Behind Her Empire: Hitha Palepu on Women Founders and the 'True' Failure

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Hitha Palepu

Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals CEO Hitha Palepu joins this week's Behind Her Empire to talk about how she became an angel investor focused on women-founded businesses and her latest book, "We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris."

Palepu is the daughter of immigrants who came to the U.S. from India. Her father lost his hearing when he was 10 years old. He got through school by lip reading; it wasn't until he arrived in the states he got his first hearing aid.

"All he wanted was the chance to get started in the scientific world. He had his master's in chemistry," said Palepu. He worked scrubbing toilets at McDonalds while trying to land a job as a bench chemist. Her mother left behind a life of privilege in India.

"I think that sums up who I am today, I was born a daughter of incredibly tenacious, hard-working parents who got rejected over and over and over again, and never let that stop them," said Palepu.

With the help of her parent's money manager, Palepu realized she could become a serious investor. It wasn't until about her third investment she felt like calling herself an actual investor.

"I do like to get my hands dirty with my companies and help out however I can. I'm not here to tell them how to run [them], I invest in people that I trust to run their companies," said Palepu.

She learned quickly that women face more hurdles as CEO and investors, as opposed to men, who often get a pass when their companies fail.

"It makes me so mad," she said. "Not only are we not allowed to fail, [but] the business press loves building up a woman CEO or any underrepresented CEO or founder just to tear them down."

For Papelu, business losses don't define failure. "There's just a failure to progress, staying still and not growing and not striving and not learning. That's the true failure."

In this wide-ranging conversation, we hear about Papelu's time in the corporate world, why she ultimately decided to go out on her own, and the many lessons she learned from her first "failure" in the startup world.

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College Grads Are Turning Their Backs on the Tech Industry

Lon Harris
Lon Harris is a contributor to dot.LA. His work has also appeared on ScreenJunkies, RottenTomatoes and Inside Streaming.
College Grads Are Turning Their Backs on the Tech Industry
Evan Xie

A new report in Bloomberg suggests that younger workers and college graduates are moving away from tech as the preferred industry in which to embark on their careers. While big tech companies and startups once promised skilled young workers not just the opportunity to develop cutting-edge, exciting products, but also perks and – for the most talented and ambitious newcomers – a relatively reliable path to wealth. (Who could forget the tales of overnight Facebook millionaires that fueled the previous dot com explosion? There were even movies about it!)

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David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Are a Vehicle’s Features More Important Than It Being Electric?
Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash

The state of California wants 100% of new passenger vehicles sales to be fully electric by 2035. Last year, the state hit a nation-leading 16%. That’s pretty good, but 84% is still a long way to go.

A new study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigates which factors have been responsible for the rise in new EV sales nationally. The findings indicate that consumers are increasingly likely to choose an electric vehicle, and nearly all of the gains can be explained simply by improving technologies.

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Colleen Wachob On Navigating Her Wellness Journey As An Entrepreneur

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Colleen Wachob On Navigating Her Wellness Journey As An Entrepreneur
Courtesy of Behind Her Empire

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, mindbodygreen co-founder and co-CEO Colleen Wachob shares her perspective on managing stress and navigating self-worth as an entrepreneur and the importance of celebrating the wins in your business.

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