Women in business — what does that mean?

It’s the first question that came to mind when we began reaching out to the five female entrepreneurs and leaders featured below.

We thought about the powerful women in our own lives and how they’ve overcome obstacles and fought to make it in a world largely run by men.

We thought about our own struggles with work-life balance while trying to shrug off the tired narrative that we’re “trying to have it all.”

As we got to know these five women, they reminded us that gender roles are not so black and white.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon that I’m conflicted about,” said Spaceworks Incubator Coordinator Gwen Kohl when asked about work-life balance. “I really like highlighting women in business because it’s one of those gender imbalance industries. But at the same time, why don’t the successful men in business get interviewed about work-life balance?”

Arti O’Brien, owner of Advanced Government Services, had similar feelings. “Work-life balance words kind of bug me,” she said. “It’s a myth.”

In the end, instead of turning the spotlight on these dynamic individuals for being female leaders, we chose to elevate them as leaders who happen to be female.

Click an image below to read more.

Tanya Durand

Tanya Durand
Executive Director,
Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Arti O'Brien

Arti O’Brien
Advanced Government Services

Nicole Lucas

Col. Nicole Lucas
Garrison Commander,
Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Gwen Kohl

Gwen Kohl
Incubator Coordinator,

Anne Bartlett

Anne Bartlett
Dean of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences,
University of Washington Tacoma

It's a Woman's World