In the name of community and impact, W Hotels has brought fun, fabulous and fearless lady leaders forward to share their stories through the W’s women-only panel, WHAT SHE SAID. W Boston’s most recent panel sparked informative and inspiring discussion around fear, balance, motivation, confidence, competition and branding throughout the panelists’ entrepreneurial ventures.

Lifestyle Editor and Social Columnist, Erica Corsano moderated the panel, which included Entrepreneur, Gesche Haas; Celebrity Chef, Kristen Kish; President at Combs Wine & Spirits, Dia Simms; and Boutique Owner, Sofi Madison. In good company, there was nothing but good camaraderie and advice, enforcing how much five ladies can accomplish in one hour. Here are 30 of the most valuable quotes of #whatshesaid to take home for any entrepreneur, any woman, anyone.

Rachel Whitty Photography

On conquering fears and being a woman in male dominated industries

“Fear is necessary and exciting. But, avoid fear that is paralyzing. Do whatever it takes to not be paralyzed by fear.” — Gesche Haas

“Meeting the person I could have been is a fear but it’s a driver.” — Dia Simms

“Dance with our fear. Be attracted to limits and explore what’s past there.” — Sofi Madison

“Being in a kitchen, the last thing I think about is that I’m a woman. If we decide to say, ‘I always struggle because I’m a woman’ then you’re going to say, ‘I struggle because I’m a young woman, I’m an old woman.’ At the end of the day, it’s a struggle from the bigger picture and I can’t place my name on that, nor would I ever want to, because it’s not our fault.” — Kristen Kish

“The red lipstick effect is you’re going to come in and be different and that’s okay — but what are you going to do with that attention?” — Dia Simms

On finding balance after finding success

“Do what makes you happy and do what makes you excited and don’t look at the clock, just go.” — Sofi Madison

“I don’t want to do 14 things half ass, I want to do the hell out of the one thing I’m doing, then move onto the next thing.” — Dia Simms

“You have to find your optimum you. What does it take to be the best version of you? How much work, sleep, working out, friend time, alone time, does it take? Find what it takes. And own it.” — Gesche Haas

“If I give 110 percent in my professional life, I’m going to give 110 percent in my personal life. The effort has to be greater than the time spent. It’s about when you’re there and what you give.” — Kristen Kish

“Balancing is about managing the madness.” — Erica Corsano

On mentors and defining moments

“Different people were different inspirations at different parts of my life, so I take something away from every person I meet.” — Gesche Haas

“Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn. It’s important to rethink what mentorship is because you can learn something from someone after two minutes on a train that you’ll take with you your whole life.” — Dia Simms

“The coolest advice I ever got was to go for it and keep in mind the idea of heroic failure. That if it fits, you’re going to have such a good cheers with yourself that you did it and you went for it; you went from talking about it, to trying it.” — Sofi Madison

“My mom has always said, you go do you, I support you and you’re ruling your own life. She’s fantastic.” — Kristen Kish

On finding confidence

“The greatest victory is your attempt in trying. If it doesn’t work then do something else.” — Dia Simms

“Our biggest strength is always our biggest weakness. Figure out what the flip side is.” — Gesche Haas

“I learned to live and have confidence in the fact that I was shy. I appreciated myself for being shy and insecure.” — Kristen Kish

My work itself reinforces the lessons I really needed in life. I needed, ‘Don’t give up.’ I needed, ‘It’s okay if it’s a little messed up.’ I needed to hear it and I needed to believe it.” — Sofi Madison

Rachel Whitty Photography

On competition with other women and “mean girls”

“Understanding that when people feel endangered, that’s the only time they will lash out at you.” — Gesche Haas.

“There’s enough for women to contend with, why be negative? The more we connect and build power relationships, the more we hopefully eradicate “mean girl syndrome.” — Dia Simms

“I don’t have a strategy for dealing with mean girls — I pivot and get the fuck out.” — Sofi Madison

“Any negativity that comes my way, I send back with love. Don’t let negative energy attach to you.” — Erica Corsano

On brands and image:

“Make it important. If it’s not your personality, it’s okay to lean into who you actually are — energy is important.” — Dia Simms

“Be sincere. Be authentic. The fun part about being authentic is being honest about the dark side; the texture and the struggle; how the perfect world can go wrong. Darkness is intriguing for us because it’s truth. Let your truth be the beautiful truth of your journey.” — Sofi Madison

“Always tie back to consistency. When I upload my personal website with consistency, it gives me confidence.” — Gesche Haas

“It goes back to being who you are. If you’re going to show your best days, you have to tell your worst. I can only be me and my brand rose because I was exactly who I was.” — Kristen Kish

Inspiration in trying times

“I think pain is good. Trying to see positive when it happens and let it drive you.” — Gesche Haas.

“I love being the underdog — picking the hard path on purpose.” — Gesche Haas

“I struggle with what bigger thing can I be a part of? The biggest lesson is to share kindness and to share empathy.” — Kristen Kish

“Stay excited about the little, little things. Be fuelled by small things and driven by hard things.” — Sofi Madison

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