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In 2005, Marla Schwartz came out of early retirement to join Benecaid as President and CEO, having been an original investor in the business. Since then, Benecaid has grown exponentially and been recognized for three consecutive years in the Profit 200 Fastest Growing Companies and the Profit W100 Top Women Entrepreneurs.

Benecaid now administers on behalf of more than 60,000 Canadians providing them with innovative and sustainable health benefit plans. In 2006, Marla recruited a Board of Directors who have been instrumental in providing governance and oversight to the rapidly growing business.

Prior to Benecaid, in 1995 Marla joined a group of industry professionals to create Newcrest Capital as a Partner and Director. She was the sole female partner in a group of eleven partners. Newcrest was a tremendous success and captured a healthy market share in Canada.

As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. Today's hot topic are: Marketing & Building an Online Presence.

"The first tip is certainly: Have a good business model first and don´t start your business and then start looking for the business model. That’s what we did. Big mistake!!!

"Second: keep focused and keep it simple. We found the possibilities of an internet portal so tempting that we tried to add more and more bits and pieces to the puzzle and distract our users. And ourselves.

As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. Today's hot topic is: Hiring.


As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. Today's hot topic is: Leadership

As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. This week's hot topic is: how to scale your business.

As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. This week's hot topic is: raising capital.

Shoba Purushothaman is an entrepreneur who has built companies in the U.S.,Europe and Asia.

Her early career was as a business journalist, including at Dow Jones & Co. in Washington DC, New York and London. She left journalism in 1994 to begin an entrepreneurial partnership with Anthony Hayward that continues to-date. Their first business, started in London, was successfully acquired in 2001 by a public company.

Their next business, The NewsMarket started up in New York City and pioneered online video distribution between the news and marketing industries. Shoba served as CEO until 2009, raising over $20 million in venture capital from top tier funds to build its technology platform, global footprint and blue chip client base that included Google, Intel, IOC, BMW, the U.S. State Department and Samsung. The NewsMarket and Shoba have won awards for technology, business model, rapid growth and entrepreneurship.

REVIVAL Style, founded by Neetu Sidhu and Allie Taylor, is empowering women from the villages of rural India to the streets of NYC. REVIVAL Style is a social enterprise that fuses female Indian artisan craftwork with modern design to produce apparel that meets the needs of stylish and socially-conscious North American women.

Harmeet Neetu Sidhu is an NYU Gallatin Graduate student pursuing an interdisciplinary Masters program in Social Entrepreneurship within the fashion industry, which entails a heavy focus on entrepreneurship, marketing, anthropology and design.

Neetu has helped launch two NYC-based start-ups including Haden, a women’s wear clothing line, and InvenTours, a design-driven executive education program. Neetu also has marketing, communications, business development and project management expertise from her years working with SMART Technologies and Karo Design.  

Allison Q. Taylor is an MBA candidate at NYU Stern, focused on Social Innovation and Impact, Global Business, and Luxury Marketing. Allison was a Social Impact Internship Fund Fellow, and spent her summer building retail partnerships for Indego Africa, which is a Social Enterprise working with Rwanda artisans and US based fashion designers and retailers. She has experience working in product development and merchandising in the fashion retail industry with both The Limited and Target.  She also has expertise in fundraising and strategic partnership development from her time working with the national nonprofit organization, KaBOOM!.

Myrtle Potter is one of America’s foremost healthcare leaders and innovators. She operates Myrtle Potter & Company, LLC, a life science and healthcare advisory firm with clients that include global public and private healthcare corporations, venture capitalists, private equity groups and boards of directors. 

The firm is known for devising novel business strategies to accelerate top-line growth and profitability of their clients. Myrtle also operates Myrtle Potter Media, Inc., a consumer healthcare technology company that helps patients and caregivers navigate the U.S. healthcare system. 

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur Myrtle was the COO and president of Commercial Operations at Genentech, president, Cardiovascular/ Metabolics at Bristol-Meyers Squibb and vice president at Merck.  She also started the drug company Astra/Merck that was later acquired by Zeneca to form Astra/Zeneca.

Claudia Langer has been a serial entrepreneur since the age of 19. Well before she graduated from high school, she set up her first company, Avantgarde, which organized fashion shows, events and promotions and is currently ranked number two for live-communication in Germany.

In 1992, Claudia and her husband founded .start advertising, which soon turned into one of the leading creative advertising agencies. Looking for new challenges, she sold .start in 2004 and fully devoted herself to her family.

During the following sabbatical the idea of utopia surfaced. Utopia AG launched the website utopia.de in November 2007 and quickly evolved into the biggest and most influential community for sustainable lifestyle and strategic consumption. The Utopia Foundation is home of some of the best thinkers in science, public life and the green economy. Politicians, CEOs and the media seek insights into the needs and habits of consumers from Utopia.