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A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Lori Cheek

Founder & CEO of Cheek'd

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May 15 2012, Published 10:35 a.m. ET

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A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Lori Cheek
Live your dream relentlessly.Quotation marks
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Lori worked as an architect for 15 years in New York City before discovering her agenda. Now, Lori is revolutionizing online dating as founder and CEO of her site Cheek’d.

It’s only been two years and Cheek’d is already making a major splash in the online dating world, even Oprah wanted to get her hands on a deck of cards from this out of the box dating site. Members are given a deck of 50 cards with flirty comments and introductions to a unique online profile. It’s like online dating, only in reverse. “Cheek’d is bringing honesty back to dating, You can’t even search through the profile unless you have the Cheek’d card” says Lori.

Find out how Lori navigates her day and how her world was turned upside down after getting a call from Oprah’s team. She put it all on the line for her dream–made a u-turn on her career and became an accidental entrepreneur after getting hit with an idea.  Read on to get a peek inside the agenda of this entrepreneur on a mission to transform online dating.

What is a typical day like for you? 

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1). Open eyes and check iPhone for all that’s happened while sleeping.
2). Head to the coffee maker.
3). I turn on NY1 and watch the news (on repeat) while I do a little
social media (facebook posts/ twitter) and respond to pressing emails.
I do this until my laptop runs out of battery.
4). Plug in and head to the gym to recharge my laptop and my body! I
usually get on the elliptical trainer for an hour and respond to texts
and other miscellaneous items from my phone.
5). Home for a healthy lunch, then head to a café, a coffee shop,
the Soho House or a co-working space where I either work alone or meet
up with my team of interns.
6). Around 7, I usually head out to tech/ networking events around
Manhattan to meet people and spread the word of Cheek’d.

What is a not so typical day like for you?

The craziest situation I’ve experienced after the launch of my business was probably the call from Oprah Winfrey’s studio after they’d read about my business in the New York Times (coined as “the next generation of online dating”). They asked for a deck of cards and a photo of me followed by a short phone interview. I cried for nearly an hour. I called my parents to tell them and they couldn’t even understand what I was trying to say, then my mom couldn’t stop crying which made me start crying all over again. I couldn’t believe my little idea (my reverse engineered dating site, cheekd.com) had lead to a call from Oprah. It was the most memorable moment to date.

What is first on the agenda?
I’ve risked everything I have (my savings & my career in architecture) to build my idea. My priorities, in response, become simple- funding my business, generating revenue, marketing the idea and getting press.

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Do you have a motto that you live by?

Live your dream relentlessly.

When did you discover what you wanted to be in life and how old were

I thought I’d figured it all out when I was about 22 and had finished architecture school and headed straight for NYC to become the next big designer. Nearly 15 years later, a light bulb appeared above my head that became my next big idea—my discovery. It happened when I least expected it and now, more than ever, I know whom I always wanted to be and it’s all about doing my own thing.

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How do you overcome doubt?

Admitting that doubt exists is the first step, at which point I start seeking solutions. Making lists of how doubt affects me and in turn, listing goals to overcome it and taking actions each day to achieve those goals. It’s a very simple process, yet takes an incredible amount of strength.

Do you remember a moment where you had to prove yourself, not only to other people but to yourself?

There have been days where I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m kind of an accidental entrepreneur, so really didn’t know anything about building a business. I’ve just had to look myself in the mirror and numerous occasions and convince myself that I can do this. I can figure it all out. I’ve come this far and there’s going to be no looking back. I’ve given this my all. It may take time, but I’m not going to quit.

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HERAGENDA.com’s purpose is the inspiration and empowerment for females. How do you feel your work is perceived as a female in our society?

I find that women have a difficult time approaching men, in general. I’ve offered a tool (these privacy protected cards), which becomes a funny and ice breaking way of meeting people. I’ve gotten loads of emails, tweets and facebook messages about how inspired women are by what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. Sometimes when I’m having a tough day and I get one of these messages, it turns my entire day around. I just keep going.

What is something that women today still need to overcome?
While women are beginning to make enormous strides in the entrepreneurial world, men clearly dominate the industry. I feel that women need to understand that we can compete and be confident in our abilities to succeed without a man to lean on, as self- confidence will ultimately lead to success.

Who has inspired you?
I’m inspired by two brands—Nike & Apple. They’re both simple, solid and continuously on top of the innovation game. I aspire to build a brand with such simplicity, power and influence.

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By: Rhonesha Byng

Rhonesha Byng is the founder and CEO of Her Agenda— a digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. The site provides access to content and community that gives millennial women access to information and inspiration to help them get started or to move to the next level of their career. Rhonesha is an Emmy award-winning journalist and entrepreneur whose philosophy in life is established by her acronym of N.E.S.H.A. No one Ever Slows Her Agenda. This motto served as the inspiration for Her Agenda. Rhonesha was named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and ESSENCE magazine named her among 50 Founders To Watch. Rhonesha is also the co-founder of the newly formed nonprofit org The Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI).

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