Entrepreneur: Naomi Hirabayshi & Marah Lidey, Shine

This article is part of our Create & Cultivate 100 List created in collaboration with KEDS, you can view the full Entrepreneur List Here.

A catalyst for happiness.

Naomi Hirabayshi and Marah Lidey co-founders and co-CEOs of Shine met while working at DoSomething.Org. Spurned perhaps by the company name as well as a mutual desire to “provide an accessible solution to wellbeing," the duo developed a daily text messaging service to address our shadowy negative thoughts. Instead of letting them lurk in the dark corners, Naomi and Marah wanted to normalize the struggle, the day-to-day hustle of life. 

With a background in advertising, where she “built an understanding of the value of an impression” and “how much people will pay for exposure,” Naomi was able to convert that information while at DoSomething. Calling it “the most formative step” in her career, prior to starting Shine, Naomi built “an expertise in the power of messaging to reach people around issues they care about.” As the Director of Mobile Products & Messaging at the company, Marah likewise lead a team to create engaging digital experiences to encourage young people to make an impact on their community. She also oversaw and lead the creation of the organization’s mobile apps. 

Naomi says, “In our friendship we were able to process work and life goals together because of the shared trust, admiration, and accessibility. What’s amazing is that our dynamic was both the catalyst for the product, and our dynamic was also the perfect breeding ground to become co-founders.” 

Shine became the way for the the co-founders to scale the support they offered each other through a product. It also became a way to provide an accessible solution for wellbeing services. 

At the beginning of this year Marah and Naomi launched a new campaign, called #ResolutionRealTalk. In celebration of the New Year, #ResolutionRealTalk works to remind people to practice self-compassion around 2017 goals. The co-CEOs explain that 80% of New Year resolutions fail by the second week of February. Self-compassion is one of the primary ways to stay on track. “Our goals often aren’t sustainable,” explains Marah. “Change is hard overnight, and when we set unrealistic, binary milestones for ourselves and subsequently struggle to reach them in a short timeframe, we crash and burn.” With a record number of millennial women leaving their jobs, Naomi and Marah want to prevent the work-and-burn crisis that is affecting their generation. 

“The things that are the hardest are hard, because they’re worth it.”

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Along this journey Naomi says her kindness was often perceived as weakness, but knows that often “the things that are the hardest are hard, because they’re worth it.” Acknowledging that Mindy Kaling's message of ‘Why not me?', really resonated with her, "as a woman, a woman of color, and an entrepreneur.” 

In their personal lives most everything is currently taking a backseat to Shine. With the goal of making their messaging service “the largest platform for millennials and well-being,” they admit to being “all in on Shine.” 

With 93% of users reporting that they are more confident and have seen an uptick in daily happiness and mental health, the future looks brights (and female) with Shine.