Enterprising Women: Monica Smiley


Pivot Your Business to Continue Scaling During the Pandemic

Monica Smiley is the editor and publisher of Enterprising Women magazine- a print and digital magazine that reaches more than a million readers in the United States and around the globe. In this episode, Monica shares her entrepreneurial journey of building a successful women's magazine from zero to success. She talks about the Enterprise Women Award event over the years and how they transitioned during the pandemic.

Key Takeaways:

    • How to succeed in business by transforming your audience into a community
    • How to pivot and look for new opportunities to stay in business during the pandemic
    • Don't be afraid to adopt new technology that can propel your business forward
    • How to be confident enough with your business plan to know that you deserve access to capital
    • How to build meaningful relationships by supporting other women


 "Business is all about relationships. Forming those relationships makes all the difference in you being able to grow your business." -Monica Smiley

In this episode you'll discover:

Monica's journalism and entrepreneurial experience and starting a woman's magazine [2:36]

How they approached connecting businesswomen and the success they found [8:40]

Monica names some of her most memorable interviews over the years [14:38]

How to access the Enterprising Women's Magazine print and digitally [18:14]

How magazine revenue generation methods have changed with the digital shift [9:22]

The challenges and opportunities of the virtual world as presented by COVID-19 [21:03]

Monica explains their virtual event bringing women together and where to apply [24:23]

The nominations process for the Enterprise Women Award [26:41]

How people are looking for opportunities to protect their companies and their cultures [31:10]

The qualities and values of women who win the Enterprise Women Award [34:30]

The importance of embracing new technology to be a leader and an innovator [36:28]

Monica shares some best practices and opportunities to gain access to capital [38:18]

How women entrepreneurs are increasingly failing to scale their businesses [44:32]

How the Million Women Managers program mentor at-risk girl to be future entrepreneurs [49:20]

The importance of connecting and maintaining relationships [55:30]


Monica Smiley is the editor and publisher of Enterprising Women, a national and now global magazine she and her team launched in May 2000 to provide a strong voice for women entrepreneurs. The magazine will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020 and is available in print and digital editions, supplemented by The Connector, a blog through the publication's website at www.enterprisingwomen.com.


Monica Smiley also serves as president of the Enterprising Women Foundation, a nonprofit she founded in 2010 to encourage philanthropy among women entrepreneurs and support initiatives to strengthen women's entrepreneurship in the U.S. and globally. The annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards, now in its 18th year, honors the top 100 women entrepreneurs from around the globe at a two-day event held each spring.


Monica serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) and has been a mentor in the Peace Through Business program working with Rwandan and Afghan women entrepreneurs for the past ten years.

Monica serves on the NAWBO National Advisory Council and is Board Chair for the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Institute of Consumer Money Management which invests in research on financial literacy.  She has been a speaker and a delegate at the Global Summit of Women in Morocco, Germany, China, Chile, Turkey, Greece, France and Switzerland.


An award-winning journalist, Monica has more than 40 years of magazine publishing experience and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2017 National NAWBO Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award, the first Adrienne Hall Award presented by the Women Presidents' Organization in recognition of her work to build bridges and alliances within the women's business community, and the President's Award from Women Impacting Public Policy.

She received the 2013 Gold Stevie Award for "Women Helping Women" and The International Alliance for Women's "World of Difference 100 Award." Folio magazine named Monica to its 2015 list of "Top Women in Media and the "FOLIO 100: Top Leaders in Magazine Media" for 2018."

In 2015, she was recognized by STEMConnector and the Million Women Mentors Program for her work with the Enterprising Women Foundation's National Mentorship Initiative to inspire the next generation of Young Enterprising Women. STEMConnector/Million Women Mentors also named her its 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year. She received the 2016 ATHENA National Leadership Award.


Monica holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from Bradley University, Peoria, IL


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