On March 5th, I’ll be moderating the Los Angeles Women’s Entrepreneurs Meetup (LAWEM) Intimate Panel on Business Models: Getting Started, Getting Going, and Building Your Business. We’ll be sitting down with three very different entrepreneurs in three very different industries with three very different business models. We’ll be talking about how they got started and how their businesses evolved over time into the successes they are today.

We’ll have a candid conversation about the challenges that they faced getting their businesses off the ground, the things they wished they had known before they started, and the ideas they had that worked (and some that may not have worked quite as well). We’ll talk about how they started their businesses, what’s kept them up at night and how those businesses evolved over time into the successful ventures they are today. And we’ll chat about what kept them going even when the going got tough.

Register here: LAWEM Panel on Business Models

Our Panelists will include:

Shira Jacobs, Managing Director, ESPY Products Inc.

Shira Jacobs is the founder of ESPY Hair, a retailer of custom wigs and hairpieces for women. She began as a home based business then expanded into her first retail boutique in Beverly Hills, CA in 2003.

Soon after opening her first retail facility, celebrity hairstylists began patronizing ESPY Hair. They liked the quality products and professional service Shira and her staff provided. Word spread quickly. Within a year, Shira began providing hair to many of Hollywood’s elite including Rihanna, Tyra Banks, Lady Gaga, Gabrielle Union, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Heidi Klum, Halle Berry and others. She also aligned with local dermatologists to promote her quality hairpieces as an option for women suffering from permanent hair loss. ESPY Hair has developed a loyal following and has provided its products to thousands of women worldwide.

Laura Knapp, Vice-President of Digital Content & Influencer Marketing, Social Reality,Former Founder and Owner, Social Spotlight Media

Laura Knapp founded Social Spotlight Media in 2012, a digital marketing and media relations agency, with a focus on lifestyle consumer brands. It was recently acquired by Social Reality, Inc., an Internet advertising and platform technology company that provides tools to automate digital advertising marketing.

Combining her big agency experience and her passion for working with lifestyle brands, Laura and the entire Social Spotlight Media team have been responsible for the strategy and execution of digital and social media campaigns utilizing a strategic cross-channel approach. Together they have well over a decade of experience working with brands big and small including Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, De Beers, AT&T, Robert Graham, Sara Haley Fitness, Charming Charlie, iRobot, Urology of Indiana, Ruze Shoes and many more. Aside from their professional work, the team participates and belongs to the Social Media Advisory Council for the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

David J. Whelan, Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, STEMP Inc., Managing Director, Bespoke Business Strategy Inc.

David J. Whelan (@djwhelan) is a strategy consultant, operating executive, and advisor building businesses and inspiring entrepreneurs at the intersection of technology, health, and wellness. He is currently developing two digital health ventures, the STEMP™ Smart Temperature Patch (@getstemp) and a stealth data analytics company.

Recent engagements include a multi-year strategic and financial plan for a leading synthetic biology organization and a commercialization strategy for a hospital-developed cancer diagnostic. He helped launch New York Genome Center, a unique not-for-profit scientific research institute. He was part of the team at 24 Hour Fitness that introduced an early consumer fitness wearable. A former retained executive search consultant, Dave began his career with a biotechnology incubator in San Francisco.

Dave holds an MBA with Honors from the UCLA Anderson School and a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. He also studied at London Business School and Carnegie Mellon University.