Only several decades ago, female professionals in corporate America were generally assumed to be office secretaries or administrative assistants. This dynamic gender has come a long way. In recent years, working women have shattered the glass ceiling and risen to the top of many large corporations. In 2006, women CEOs ran ten Fortune 500 companies. However, many women are once again changing paths and choosing to leave successful corporate careers to begin independent business ventures.

A January 2007 Fortune Small Business article stated that the United States is in the midst of the biggest entrepreneurial surge in its history. Even more impressive is that women are starting their own businesses at twice the rate of men. For Kristen Amato, entrepreneurship was an opportunity to fulfill a pastime while giving her female friends what a girl wants.

Several years ago, Kristen’s love of creating affordable jewelry for friends led her to leave a successful corporate career and develop her own jewelry line, K.Amato. With the tag line, “every girl should have one,” and prices between $30 and $100, the line has become extremely popular with fashionistas on a budget. Today, K.Amato is available in over 60 stores nationwide and has been featured in national publications like US Weekly and Lucky. This summer, Kristen announced the launch of her latest collection, Couture by K.Amato, which has continued to grow what was once a small start-up into a lasting legacy of beautiful, affordable jewelry.
Similarly, Chicago shoe boutique owner, Kristi Ryan, has nurtured her passion for fashion since she was four. Endless childhood hours spent matching the perfect dress-up outfit with plastic high heels paid off when Kristi left a career in Human Resources to pursue her great love, shoes. In 2006, she took her first steps towards realizing her dream of opening Grace, an upscale shoe boutique in the heart of Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Kristi envisioned the store as an oasis of classic, yet unique, shoes and handbags that would be favorites of any wardrobe. In August 2007, her entrepreneurial talents will be put to the test as she opens the doors to Grace for the first time.
The current generation of female professionals realize that they don’t have to spend their careers working to fulfill someone else’s dream. They’re realizing their own lifelong dreams by opening successful businesses and turning passion into profession. These days, a girl gets what a girl wants -- by becoming an entrepreneur.

Susan Schreiber