She struggled as a young single mom. And that’s exactly why she’s hiring them now.
True
CNBC The Profit

"As a single mom, I never got to get a good job," says Lisa Howard, 28.

Lisa had her son when she was only 16. She was also in foster care at the time, so for more than half her life, she struggled to make a living and take care of her family.

And she's not alone. According to the United States Census Bureau, 27.5% of single moms were jobless in 2016, and those who did work only made an average of $34,500 that year.


Many single moms feel limited in their options, struggling to balance the demands of child care with workplaces that may not always be able to accommodate their unique needs. It can quickly become discouraging, a struggle that Lisa knew all too well.

"If you want your child to be the best they can be, you put them first," she says.

Despite challenges, Lisa didn't give up. And that determination would lead her on a path that would not only transform her family's life, but would allow her to support other families like hers.

But it wasn't easy. At first, they had to forgo some things many other families take for granted — like a car.

It was a "luxury" Lisa simply couldn't afford, so she and her son had to take the bus everywhere.

Despite that, Cory and Lisa made do as best they could.

Cory, however, wanted to do something big to help his mom— he wanted to make enough money to buy her a car.

He started selling cookies to passersby at a small stand when he was just 6 years old to put that goal within reach. Before long, he and his mom developed the definitive cookie recipe — and they decided to turn that into a fully incorporated business.

They called it Mr. Cory's Cookies.

Cory's the CEO of the company and Lisa's the CFO. Considering she was the catalyst for the whole idea, it seems like a fair split. They make a great (and adorable) team.

Their company garnered a lot of attention initially, even from talk show hosts. In fact, Ellen DeGeneres had him on her show and surprised him with a new car for his family.

But while his first goal of getting his mom a car was achieved, the duo now had a burgeoning company that still required some special attention.

Both mom and son still had a lot to learn about running a successful business, which they realized when problems with their distribution arose.

Since Mr. Cory's Cookies are made of all-natural ingredients, they don't have a long shelf-life, so their distributor couldn't distribute them as-is. As a result, the manufactured recipe changed and product sales came to a grinding halt.

Cory with Marcus Lemonis. Photo via CNBC.

Thankfully Marcus Lemonis, host of CNBC's "The Profit," came in to help turn things around.

Marcus learned at a young age how to help a business thrive. Now he's using that know-how to help other struggling businesses as part of the reality TV series.

After sampling their product and talking with Cory and Lisa, Marcus agreed to invest in their small company. And while he was incredibly impressed with Cory's maturity and go-getter attitude, it was Lisa's story that inspired him to take on the business.

My ❤️ #cookielove #iminlove #myeverything #shesthereasonforitall

A post shared by Mr. Cory (@mrcory) on

Since she had Cory so young and under difficult circumstances, she's always felt like she's been fighting tooth and nail to get the life she wants and, more importantly, deserves for her family.

This business opportunity is giving her a glimpse of what could be possible for her and Cory's future, which is why it's so precious.

It's her chance to reach the goal she's only dreamed of — running a truly successful company and maybe even help other moms like her along the way.

Lisa's long-term hope for Mr. Cory's Cookies is to hire a staff that's 70% single mothers to help give them a leg up.

Cory's mom, Lisa. Photo via CNBC.

"We can help them by giving them a chance," explains Lisa.

This business could be Lisa's opportunity to turn things around for women like her who've been fighting an uphill battle for their families.

Marcus helps Lisa and Cory get Mr. Cory's Cookies back on track, including solving their distribution problems and introducing them to key companies that can help them expand.

But does Lisa end up with her dream staff? Tune-in to The Profit tomorrow at 10PM ET/PT on CNBC to find out.

Can't wait till then? Here's a sneak peak of the upcoming episode.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less