Behind Her Empire


Quitting Your Corporate Job & Building Your Empire with Helene Godin, Founder of By The Way Bakery

Season 2, Ep. 70

Helene Godin is the founder and CEO of By The Way Bakery, a unique, old-fashioned bakery where each treat is handmade, gluten-free, dairy-free, and certified kosher. 

Helene hasn't always been a baker. She spent over two decades as a successful lawyer when she decided that she was ready for a change, and took the bold step of starting her business.

Although she was not an experienced baker, Helene leveraged her skill and passion as a researcher, along with her determination to exceed expectations, to learn and develop delicious gluten-free foods. Through her tenacity, she was able to create a unique gluten-free flour mix that now forms the cornerstone of her exceptional baked goods. 

Today her bakery has four locations and can be found in over 80 Whole Foods stores nationwide. Over the past 10 years, her brand has developed a cult following and is beloved by many celebrities.

In our conversation with Helene, we discuss her transition from being a full-time lawyer to entrepreneurship and how this step changed her lifestyle and identity. We delve into how Helene prepared herself for the challenges that lay ahead as well as how she became comfortable with failure and taking risks after her very stable career.

In this episode, we'll talk to Helene about:

* Helene’s long, successful career as a lawyer and how she made the leap to pursue entrepreneurship and open up a bakery. [3:12]

* What it meant for Helene’s sense of identity to no longer be a lawyer. [5:04]

* The long and thorough process of preparation that Helene went through to open her bakery and why she felt confident about this transition period. [6:54]

* The entrepreneurial traits that Helene’s husband recognized in her and the role he has played in her journey. [12:06]

* How Helene identified and developed her passion after a long career as a lawyer. [14:18]

* How Helene took a chance in entrepreneurship by pursuing a field she had virtually no experience in. [16:18]

* Helene breaks down her process for making her business viable in the early stages and how she engineered her gluten-free flour mix. [18:18]

* How Helene conducted market research for her gluten-free products and decided not to be entirely vegan, but still dairy-free. [22:10]

* Some of the major pivots that Helene has had to make in life and business, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [24:56]

* Helene’s transition into wholesale during the earlier days of her business and how she got into her first Whole Foods through tenacity and patience. [28:45]

* How the bakery had to adapt to a much larger new order from Whole Foods in a short period, why they couldn’t say no, and how the company has grown since. [32:01]

* The devastating impact of the COVID pandemic, how it affected the demand for baked goods, and the steps Helene took to keep her bakers on staff. [37:47]

* Helene’s self-care ritual and how it’s developed since the start of the COVID pandemic. [40:33]

This episode is brought to you by beeya: 

* If you or anyone you know have been struggling with hormonal imbalances and bad periods, go to to download the free guide to tackling hormonal imbalances and to learn more about beeya’s seed cycling bundle. 

* Plus, get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE

Follow Helene:

* By The Way Bakery Instagram:


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More Episodes


Turning $1500 Into a Multi-Million Dollar Business & Using Therapy to Create a New Future with Karen Young, Founder of Oui the People

Season 2, Ep. 129
Karen Young is the Founder and CEO of Oui the People, a body care brand designed to make you feel great in your own skin. Karen has always been a problem solver, but one problem plagued her for years - debilitating razor burn which held her back from wearing many of her favorite skirts or shorts that showed her legs. In 2014, while working as an executive for Estee Lauder, Keren suffered a particularly bad case of razor burn and decided enough was enough.With $1,500 in her savings, Karen launched Oui the People from her apartment in Brooklyn and turned the shaving industry on its head by developing the world’s first safety razor designed especially for women. The company is now the fastest growing Black-owned beauty brand in the US and has been featured in many publications like Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and O Magazine. Most recently, after self-funding for many years which we’ll talk about, Karen closed an oversubscribed round and raised $3 million dollars for the brand allowing her to continue to push her mission of empowerment and inclusivity - something that she didn’t always see in the beauty industry growing up. In this week’s episode, we talk to Karen about her very windy journey in entrepreneurship from having a successful corporate career while trying different side hustles with the goal of always starting her own business, the biggest lessons she learned from her first business that ended up closing down, and how therapy has been her biggest tool when it comes to overcoming the darkest of times. We also chat about her unique upbringing as a child of immigrants and what they taught her about self-worth, resilience, and perseverance – all key factors that have helped her in both her personal & professional life. In this episode, we’ll talk to Karen about:* Lessons in perseverance that Karen was taught by her grandmother. [03:20]* The culture that Karen was immersed in while growing up and how it has influenced her. [08:17]* An overview of Karen’s educational and early career journey. [13:22]* The founding story of Karen’s first business, Hammocks and High Tea. [21:40]* Karen shares the biggest lesson she learned through her first entrepreneurial venture. [25:57]* The motivation behind the closing of Hammocks and High Tea. [29:15]* How Karen dealt with the emotional and financial stress that came with closing down her business. [32:49]* The importance of separating your sense of worth from your business. [36:00]* Pressure that is commonly felt by children of immigrants. [36:37]* Karen’s experience working at Estee Lauder. [40:00]* The problem that Karen saw as an opportunity for her next business, Oui the People. [41:41]* What the early days looked like at Oui the People. [42:33]* The moment Karen realized Oui the People was much more than just a side hustle. [44:28]* Karen’s approach to product development and how it benefited her business in the long run. [46:06]* How Karen’s mindset around funding has changed with her evolving journey as an entrepreneur. [52:25]* Why Karen is a strong proponent of therapy. [55:24]* Karen’s advice for dealing with overwhelm. [56:46]This episode is brought to you by Beeya:* If you or anyone you know have been struggling with hormonal imbalances and bad periods, go to to download the free guide to tackling hormonal imbalances and to learn more about Beeya’s seed cycling bundle. * Plus, get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE10.

Quitting Your Day Job & Living Out Your Dreams with Wellness Expert & Entrepreneur, Mona Vand

Season 2, Ep. 128
Mona Vand is a wellness expert and pharmacist turned entrepreneur who is passionate about making the world a healthier place.After six years of studying, and only a short few weeks of work as a pharmacist, Mona quickly realized that she was in the completely wrong career. While medication and supplements can be part of the equation for leading a healthy life, Mona believes that food is the key for taking a holistic approach to wellness.Since then, Mona has spent countless hours building a side hustle that would ultimately become her main focus. And while Mona has managed to build a highly successful wellness brand with millions of followers, the journey has not been without its challenges.In our conversation, Mona shares what it was like building her personal brand from the ground up and how her passion fueled her through difficult times. We talk about the biggest business mistakes she made early in her career as a wellness expert and her advice to anyone looking to build a personal brand around their passions.Lastly, we take a moment to reflect on the current situation in Iran and to express our solidarity and support for the men and women who are risking their lives for their right to live freely.If you’re looking for ways to help create awareness and get involved, the Iranian Diaspora Collective ( has gathered resources for you to review and use in a not-for-profit capacity to amplify and support Iranian voices. #betheirvoiceIn this episode, we’ll talk to Mona about:* The current protests in Iran and how Mona is using her platform to support them. [00:51]* Insight into Mona’s Persian culture and how it has shaped her identity. [03:57]* The dissatisfaction and unhappiness Mona felt with her career as a pharmacist. [08:36]* How Mona first recognized that shifting her career was a viable option. [11:11]* How Mona was introduced to Marki Costello and learned how to build a personal brand. [12:28]* Mona shares how she entered the wrong business partnership early in her career and how she recovered from it. [19:22]* How Mona realized she needed to pivot into social media. [23:25]* The disappointment Mona felt when she had to return to her work as a pharmacist. [24:130]* How Mona was able to work as a pharmacist while also growing her social media following. [25:14]* How creating an online course and joining an agency helped Mona’s brand thrive and allowed her to comfortably quit her job. [30:05]* Mona’s struggle with perfectionism and the work she has done to overcome it. [36:22]* The huge amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating content for social media and being an influencer. [41:38]* Why Mona decided to take a break from social media for one year. [47:50]* How Mona is setting boundaries to avoid burnout. [0:50:57]* The power of sleep and how the COVID-19 pandemic helped Mona learn to prioritize it. [54:30]* Mona’s final thoughts on the expectations that are placed on women and her advice to other female entrepreneurs. [56:42]This episode is brought to you by Beeya:* If you or anyone you know have been struggling with hormonal imbalances and bad periods, go to to download the free guide to tackling hormonal imbalances and to learn more about Beeya’s seed cycling bundle. * Plus, get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE10.Follow Mona: * Mona's Website:* Instagram:* TikTok:* YouTube:

Secrets to Turning Your Passion into Profit with Sprinkles Cupcakes Co-Founder, Candace Nelson

Season 2, Ep. 127
Candace Nelson is a serial entrepreneur and a New York Times bestselling author. Candace is well-known for co-founding Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery and ATM, and most recently, Pizzana, a fast-growing chain of award-winning pizzerias. She is also an expert in turning one’s passion into a profitable business and has a book launching on November 8th called Sweet Success: A Simple Recipe to Turn Your Passion into Profit.Today’s conversation is jampacked with actionable advice from Candace, including tips on how to mobilize yourself when you are feeling stuck, questions to ask yourself when you’re looking to find your purpose, and more. Listening in, you will hear the ups and downs of her incredible story of starting Sprinkles and why she describes the process as ‘launching nimbly’. We also touch on how to combat imposter syndrome, the power of building your personal brand, how to approach competition in your space, the importance of building a network & community while building your empire, and so much more.In this episode, we’ll talk to Candace about:* Candace’s relationship with rebellion growing up and how that translates to her work today. [02:21]* How moving around a lot as a child taught her independence and confidence in new environments. [03:35]* The story of how Candace overcame one of the lowest moments of her life. [04:42]* Questions to ask yourself when you are looking to transition to a different career. [07:15]* Why Candace decided to test the waters before diving into a career in pastry. [08:37]* What she wanted to perfect before she took her product to launch. [09:51]* Her husband’s role as co-founder. [10:37]* What ‘launching nimbly’ looked like for Candace in the early days of Sprinkles. [13:52]* The benefits of testing the waters with a single product to find your target market. [17:57]* How she navigated the chapter of her life where every moment was dedicated to Sprinkles. [22:21]* Bringing a startup mentality to a bakery and finding like-minded people. [23:33]* Why it’s not constructive to get too focused on your competition. [25:40]* The role of Candace’s father-in-law in mapping out the business plan. [27:25]* Why mentorship is important and how Candace includes it in her life. [30:04]* What she would have done differently to keep her finger in the world of startups. [34:05]* The problem of lack of confidence and imposter syndrome across industries. [35:10]* Why Candace is committed to never resting on her laurels. [37:53]* Why it is important to be aware of your skills and hire for your weaknesses. [39:54]* How the experience of starting Pizzana has differed from starting Sprinkles. [40:20]* Why building your personal brand can be a competitive advantage. [42:18]* Candace reminds listeners that they have exactly what it takes to build their own empire. [44:38]Follow Candace: * Candace Instagram:* Sprinkles cupcakes Instagram:* Website: Yasmin:* Instagram:* Stay updated & subscribe to our newsletter: