Avenue Presents Recap: A Values-Driven Conversation with Women and BIPOC Leaders

Making the Leap: Personal Journeys in Entrepreneurship

  1. Alexis Braly James, Owner and Chief Equity Officer at Construct the Present
  2. Nina Byrd, Sr. Strategist at EXP Consulting
  3. Paula Hayes, President and CEO at Hue Noir
  4. Helen Hồng Nguyễn, Founder and Owner of The Cake Batch, Executive Chef and Pastry Chef at BEASTRO by Marshawn Lynch
  5. Jill Kuehler, Founder, CEO and Distiller at Freeland Spirits

Inspiration and Takeaways from our Panelists

  • Alexis: “Connection, love and meeting new people. I love learning about new people. When I think about my business through a lens of business consulting, it really is centered around connection and learning how do you connect with people who are different from you and the same as you.”
  • Nina: “Part of my values is having autonomy. The ability to be independent as well as collaborative. That was something I couldn’t find balance in my traditional Corporate America job. Values are also expressed intentions. It’s great to have intentions. If you don’t live that out, that’s not a value. So for me, I want to express my intentions in my work every single day without being penalized or worried I won’t fit in.”
  • Jill: “Diversity and celebrating collaboration. Celebrate the science part of women having way more factory cells and taste buds. Without women making things, there’s a whole palate missing from the world.”
  • Nina: “My sister. She showed me what it was like to take your savings and invest it into an opportunity. She showed me what it was like to have to collaborate and network and find a path to express her passion in the corporate world.”
  • Helen: “Legacy. My parents immigrating to America and the work ethic that both my parents executed really flexed on me, and I have always carried that with me. My parents came from nothing into something for me and for my siblings to thrive. That really pushes me forward.”
  • Paula: “My father had said to me, and it’s a piece of advice that I carry to this day, he said, ‘The people I know in this world who are most successful are those who are open to opportunities.’ I decided I was tired of seeing products I had developed sitting on store shelves. Yet, as a woman who loves beauty products, I was still struggling to find products that work for me, and I knew I could do something about it. So that’s when I took the leap.”
  • Jill: “Surprised and delighted about how many people are willing to help. Knowing I’m not in this alone, and we’re not doing this alone.”
  • Helen: “Everything in this world is negotiable. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Are you going to crumble under the pressure or are you going to rise to the occasion.”
  • Alexis: “What continues to surprise me is what happens when people who haven’t historically been given a chance are able to take up space, and how the world can be such a better place when we offer opportunities for folks who create diversity in that space.”
  • Paula: “I’ve been surprised at how comfortable I’ve gotten with being uncomfortable. There really aren’t limits. The only limits are the ones that I’ve placed on myself.”

Our Community’s Response

  • “I have to say this is one of the best panels I have ever listened to. Thank you all for taking the time to do this. I am so inspired by your stories, your mindsets, and your hearts. It’s also so empowering to see women uplifting each other and edifying each other.”
  • “I don’t want this to end! Thank you all so much for your amazing insights. ❤”
  • “This was amazing! Huge thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. So very inspirational!”

What’s next!



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Anna Madill

Anna Madill


CEO of Avenue, a B Corp digital marketing agency that amplifies the impact growth-minded and purpose-driven companies have in the world.