Since 2011, Hera Hub has supported hundreds of women business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. This year, Hera Hub celebrates its 8th anniversary by recognizing members of the community in a special anniversary member spotlight series. For this two-part series, members were asked to share what inspired them to start their business, highlight their proudest moments in business and what they believe women must do to encourage the next generation of women to pursue entrepreneurship. Did you miss part one? View it here.

Meet some of the incredible women who discovered Hera Hub and explore the various ways they each create impact.



 Klara Farkas — Chief Communications Officer, Klarity International

What inspired you to start your business? 

My marketing career had spanned over 2 decades and while contemplating whether to continue on this path, I was asked to facilitate a program for female executives as part of a leadership development program. I was passionate about the mission of the program – preparing women for advanced levels of leadership – and I fell in love with the women themselves. After this experience, I knew it was time for me to pivot and this was what I wanted to do. I went on to become a Board Certified Executive Coach and a facilitator of leadership programs through the American Management Association and Women Unlimited Inc. Now, I marry my background in Marketing and Communication to help others master communication intelligence which is the #1 skill necessary to be an effective leader.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

The most fun I had in my corporate career was launching Taco Bell in over 12 countries around the world. This was an honor, a privilege and an absolute blast! However, my most proud moment was getting over my fear of public speaking and now actually becoming a professional paid speaker. Believing that I have a message worth sharing and actually getting up in front of audiences is probably my proudest accomplishment.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

Education and awareness! Getting more women interested and educated on the possibilities and realities of entrepreneurship is key. So many women think, that’s for someone else, not me. But planting the seed earlier (i.e. in and after college) AND showing the path to entrepreneurship would go a long way to helping women feel empowered to pursue this path.

Learn more about Klara:

Klara studied international business with a concentration in marketing in the U.S. and London, followed by an internship in Germany. She did her graduate studies at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. After being promoted to the Global Marketing Director at Taco Bell International her team launched the Taco Bell Brand in a dozen countries.

After 20 years of corporate branding, she launched Klarity International. As a personal brand coach with Klarity International Klara helps people create their own personal brand by discovering their unique promise of value and sharing it with the world. 

Connect with Klara:  Facebook  | LinkedIn |




 Valerie Grant, Owner, Grant Consulting Services

What inspired you to start your business? 

I fell into the profession of grant writing quite by accident. I had studied social work, hotel and restaurant management and ended up with a degree in business administration. While working as a volunteer coordinator for a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia, a grant opportunity with a very short deadline became available to the organization. The desire to be a team player and learn a new skill prompted me to actually volunteer to write this grant proposal. The organization was awarded the grant and I enjoyed the process so much that I started writing additional grant proposals.

After several more years and a move to another state and work with another nonprofit, I was ready to become a freelance grant writer. Grant Consulting Services began in September 2000 out of a desire to serve organizations that help people in need.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am most proud to know that I am helping organizations that make a real difference in real people’s lives. We have helped bring resources to people living with HIV/AIDS, assisted homeless women in learning job skills, and brought needed medical supplies to 3rd world countries.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

We must be engaged, mentor, and walk alongside the upcoming generation to let them know they can do it, they are not alone and have experienced support.

Learn more about Valerie:

Valerie A. Grant has worked with nonprofit organizations since 1998. She specializes in grant development which includes strategic planning, grant proposal writing, and funding research. Ms. Grant has helped organizations across the globe to obtain over $15 million in grant funding.  Valerie is the principal owner of Grant Consulting Services, a fundraising consulting firm. Grant Consulting Services assists nonprofit organizations through project development, comprehensive funding searches, expert grant management, and professional grant proposal writing services. Funding has been secured for clients in the youth development, education, and human services fields from government, corporate and foundation funding sources. Ms. Grant is also a published author and an accomplished freelance writer. Valerie has a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from Baker College in Flint, MI, and studied Social Work for two years at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA. 

Connect with Valerie:  Twitter  | LinkedIn |


Elisa Kosarin — Certified Volunteer Administration, Twenty Hats

What inspired you to start your business? 

I had worked in nonprofits for almost all of my professional life. First in fundraising and then in volunteer management. I loved working with volunteers and had the good fortune to work for an organization that excelled in volunteer management best practices. Over time, I realized that many nonprofits needed help in this area. So I began my business, Twenty Hats, to offer best practices training and consulting around effective volunteer management.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

One of my specializations is helping nonprofits measure the strategic impact of their volunteers. I just completed a project with a major museum here in the DC area, helping their entire Visitor Services team come up with impact measures. Now, the team has a measurable way to tell the story of how they engage and educate the public.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

Women need to know that there is a community out there to support their entrepreneurial growth. That’s what I love about Hera Hub. In addition to the business resources, I have the opportunity to meet and learn from a talented group of women business owners. That’s rare but much needed.

Learn more about Elisa:

Elisa Kosarin, CVA, helps nonprofits deliver fully on their missions and raise more money by strengthening their volunteer programs. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Elisa’s work is driven by the underlying belief that volunteers have the potential to transform communities – if nonprofits commit to developing high impact volunteer programs. Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA), Elisa blogs regularly on her Twenty Hats website and guests posts frequently for the VolunteerMatch Engaging Volunteers website.

Connect with Elisa:  Facebook  | LinkedIn |

Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs - Hera Hub

Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs — CEO & Co-Founder, Ephiphany Showers + Intelligent Green Products LLC.

What inspired you to start your business? 

When I was a little girl, I spent most of my summers on my great-grandfather’s ranch here in San Diego. Baba taught me how the fruits and vegetables were grown, and the role water played in everything. He stressed just how precious water is and would always be. He also showed me how to be of service to others.
Epiphany Shower US grew out of my epiphany about how best we could conserve water in our daily shower while preserving the shower experience and not require the user to change or compromise their habits or adjust their routines. By providing a win-win solution in water conservation on a global level we have created the opportunity and financial resources to initiate and fund water and food projects on a scale that I only dreamed about as I walked the orchards with Baba.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

Assembling a world-class team of extraordinary scientists, engineers, investors, advisors, and supply chain partners that share the vision that I had all those years ago. Building a company that they and new team members are proud to be a part of and have all joined the mission that we are on to save water, our environment, and increase access to potable water and food for all people, all over the globe.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

I believe we must share what entrepreneurship is when our children are young. We need to tell stories that show how many forms entrepreneurism can take as it identifies a need, creates new and unique solutions, and then grows those solutions to companies that employ and provide financial stability to dozens and perhaps hundreds or even thousands of people and families. We need to tell stories that show entrepreneurs as people in service to people.

We can do this by starting at home, in school classes and courses; create organizations and clubs and offer it just like we do for other occupations and careers. 

Learn more about Kerry:

Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs – CEO/President Epiphany Shower US and Intelligent Green Products. Envisioned and created the IntuiFlow™ concept and the physical design that is the Epiphany!™ 1000 Digital Flow Optimizer™.  25 years Innovation and Disruption / Serial Entrepreneur / 20 years Startup experience / Startup Financing / Team and Vision Builder / Water professional and Advocate / Internationational Patent Strategy / 5 patents

Kerry and her team are on track to deliver on every shower lover’s desire…luxury and performance without compromise or guilt! Helping to save billions of gallons of water and the energy to heat and treat it coupled with big savings in dollars and cents are making it easier for all of us to save our most precious resource and join their mission to provide Water And Food For All.

Connect with Kerry:   LinkedIn |

Naomi Wentworth - The Compost Company - Hera Hub

Naomi Wentworth — Founder, The Compost Company

What inspired you to start your business? 

I have composted most of my life. When I moved to the San Diego area, into an apartment with no outdoor space and no option to compost via curbside collection, I started throwing my food waste into the landfill container. This drives me absolutely nuts, knowing that the valuable nutrients in the food waste won’t get recycled back to the earth and instead will rot in the landfill off-gassing methane.

I could go off for hours here, but the short story is my previous career was in local government sustainability planning and for a couple of my projects I researched the short-term climate impacts of methane emissions. Methane is a really potent climate pollutant. Its near-term emissions have the potential to put the planet into accelerated climate change. On the flip side, focusing on reducing that pollutant first has the potential to stabilize the planet and give us time to reduce our other emissions. It also has a host of other environmental benefits – good compost sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, is key for regenerative agriculture, and reduces the need for fertilizers which have harmful runoff into our waterways. This felt like a (somewhat) simple solution to a complex problem and has been a great way for me to break away from the planning-type roles into the doing-type roles. I have absolutely loved the process so far.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am still in the pre-launch phase but looking at the launch in just a couple of months. I am proud of a lot of the relationships I have made and turning this baby from an idea to having contracts signed and almost getting it out of the imaginary phase into the real world. But honestly, the accomplishment I am most proud of, which was also the hardest for me to do, was owning that this was my path and taking all the “no’s” and non-supporters in stride and continuing on to make this thing real. The day I changed my LinkedIn to “Founder” and told my close friends and family (who I was before telling I was working odd jobs instead of owning the entrepreneurial path) was a huge relief and felt like a major accomplishment. I stepped out of my “entrepreneurial closet” which was a big accomplishment for me.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

I think it is important to really listen to women’s ideas and make them aware of the resources they could use to be successful. This idea of mine would likely still be in my imagination if it weren’t for the people along the way telling me about a pitch competition or a mentor or a business accelerator. Even if you have no resources and like the idea, something like saying “I have no resources for you, but I really hope you keep going and make this happen” can be just the thing someone needs to not give up.

Learn more about Naomi:

Naomi is the Founder of The Compost Company. She has her B.S. in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly, SLO and her M.A.S. in Climate Science and Policy from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has worked at the intersection of policy and sustainable development planning both in local government roles and as a consultant to local government. She founded Sustainable Analysis, LLC in 2017 to take on local government sustainable city planning projects as a solo consultant before starting The Compost Company. She is a futuristic thinker and a creative problem solver. No matter the role, she works to design solutions for a sustainable future. Right now – that is composting food waste for regenerative agriculture.

Connect with Naomi:  Instagram  | LinkedIn |

Natalia Tafur — Founder & Chief Researcher, Keyhole Research & Consulting

What inspired you to start your business? 

I founded Keyhole Research & Consulting as a means to grow my career in a way that would enable me to continue being a research practitioner.  On my previous corporate career path, promotions translated into managing practitioners but no longer having an interactive role in the ‘action’.  I also grew tired of ‘serving corporate kings’ that came in and out of the organization like a revolving door and who had no real passion for truly inspiring the people in the organization.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

My company is only a month old,  so my proudest accomplishment is having the courage and confidence to forge ahead with founding my own company despite the risks.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

I feel that while the dynamics of human relationships are shifting to being online and tech-oriented, there is still a fundamental need to have sharp interpersonal skills, including speaking, listening and embracing your true, authentic self.  Recently this famous quote from Maya Angelou has resonated strongly with me:  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  At the end of the day, your success will be fueled by the strength of your personal network and you must take care in growing and preserving those relationships.

Learn more about Natalia:

Natalia founded Keyhole Research and Consulting out of a passion to apply a tangible human element to research and convert insightful findings into easily-digestible and actionable insights. Her areas of expertise include product design, color, materials, quality, luxury and customer journey. She has a deep understanding of generational cohorts, as well as societal and cultural macrotrends. As a result of living abroad in Latin American and Europe, she has gained a deep cross-cultural understanding. She also has extensive experience working with Asian cultures.​

Connect with Natalia:   LinkedIn |

Liz Whitehead - 12PointFive - Hera Hub

Liz Whitehead — CEO, 12PointFive

What inspired you to start your business? 

I have been in the business of supporting women entrepreneurs since 2002 and when I started working for the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO), a regional affiliate of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). In each of my roles during my career, I identified challenges faced by women business owners and worked with my organization, the Board members and our corporate sponsors to find solutions. After about 15 years, I realized that as part of an organization, I couldn’t provide the level of service that a lot of the women wanted and needed to bring their businesses to the next level.  When I was serving thousands of women business owners, I couldn’t customize and personalize solutions for women business owners to accelerate the growth of their businesses. So I started my own business development consultancy to offer them a roadmap to maximizing their certifications and take advantage of the resources that were available to them. One of the first things I did was certifying my company as a women’s business enterprise (WBE) so I could be a part of the community my clients are in and make the opportunities available more transparent to them.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am proud of the new business that my clients have won, the new connections and friendships they’ve made and the understanding they’ve gained about the power of their certifications. In my own business, I am most proud that I launched Diversity Masterminds, with another certified women’s business enterprise (WBE). Diversity Masterminds is an online course that will help newly certified diverse businesses create a roadmap to certification success. It will also allow me to scale the proven solutions I’ve found for my consultancy clients.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

I was recently the judge of a Student Entrepreneurial Program pitch competition and I was moved to tweet about how optimistic I am for the future of women’s entrepreneurship. The young women I’ve been fortunate to meet in the entrepreneurial space (many of whom I met through programs at Hera Hub in DC) are confident, visionary, and determined to grow their businesses while making an impact. There’s a lot I’ve learned from them. With that in mind, one of the most important things we can do to support the next generation of entrepreneurs is to listen to them.

Learn more about Liz:

Sarah studied Advertising at Cal State Fullerton and started out working for large agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Yamaha in various administrative positions. She longed for more creative work and became a graphic designer – first for For Rent Magazine, then transitioned to freelance once her oldest son was born. But somewhere along the journey, she fell in love with photography.  Her first photography job was as a product photographer at Boot Barn. Sarah then ran a successful wedding photography business for years that specialized in documentary style imagery. Today Sarah is a personal brand photographer for mompreneurs.

Connect with Liz: Twitter  |  LinkedIn |

Lieve Achten - Hera Hub - ew32

Lieve Achten — CEO & Director, ew32

What inspired you to start your business? 

As a social-worker in 2006, I noticed that the world was changing rapidly. Young people were busy with the new technology and the social workers ignored the behavior of young people. That is one element, the other is that I wanted the total freedom to implement an innovative application from a to z. No longer being inhibited by general company policy but passing on my own vision and mission.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

To have succeeded in my design/dream. I have had the guts to develop a digital platform, as a non-tech trained person have immersed me in this and combined this knowledge with my social goal. That today 40 people work with this tool every day. That we are realizing our GameMaster community together and sharing the same vision and mission. That we develop a new methodology with our target group. We thereby better support the needs of young people and empower them and make them more resilient in this ever-changing world.

What do we need to do as women to encourage the next generation to pursue an entrepreneurial path? 

Personally, I think it’s a path that isn’t for everyone. Let me clarify this.

  • It’s hard and lonely.
  • It is often uncertain.
  • It gives the feeling that you can decide for yourself when you work or when you don’t, but in the first 10 years, it is (at least) a more than full-time work schedule. You really have to persevere.

Of course, it is possible for those who are willing to make efforts, fall and get up again. It is important that you surround yourself with the right people. It is often a lonely path with many uncertainties. Getting support from family and friends is REALLY super important. As female entrepreneurs, supporting each other as a group, group-initiatives is very important. Communicate honestly and advise each other.

Learn more about Lieve:

Lieve Achten is a Social Worker and director of [ew32], a non-profit organization, and founder / Managing Director of TELMA bvba. She has created a ‘game lab’ where youth learn to reflect on social issues in a Serious Urban Game®. Communication and Informal Learning and game-based Learning are leading in this concept. With more than 20 years of experience in initiating, testing and implementing participation methods, she is a real active figure. Lieve really has a nose for neoteric youth culture. She doesn’t avoid difficult issues and lights up a dialogue.

Connect with Lieve:  LinkedIn |