I grew up as the child of two immigrants in Southern California. We didn’t have many connections to successful business people or social entrepreneurs, so I learned by reading biographies of interesting people, especially women. Their stories have pushed me forward in my professional and romantic life, helped me answer big questions, and give me something to aspire to.

This is why I’m so pleased to share with all of you a few interviews of women I love and know well who are doing bold, fascinating things with their lives, a series I’m calling LXMI/ICONS. One is a surfer and social entrepreneur, another a CNN Hero who does bodybuilding in her spare time. I think you’ll fall in love with these women as much as I have, and learn how they’ve built their empires with grace, humility, and grit.


LXMI ICONS: JANE CHEN

Jane Chen, a dear friend and fellow Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, is the founder of Embrace, a revolutionary low-cost infant warmer she developed while at Stanford Business School. Fun fact: Jane and I met while we were both contestants in the Stanford Social Business Challenge, a competition for a modest cash prize to launch our businesses in 2008 (I had entered the challenge for Samasource, a nonprofit business that I still run alongside LXMI). Naturally, Jane won the competition — we placed a distant second. We’ve remained friends ever since.

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