APH Women in Leadership Speaker Series: Vanessa Farino

Written by Molly Tittemore

As part of APH’s Women in Leadership Speaker Series, last week entrepreneur Vanessa Farino visited to give us insight into her illustrious career as a businesswoman. From the outset, Ms. Farino made it clear that the business world isn’t always glamorous and easy to navigate with all its trials and tribulations, but to survive, you must be willing to take an unconventional approach. Ms Farino has been named by Boston Business Journal “40 under 40”, El Mundo Boston “30 under 30”.

Ms. Farino’s foray into the business world began when she was only fifteen years old! Her first business venture was a boutique with her mother. From there, Ms. Farino continued to cement her place in the business world well into college despite struggling severely with dyslexia. Personally, this part of her narrative helped to foster my admiration for Ms. Farino because it highlighted her remarkable work ethic. After college, Ms. Farino began to work for many established CEO’s at numerous startups. During her time in that profession, Ms. Farino had heard about the Young Presidents’ Organization, which is composed of high-profile chief executives. Ms. Farino was inspired to start her own organization like it with other creative executives like her. Subsequently, she began organizing coffee meetings once a month at venues for her and her fellow creative executives from other companies.

Initially, these meetings were unsuccessful. At most, a handful of people would show up each month, which rendered Ms. Farino quite frustrated. As a result, Ms. Farino consulted a mentor for help. Her mentor, who was also her boss, recommended that she charge people a fee each month, seeing as she was already paying for the venue and food. Ms. Farino was tentative to do so, but eventually tried it, and it worked! Over fifty people attended the following month. Ms. Farino’s determination and faith in people is what ultimately brought upon her success with these meetings.

Ms. Farino was inspired by that success and continued to start more business, including one during the pandemic with her mother. The goal of this business was to “revolutionize the gifting industry” by promoting gifts from small businesses and using high-quality packaging as opposed to the imported, low-quality packaging that is usually used. Ms. Farino even has her own podcast called “Creative Human.” In addition to her stunning business achievements, Ms. Farino is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

Besides giving us an in-depth look into her career, Ms. Farino provided us with some pithy advice for any career such as not limiting yourself to one path, doing what you want, practicing healthy work habits, and thinking outside the box that society has forced on us.

 Ms. Farino was extremely gracious to bestow her wisdom upon us, and I was overall very pleased with her principle of challenging the systems in place. The business world has often been criticized for its toxic culture, and I believe that we need more people like the charismatic Ms. Farino that are ready to challenge the status quo.

If you are interested in learning more about our guest speaker, you will be able to see her in the upcoming film, “Still Working 9 to 5,” which will premiere at this year’s SXSW film festival. The film is based upon the 1980 comedy film “Working 9 to 5,” which stars Dolly Parton and details the unfair, sexist treatment of women in the workplace. You can also read more about Ms. Farino on her website: https://www.vanessafarino.com