What have you overcome to achieve independence? 13 Fort Wayne entrepreneurs share their stories

From surviving cancer to suicide attempts, homelessness, and domestic violence, many women have overcome significant challenges to achieve independence and launch businesses.

As the Founder of Own Your Success, a community of support for female founders in Fort Wayne, Andie Hines hears stories like these all the time.

“Everyone has layers upon layers of stories that have not only played a role in leading them to entrepreneurship but have also really informed who they are as a person,” she says.

While Hines has been inspired by the resilience of female entrepreneurs, she's also noticed that many feel isolated or shamed by their experiences, so she wanted to let them know that they are not alone.

With permission, she summarized 13 anonymous stories from Own Your Success members in social media posts and released the series on Independence Day, raising awareness about the “shove, struggle, overcome” journey to business ownership.

While the posts received a warm reception with likes and comments, Hines says the personal messages, emails, and phone calls she received as a result of the campaign have been even more powerful.

“People have been like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m sitting here in tears; my story is so similar,’” Hines says. “I’ve been getting these messages from women and men alike.”

Considering the one-day campaign’s success, Hines is planning a future iteration of the project, but she’s still developing what that will look like. In the meantime, she wants to use the stories she has to bring greater awareness, vulnerability, and authenticity to Fort Wayne’s entrepreneurship scene.

Here are 13 powerful life stories shared by Own Your Success members.


Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.
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