An idea is enough for a confident female entrepreneur. If she doesn’t have the skills, knowledge and/or resources to bring her idea to life, she will surround herself with those who do.
The Extraordinary Woman am sharing with you in this post is such a woman. Meet Extraordinary woman Diane Najm.
Read her story and be inspired to live yours.
Diane is a mom, wife, Serial Entrepreneur and CEO/Founder of PhotoPad for Business. She is a leader and passionate about the start-up community.
Diane knows how to leverage her time.
She also serves as one of the Directors at Seattle Founder Institute. She’s a mentor, coach and organizer to Start-Up Weekend. As an expert panelist and speaker on entrepreneurship, she seeks ways to help entrepreneurs connect with one another and provides resources to assure success.
She serves on the advisory board to start-up, Board of Directors including Women in Wireless, Women In Tech and NAPW. Passionate to give back to the community in the philanthropy sector, she serves on the Board of Trustees for a non-profit, Olive Crest, advocating in the community against child abuse and neglect.
Diane tell my readers about your business.
I am excited to announce we will be launching our ‘New Public beta Launch ‘we are calling our Omega Launch! In addition, Share our wonderful platform with everyone- PhotoPad is a Social Visual Hub -marketing tool that will allow businesses to brand their photo story, continue to network with their customers after the event, keep the conversation going and have your customer share their personal experience branding your business! Our Launch Project includes Women Leaders of Social networking groups, Women CEO’s and businesses. There is no cost or special equipment needed.
Please email me if you are interested in joining! Diane@virtualgestures.com
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
As a Social Worker, my focus was to solve problems and improve communication among people. With family and friends spread across the world, I relied heavily on using digital communications like Facebook. I realized there was a gap in more personal communications through such digital channels. I took my learnings from my own successes and failures in my professional and personal lives and created a product to enhance the lives of others. Further motivation has been the personal growth from the constant challenges of having to learn every aspect of a company and having a direct impact on the outcome of the company. I think this journey has lent its way for being an expert Entrepreneur and launching two products, PhotoPad For Business and PhotoPad Scrapbook App, being a mentor and advisor to other start-ups and one of the Director at Founder Institute. In addition, to being a presenter and speaker across a number of technology and entrepreneurial forums.
What has been a defining moment in your life?
The tragic death of my brother. It was incredible the amount of support and generosity that was shown friends, family and the community. I made a decision I would always give back and be generous whether it was a friend, family or a person I didn’t know. This has been a lifelong commitment. I believe kindness goes a long way. I don’t understand people that do not give back and serving in leadership roles.
What has been your biggest challenge?
One of my biggest challenges has been around execution. Specifically, trying to operate under tight resources in terms of people and money, but also knowledge gaps where I had to lead a team of developers with limited development knowledge.
The discouraging comments advising to “shut down”, “give up”, etc. It took some time to be able to finally view these as encouragement for me to overcome the obstacles and continue to believe and drive with passion.
I have had to make some difficult and critical decisions in the last quarter, however, as a CEO you have to make them, stand in your decision and move forward. Sometime easier said than done when you know all the responsibility falls on you. Some days are tough and you get through them, you stop listening to the thoughts in your head and move forward.
What has been your greatest reward?
The greatest reward is taking an idea, creating a vision and executing on it! I started with PhotoPad Scrapbook App on Facebook and recently launch PhotoPad for Business. Both rewarding accomplishments. In addition, becoming one of the Directors at Founder Institute and taking what I have learned on this journey and share it with the Start-up Community! My passion and most rewarding accomplishment is serving on the Board of trustee for Olive Crest and advocating for children who have been abused.
What do you do to stay confident?
I don’t waver in what I stand for and what I believe in so authentic in this way. At the end of each day, I focus on affirmations or positive things that happened during the day. I get inspiration looking at those who maintained strength and displayed unwavering courage especially in the face of opposition, leaders who believed in and changed lives for the better such as Benazir Bhutto.
I am inspired and motivated other women entrepreneurs such as Sara Blakely Founder/CEO Spanx, Barbara Ann Corcoran, the ‘Shark’ on Shark Tank and Mary Kay CEO/Founder of Mary Kay cosmetics.
Who or what has had the strongest positive influence in your life?
It is difficult to pick one person. Throughout my life, there have been a series of people including professors, mentors and coaches who have been impactful. My parents and relatives who were also motivational as they were successful entrepreneurs. For example, my grandparents emigrated here from Greece to start several businesses.
How do you give back to your community?
Giving back is an important part of my journey. I primarily focus on Olive Crest and serving as an advocate for abused children. Also, I have given and supported Vital Voices, Children Wish Foundation, and Youth Inspire Project.
What do you do on a regular basis for a healthy mind, body and spirit connection?
For me, it’s all about balance. I find time with family and friends to relax, jazzercise to get my body moving, and late night walks to think through things.
Do you have any limiting beliefs about money?
I don’t have a belief around money.
I have been independent financially even before getting married, worked all my life. I think women should do what is best for them when it comes to finances.
Share a little known fact about yourself?
I play the flute; love a variety of music including the symphony from Shahrzad to hip hop music. I am from Detroit!
Share three things an entrepreneur should do for a successful business?
1. Build a Compassionate, Adaptable Team: Grow a team that believes in the company’s mission and values, is adaptable and can respond quickly to changes, are generalists and can take on different functions as the company’s needs change.
2. Nurture a Support Network: Foster relationships with, learn from, and get inspiration from peers, other entrepreneurs, and business leaders.
3. View failure as experiences from which to grow and for future success. The way I approached building PhotoPad for Business is much different than when I first became an entrepreneur. I looked at the failures from what I did or did not do with PhotoPad Scrapbook app on Facebook. I made a lot of mistakes, and I am learning from the past and the present ones I have made. Every failure is an opportunity to elevate to the next level.
Is there something you want to share that was not asked?
I want to say thank you to you for asking me all these very thought-provoking questions!
Thanks for sharing with us Diane. Here’s to your successful launch with PhotoPad II. May you continue to shine and thrive.
It’s a Wrap
Connect with Diane Najm –
Who is the extraordinary woman in your life? Are you an extraordinary woman?
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