Saturday, March 4, 2023

Q&A with Elisa A. Schmitz




Elisa A. Schmitz is the author of the new book Become the Fire: Transform Life's Chaos into Business and Personal Success. She is the founder and CEO of the digital media platform She also founded the digital media company iParenting.


Q: You begin the book by saying, “If you're like me, you may have grown up thinking that big success in business and life can't be achieved by outsiders.” Can you say more about that?


A: The secret is that outsiders are uniquely positioned to achieve success because they have been made strong by their experiences. They just need to learn how to leverage the skills they already have.


This is especially true for the target audience of this book — women and those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) — who often have to work much harder than their male or white counterparts in order to get the same opportunities. 


Become the Fire provides mentorship and an actionable roadmap for outsiders to step into their power, embrace their differences as strengths, and define their own success.


The purpose of this book is to help outsiders navigate society as it is today, so that while we work toward equality and making the same opportunities available to women from all walks of life, they can learn — and leverage — what has worked for me and for the women in this book.


We can’t just wait for the system to change. We need opportunities and strategies for success, right now. Become the Fire shows readers how to use the strengths and skills they have learned as outsiders to their advantage and shift the power dynamic in their favor. 


Q: Who do you see as the perfect audience for this book?


A: The primary audience for Become the Fire is women and those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).


According to the 2021 “Women in the Workplace” study by McKinsey & Company and the Lean In organization, there is still a “broken rung” at the first step up to manager: “Since 2016, we have seen the same trend: women are promoted to manager at far lower rates than men, and this makes it nearly impossible for companies to lay a foundation for sustained progress at more senior levels. Women of color continue to lose ground at every step in the pipeline — between the entry level and the C-suite, the representation of women of color drops off by more than 75 percent.”


Ethnically-diverse women started an average of 1,817 new businesses per day in the U.S. between 2018 and 2019 (the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report).


Entrepreneurship has grown 99 percent for African American women, 70 percent for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women, 63 percent for Asian American women, 46 percent for Latina and Hispanic women, and 36 percent for Native American and Alaska Native women. 


For those reasons, Become the Fire is ideal for women wanting to start or advance in their careers, or start or grow a business. It also serves as great mentorship for college students, graduate students and young professional women kicking off their careers.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am running my business,, which reaches an audience in the millions every month and growing. I am continuing to expand the reach of Become the Fire, so that other women can benefit from the experiences shared by myself and the other 10 leaders I feature in the book. It's a crazy balancing act but I love it!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Please connect with me on my author website at or the book's website at


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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