Image title

Her Agenda & AlleyNYC present: Overcoming Fear, Facing Failure and Actualizing Ambition


Dec. 9 2015, Published 7:00 p.m. ET

Link to TwitterLink to FacebookLink to Email



COST: $20

VENUE: ustwo New York, 16th Floor

ADDRESS: 26 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, USA

If you are a member of the media and would like to request a credential to cover this event, click here.


Ambition – a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.

Ambition is a feeling, it’s an aspiration, it’s not an action. In order to turn our ambition into action, we have to take steps that turn our desire to do something into an actual completed task.

Article continues below advertisement

One thing that may come up when moving towards actualizing your ambition is fear. Then, when we face that fear and start taking action, there’s a chance that despite our best efforts, we may fail. Sometimes the thought of that failure fuels the fear and prevents us from taking action. We all feel this. But those who we admire, who achieve great things, move past this feeling and push forward.

But how do they do it? What thoughts actually go through their mind and what tools and methods do they use to move through obstacles they face internally and externally to achieve their goals?

Well, to help us answer those questions, we tapped a few smart women who know a little something about overcoming fear, facing failure and actualizing ambition.

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer. Two years ago, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group. But before that, she was let go from her gig as an anchor for CNN’s morning show. But now, as a CEO, CNN is one of her clients and she’s still one of the most sought-after journalists today. Victoria Taylor, recently stepped into a new role as the director of digital community at WeWork after a very public firing from her previous position at reddit. Meagan Hooper, founder of worked her way up from administrative assistant to COO of a premier hedge fund. For this conversation, we’ll also be joined by Vanessa De Luca, Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE magazine. De Luca’s journey is special because in this era of feeling like we have to “make it” before 30, De Luca’s story proves this is not true. She did not begin her career in publishing until she was 30 – a restart after her initial career path took a turn that she was not willing to follow.

Article continues below advertisement

Each of the women on this panel has a unique perspective on what it means to be an ambitious woman and to push forward every day to achieve their goals. We’re excited to chat with them about this and hope you will join us!

We will have special giveaways & prizes courtesy of ESSENCE BeautyBox. Get there early to enter for a chance to win a 6 month subscription to ESSENCE’s new beauty box service.



Gett is a black car app and the best way to get around the city. Go anywhere in Manhattan below 110th for only $10 and never pay surge again. All prices are fixed, even when there’s bad weather, heavy traffic, and high demand.

Maven is sponsoring our drinks for the evening. 


Whether you’re product-obsessed or building your collection, ESSENCE BeautyBox lets you explore the best in beauty for women of color.

Every month receive five luxe beauty products delivered to your door, curated by the beauty experts at ESSENCE — plus tips and tricks to incorporate the products into your daily beauty routine.


Victoria Taylor, director of digital community, WeWork

Article continues below advertisement

Victoria Taylor recently joined WeWork as their director of digital community after previously serving as reddit's Director of Communications and Director of Talent and assisted with AMAs and more with the reddit community. Prior to reddit, Victoria was on the digital team at ID PR and helped work on digital strategy for a wide variety of nonprofits, individuals, entertainment and more. She is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is based out of New York City.


Soledad O'Brien, CEO Starfish Media Group

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer. At the forefront of the biggest breaking news stories of the past two decades, O’Brien is one of the most sought-after journalists today. In June2013, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity, through personal narratives.

Article continues below advertisement

O’Brien was the originator of the highly successful documentary series for CNN,“Black in America” and “Latino in America,” which continues to be produced under Starfish Media Group (“SMG”). Through SMG, O’Brien contributes additional programming to CNN and Al Jazeera America in the form of documentaries and feature stories. She also hosts several specials for theNational Geographic Channel. In 2013, through SMG, O’Brien entered into a multifaceted partnership with HBO, joining the “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” team, giving her the opportunity to contribute her brand of storytelling through the vast prism of sports.

Earlier in her career, O’Brien co-anchored “Weekend Today”, on NBC,and contributed segments to the “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News.” In2003, O’Brien joined CNN, where she anchored the morning news program for many years. O’Brien’s coverage of race issues has won her two Emmy awards and she earned a third for her reporting on the 2012 presidential election. Her coverage of Hurricane Katrina for CNN earned her and the network a GeorgeFoster Peabody Award. She also won the Peabody for her coverage of the BPGulf Coast Oil Spill, and her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami helpedCNN win an Alfred I. DuPont Award.O’Brien was named journalist of the year in 2010 by the National Association ofBlack Journalists and one of Newsweek magazine’s “10 People who MakeAmerica Great”, in 2006.



Article continues below advertisement

Meagan Hooper, Founder and CEO of

Meagan Hooper, bSmart's founder, leveraged an arts degree and professional theatre and film experience into a decade long career on Wall Street, working her way up from Administrative Assistant for the founder of a premier hedge fund, to the firm's Chief Operating Officer. Self-taught in the world of finance, her prowess and expertise was quickly recognized, as she then became Director of Operations for a global wealth management firm, overseeing $4 billion in assets across multiple asset classes. Through her journey, Meagan discovered a need for advising, supporting, and connecting aspirational millennial women. This motivated her to launch to serve as a platform for women to learn, connect and promote their brands in order to achieve success and obtain their goals.

Article continues below advertisement

While building on her business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit, Meagan continues her pursuit of the arts, from performing stand-up comedy to appearing in film, television, and theatre. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Meagan lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, Joe, and pug, Stella.


Vanessa DeLuca, Editor-in-Chief Essence Magazine 

Vanessa K. De Luca is Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE magazine, the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women. As the brand’s editorial leader, she oversees the content and vision of the core magazine as well as, the daily online destination for African-American women. Her influence extends across ESSENCE’s various brand extensions—including top-tier events such as the internationally renowned ESSENCE Festival (held annually during Fourth of July weekend), the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon and ESSENCE Black Women in Music. De Luca was named to the post in July 2013.

Article continues below advertisement

De Luca first joined ESSENCE more than a decade ago as Beauty and Fashion Features Editor, where she directed all style and beauty sections.  In 2003, she was named Lifestyle Director, responsible for coverage including food, home, parenting and technology.  Additionally, De Luca was a member of the editorial features team, writing and editing numerous impactful stories on subjects ranging from teen dating violence to childhood obesity. In 2005, she was named Executive Editor, managing the editorial team to implement the brand’s creative vision, as well as overseeing staffing, systems, operations and the magazine’s operating budget.

Prior to joining ESSENCE, she served in a variety of editorial capacities at publications such as Life and Glamour. An award-winning journalist and coauthor of the bestselling beauty and empowerment book, Tyra Banks Beauty Inside & Out, De Luca has been a featured guest on several national television networks, including NBC’s TODAY Show; MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Melissa Harris Perry; CNN; HLN; HuffPost Live and more.

De Luca received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and her Master of Science in Magazine Concentration from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.




Her Agenda is an award-winning digital media platform working to bridge the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. Named a top website for millennial women by our content attracts ambitious women and we give them the tools to become accomplished women. We curate, and create events, workshops, panels and conferences and we publish articles that feature actionable career advice. Her Agenda also publishes exclusive interviews with powerful, successful women who offer honest advice from their career journey to our readers. For more visit,


Latest Event News and Updates

    Black OwnedFemale Founder