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Laura Klein, Co-Founder, Organic Authority

the co-founder of Organic Authority is a trained chef, and healthy living expert who has been featured on CNN and Oprah.com.

What inspires you?
There are so many things that inspire me! I was born with a fire in my gut that is a big driving force. It’s what keeps me going, it’s what motivates me to tackle the day and the issues we cover on OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com. I’m passionate about food and creating change. I feel that everyone should have access to delicious, healthy food. I feel that food is one of the most powerful healing tools we have on the planet. When given the chance, when the human body is fed nutritionally rich, whole foods diet, it will heal itself. I’m also passionate about America knowing the truth behind its food supply, how it’s grown from seed, handled, processed, all the way to the store shelf. Whether is fruit, veggies, produce, meat, dairy, or processed foods, people need to know if their food was GMO’d, grown with or without chemicals, processed with preservatives and/or additives, or grown naturally the way Mother Nature intended.

Who has had the most impact in your life?
My mother. She is a strong woman. She was an entrepreneur and self-made woman. She taught me to believe in myself and go after my dreams and never, ever, give up. Never.

What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
There are so many! Here’s a small sampling. Lesson 1: Focus. Harnessing and focusing your power will take you places. Entrepreneurs tend to have a “shiny object syndrome” which can lead to too many distractions and dilute their energy and focus. Lesson 2: sometimes you have to believe in other people’s belief in yourself, before you can believe in yourself. Do it. 3. Never give up. Ever. Believe in the fire in your belly. 4. Delegate as much as you can as fast as you can. 5. The people you love may be your worst critics. Ignore the haters. They’re just jealous. 5. You need a team just as passionate about your cause as you are to support and execute your vision.

What cause(s) or nonprofit(s) do you support?
I have a couple of nonprofits that are a favorite of my mine. A favorite local LA one I support is Father Gregory Boyle’s Homeboy Industries. He rehabilitates former gang members and felons through job training, counseling, tattoo removal and more. They have an incredible model and program that’s been replicated around the world. Visit their headquarters downtown LA, visit HomeGirl Cafe and take the tour. They have an onsite organic garden and the food and baked goods that come out of that kitchen are insanely delicious. But more important is the rehabilitation work Father G is doing with getting these people back into society to live normal everyday lives, rather than going back to our overcrowded prison system, which quite frankly, isn’t working (the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world).

Another fave is The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org). They do the tough work of telling us which conventionally grown produce is sprayed with the most toxic chemical, pesticides and which are the cleanest. They created the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. They also have a Skin Deep cosmetic beauty data base that lets you look up the chemicals in your beauty products to see if they’re safe. They recently came out with their Food Score guide, that helps consumers navigate nutrition, ingredient and processing concerns with food. It is a super useful tool.

What is your favorite city and why?
I love big cities! But a fave is New York City. I love the culture, the creativity and the vibe. There is so much to do there!

What creative person do you most admire and why?
There’s a few but Arianna Huffington is a fave. What she’s done with the Huffington Post is awe inspiring. I really admire one of her latest initiatives the “Third Metric”. It redefine’s success beyond money and power. It’s getting people to rethink success beyond material possessions and a job title. It’s getting people to think about how happy they are. Really. Is your life balanced or are you running on fumes, over scheduled, exhausted and is your health on the brink of failure? Our western culture has gotten caught up in material pursuits and people’s health and emotional well being are paying the price. All you have to do is look at America’s results. Our obesity and health care crisis speak for themselves. People don’t want to cook anymore. They’ve outsourced one of the most important tools they have that can keep them healthy, fit and energized, and they’ve delegated to big ag [agriculture] an institution which doesn’t necessarily have America’s best interest at heart.

What advice would you give to other women starting out?
Follow your passion. It’s what keeps you going on your worst days, when you’re crying at your desk. Focus on your strengths and delegate everything else you can as fast as you can. Ask for everything you want. The worst they can say is “no,” and you’re no worse off then when you walked in the room. And keep asking, and asking, and asking until you get a “yes.” Someone at some point will say yes. It’s up to you not to give up.