority-owned businesses by sourcing gifts from them for our site as well.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

Two pieces of advice: First, keep going and don’t stop until you’re the last person standing. As a leader, you will need to persevere through hard times and set an example for the women watching you.  Believe in yourself and trust your gut – that has proven so beneficial to us in our entrepreneurial journey. When you’re doing something new, hard, or different, we tend to get imposter syndrome, but know that you are smart, worthy, and trust your instincts. Second, find a mentor – ideally someone who is doing what you aspire to do 10 years from now. You’ll learn a lot and have someone in your corner rooting for you along your journey. Our mentors have been invaluable as we’ve grown Happy Box.

What is the proudest moment of your life? 

Birthing/meeting our daughters for the first time (just a couple of months ago for both of us – new mom alert), but business-wise, quitting our full-time jobs was the (second) best feeling in the world! We had been side-hustling for five long years, juggling our demanding corporate jobs every day and working on Happy Box every night, weekend, holiday, and lunch break. Quitting meant more to us than getting some hours back – it meant placing a major bet on ourselves, our ability to run the business and grow it to something successful. We’re so proud of where we are today and excited for more growth to come. 

What do you do for fun locally? 

We love to go for long walks along the waterfront. Hoboken truly has the absolute best views, and we enjoy soaking it all up. We also love working from our amazing local coffee spots like Choc●O●pain, Mojo, Black Rail, and The Hive.

Dileiny Rodriguez Baron of lovefashionandfriends.com

Dileiny Rodriguez Baron

Please describe what you do.

I’m a style blogger/influencer over at www.lovefashionandfriends.com and also run an Etsy Shop where I sell vintage clothes and jewelry, graphic tees/sweatshirts that are designed by me, and seasonal downloadable style books to help women effortlessly dress themselves every season. 

Outside of your career, what is something people would not realize about you?

A lot of times my audience is surprised when I share that I have a 15-year-old son. I was married at a young age and had my first son by 24, and was then divorced by 26. I was a single mother for a few years before I met my now-husband and we then had our son five years ago. It’s not often I cover my kids and husband on the blog, not because I don’t want to – but because they hate the process of shooting videos and photos, so I very much keep it separate.  

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

Follow your own path of what making money looks like, forget about the societal norms of just having a 9-5. I run an Airbnb, an Etsy Shop, I monetize my Blog, I re-sell clothes on Poshmark, I get hired to model, I work with brands on sponsored posts, I’m considering flipping homes, and also becoming a style consultant. I have many sources of income, wear many hats, and never only do one thing. That’s what makes me happy, the ability to do so many different things, create my own schedule, and be my own boss. Had I listened to society’s rules of staying comfortable at a 9-5 because it’s, “safe and stable” I would have never been this happy doing what I do every day. At first, people will look at you like you’re crazy and then they’ll want you to teach them how you did it. 

What is the proudest moment of your life? 

The proudest moment of my life would have to be the day I decided to quit my corporate job and pursue my career as a full-time blogger. It was a life-changing decision that has brought me to amazing places both externally and internally. 

What do you do for fun locally?

For fun, I love to check out new local places with friends, for drinks and bites, and I gravitate towards live music. I’m currently loving the vibes at La Boheme in Hoboken and Harry’s Daughter in Jersey City, both have a live music night.

See More: 22 Hoboken + Jersey City Women to Watch in 2022

Cristin Van Horn of Jane Do

Cristin Van Horn

Please describe what you do.

I am the creative voice of the female-owned fitness studio, Jane DO. I write all the copy and create content for the brand, which empowers women to be the strongest version of themselves physically, emotionally, financially, and sexually. I am also a trainer and teach group classes, which I absolutely love. In addition to my full-time gig at Jane, I am also a freelance writer. For the past year, I have been writing for the all-female therapy practice based in Hoboken and Midtown, Be.Well Psychotherapy. What makes Be.Well such an amazing place is the actively anti-racist and inclusive work the practice does and how incredibly diverse the team is. 

Outside of your career, what is something people would not realize about you?

I’m not sure that most people know that I am a writer, even though it is technically my career. A lot of the people who know me know me as a dancer, fitness personality, and trainer. If you follow me on social media, my writing isn’t as highlighted as some of the other things that I do. Also, I am ordained to officiate weddings. That’s a fun fact.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

Don’t stop being brave. It’s easy to be brave when you are young, because we are always so passionate and empathetic. We feel so much of the world, but it gets harder as we get older. We get tired and jaded and our conviction gets watered down. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget that the world still needs our passion and bravery. So don’t stop. 

What is the proudest moment of your life? 

It’s really hard for me to pinpoint my proudest moment, but I can say that I am proud of the human I have grown and continue to grow into. I have been focusing my adult life on putting my money where my mouth is, and living a life that is filled with love, honesty, integrity, and strength. I am proud of the friend I have grown into, the kind of partner I am becoming, and the woman I see in front of me, after a lot of work and deep-diving into myself. I think the goal is to be the kindest and best version of yourself each moment so that when you look back at the whole picture, you are proud of it all.   

What do you do for fun locally? 

I love finding local live music, trying a new restaurant, or ducking into a new spot for a cocktail (or two). When the weather is nice enough, taking my giant dog on long walks around Jersey City or hiking in Bergen County is always a good time.

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