For many of us, setting boundaries isn’t second nature. Simultaneously, we may have also found out, sometimes the hard way, that doing so is an essential part of living a happy, well-balanced life. 

Good news: If you’re feeling unsure about how and which boundaries to set, take inspiration from these 45 impressive women from the Dreamers & Doers collective. They shared the most trajectory-shifting boundaries they’ve set, enabling them to become the successful leaders they are today. 

Whether it’s starting their days later, clearly communicating their work hours (and sticking to it!), or choosing to invest in themselves and their families, these inspiring women set lines that have transformed their work-life balance. These tips and strategies may be just the key you need to identify important boundaries for yourself.

Vivian Acquah CDE®

Certified DEI Trainer at Amplify DEI, committed to supporting organizations by creating inclusive environments and promoting DEI from within.

“I’ve made it a practice to communicate clearly that I will respond to queries within a two-working-day timeframe. This allows me to manage my workload effectively without feeling overwhelmed. Thankfully, many clients understand and respect this boundary. This practice ensures I can provide each client with the attention and quality service they deserve.”

Melissa Unsell-Smith

CEO of Catalytic Icon, a community where female entrepreneurs ignite clarity, build authentic interactions with peers, and curate dreamy lifestyles.

“One of my favorite boundaries is committing to my 90-minute morning routine, which includes a stroll in nature with my dog while sipping my favorite coffee, meditating for a minimum of 35 minutes, reviewing my goals and intentions for the year, and journaling. I give myself permission to start the day investing in myself so I can positively serve and interact with others. It’s the greatest boundary I’ve ever created. It also aligns with my value of being over doing. Being requires an intuitive presence, which is the best way to start each day.”

Catharine Montgomery

Founder and CEO of Better Together, a full-service, Black woman-founded public relations agency that galvanizes positive change for purpose-driven organizations.

“The key boundaries that have shaped my journey include dedicating time to cultural and community engagement and ensuring regular mental health check-ins. These practices allow me to stay connected with my community, providing a sense of belonging and perspective. Mental health check-ins keep me grounded and focused, catering to my personal well-being in a way that’s tailored to my lifestyle and responsibilities as a communications agency founder.”

Ciela Hartanov

Founder and CEO of humcollective, a boutique consulting firm that (r)evolutionizes the way we work, innovate, and adapt—both as individuals and as organizations.

“I don’t take meetings before 10 a.m. I’ve learned that when I ease into my morning routine, I have my most vibrancy later in the day. My schedule now fits my natural rhythms.”

Michelle Glogovac

Founder and CEO of The MLG Collective®, a PR agency specializing in podcasts.

“I’ve learned that it’s okay to say ‘no’ and adhere to the great reminder from Emma Isaacs to ‘sit on your hands.’ I’ve always been the first to raise my hand at volunteering for something or to go beyond the scope of work for a client. Creating boundaries around both of those two aspects of life, personally and professionally, has helped me tremendously.”

Lisha Davis

CEO of Arable Ventures, specializing in enterprise/corporate innovation, operating model design, capability building, and venture portfolio delivery.

“Blame is not helpful and can cause angst and rupture emotions. I want to reinforce a culture where mistakes are expected and embraced, and where we feel safe to take healthy risks, own up to our actions, and learn from them. I try to be honest and direct always, especially when handling conflict or providing feedback. Sugar coating or avoiding a difficult conversation often prolongs a remedy.”

Lexie Smith

CEO of GROWTH MODE Agency, a PR & communications agency for brands in growth mode, and Co-Founder of Ready Set Coach Community, an online community built for coaches by coaches.

“Having experienced burnout in the corporate world, I have learned to set clear communication boundaries with clients and team members as an entrepreneur. These boundaries range from hours they can expect to hear from me, preferred methods and platforms of communication, and frequency of interactions. With expectations clear on both ends, I can protect my energy, enabling me to show up and deliver at the 110% they deserve.”

Georgie-Ann Getton

CEO of GSD Solutions, providing strategic consulting, workflow optimization, and cutting-edge technology integrations to help boost productivity and redefine success.

“One of the most important boundaries I have implemented is turning off email notifications on my phone. While this may seem small, we are all controlled by these little computers in our pockets. In the past, I would reply to emails and client messages at all hours of the day and night, leading to burnout. Since making this change, I can better control my time and the access others have to me.”

Theresa Fesinstine

Founder of, empowering women leaders to leverage the potential of AI to super-power their brands and organizations.

“I live by the philosophy of not ‘living with a rock in my shoe.’ This metaphor underscores the importance of addressing discomforts or issues immediately, rather than allowing them to fester and impede progress. Whether it’s a minor misunderstanding within a team or a personal habit that’s not serving me well, I believe in tackling it head on. This proactive approach ensures that small problems don’t snowball into larger ones, allowing me to maintain a clear focus on my goals and preserve my mental well-being.”

Dr. Claire Green-Forde

Founder and CEO of Dr. Claire SPEAKS! LLC, an advisory consultancy dedicated to dismantling systemic inequities in healthcare and advancing racial and social justice.

“As I continue to grow and evolve, I consistently work to confront the beliefs and harmful social conditioning that has told me that I shouldn’t set boundaries. I also recognize that being a minority meant that I struggled with boundaries both consciously and unconsciously, as a means to navigate harmful stereotypes upheld in our society about Black women. Saying no and setting boundaries with my time, who has access to me, when they have access, and what organizations I partner with has been incredibly healing.”

Lexi Hartmann

Founder and CEO of iHartContent, a bilingual content and copywriting agency dedicated to amplifying the voices of purpose-driven founders with a message the world needs to hear.

“Given the nature of my work online, where impactful messages can attract trolls and bullies, it’s crucial for my off-work hours to be a time to ground and refuel. Our feeds and screens are often inundated with sensationalism, division, and an unrealistically polished portrayal of life. To counter this, I’ve established firm boundaries around the content I consume, focusing on authenticity and balance. If it triggers fear, rage, or insecurity, I simply scroll past. This approach doesn’t mean avoiding challenging topics. Rather, it involves meticulously curating my feeds to safeguard my mental health—both at work and beyond.”

Marissa Joy Pick

Founder of Marissa Pick Consulting LLC, providing strategic consulting focused on digital transformation, content marketing, social media strategy, personal branding, and more.

“My family and children always come first—no exceptions. I’ve made this clear to my managers and teams. While I’m always committed to getting my work done, I also prioritize my family. It’s not about being glued to a desk from 9-to-5 anymore; it’s about finding a work-life balance that works for you. As a woman in the workforce, it’s important to draw lines about your priorities and be true to yourself about what really matters.”

Rachael King

CEO of Pod People, a content and marketing studio for award-winning podcasts and social creative.

“The most important boundary I’ve implemented is no meetings before 11 a.m. The morning is when I’m at my best, and I use that time to focus on my to-do list items that take a lot of brain power and/or require a solid block of time to tackle properly. I’m a huge fan of the ‘eat the frog’ philosophy, especially when combined with the Pomodoro method.”

Keona Moy

Founder and CEO of VKTORI, a neuro-inclusive and braless apparel company offering a patent-pending construction that seamlessly blends comfort and coverage.

“When you run a business, half the time, it all feels like a mess. Many friends and family will ask about how the business is going and offer well-meaning but useless advice. My boundary is only sharing how my business is truly going with a select group of trusted people who can ‘sit in the mud with me.’ To my well-meaning friends and family, I keep it short and sweet, using the conversation as market research or a self-promotion opportunity.”

Elizabeth O’Neill

Owner of Elizabeth O’Neill Consulting, helping fast-growth startups struggling with chaos and underperformance get aligned to achieve higher levels of success.

I stay true to my rule of no meetings before 10 a.m. This ensures I have time for my mindset routine and to work on my business before I serve my clients. This simple rule protects my mornings and has helped reverse my default approach of putting my mind and business behind all else. As a result, I go into my days feeling more centered, intentional, and accomplished.”

Anouck Gotlib

CEO of Belgian Boys, creating whole ingredient foods with a European twist so families can prepare less, smile more, and indulge better.

“I put blocks on my calendar for things that are important to me but might get forgotten. For example, I schedule a weekly meeting with my husband and Co-Founder Greg so that our work doesn’t bleed into home life.”

Charmaine Green-Forde

Founder and CEO of Chapter tOO, LLC, an organizational and leadership development consultancy, leveraging data-backed people insights to optimize engagement and strategy.

“I protect my time and energy. Boundaries, to me, mean controlling access. I don’t allow those who might jeopardize the sanctity of my well-being to have access to my time or energy.”

Lauren Maffeo

Author of Designing Data Governance from the Ground Up, a 100-page, six-step guide to help leaders leverage data as a competitive asset.

“Several years ago, I removed my work Slack, Microsoft, and email accounts from my personal phone. I also stopped taking calls from colleagues on my personal phone when they chose to reach out there in lieu of a work outlet like Slack or email. My job already requires me to be online at a computer all day, which means I’m almost never out of pocket as is. I realized that if I replied during off hours and lunch breaks, I’d never get a real break. By setting a standard that I’ll reply ASAP but am not at everyone’s beck and call, I’ve been able to preserve some time that’s truly my own.”

Ashley Graham

Founder of The Conscious Publicist®, a concierge for PR and media innovation, reshaping thought leadership through strategic advisory and impactful partnerships.

“Establishing clear boundaries around my time has been pivotal in my journey toward success and well-being. Additionally, embracing opportunities that align with ease rather than need or necessity has significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth. This discerning approach allows me to invest my energy where it truly matters, positively impacting my overall well-being.”

Taryn Talley

Head of Marketing at Position2, a growth marketing agency committed to helping innovative companies thrive by delivering best-in-class digital marketing and creative design.

“The biggest boundary I’ve ever set in my career involved my daughter. When she was about 11 years old, I had taken on the role of Managing Art Director, leading an entire design team that delivered web, email, rich media, and print design for a chapter of a well-known national organization. My work week was 65-70 hours routinely, and I was struggling to be an active participant in my daughter’s life. Realizing that I didn’t want to be an absentee parent, I quit my job. I was able to spend so much more time with her, and we ended up closer than ever. My boundary to this day is to prioritize and spend quality time with the people I love.”

Joy Osaka-Lu

Founder of One Ripple, helping scaling entrepreneurs align with their corporate clients as a step onto the world stage by blending real world problems with strategic consciousness.

“I learned to not have my compassion weaponized against me. As an overgiver, this helped me balance what I give and have room to receive with power and grace. This also gave me clarity as to what was mine to care deeply about, versus carrying everything and everyone I encountered. Those with big hearts know what I’m talking about.”

Alex Mufson

Founder and CEO of Aspen Growth Coaching, a team of specialized coaches dedicated to turning insight into action so you can get back to living your life.

“I prioritize seeing everyone as radically human, while having strict boundaries around what is allowed into my energy. Sometimes, this looks like allowing someone to think something that isn’t true rather than diving into unnecessary conflict. Other times it looks like hiring amazing HR to support my nervous system by being a safe third party!”

Ada Chen

Founder and CEO of Erleia, an AAPI, woman-founded natural skincare brand focused on sustainability and inclusivity.

“I’ve set important boundaries around my time and my schedule that have positively impacted my business’s success and my own well-being. For example, I schedule all networking meetings for weekdays during my working hours. I also try to communicate my work schedule with my team of contractors and agencies ahead of time so they know when to expect my responses. I’ve found that setting this boundary improves team communication and asynchronous collaboration, making everyone more productive.”

Emma-Louise Parkes

Founder and CEO of The Ambitious Introvert®, the leading coaching and personal development platform for high-potential introverted executives and entrepreneurs.

“I introduce boundaries when I subcontract for new clients, making it clear from the start when and where I’m available between sessions and how long they can expect to wait for a response. This allows me to relax, knowing that if they contacted me late Friday night, there is no expectation on their part for a response until Monday. This helps me truly enjoy my weekends while knowing my clients do not feel ignored.”

Dr. Shabnam Ghazizadeh

Facial Plastic Surgeon at Dr. Shabnam Ghazizadeh Facial Plastic Surgery, specializing in aesthetic facial rejuvenation procedures and rhinoplasty surgery.

“Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of advocating for myself at work and at home to make sure I am getting the support and time I need to be the best at both motherhood and surgery. My husband and I share in household tasks so I can prioritize quality time with our kids when I am not working. I make sure to incorporate daily rituals like uninterrupted play immediately when I get home and reading before bedtime so we stay connected. I have also learned to say ‘no’ when I am over-committed, which was a challenge for me.”

Annie Franceschi

Founder of Greatest Story Creative®, helping coaches, consultants, and service business owners brand and grow their greatest businesses with confidence.

“I take every December off to work on my business instead of in it. Though I’ve had to say ‘no’ to a few clients over the years, this special time is my most important boundary for protecting my business growth and self-care. I’ve done eight of these ‘Batch Decembers’ so far and credit them with helping me become and sustain being a six-figure practice, empowering me to write two books, and giving me priceless time to invest in myself and my family.”

Adelaida Diaz-Roa

Co-Founder and CEO of Robin House, providing the key to unlocking financial freedom and building wealth through real estate for everyone, regardless of their income level.

“One of the most significant boundaries contributing to my success and well-being has been the firm establishment of work-life balance. By setting clear limits on my professional availability, I’ve been able to dedicate necessary time for rest and personal pursuits. This has remarkably boosted my productivity and creativity in my professional sphere. Another crucial boundary has been my commitment to regular self-reflection. This practice has enabled me to better understand and articulate my needs and limits. As a result, I am able to maintain my mental well-being while navigating my entrepreneurial journey.”

Katrina Purcell

Founder of Katrina Purcell LLC, a fractional COO and consulting firm that specializes in actionable growth and scaling support for technology companies and nonprofits.

“One of the most important boundaries I’ve set is saying ‘no,’ and it being a full sentence. Oftentimes, we feel the need to explain or say yes when in reality we wish we could say no for various reasons. We tend to overlook that exerting energy for something that is not in alignment with our goals takes us away from something that would be a better match. I’m more careful about saying yes too quickly, and I really only say yes if something is an emphatic yes—if there are any doubts, I say no.”

Aishwarya Balaji

Co-Founder and CEO of A Fresh Sip, a platform which curates and sells non-alcoholic adult beverages and is focused on redefining drinking culture.

“It’s important to cement your individual must-dos in your calendar. Your time, whether it’s ‘me’ time or time you use to get into a flow state to get work done, is never less important than other people’s time. I used to regularly move things around my calendar to accommodate other people’s schedules. This led to two things. It was quite challenging to maintain consistency and routine when we were first starting out, which in turn decreased productivity; and I subconsciously started to value my time and the promises I made to myself less.”

Chandler J. Esq

Attorney and Founder of Lethal Legal, a virtual trademark law firm helping entrepreneurs secure ownership of their brand and put more money in their pockets. 

“As a CEO, you make decisions on the daily. Oftentimes, we lean into others for support and advice. While I always take others’ input into consideration, I don’t let their opinions dictate what I know in my heart to be true. Tune into yourself, always. Sometimes you need to talk things out. But don’t let someone sway you into doing something you know isn’t right.”

Claudia Richman

Co-Founder of Starling Training, offering cohort-based, virtual, synchronous training designed to sharpen the skills that build productive, supportive relationships.

“The most important boundary I’ve set is not working with leaders who don’t care about creating a healthy workplace. At Starling Training, we teach managers how to support their reports while being effective individual contributors. This takes a great deal of emotional intelligence. If company leadership doesn’t value and demonstrate emotional intelligence or understand that their employees are at the heart of everything they do and deserve to be treated fairly and respectfully, we don’t want to work with them. All the training in the world won’t have an impact if senior leaders’ actions betray their words.”

Gökçe Gizer Clover

Founder of BEYOND42, supporting founders and leaders in the tech ecosystem with content, community, and coaching to foster resilience, build thriving teams, and drive innovation.

“I’ve been mastering the art of saying ‘no’ to protect my most valuable and limited resource: my attention. I discovered that even if I have the time, it’s crucial to reserve that space, focus, and energy for what truly aligns with my passions and skills. To decide what gets my time and attention, I use a simple ‘No 7s’ rule. I rate opportunities out of 10, but never use seven, which is the maybe zone to avoid. If it’s less than seven, it’s not exciting or aligned enough. If it’s eight, nine, or 10, then it’s a definite yes.”

Jessica Sikora

Founder and CEO of SUPERBANDS, redefining the fan experience by seamlessly connecting young enthusiasts with their favorite artists and bands.

“Setting firm boundaries on my calendar, including dedicated time for family and self-care, has been crucial in balancing personal well-being with the demands of leading a growing nonprofit. By prioritizing these commitments, I ensure that I’m at my best to contribute effectively to our organization’s growth and success.”

Marnie Rabinovitch Consky

Founder and CEO of Thigh Society Inc., the leading brand of size-inclusive long leg undergarment solutions to sweating, chafing, and modesty.

“Meetings, while productive, can also be disruptive. I intentionally keep my schedule light the first couple of days back after a vacation and avoid scheduling meetings on Mondays in general. This helps me avoid the dreaded ‘Sunday Scaries’ and lets me ease back into work at my own pace. I prefer spending the first day back after vacation or after a weekend combing through emails and enjoying a slower start to the week. It’s a strategy that works for me to ensure a smoother transition back into full-work mode and helps me minimize post-holiday and post-weekend stress.”

Kristen Carbone

Founder and CEO of Brilliantly, smartphone-enabled warmth-on-demand that fits invisibly into any bra.

“After ignoring my health needs for the first couple of years, my sleep and well-being are a top priority now. In order to show up and do my best work, I need to rest, eat good food, and have time to work out. I also take the time two afternoons a week to pick my kids up from school and spend quality time with them. Raising good humans is my most important job!”

Carrie Melissa Jones

CEO of The CMJ Group, a consulting and training company that helps enterprises and startups build meaningful, impactful, and engaged online communities.

“The best boundary I have set is keeping my distance from people who only feel secure when I dim my light. It took me some time to recognize this pattern and end those relationships. Some will be threatened by your success. Their feelings are not your responsibility. Shine your light and surround yourself with people who lift you up—and lift them up in return.”

Yewande Faloyin

Founder and CEO of OTITỌ Executive Leadership Coaching, helping leaders focus their energy and their people for a direct business impact.

“When I was in my final year as a vice president at Morgan Stanley, amidst a hectic schedule, I made a commitment to prioritize personal well-being. There was a pivotal moment when a client asked for a call and I chose not to cancel a yoga session I had planned. The setting of this boundary reshaped my future perspective. This small act brought clarity and a clear head for me to resolve a work challenge that I’d been preoccupied with, reinforcing the belief that personal balance enhances professional excellence. And the client I’d said ‘no’ to was more than happy to meet me at the alternative time I suggested. Today, our approach at OTITỌ is rooted in helping clients achieve more effortlessly by embracing a holistic philosophy that prioritizes well-being for unparalleled success.”

Katharine Campbell Hirst

Executive Coach at IdeaShift, providing coaching and strategic guidance for women entrepreneurs, creatives, and executives.

“I’ve gained clarity on who I want to work with and why. This clarity has stopped me from getting distracted by unaligned opportunities and kept space on my dance card for creativity and aligned growth. Becoming a mother has given me razor clarity on the time I want to be present with my daughter, the time I need to look after myself, and the time I need to build my practice.”

Trish Boes

Founder and CEO of UnlimitMe, empowering the next generation of leaders to explore their unique, unlimited potential through experiential learning experiences.

“I’ve learned to be conscious of the energy that certain activities or people bring and limit them. Specifically, I restrict my time watching news, being on social media, or watching really intense or negative TV shows to no more than 30 minutes a day. I decrease time with people who are overly negative and don’t share the same vision as me. I find that what we consume and who we are around has an impact on us. So having clear boundaries on the time I spend doing these things leaves me feeling energized, positive, and excited for each day at work.”

Caitlin McCarthy-Miranda

Founder and CEO of C|Louise, a marketing and PR team of creative problem solvers and relentless explorers, forever fueled by insatiable curiosity.Founder and CEO of C|Louise, a marketing and PR team of creative problem solvers and relentless explorers, forever fueled by insatiable curiosity.

“I believe in a ‘yes’ mentality, seizing every opportunity for excellence, while judiciously exercising the power of ‘no’ when necessary. Saying no isn’t about reluctance; it’s about ensuring optimal outcomes. In practice, if I don’t think my expertise or my time can be best utilized delivering on an ask for a client, they know when I say no it’s not because I don’t want to do the work. It’s because I believe there is someone better suited. I safeguard my time, recognizing its value and allocating it where it can make the greatest impact.”

Courtlyn Jones

Founder and CEO of The Design Database, the premier online community and job platform for female creatives who need more visibility so they can attract their dream opportunities.

“No longer listening to or taking the opinions of people who have never done what I’m doing has been a game changer for me. Trusting my instincts and seeking advice from experienced mentors has refined my decision-making process. Additionally, setting clear boundaries on work hours has been crucial. By establishing dedicated time for personal life, I’ve found a healthier work-life balance, enhancing both my well-being and professional effectiveness.”

Amanda Diehl

Founder of Sky Oro, a female-centric membership community for women that is creating space and experiences for deep, meaningful relationships to form and thrive.

“I only work 23 hours a week. In order to better take care of myself, my family, and my business, I have found it critical to give myself permission to lessen the number of hours that I work each week. Goodbye 40-hour work week. It was incredibly freeing to disentangle the value of what I paid myself from the number of hours I worked. It allowed me to totally reframe the value that I bring to my company and the impact that we are having.”

Lauren A. Burke

CEO of Notehouse, a note-taking solution for everyone working with humans, and The Possible LAB, providing coaching to help social impact leaders get more done.

“I’m really clear and upfront with expectations. That way I don’t have to feel guilty about enforcing them. I’ve also worked on erasing the scarcity mindset that said if I enforce boundaries and turn people away, I’d lose out on clients. If I could only have them as a client if they had access to me 24/7, did I really even want that client? Or are they hindering me from creating space for someone who will respect my time?”

Stephanie Loewenstern

Founder of Bright Link Talent, a woman-owned recruiting firm that places top, diverse talent for high growth startup, advertising, and technology companies.

“Implementing self-care and surrounding myself with the right people has helped my success. I prioritize self-care, dedicating time to exercise, yoga, and reading. This commitment to my well-being has not only improved my physical and mental health but has also boosted my professional success. Also, I consciously surround myself with positive and like-minded individuals, stepping away from toxic influences and letting go of what no longer serves me.”

Sally Joy Wolf

Founder and CEO of LightWorks, empowering executives and their teams to flourish through positive psychology workshops, inspirational keynotes, well-being advisory, and coaching.

“Even before I launched my own business, my boss knew how fiercely I protected my weekly dance class on my calendar—even when it meant missing a work dinner or flying cross country at a less than ideal hour. Squeezing my class into my schedule meant I elevated my physical energy, connected with friends, and honored my commitment to myself. All of this led me to return to the office the next day ready to work without regret or resentment—and often with fun stories from the night before!”

All individuals featured in this article are members of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community that amplifies extraordinary women entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders by securing PR, forging authentic connections, and curating high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and get involved here.