Behind Her Empire


Leaving Your Job & Building an Empire on Your Terms with Suneera Madhani, Co-Founder of Stax

Season 2, Ep. 106

Suneera Madhani is the co-founder and CEO of Stax, an innovative tech company that radically simplifies the payment ecosystem.

After graduating from college, Suneera decided to work at a consumer goods company and after three years she realized that the corporate world wasn’t for her. She was later recruited by a payment-processing company, and it was then she realized she wanted to do someone on her own.

At age 26, without money, an MBA or any corporate leadership experience…and after being laughed out of her then boss’s office, Suneera began building her now billion-dollar company inside her parents’ Orlando home. 

In 8 years, Suneera raised $245M in venture capital and now leads a team of 300+ employees and is committed to helping fellow women and minorities achieve similar accomplishments in business. She also is also the founder of CEO School, which is a podcast and an 8-week program that helps women become entrepreneurs & CEOs – and is on the mission to change the fact that less than 2% of female founders hit $1 million in revenue… and less than 18% ever hit 6 figures. This needs to change! 

Suneera gives us the scoop on what it was like to take the leap from a stable corporate job into the uncertainties of entrepreneurship and shares how she manages the ever-looming imposter syndrome to show up as her best self every day. 

We explore time management and Suneera’s approach to finding work-life integration, rather than balance, and how she manages running her billion-dollar business while still spending quality time with her two young kids. We also talk about what is missing in the business world: practical advocacy for women’s success, and what she believes is required to change that. Join us to hear a wealth of practical advice and wisdom from Suneera’s story of unlikely success and breaking free of the expectations of others to find fulfillment in living a life that's true to you.

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

* Breaking free of the expectations of others and living according to who we are instead. [3:35]

* How Suneera’s experience as the child of immigrants shaped her approach to business. [6:30]

* What led her to use her analytical and creative skills to start Stax at the age of 24. [10:32]

* How Stax grew from 5 million in payments the first year to 23 billion in payments per year. [17:08]

* Dealing with imposter syndrome in the early days of launching a business. [21:52]

* Working to keep your psyche in check and show up as your best self as a CEO. [25:05]

* Building habits by repeating activities, and improving with experience. [27:01]

* Combatting perfectionism with the philosophy that ‘done is better than perfect’. [30:05]

* Suneera’s belief in work life integration when managing family life and her company. [36:40]

* The three areas she spends her time on: what she loves, her family, and making an impact. [40:04]

* How she manages her time, starting with what she calls Sunday Zoom Out. [41:50]

* What sparked Suneera’s idea to start CEO School during the pandemic. [45:10]

* The statistic that changed the game for Suneera: only 2% of female founders are breaking a million-dollar revenue. [47:17]

* What is missing in the business world: action in advocating for women. [49:12]

* Why you should subscribe to the CEO School podcast. [51:10]

* Calling listeners to support the female business owners in their lives. [53:10]

Follow Suneera:

* Instagram:

* Stax Website:

* CEO School Website:

More Episodes


5 Traits Every Successful Person Needs with Loren Ridinger, Co-Founder of & Market America

Season 2, Ep. 114
Loren Ridinger is the Co-Founder of internet retailing giants, Shop.Com and Market America.Although Loren is now recognized as an internet mogul who has changed the face of the beauty and e-commerce industries over the past two decades, her life started with very humble beginnings. She moved to Greensboro, NC at a young age, worked in retail when she was sixteen, and at eighteen, Loren and her husband, JR, took a chance on their dream to make it easy for people to shop online at a time when most people didn’t even have computers in their home.Twenty-nine years later, their companies Market America and generate over a billion dollars in annual sales and serve more than 10 million customers. The company is still headquartered in Greensboro, NC, and is quite global with offices in nine other countries.Loren also founded the award-winning cosmetics line Motives and is recognized for her work in publications like Forbes, Elle, and Vogue, where she was included in their 100 Most Influential Women issue.In today’s episode, we dig into the top five themes that will allow anyone to be successful with their dreams: 1) importance of belief & visualization, 2) being your true, authentic self, 3) having the right people around you, 4) goal setting the 'right' way, and 5) always doing the hard things first.In this episode, we’ll talk to Loren about:* The importance of women sticking together and supporting each other. [2:40]* How Loren’s mother profoundly influenced her life. [3:48]* Building a business with a baby; challenges and how Loren dealt with them. [6:22]* What Loren learned from her mom and dad’s different styles of parenting. [8:46]* Why Loren did the training to become a flight attendant. [10:26]* The importance of deciding what you want to do with your life and not letting anyone else decide that for you. [12:15]* Where the inspiration for Loren and her husband’s businesses, and Market America, came from. [14:00]* Barriers that Loren and JR faced when starting to build their businesses. [15:52]* The process that Loren went through to make sure that she was surrounded by the right people, and her “mental vacation” philosophy. [19:02]* Traits that are essential in people who Loren allows into her tribe. [23:17]* Why Loren doesn’t make New Year's resolutions. [24:26]* How Loren manages her time and ensures that she is sticking to her goals. [26:30]* Loren’s drive to be constantly learning, and ways she does this. [30:21]* Assign dates to your goals, and why Loren thinks about her weeks in goals, not days. [31:23]* Stepping out of your comfort zone is essential to success; it’s actually more uncomfortable inside the box than outside of it. [35:58]* A major issue that Loren experienced with her health and how she dealt with it; faith over fear [42:19]* Ways that Loren balances her work life and her family life; although she is adamant about the fact that everyone is different and there is no magic formula. [50:27]This episode is brought to you by beeya:* Learn more about beeya's seed cycling bundle at to find out how to tackle hormonal imbalances.* Get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE10Follow Loren:* Instagram:* Market America:** Motives Cosmetics: Yasmin:* Instagram:* Stay updated & subscribe to our newsletter:

How Balancing Hormones Can Supercharge Your Success with Dr. Sara Gottfried, World-Renowned Physician & Hormone Expert

Season 2, Ep. 113
Dr. Sara Gottfried is a World-Renowned Physician, Hormone Expert, Speaker, and 4x New York Times Best Selling Author.Dr. Gottfried’s interview marks the start of our first podcast in the world of health and wellness. One of the biggest myths that women have on their path to building their empire is that they have to sacrifice their health in order to be successful. This couldn't be further from the truth!Starting this week, in addition to my interviews with incredible founders, I’m going to be bringing on the top experts in women’s health to help you better understand your biology and how to personalize your health to achieve the success you deserve. In today’s episode, Dr. Gottfried helps us understand how hormonal imbalances are impacting every area of our life, including energy levels, weight gain, and debilitating PMS. She also discusses how addressing the root causes can radically change your life for the better.Dr. Gottfried is a global keynote speaker who practices evidence-based integrative, functional, and precision medicine. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at Thomas Jefferson University and Director of Precision Medicine at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health where she focuses on career longevity for female CEOs.In this episode, we'll talk to Dr. Sara about:* The key role that hormones play in our bodies as a whole. [2:43]* Why it is important for us to make sure our hormones are in balance. [3:35]* How hormones show up in our lives, with a focus on estrogen and progesterone. [4:26]* Why testosterone is particularly important for female entrepreneurs. [6:36]* The role of insulin in making you crave carbs and sugar. [8:40]* Lifestyle factors that lead to modern women having hormonal imbalances. [12:22]* Dr. Gottfried tells the story of her journey to finding hormonal balance and health. [17:15]* The stress gap and how women tend to experience more stress than men. [22:05]* Why 88% of Americans are in a state of metabolic dysfunction. [30:29]* An explanation for why cutting out carbs is more effective for men than women. [35:32]* Her goal: for women to have the best metabolic health throughout their lives. [37:05]* Two methods to help you manage blood glucose in the body. [40:10]* The misinformation around carbs and why we actually need them as women. [43:26]* Emotional eating and why it isn’t constructive. [48:00]* Why food timing is important with a 14 hour overnight fast being ideal. [49:00]* Alcohol and its role in metabolic health, and overall health. [51:00]This episode is brought to you by beeya:* Learn more about beeya's seed cycling bundle at to find out how to tackle hormonal imbalances.* Get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE10Follow Dr. Gottfried:* Website:* Her Book: Women, Food, and Hormones: A 4-Week Plan to Achieve Hormonal Balance, Lose Weight, and Feel Like Yourself Again: Yasmin:* Instagram:* Stay updated & subscribe to our newsletter:

How to Reinvent Yourself & Start Over with Jenna Lyons, Fashion Icon & Founder of LoveSeen

Season 2, Ep. 112
Dubbed by the New York Times as ‘the woman who dresses America’, Jenna Lyons, is a fashion icon and the co-founder/CEO of the beauty brand, LoveSeen.Having kicked off her career as an intern at Donna Karan, Jenna went on to join the design team at J.Crew, eventually becoming its President. She is recognized as the main driver behind its incredible rise to success, and is a regular feature in print and online media, including having been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.After 27 years at J.Crew, Jenna was finally ready to start her own empire. She launched her company LoveSeen, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand that is reinventing fake lashes, which was largely inspired by her genetic condition that impacts her lash growth. And she was most recently, the Executive Director and main star of her reality competition show, Stylish with Jenna Lyons on HBO Max.In this episode, you'll learn how Jenna's challenging childhood influenced her attitude toward finances and her love of fashion today. Living in New York in the 1980s, she discovered a new standard of beauty that was in stark contrast to what she had known as a child. Jenna reflects on working with Mickey Drexler, former CEO and Chairman of J.Crew Group, managing people, and navigating the public eye.You'll also hear why Jenna decided to reinvent herself later in her career, how she coped with leaving J.Crew, and what she loves about working in beauty over fashion.In this episode, we’ll talk to Jenna about:* The impact of Jenna’s mother’s attitude towards financial independence on how she approaches money today. [3:10]* How knowing you can take care of yourself affects fear and trust in relationships. [4:30]* What it was like to grow up with a genetic disorder and how sewing a skirt led to a popular girl in school asking Jenna to make one for her too. [6:40]* What it was like to live in New York in the late 1980s. [9:04]* How Jenna didn’t meet the standard of beauty in the beach town she grew up in. [10:30]* The discovery of Antonio Lopez as a pivotal point in discovering her own beauty. [11:38]* How she came to intern at Donna Karan and study at Parsons University in the 90s. [12:35]* The listing that led Jenna to take a job at J.Crew without asking about the salary. [13:35]* The dramatic change at J.Crew that completely turned things around [17:20]* What it was like working with Mickey Drexler (CEO of JCrew); his alchemy skills, attunement, and insight. [18:18]* How she needed to develop skills to manage people she worked with. [21:20]* Entering the public eye starting with Domino Magazine, then Vogue with Annie Leibovitz, and the internal struggle Jenna experienced. [25:01]* Find out how Jenna navigated different transition periods in her life. [28:29]* The nine-month period of silence that helped her regroup and see what’s important. [29:10]* What Jenna loves about the beauty scene: she doesn’t have to think about size. [36:05]* How Jenna realized the significance of eyelashes and decided to start her business. [37:00]* How admitting that you don’t know things can open you up to learn new things. [42:00]Follow Jenna:* Instagram:* Website:* LoveSeen Instagram:* Stylist by Jenna HBO Max: episode is brought to you by beeya:* Learn more about beeya's seed cycling bundle at to find out how to tackle hormonal imbalances.* Get $10 off your order by using promo code BEHINDHEREMPIRE10