REAL: Rebellious Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Looking back at 2016, some of my favorite days were the ones I spent meeting and bonding with other women entrepreneurs and leaders. I feel an instant kinship with them, and each conversation feels like an oasis of ahhhh! in a sea of arrrrrrrrgh! I’m so inspired by them, I even wrote them a love letter.

This year, I want to meet even more amazing entrepreneurs and leaders, including those who are women-identified as well as gender non-conforming. I’m setting an ambitious goal of, gulp, 47 interviews in 2017. Why 47? Because it’s a totally arbitrary number that ends in 7, why else.

So ambitious is my goal, in fact, that, well, I’m totally cheating and starting with myself. Because I can.

If you’d like to meet and be featured, or if you have a recommendation for me, please email me at I can’t wait to meet you!

Karen Hawkins_Cat Lady_by Samantha BaileyName: Karen Hawkins

What Your Business Cards Say
: Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine for Women

What Your Business Cards Don’t Say: Cat Lady (see photo)

Generation: X, baby

Who Inspires You: The bad-ass women in my family, my gaggle of gay male friends, the writers, photographers, staff and readers of Rebellious Magazine. I heart y’all.

What You Want People to Know About Your Connection to Your Business/Organization: Rebellious Magazine is a labor of love. I love journalism, I always have, and I’ve always wanted to be a reporter. In fact, I like to say that journalism is in my blood, whether I want it there or not: My grandfather wrote freelance essays when he wasn’t working full time and helping to raise three sons, my mother is a modern-day griot (cough, gossip), and one of my cousins is a long-time editor and communications director.

What I couldn’t have imagined as a kid growing up was that being an excellent editor, reporter and writer wasn’t enough. No matter how many bylines I had, how many scoops I got, how many stories I broke, how many 12-hour-plus shifts I worked, I would always be judged by a different set of standards than my colleagues. Some of that had to do with experience, but that ain’t all. I maintain that a LOT of it had to do with my age, race, gender, sexuality and general mouthiness. Would my white male boss ever have called one of my straight white male colleagues “Rebellious”? I think not.

And so I became a mainstream journalism refugee, and I built a safe haven for myself and other writers and editors who have been hunkered down on the margins. I have created a feminist media outlet where we can all be all of ourselves, not just the bits that would make a mainstream newsroom feel comfortable. I am building a media empire of Rebellious women and our allies, where we can tell our stories and each others’ in a way that is real and respectful.

What Makes You Rebellious: I take great pride in doing the things that people (usually white men) tell me that I can’t. I was told I’d never get into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Bachelor’s in Journalism, class of ’97), I’d never be a reporter (I was & am), I’d be better off if I tried harder to fit in (I don’t).

(Photo credit: Samantha Bailey, on the day when I realized I was wearing a cat hat and Queer Cat pin while carrying a cat shopping bag.)

Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's...

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