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SHEro campaign raises more than $50K + Q&A with SHEro Emily Roggenburk

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With the help of 18 SHEro ambassadors, the Women's Endowment Fund exceeded its goal and raised more than $50,000 during its "Who Is Your SHEro?" campaign throughout the month of April. Proceeds from the campaign ultimately support the fund's grantmaking efforts to programs that improve the health and wellness, safety, and economic empowerment of women and girls in Summit County.

For this year's SHEro Spotlight, the Women's Endowment Fund sat down with female business owner Emily Roggenburk, founder & chief designer of Emily Roggenburk Studios, Cleveland-based apparel and art boutique.

Emily has long been a lover of art and design, which led her to Indiana University to study apparel merchandising and fashion design. After graduation, Emily moved to Cleveland where she worked in product development in consumer products before starting her own business. Emily's love for hometown pride and camaraderie led to the creation of her apparel line, which celebrates who you are, where you're from, and what you aspire to be. The mission of Emily Roggenburk Studios is to unite others through camaraderie and shared passions.

SHEro Emily Roggenburk
Emily Roggenburk, founder & chief designer of Emily Roggenburk Studios

Q: Who is your SHEro and why?
A: I have so many, honestly! My mom and my sisters are and always have been so inspiring to me. My mom because she is selfless, caring, and compassionate, and my sisters because they have each overcome their own struggles and hardships to get to where they are. My first boss of my corporate career, Christine, made a huge impact on my life because she believed in me and showed me the true definition of what a good leader is. And my friends are incredible, many of them own businesses and have great careers of their own.

Q: How do you empower women and girls in the community?
A: Empowering other women has always been extremely important to me. I am a big believer that you get more out of life and business by supporting other women, rather than competing with them. A few ways I try to support women in the community are by sharing my struggles and vulnerabilities on social media so women know they're not alone, hiring women and mentoring them in their career journeys, and partnering with women's organizations within the community.

Q: What does empowering women mean to you?
A: To many, empowering women may sound like you need to do a grand gesture to show support. To me, it starts with your everyday relationships. Making sure you are always bringing those closest to you up, and not putting them down.

Q: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
A: I am most motivated by my customers and supporters. They are truly always there, on good days and bad. Hearing what they like from my brand is my biggest source of motivation.

Q: If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
A: Wow, I've never been asked this before. This is tough! So much of what I've learned seems like it needed to happen the way it did. The only thing I can think of now is that I would have created a stronger brand story in the beginning. I truly believe a strong brand is what sells; knowing your why. We jumped right in and the brand developed as our business was built, which has worked out fine. However, I think having more of our "why" figured out in the beginning could've helped us then.

Q: What attracted you to starting your own business?
A: I loved my corporate job, but I wanted another outlet to allow me to express my creativity. I never realized it would turn into what it has, and I am so grateful for it.

Q: How do you make a positive difference in your role every day?
A: I try to leave others with kind words in every interaction, especially on social media. Owning your own business and working from home can be very isolating at times, so I really lean on social media for a sense of community. It is my hope that I can make a positive difference there, even when I am not seeing people face to face.

Q: What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women?
A: There are so many important issues and causes happening in the world right now. I think the most helpful thing you can do is educate yourself on the issues and causes you're most passionate about and make a positive impact in those areas. It's okay to learn as you go.

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