3 Fox School alumnae shaking up their industries
There’s a new ultimate compliment in business today–Fox alumnae are go-getters, and they are shaking up the status quo in their elds and starting revolutions across the business world. Find out how these three alumnae are changing the rules of the game. See who they are and how they’re disrupting their industries in the best possible way:
1. Yasmine Mustafa, Fox ’06
Born in Kuwait, Yasmine Mustafa emigrated to the United States with her family as a child. She has chosen to make a difference using what she learned as an entrepreneur at the Fox School. It took Mustafa over seven years of part-time classes— first at community college, then at Fox, while working two jobs, to dream up her best idea yet.
“After traveling alone for six months, everywhere I went I encountered women who had been assaulted in different ways,” she said.
Mustafa decided to do something about it and started ROAR for Good.
“Just a week after I returned to Philadelphia, a woman was raped a block from my apartment when she went out to feed her meter,” she said. “I was enraged and inspired to create something to make women safer.”
As president and CEO of ROAR for Good, Mustafa has led the development of ‘Athena,’ a safety wearable device that helps to keep people safe. As a smart tech device, Athena shares user locations when activated.
“In reality, our goal is to have a world where technology like ROAR’s doesn’t need to exist,” she said. “In the meantime, why not create something that improves the situation?”
Not one for the sidelines, Mustafa and ROAR have been proactive about taking a role in the cultural paradigm surrounding sexual assault prevention and #MeToo. The ROAR Back program exists in tandem with the Athena device. ROAR Back has been designed as a series of nonprofit partnerships—with the goal of educating men about violence prevention and empathy training. In addition, an app provides educational tools on safety and situational awareness.
Awards and attention have been rolling in for Mustafa, who was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2016, Philadelphia Magazine’s Top 20 Best Philadelphians, Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2016 Tech Disruptors, Innovator of the Year by Rad Girls, and many more. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this dynamic, young maker.
“I see a long-term vision of changing the world and ROAR having a profound impact,” she said.
2. Lori Bush, MBA ’85
Scientist to CEO isn’t the normal career trajectory for a pre-med major, but Lori Bush learned early on to defy expectations.
Driven to push the boundaries, Bush went beyond her work as a research scientist and eventually led production, innovation, marketing, and business development for Johnson & Johnson. Once established in the eld, Bush became an expert in beauty products.
During her 25 years in the consumer and healthcare products industry, Bush led product innovation for several global brands. She has also held leadership positions as the worldwide executive director of Skin Care Ventures and vice president of professional marketing at Neutrogena.
In 2006, Bush was approached by Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, who solicited her insight when they were in the startup phase of their premium skincare line. A year later, Bush accepted the role of president and CEO at Rodan + Fields. Her leadership helped the company to reach $600 million in revenue by 2015.
While Bush’s story is motivational, she’s providing financial inspiration to the next generation of female entrepreneurs—people like Camille Bell. Bell, a twenty-something Temple graduate, won $10,000 for a pitch she did in 2016 for her company, Pound Cake, an inclusive cosmetics company. Assistance for projects like Bell’s is possible partially through a lump sum donated by Bush to Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI).
“I think of myself as an enabler, moving obstacles for people and empowering them to do what they can do,” said Bush.
That’s not to say things have always been easy for Bush. She had a habit of tackling difficult projects that no one else wanted to touch, which didn’t fit in with the typical corporate resume progression.
“In the mid-1990s, I was very frustrated,” she said. “I was watching my peers being promoted to higher titles because they seemed to t the corporate prototype.”
Today she recognizes that not fitting in was the best thing that could have happened. “Ironically,” she says, “what I thought I wanted would have trained the courage out of me, to take on the crazy initiatives.”
3. Rakia Reynolds, BBA ’01
For Rakia Reynolds, a CEO, tastemaker, and influencer, re-defining what it means to work for herself has been a learning experience. As a wife and mother of three, Reynolds’ time is always in demand as the founder and president of Skai Blue Media, a public relations agency based in Philadelphia. She has worked with brands like Comcast NBCUniversal, Dell, the Home Shopping Network (HSN), United By Blue, Ted Baker, and others including Serena Williams’ clothing brand.
“The most successful people are the ones who find the secret sauce where work doesn’t feel like work,” said Reynolds in a 2017 interview with Marie Claire. “You wake up before your alarm goes off. You know the elevator pitch of your company without having to practice. You know what your career path is if you nd yourself thinking about it at night.”
Her touch seems to be on all things Philadelphia lately—she was Visit Philadelphia’s ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ and also helped to lead the charge for Philly’s Amazon H2 bid.
“You have these defining moments where you have that window and you say, ‘It is my time’” she said in a 2017 interview with Philly.com.
Doling out advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is something Reynolds does on the regular, and she encourages people to establish a “friendtor” board, a combination of friend and mentor. She credits the word to her friend and colleague Almaz Crowe, now the chief of staff at Skai Blue. Reynolds relies on her own diverse group of friendtors for real talk, feedback, and opinions. She also believes in quality over quantity when it comes to social media, something she knows a bit about as the face of small business for Dell.
“Influence goes back to the basics—understand your audience and deliver value,” she said in an interview with FastCompany.com.