Meet the Winners of the #Shero Contest!

After receiving so many worthy entries, the Who’s Your Shero contest has ended. Thank you to everyone who entered — you inspire us!

We’re excited to announce our list of winners! These are women who started their own businesses — from retail to health care to food service — and along the way inspired other women with their courage, class, and commitment enough to be considered a “Shero.”

The Prizes

  • Top 30 entries receive a one-year PicMonkey Pro subscription.

  • Top 10 entries receive the above, and will also be featured in the PicMonkey community, including social channels, blog, and newsletter.

  • The grand prize winner receives the above two prizes, plus two passes to Create & Cultivate Los Angeles on February 22, 2020, including airfare!

And the GRAND PRIZE goes to…

Grand Prize Winner: Hannah Kay Herdlinger

Business: Thread Talk in Charlotte, NC

Online blanket shop that benefits domestic violence shelters

“Hannah Kay is one of the most selfless people I know,” begins the nomination submitted by Rasha Uthman, a colleague of Hannah Kay Herdlinger. “She inspires me because she refused to allow a domestic violence situation to overcome her and instead she chose to tirelessly work to promote the empowerment of domestic violence survivors. She’s truly devoted her life to saving others.”

In 2017, Hannah Kay’s personal passion to end domestic violence and to change the world by speaking out led to the founding of Thread Talk, an online shop offering high-end blankets. A portion of all sales support domestic violence shelters nationwide. “I had no idea if it was going to work, if people were going to respond to our mission the way I hoped,” remembers Hannah Kay. “But they did — because money follows purpose. If you follow your passion — as cheesy as it sounds — the money will come.”

“PicMonkey’s Instagram page serves as a vital source of inspiration. The tips and free resources that are offered there are extremely useful and have allowed us to ‘think outside the box’ in extending our reach online and engaging with new audiences.” – Thread Talk

Hannah Kay has advice for new women entrepreneurs based on her own experience of starting a business from scratch: “Use that ignorance to your advantage! That’s what I did. I knew nothing about running an ecommerce business. When I needed a manufacturer, I would call the random companies I came across and tell them exactly that: I was a total novice. They took pity on me and answered all my questions and taught me more than I ever thought I’d learn about retail.”

Hannah Kay credits the combination of passion and hard work with Thread Talk’s success. In the years since starting Thread Talk, she’s learned that her mission is infectious: “People want to be involved. They want to help. And they want to buy blankets,” she says. “This was the most incredible revelation of my professional life.”

Big congratulations to Hannah Kay and Rasha, two hard working colleagues. We hope you have an awesome and inspiring time at Create + Cultivate in Los Angeles on February 22!

Top 10: Jenniffer Willis

Business: Well Reserved, New York, NY

On-demand group fitness classes that come to you

Tatyana nominated Jenniffer (at left) as her shero because: “She’s a super mom for her son and now pregnant with identical twins. She’s holding down a day job while maintaining her side hustle with me! She never wavers, gives me so much support both personally and professionally! She makes time for everyone in her life and gives so much back to the community, whether it’s a back-to-school drive collecting school supplies for kids, or hosting fundraisers to help restore their church. She’s one of the most selfless women I know and yet still manages to inspire me with the importance of self care by taking time away or just going out to get a mani-pedi together. She somehow makes time for it all, and I’m so lucky to have her as my business partner, best friend, and soul sister!”

Nominated by: Tatyana Sinn

Top 10: Kristin McFarland

Business: Source Marketing Group in Denver, CO

Marketing and events firm supporting veterans and veteran-owned business

“Kristin McFarland is my ‘shero’ for many reasons: compassion, work ethic, and commitment to helping others,” explains nominator Jessica Riling. “She is a true champion for female and veteran entrepreneurs. In the first year of her marketing and events business, she volunteered her expertise to help two other startups get off the ground while continuing to thrive in her own startup environment. Her event management efforts helped a local nonprofit raise over 41,000 lbs of food to help feed homeless veterans. Now, she is focused in 2020 on creating a nonprofit of her own to support fellow entrepreneurs.”

Nominated by: Jessica Riling

Top 10: Mya Cato

Business: Meeyogi in Tampa, FL

Offering free yoga to urban public schools and community members since 2017

“Mya (center) is a young lady who is not afraid to go after her dream,” says nominator Rhonda Thomas. “She has managed, financed, and taught all of the yoga classes by herself for the past two years. Mya teaches yoga to children at public schools in urban communities, offers free yoga in the park and at the neighborhood community center. She is a young woman who inspires other women to seek after their dreams.”

Nominated by: Rhonda Thomas

Top 10: Amanda Pizarro-Rodriguez

Business: The Salty Donut in Miami, FL

Four artisan donut shops in Florida and Texas

“She puts so much work into her projects and also takes the time to help anyone who needs it,” explains nominator Michelle Burks. “Amanda opened and runs Miami’s top artisan donut company ‘The Salty Donut’ with her husband Andy, and they’ll soon be opening a fourth location in another state. This past year, Amanda gave birth to an adorable baby boy who will one day be heir to the donut throne. Every single day I am inspired by her ability to run a successful business, while also raising a tiny human. As a mom, donut lover, and business owner myself, it’s truly inspiring to see Amanda grow into such a professional, creative boss who is proud to share her experiences, knowledge, and success with others.”

Nominated by: Michelle Burks

Top 10: Melba Jones

Business: Love, Respect, & Care in Pittsburgh, PA

Home health care aide agency

“She started a home health care agency six years ago because she experienced firsthand the lack of adequate services available to her father during his last years on earth,” says co-worker and nominator Darnica Gordon. “It’s now her mission to ensure that loved ones who cannot perform daily tasks on their own receive the love, respect, and care that they deserve. Melba is determined to provide top-quality service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is my Shero because through everything — the loss of her father and sister, her mother and older sister being ill — she continues to push forward every day to make sure her company is running at its best.”

Nominated by: Darnica Gordon

Top 10: Marissa Garavito

Business: Make Good Moves / Climb for a Cure in Los Angeles, CA

Nonprofit raising funds for stage IV metastatic breast cancer research

“Six years ago, Marissa and I met to discuss doing something different to support the breast cancer community. I’d been diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer a year before, and I wanted to bring more awareness to this stage of the disease and also raise funds for research,” recalls Lesley Glenn, Climb for a Cure co-founder and nominator. “In 2015, we held our first-ever Make Good Moves and Climb for a Cure event, raising $3,000 for research. Today, we’ve raised nearly $100,000. Marissa is the catalyst that has driven this event to its success because she carries the torch for the metastatic breast cancer community—networking, building a brand, and forming a 501c3. In 2020, she plans on holding the event in three different cities. She is a go-getter, assertive, tenacious, and determined. If she puts her mind to something, she will find a way to make it work.”

Nominated by: Lesley Glenn

Top 10: Angela Hamilton

Business: Eco Club in Seattle, WA

Online sustainable lifestyle and fashion blog

“The best thing about Angela isn’t just that she’s super creative, has a great eye, or is a hard worker—it’s that she uses all of these things for good,” says friend and nominator Charity Hestead. “She created the online community Eco Club in 2016 to empower people to think about how they can help the world with the purchases they make, and she does it in a kind and helpful way, to reach the biggest audience possible. She’s always thoughtfully scheming, collaborating, and dreaming.”

Nominated by: Charity Hestead

Top 10: Madison Martinez

Business: Shop Rozé in Miami, FL

Online sunglasses shop opened in 2018

“Madison inspires young girls to stay motivated to work towards their goals regardless of how unobtainable they seem or how long it takes to get there,” says longtime friend and nominator Valentina Roa. “At the age of 18, she decided to start her own sunglasses business. I was so amazed because at that age, I would have never imagined starting my own business while still being a student, but she showed me it is 100% possible. At her launch party I saw all the unique styles of sunglasses that she was selling, and the best part is that they were all at a decent price! Her motto is ‘trendy sunglasses that won’t break the bank,’ so there are some as low as $12!”

Nominated by: Valentina Roa

“PicMonkey has allowed me to market @_shoproze globally with the use of its amazing editing and design features! Creating Instagram stories and posts regarding upcoming events, giveaways and more has never been easier 💕.” – Madison Martinez

Top 10: Christiane Daniels

Business: Christiane Elise Photography in Naples, FL

Portrait photography

“Despite all the obstacles Christiane has faced in her life, she is a spectacular photographer!” says friend and nominator Olivia McNally. “She grew up without a father, had an extremely hardworking mother, and often found herself taking care of both herself and her little sister at a young age. Throughout college, Christiane was unsure about what her career would look like, but she always had a passion for photography. At a young age, Christiane had her first daughter, and chose photography as her career in 2016, which allows her to stay at home with her daughter, as well as to chase her dreams.”

Nominated by: Olivia McNally

Top 10: Rebecca Foss

Business:The Kula Project in Mystic, CT

Yoga, paddleboard, spa, craft community space. 

“Rebecca is a kickass leader. Two years ago she set out on a mission to bring yoga to the Mystic, CT area. With a passion for community and yoga, she has built an incredible space called The Kula Project. Kula in Sanskrit means ‘community dwelling or a space for those to gather’ and in the year and half since Kula has been open she has done just that,” says nominator and co-worker, Julie Kikla. “A yoga studio, paddleboard house, juice, spa, and craft retail space, Rebecca has built a thriving local business celebrating aloha vibes, good people, and daily asana. She has hired an all-woman team from the beginning (a women architect, designer, accountant) and now employs an all-woman staff of teachers in the community.”

Nominated by: Julie Kikla

A PicMonkey subscription is always a winner. 
Sarah Gonzales

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Before this she worked at Intiut, and before that started a non-profit, and before that had a radio show, and before that worked at Ms. magazine, and before that went to UC Berkeley, and before ALL of that grew up in Alaska.