X Level Office has changed its name to Novel Coworking, a name that more accurately represents what we're about: Partnering with our clients to provide the space and resources they need to innovate and write their story. It’s our hope that as each of our members pens their future in our space, Novel Coworking can provide the blank pages for their success.


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Women in the Workplace

After working 19 years at a Goodyear tire factory, Lilly Ledbetter received an anonymous note that revealed she was being underpaid by thousands of dollars compared to her male counterparts with the same experience. She sued Goodyear, and the case ultimately reached the Supreme Court.

The court ruled that she should have filed within 180 days of her first paycheck, even though she didn’t know she was being underpaid. It wasn’t until 2009 when the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed, and Congress enacted new rules resetting the 180-day clock for each paycheck issued.

Ledbetter’s fight echoes the struggles of women in the workplace that continues to this day. Women, of all ages, race, and origins, continue to be discriminated against through unequal pay, unequal benefits, and sexual harassment.

Fortunately, there is a brave multitude of successful female entrepreneurs who continue to fight through the inequality and achieve their own success, paving the way for the next generation. We present just a few of the many success stories and inspirational quotes below.


Quotes from Successful Women Entrepreneurs


“I believe in a quiet, strong and grounded leadership. I think some of the best leaders are those whose work is widely known and respected but who, themselves, are relatively unknown.” – Rachael Chong, Founder and CEO of Catchafire


Rachael Chong began her career on Wall Street but later moved to Bangladesh to develop BRAC USA, an affiliate of BRAC, the largest non-governmental development organization through recruiting pro bono talent. She managed to raise $40 million in less than nine months. She continued that momentum with her startup, Catchafire, the world’s largest skills-based volunteer platform to connect nonprofits and other social organizations with skilled professionals. Their vision is to “create a more efficient and effective social good sector, and a world where it is commonplace to serve for the greater good.” Her company has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, NPR, Forbes, Fast Company, and the New York Times.

Grey Journey // Rachael Chong from Live Grey on Vimeo.


“Get comfortable making decisions! We [women] are so good at thinking, analyzing, and weighing all pros and cons that sometimes we neglect to act…” – Marina Perla, CEO and Founder of Mojo Trek


After working at a successful technology consulting firm for almost six years as a Senior Executive Marina Perla left to start her own company. The result was Mojo Trek, a technology consulting and talent firm that connects organizations with experienced professionals in software development, QA & testing, mobile development, project management and more.

Mojo Trek, now in its second year and based in Novel Coworking in Chicago, continues to bring more teams together to develop more innovative technology. Last July, Mojo Trek received its certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

“As a business owner,” Perla says, “you need to make decisions, big and small, every single day and sometimes you do not possess all data you need to make a well-informed choice. You just have to do it and be ready to deal with the consequences.”


“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” ― Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo!


Not only was Mayer a Stanford graduate with a BS in symbolic systems and an MS in computer science, she danced in the university ballet’s Nutcracker, volunteered at hospitals, and helped bring computer science education to schools in Bermuda. After graduating, she became the vice president of Google Search Products while teaching at Stanford. In 2012, she became the CEO of Yahoo! the same day she gave birth to her son. Needless to say, Mayer has had quite a few breakthroughs.


“The biggest piece of advice I have for want-to-be-entrepreneurs is that there are ways you must operate as an entrepreneur that are the opposite of how you were taught to work for a company.” – Gina Marotta, Career Coach, Motivational Speaker and Restorative Justice Activist


Marotta started her career as a rising lawyer but felt incomplete and unhappy. Her journey of discovery inspired her to leave the law firm, start a women’s networking and empowerment group and join the nonprofit Step Up Women’s Network and their newly opened Chicago chapter.

All of these steps eventually lead Marotta to start her own coaching business (also based in the Novel Coworking Chicago location) and help other people find their “Inner Genius.” She has three key lessons:

  • “It is your job to see opportunity that others don’t see and to cultivate courage to take action on it.”
  • “You must make time to create optimal health of your body, mind, and spirit to be present and creative to lead your endeavor.”
  • “It is prerequisite for peace of mind and confidence that you create a support network of people (mentors, coaches, and like-minded friends), and also create your own faith practice to listen to that something bigger than you that calls you forth and always guides you.”



Practicing vulnerability is a sign of strength, and an incredibly powerful leadership tool.” – Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo


Anjali Sud was raised in Flint, Michigan, to an immigrant family. She had a deep interest in the performing arts, but her father also sparked her curiosity for business leadership. “He raised me with this idea that businesses can help create jobs and have a positive force of influence on your local community.” With degrees from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School, Sud bounced from Time Warner to Amazon, before joining Vimeo. At the age of 34, she became the CEO of the largest ad-free video network.

To read other entrepreneurial guides, articles, and resources, follow Novel Coworking’s blog today.