Geraldine Carter | She Thinks Big

The first time I met Geraldine Carter, I watched her stand on a stage and tell the story of the night she spent in the cab of a stranger’s tomato truck during a solo bike trek in southeast Asia.

She was noticeably pregnant and didn’t need a microphone. She had a presence. 

Since then, I’ve had the good fortune to become Geraldine’s friend and colleague.

I say good fortune because Geraldine is a business coach for women entrepreneurs. At Focused Business Coaching, she helps her clients find clarity and focus on what matters, something she knows all about. In 2008 she co-founded Climate Ride, a charitable biking organization, and helped bring it to seven-figure success.

Now Geraldine’s a mom, an entrepreneur, and has a badass podcast called She Thinks Big. She talks the talk and walks the walk and regularly gives me and many people I know straightforward, gold-standard advice.

Here she is to tell you how she moves the world:


BB: Geraldine, you created a podcast called She Thinks Big. Tell us what we’ll hear in your upcoming episodes.

GC: You’ll hear from amazing women who are at all stages of business and success, from spark, to screw up, to success. Some episodes are interviews with entrepreneurs who have made it, some are just in the early phases and doing Kickstarter, and others are just honing their idea.

I also do on-air coaching calls to help women move past hurdles and solo episodes to teach women about the ins and outs of running a successful business.

Listen to She Thinks Big here.

BB: You’re a business coach who focuses on women entrepreneurs. What led you to work with women?

GC: Men get enough help. It’s harder for us – we had fewer role models growing up, we aren’t expected to be in business, we aren’t invited to play golf, and sometimes we’re not welcome at the table. Women need a place to turn where they can just be themselves and not have to worry about being man-splained to or shut out of the conversation.

BB: What is it like helping women entrepreneurs create their professional identities?

GC: It’s the best ever. There is so much latent potential just waiting to be tapped in women and it’s a joy to tap the well and watch the success spout high.

BB: What challenges do you think are particularly common for women entrepreneurs?

GC: Most women I hear from have deep levels of self-doubt running below the surface. Above the surface, it may not be apparent, but once we get into it, there are all kinds of topics and areas they avoid because of a deep unconscious belief that certain things  — [like] numbers, business, negotiating, etc. — aren’t for them.

BB: The first time I met you I heard you give a presentation about a night you spent in the back of a tomato truck in a foreign country. How has your adventurous spirit served you in your work?

GC: After years of traveling around the world, I know that the fear of exploration precedes the joy of discovery. In travel, there can be real danger and real risks that one need pay attention to, especially as a woman alone.

But in business, what’s the real risk? Embarrassment? Losing some money? Those are just ego and/or first-world problems. I take the fear along with me and go exploring anyway, because there is the joy of discovery on the other side.

BB: You’re a mom to two adorable kids, Hazel and Remy. What can you tell entrepreneurs who are considering balancing kids and work?

GC: Scale back your expectations or risk making yourself nuts.

BB: You and I have spoken about what it’s like to go through IVF (in-vitro fertilization), you on the recipient side and me on the donor side. What was that experience like for you?

GC: It forced me to get real about the fact that I’m just not in control of certain things. The universe doesn’t care how badly I want something. All that fretting is just wasted energy. Letting go is hard, but holding on is pointless.

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BB: What are your hopes for Hazel as she grows up?

GC: That she doggedly pursue her own path and not listen to me.

BB: She Thinks Big is all about women with momentum. Who are your powerful female role models?

GC: Oprah. She is as successful as they come and still has her feet planted firmly on the ground. Her authenticity is inspiring.

BB: What do you hope your listeners will take away from She Thinks Big?

GC: A better appreciation and deep-rooted trust in themselves and their talents.

BB: Okay, now for the traditional Badasserie questions. What motivates you?

GC: The joy of creation and discovery, and the deep belief that we are talented beyond measure and have a s**t-ton of problems requiring urgent attention.

BB: What inspires you?

GC: People who think beyond what has already been created. People who go where no one yet has.

BB:  Amen, sister! What makes you feel like a badass?

GC: There’s a fine line on the spectrum of risk between daring, and cavalier. I don’t like being cavalier, but I do like testing myself. Biking from Burma across Thailand, Laos, and Viet Nam and into China by myself comes to mind, as does skiing steep chutes while six months pregnant come to mind.

But, generally, I just do my thing and try not to consider how others view my choices.

BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

GC: The Periodic Table.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

GC:  Nope! Baby crying. Gotta go.


To schedule your own free 25-minute call with Geraldine, click here.


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Badasserie author Micah Larsen is a rogue persuasion scientist who teaches people easy ways to persuade in about five minutes.

Get free persuasion tips from Micah by texting APISPLEASE to 22828 or by clicking here.

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Michelle Huie // VIM & VGR

For those of us women entrepreneurs still in the fledgling stages of our careers, Michelle Huie is the type of gal who makes us say,

“I want to be like her.” 

She’s cool as a cucumber and smart as a whip. And, by the way, she’s generous. By the time we’d drained our drinks at Clyde Coffee in our town of Missoula, Montana, I’d virtually been given a short seminar on how to be a seasoned female CEO.

Michelle had a lengthy career in the healthcare field before she started her hit compression legwear company, VIM & VGR. At VIM & VGR, she and her rockstar team focus on providing style and function for people who work hard just like she does.

Here’s Michelle to tell you more about how she moves the world:


BB: Michelle, you created a fashion compression sock company called VIM & VIGR, which is, by the way, incredibly cool. How did you land upon that particular product?

MH: I moved to Missoula in 2011 and started in a pharmaceutical sales position. My geography was Montana and Idaho and after a few years into the position, I was complaining about my sedentary lifestyle and tired legs to a friend who happens to be a physical therapist. He recommended compression socks, but when I looked at available options, all I could find were medical or athletic products.

I ended up buying a pair and was underwhelmed by the comfort, quality, and style. Plus, they were very expensive. This really motivated me to start VIM & VIGR. I thought, if I had a need for a pair of cute, high-quality compression socks, I’m sure many other people could benefit from the product as well. I officially launched VIM & VIGR in late 2013.

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BB: I only recently learned how useful compression socks are (and how cool they can look). Who benefits most from VIM & VIGR’s products?

MH: People who sit or stand for long periods of time, so virtually everyone! We have such a large range of customers from people in the healthcare field who stand for long periods, like nurses and doctors, to millennials who want to be more proactive with their health, to frequent flyers.

BB: Anyone who owns a business knows it’s hard to separate your work from the rest of your life. Your partner teaches and studies American history at the University of Montana. Do you find that your jobs work their way into your home life? And if so, how do you navigate that?

MH: I don’t believe in work-life balance; I believe in work-life integration.  When you spend eight to 10 hours a day on something, I think it’s difficult to achieve true balance. I think it’s impossible to really separate the two.

This is why I’m always encouraging people in the early phases of their career to really work on something they love and are passionate about.

BB: You’re the head of a successful company, but I first met you at a workshop for entrepreneurs. Why is it important to you to keep investing in professional development?

MH: I’m constantly working on professional and personal development. I read books, listen to podcasts, and work with a professional coach. I really believe in having a growth mindset and constantly working towards improvement. Practice makes progress and it’s a never-ending journey.

BB: You and I talked about making tough decisions as a boss. What advice can you give other decision-makers about that task?

MH: As a company grows there’s a shift that happens when you not only think about all the employees but you have to think about the business as a whole. This forces you to have to make difficult decisions that may affect individuals within the company. And these types of decisions are what I lose the most sleep over.  I have to remind myself that I’m the main person who has to think about what the company needs to do. If I stop doing this many more people will be affected by my lack of action than my actions.

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BB: You’re super proud of the team you built at VIM & VIGR. What do you look for when you hire someone?

MH: I look for a few characteristics. The first thing I look for is the coachability of the person. Is this person willing to grow and improve? This could be difficult to tease out in an interview because people like to think that they’re highly coachable and adaptable. I like to frame the question like this:

“Tell me about a time when you received some constructive feedback. How did it make you feel and what did you do with the feedback?”

I love to incorporate follow-up questions to force the interviewee to add more depth to his or her answers.

The next thing I look for is resilience. VIM & VIGR is still a growing startup and there are a lot of ups and downs. Change can be exhausting and debilitating to some and it can be exciting for others. I try to look for people who are nimble and adaptable.

One of the most important thing that I look for is whether they will enjoy the work and make an impact on our business regardless of their level or position within our company. People want to have relevance and make an impact in their professional lives and I try to find out if VIM & VIGR and the position will help them achieve that.

BB: What motivates you?

MH: When I hear how much our product has made an impact on a customer’s life. We receive reviews and testimonials every day from customers and I feel so lucky that I’m able to provide a product that provides everyday wellness to so many people out there.


Get your own VIM & VGR compression socks here.


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Author Micah Larsen is a persuasion scientist and consultant. Her job is to teach people how to use subtle persuasion in their emails, conversations, and campaigns to get others to say “yes.”

Watch one of her short persuasion how-to videos of $9.97 value for free here using code:

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Rachel Larsen // Filmmaker

She may be an actor, photographer, and award-winning filmmaker, but Rachel Larsen is no drama queen. 

Though she attended the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts (where Robert Redford and Grace Kelly are among her star-studded fellow alumni), her sweetness and humility reveal her Texas roots. And she wouldn’t tell you this upon first meeting her, but this year, Larsen directed and produced her first solo film, All There Is, a documentary for which she recently won Best Director at the Nice International Film Festival in Nice, France.

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Here is Rachel herself to tell you more about how she moves the world.


BB: You were homeschooled. Do you think that that influenced your career path?

RL: Oh, definitely. Creativity and magic were amidst everything we did — in school and outside of it. Elementary school reading hour finished with the grand notion to create “Rox-a-Boxen” in our backyard, based on the picture book of the same name. My mom even let us lug her nice china to “sell” in the “grocery store.” Which was across from the flower shop, of course.

I saw everything in a magical light because I was continually getting the opportunity to grow my imagination. It was like I was given the ability, but more importantly, the choice, to see the world for the beauty that it is.

My entire childhood of fairies and homemade family films and freshly baked bread have all come together to create the artist and person I am today.

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BB: Lots of entrepreneurs and young professionals say they experience “impostor syndrome.” Do you ever feel that way? And if so, what do you do about it?

RL: I certainly have in the past. Actually, let me be quite candid and say that I am continually and actively working against those negative voices that want to say I’m less than I am.

The thing is, I’ve always known I was meant to be an artist. The title of “artist,” however, is varied and confusing, so, naturally, I’ve gotten a little lost in translation at moments. Acting school was marvelous and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But because it made you reach those moments of the rawest and scariest truth that you’ve ever been brave enough — or pushed enough by a screaming Polish acting instructor — to reach. But that’s because we had to reach those moments — ones of sobbing your eyes out, either in an exercise or after class — and most of the time, the reasoning for me was because I wasn’t meeting my own expectation of myself. Which I realize now is a whole load of bogus horse**** because I, as well as you, have everything we need within us.

We always have a choice. And I am always striving to choose compassion and love over fear and judgment.

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BB: Tell me about making documentaries.

RL: I had a fabulous experience creating my feature documentary, All There Is.

When I picked up the camera for the first time, I had no idea what I was creating. I just knew I had to do this. I was in a place in my life with a lot of uncertainties, especially in one romantic relationship. As one does when they’re questioning the last several months of their life, I picked up a camera. I didn’t even know why I was filming. I just knew what I wanted to capture and why. That was my only sightline. I never planned anything. I just filmed everything.

Which I’m sure is quite the opposite of most documentary filmmaker’s processes. But I was in a f***-it mood.

And this f***-it mood turned into a full-length documentary, with an arc and journey I wasn’t expecting. So you best believe I said a lot of grateful thanks to my intuition, which I was blindly following.

Making films for me is a very spiritual process. I’m an avid believer in Buddhist principles and truths and attempt to implement the moment-by-moment beauty and peace I have found into every shot.

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BB: What movie have most people not seen but really need to watch?

RL: The popularity of Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett certainly wasn’t as hyped as it should have been. Beautiful movie, heart-stopping acting.

But, if I’m being honest, The 10th Kingdom starring Kimberly Williams. It’s the best worst movie.

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BB: What does one do at the Nice Film Festival? Is it as fancy as I am imagining it to be? And what was Cannes like?

RL: Okay, I’m not going to lie, the phrase, “Wow, this feels so fancy” did cross my mind. More than once. VIP Badges at both Cannes and Nice. We took fancy photos on red carpets. Cannes had about twenty yachts with parties happening outside. I filmed my first interview with Steve Grossmith of FILM the Magazine at Nice. I was in a whirlwind of, I can’t believe this is happening. And especially, now. And I get to experience it with incredible people whom I love very much. Wow, what a life.

BB: You decided to pursue directing over acting, at least for the time being. Why’s that?

RL: I’ve always been an explorer. Whether it was watching a ladybug on a leaf at age five or trekking to France for a couple of film festivals, I love the unknown and the thrill of independence that comes from doing something a little outside my comfort zone.

I felt a different pulling to pursuing film for a bit. Plus, I wanted the technical training that comes from going to school for film. I’m still going to act, but one can always learn and grow more, and I’m excited to explore this new side of my artistic pursuits.

BB: What can you tell other people who dream of acting and directing?

RL: GO FOR IT! If it brings you joy and peace whenever you daydream about it, but more importantly if it gives you peace when you create something put it into action, then it’s meant for you. I’ve sat in my bed at 3 AM with a cup of tea at age 20 after a day of long auditions and an eight-hour shift and thought, “Ah, am I really meant to do this?” And I found out an instant later, the answer came ringing back to me with complete sincerity.

“Yes! If it makes you happy, do it. Ding ding.”

Wow, thank you, emotional guidance system!

P.S. Beware the reasoning for which you want to do it. Intention is important.

BB: How would you describe yourself?

RL: A singing-in-the-store, and dancing-in-the-rain type of human! Movie fans, get the references?

I’ve always been dedicated and passionate, two things that overflow. I have taken that too far in the past and not given myself room to breathe. I’m trying to do better at self-care and trusting that relaxation — or a face mask — is an important part of life.

I smile a lot. People sometimes think I’m putting on a fake happy face, but legit, I’m just happy. So whatever, I’ll just go meditate.

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BB: What motivates you?

RL: The sunlight. I’m not even kidding. It gives me energy, it soothes me, it heals me. And sometimes the sun can replace coffee for me.

I said sometimes.

Seeing really good films motivates me, as well as witnessing jaw-dropping acting. Beauty inspires me, but usually when it’s at its most natural, for example, a mountain in the distance.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

RL: Doing yoga. And surpassing where I was in my last practice. I always try to get in the groove and improve a little every single time.

Eating delicious, healthy, plant-based food makes me feel like a badass. Because I am fueling my body with what it naturally desires most. Combined with B-12 supplements, spirulina, in addition to a wide array of complete plant-based proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc.

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Traveling makes me feel like a badass. Discovering new cultures, trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people.

Also, embracing myself, in all my strengths, and weaknesses, and reveling in the beauty we all have inside us makes me feel like a badass! I want everyone to feel like a badass. Cause you should!

BB: What’s your dream trivia round?

RL: The 7 Chakras And How To Cleanse Them  / Harry Potter

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

RL: Lots of love to Micah Larsen and the Badasserie Blog and all the amazing women out there!!! Keep being badasses!


Book a photography session with Rachel Larsen at rachel.kirsten.larsen@gmail.com.

Learn more about Rachel here or visit her Facebook page here.

Note: Rachel Larsen is the author’s sister-in-law

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Badasserie author Micah Larsen and Rachel Larsen

Mallory Ottariano // Kind Apparel

Mallory is a mover and a shaker. And as a mover and a shaker, she needed clothes that could move and shake, too, so she created Kind Apparel, a women’s adventure clothing company based out of Missoula, Montana.

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Mallory is wearing a Fjord dress of her own design. Get yours here.

Kind Apparel isn’t your run-of-the-mill clothing company (though her clothes are perfect for the runners among us). Mallory designs her own fabrics as inspired by nature and printed on recycled material made from plastic bottles.

Here’s Mallory herself to tell you more about how she moves the world:

BB: Tell me about Kind Apparel.

MO: Kind Apparel is a small women’s adventure clothing company. We design and make colorful and functional wearables for the outdoor-ist in you that are focused on celebrating the uniqueness of every woman. Our fabrics are what make our products special! Everything is made from stretchy Lycra that’s made from recycled plastic bottles and printed with my own graphics and artwork.

There is not a single solid colored fabric in our offerings and everything is very bold and very bright. Think psychedelic moonscapes, citrus fruits, paisleys, water reflections, and succulents.

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Kind Apparel skorts are designed for running, swimming, hiking, and backpacking.

BB: What do you do when you’re not working on Kind stuff?

MO: Honestly, these days I’m working most of the time, but I do make time for exercise every day, whether that’s in the gym or on a run during the week or a ski tour or bike ride on the weekends. I try to fit in as much skiing as I can during the winter/spring, and I play soccer all year round.

In the evenings, you can find me out on a Missoula trail taking my dog for a walk with my fiancê! I love to be in motion, whether that’s physically or just tackling many activities during a busy day. So when I’m not working, I’m usually moving in some capacity.

BB: What drew you to design specifically for women?

MO: Personal experience. I believe we can design best for ourselves, so as a woman it’s easy for me to know what is wanted and needed in the market. I also think — although this is certainly changing — that there is a significant lack of functional and technical yet cute clothing out there. Most women’s outdoor clothing tends to be available in frumpy fits and bland colors and I wanted to change that to include the colorful prints of lots of casual women’s clothing.

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BB: Have you ever had a “lightning bolt moment” or a sudden flash of inspiration?

MO: Yes! I had known I wanted to transition to custom printed fabric eventually, but when an opportunity dropped into my lap I certainly became inspired by how my company could grow.

On a backpacking trip, I was looking around at all the texture and color in the lichen on a rock I was taking a break on and I thought, “My prints should be inspired by nature and the amazing places where women are wearing the clothing I make!” So my next two collections have been entirely inspired by the natural world.

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Kind Apparel’s swim tops are reversible and versatile.

BB: Has being an entrepreneur changed you?

MO: Yes, in so many ways. It’s given me greater confidence. It’s taught me to be my own champion and cheerleader, and it’s taught me introspection and humility.

The most profound change is accountability. I used to, and still do, pass blame, decisions and challenges to everything and everyone but myself. But when you work for yourself and things go wrong or there are big problems, you must confront them.

There isn’t anyone else who can make the decisions that need to be made and any fault is almost always my own. I’m learning to own my mistakes and grow from them.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

MO: When I live up to my expectation of myself. Ha! I’m hugely competitive and set a very high bar for myself. It’s also an amazing feeling when I see women around Missoula — or abroad — wearing my clothing. Or when I introduce what I do and someone says, “Oh, that’s your company?! I have one of your dresses and I love it!”

I used to derive a lot of pleasure from physical or athletic accomplishments and as I get older this mentality and associated high do, too. Now, I feel like I badass when I see an impact I’ve created.

BB: What would you say to women who dream of starting an apparel company?

MO: It definitely sounds narcissistic, but I would say to anyone starting a business, “Put yourself first, love yourself the most, and believe in yourself the hardest.”

Certainly, you should have compassion and care for others, but no one is going to be as big of a supporter or believe in you as much as you will have to in yourself. You are your own best asset and the biggest tool to your success. Have confidence in that! Some people will dislike you and that’s totally okay.

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BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

MO: I am absolutely terrible at trivia. If there were somehow a category that allowed you to create your own questions and answers or a dream interpretation category I would be amazing at that. I’m good at bullshitting, but you can’t bullshit facts.

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BB: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

MO: I’ve been reading this incredible collection of stories lately that really inspire me as a creative woman in business. It’s In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. If you ever need a pick-me-up or validation, you’re on the right track. The pages contain so many amazing stories of creative women living out their dreams and the journeys they’ve taken to get there.


Shop Kind Apparel and get your own unique, environmentally-friendly design by Mallory here.

Order In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs from your local bookstore or from Amazon here