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Trying for that work-life balance? This grandmother and entrepreneur has it figured out.

Plenty of obstacles get in the way of new businesses. She overcame them all.

Trying for that work-life balance? This grandmother and entrepreneur has it figured out.
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30 years ago, Jane Goh did something bold and relatively rare: She started a new business while raising her young family. It was a risk she had to take.

It was 1987, and business in Singapore and Malaysia was booming. It didn't matter what they were selling; these new upstart businesses all needed promotional materials — and Goh knew it. Even though she'd just started raising her young family, this opportunity wouldn't wait. She founded the RJ Paper company.

For the past 30 years, the company has served Singapore and Malaysia’s creative class, providing them with tools to promote their own businesses and create their own projects. This includes everything from print materials to packaging to custom manufacturing.


50 Colours have arrived.. 🌈 #colorplan
A photo posted by RJ Paper SG (@rjpapersg) on

In the past few years, she’s pushed her company toward sustainable paper offerings, choosing to work exclusively with paper mills and suppliers approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, an international certification recognizing responsible management of the world's forests.

Goh's forward-thinking leadership, coupled with her eager mentorship of local Singaporean artists and creatives, are two of three ways she set herself apart from other entrepreneurs.

The third, and most important to her, is her family.

Goh says her children and seven grandchildren are the greatest achievement of her life. By placing work and family at the center of everything she does, Goh is able to balance both. Two generations of her family have grown up with the company, and one of her daughters works alongside her every day.

Being an entrepreneur is a tremendous risk — there are long hours, huge financial burdens, and heaps of uncertainty. But for female entrepreneurs, the risks are even greater.

The International Finance Corporation's 2011 report on female entrepreneurship in the developing world studied the social, economic, and financial factors that limit the success of women in business. It revealed that about one-third of all small and very small companies are owned by women.

A gift from the Temasek Poly Design Show 2016. Thank you for all the continued support. #designshow #design #temasekpoly #interstingpeoplecreateinterestingwork
A photo posted by RJ Paper SG (@rjpapersg) on

This isn’t a surprising figure. Women-owned business in developing countries often remain small, or are restricted to the home, as their owners attend to other priorities like managing their household or raising children.

The study also found that educational opportunities are still geared more toward male students, making it harder for women to learn the necessary skills to run a successful company. Even when women overcome those challenges, the study revealed that getting funding remains a huge barrier. Should they be able to get a loan at all, female entrepreneurs are much more likely to receive less money, face higher interest rates, and have to pay it back much sooner.

All of these are potential deal breakers for a new business. The confidence to push past them makes Goh’s story even more remarkable.

Every single one of the issues confronting female entrepreneurs today was even more prevalent 30 years ago. To face them with a clear mind and an open heart and to come out three decades later with a successful business and a thriving family is an incredible achievement.

For her part, Goh says she never wavered in her belief that everything would work out. She gives the following advice: "Work hard and have persistence. That is more than half the battle won."

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Maria Ducasse of Brooklyn is an inspiring example of how one person can unite a community to ensure no one loses their pet because of hardship.

Three years ago, she founded East New York Dog Lovers a nonprofit that has grown to have 29 foster homes, 200 volunteers, and helped reconnect more than 50 dogs with their people. It's a safety net where struggling pet owners get emergency fostering, help with medical bills, and food for their fur babies.

"Our biggest mission is to end pet surrendering," Maria told Chewy. "So whatever help may be needed—food, vet care, whatever you need to keep your pet at home—we are willing to supply and help you."

Maria has arranged for people struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, and medical emergencies to connect with fosters who care for their pets until they're back on their feet. Her hard work keeps families intact and pets safe.

"We just keep getting bigger," Maria says. "Every time we go out there and help somebody, they're like, 'I'm in—how can I help?'"

Maria's wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Community Pet Foster."

Tired of avocados turning brown? Try this simple trick.

Ah, the delicious, creamy avocado. We love it, despite its fleeting ripeness and frustrating tendency to turn brown when you try to store it. From salads to guacamole to much-memed millennial avocado toast, the weird berry (that's right—it's a berry) with the signature green flesh is one of the more versatile fruits, but also one of the more fickle. Once an avocado is ready, you better cut it open within hours because it's not going to last.

Once it's cut, an avocado starts to oxidize, turning that green flesh a sickly brown color. It's not harmful to eat, but it's not particularly appetizing. The key to keeping the browning from happening is to keep the flesh from being exposed to oxygen.

Some people rub an unused avocado half with oil to keep oxidation at bay. Others swear by squeezing some lemon juice over it. Some say placing plastic wrap tightly over it with the pit still in it will keep it green.

But a YouTube video from Avocados from Mexico demonstrates a quick, easy, eco-friendly way to store half an avocado that doesn't require anything but a container and some water.

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Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

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When Lyric Holmans was diagnosed Autistic at the age of 29, it was like they were born again. It fundamentally changed how Holmans saw themself and others, and it led to the important realization that they no longer had to live up to neurotypical expectations.

"Finally learning the truth allowed me to grow a skill that I'd been lacking for most of my life—self-compassion," Holmans tells Upworthy. Adding that the diagnosis was like a "guidebook" that allowed them to "finally understand myself, and once I understood myself better, I even began to understand other humans—because I now understood how different people's minds can be."

This rebirth allowed Holmans to create a blog and social media profiles under the moniker NeuroDivergent Rebel. As the NeuroDivergent Rebel, Holmans elevates neurologically atypical voices to broaden the conversation surrounding neurodiversity.

The NeuroDivergent Rebel has nearly 88,000 followers on Facebook and 34,000 on Instagram.

One of the NeuroDivergent Rebel's primary focuses is letting the public know that no one should attempt to turn neurodivergent people into neurotypical people.

"We know that treating people like they are inferior or destined for failure can push them into that self-fulfilling prophecy of not believing in their own abilities," they told Upworthy. "Neurodivergent people, like all people, need to believe in themselves. We also need society to stop asking us to be all the things we're not."

Holmans wants neurodivergent people to take off their "masks" and to be themselves instead of contorting their minds and bodies in an attempt to be indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers. They understand that "masking" is a form of self-protection but it can push people to the emotional and physical breaking point.

"For some of us, myself included, simply being yourself means standing out, which can be dangerous if you are around unsafe people or situations. For me, as an Autistic person, masking often means I am hiding my discomfort or confusion in a situation. I may also mimic neurotypical expressions, cues, and body language, or fake eye contact, because I know non-Autistic people sometimes feel you're up to no good or lying if you won't look them in the eye," Holmans says.

As a leading neurodivergent voice on social media, Holmans has seen how platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are slowly changing the way people understand neurodiversity.

"Social media has given rise to neurodivergent voices. Once upon a time, even as recently as five years ago, when I was first diagnosed, it was very hard to find the words and voices of other neurodivergent adults," Holmans says.

"If you went to Google or any other search engine and typed in 'Autism' or 'ADHD' you would only find stories and resources about children, from medical professionals and worried parents (who were also only finding the medical articles that tend to slant heavily towards the harder parts of the neurodivergent experience)," they continued.

"For those of us, like me, rediscovering ourselves late in life, neurodivergent adults were lost and alone with few resources aimed at helping us. Now we are finally seeing a bit more balance to the narrative, though things are still far from perfect, and we have a long way to go," Holmans says.

Some of the most impactful posts they've made have helped parents understand their neurodivergent children.

Their posts are also a way for neurodivergent people to feel connected to others.

They also allow people to celebrate their differences.

And they're advocating for changes to our classrooms and schools to create a more compassionate, inclusive space for neurodivergent students.

In the end, Holmans is all about helping people improve their understanding of themselves and others to build a more compassionate world. "If I am able to give my readers the gift I received, in learning about neurodiversity that I'm not a broken neurotypical person—and it empowers them to live their lives more boldly, I've won," Holmans says.

Hoda Kotb, Iman and David Bowie.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly six years since the world lost David Bowie. One of the most tragic aspects of his death at 69 is he was in the middle of a career resurgence after releasing the critically acclaimed albums "The Next Day" (2013) and "Blackstar" (2016) just days before his passing.

In a rare, revealing interview on "The Today Show," Bowie's widow, retired supermodel and entrepreneur Iman, 66, discussed why it's taken her six years to properly grieve the loss.

The couple were married in 1992 and have a 21-year-old daughter, Lexi Jones, together. Bowie and Iman both have a child from previous marriages.

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