Contributed by Stephanie Goetsch —, Founder & Editor

I passionately love green tea in the morning, Dairy Queen Blizzards and fast-food.  I’m a passionate friend and daughter, dedicated and loyal.  I have been passionate about love, falling in and out.  I’m passionate about white wine and long conversations with inspirational people.  I’m full of passion!

But my heart belongs to business – my business; my love, my addiction, my dedication – my passion.  Let me tell you how it happened…

In 1999 I entered college, ready to party and perhaps learn something now and again.  That was until I entered a history class that changed me and how I saw the world around me.  Stories of the past resonated with me, came to life in my mind and I thirsted to hear more.  I got more when I joined my professor and a small group of classmates as we journeyed to Alabama – from Wisconsin – to collect oral histories from the foot soldiers of the 1960s civil rights movement.  One by one, I participated in interviews with women that rocked me – their courage, conviction and strength.  I didn’t know it at the time, but with each interview a spark was ignited, I was one step closer to passion.

Years passed, I walked the graduation stage and began a career in Corporate America.  I entered a life of ‘9-5’, cubicles and squelched creativity – it wasn’t working.  In fact, I was brutally unhappy.  Where had my passion gone, my light?  I lost it.  I climbed the corporate ladder, received praise and raises, but to no avail.  I knew that I wasn’t leading my best life; I was wasting time, precious days that I could not get back in a life that didn’t fit.  But what was the right fit?  I didn’t know.

Prayer and faith were my solace and lifeline.  The bleaker my days seemed, the more I prayed and thanked God in advance for passion to be restored to my life – to be flooded with joy.  I couldn’t see what it would be, the magical something that would bring me back to life.  I couldn’t see, that is, until I could.

It was February 6th, 2009 about 5:00 PM.  I had just finished another day at the office and hit the gym.  I was at the gym – not to clear my head so much as to counteract the delicious fast food I had for lunch – either way, I was putting in a good run on the treadmill.  BAM!  I pushed the emergency stop button on the treadmill.  What was that?!  Clear and stark, my future washed over me.  I saw, without question, an online community for women called HerExchange.  Title, colors, look, feel and most importantly purpose were complete in me – in an instant.  I was alive, in an instant.  Passion I have never known, in an instant.  Prayers answered, in an instant.

Over the next year, I fought like hell to bring my vision to life through business partnerships gone bad, disappointments and frustration.  I dug deep and found strength I didn’t know I had; I discovered just how broad my shoulders were – they could carry a load.  I was experiencing the passion and determination I had been praying for and I forged ahead for more.

Passion for me is HerExchange, my online lifestyle magazine created for women to share, connect and inspire.  I now spend my days running and growing my business.  I also spend my days interviewing successful and empowering women – hearing and sharing their stories.  It is my greatest hope that every woman feels welcome, appreciated and motivated when she visits HerExchange.  My greatest opportunity is to create a legacy of women inspired to be their best in my wake.

Two months after launching HerExchange, I quit my stable, consistent (hellish) job in Corporate America to dedicate myself to my passion.  The leap could have been frightening – some days it was scary as hell – but I rode a wave of faith like the best surfer in the ocean.  Light and passion had finally emerged and I will not let go.

It wasn’t until after HerExchange launched that I told my family about my decision to leave my previous job, and my income, behind.  After swallowing her fears for my future, my mother – an admirable woman full of kindness and courage – reminded me of my childhood days always spent with a tape recorder in hand.  I would chase down every member of my family, day after day, interviewing them: “Tell me about that make-up you’re wearing” or “I see you’re making cookies, describe the process.”  I drove everyone crazy!  If only I had connected the past to my present years ago! But, come to think of it, I needed each step in the journey to be here – strong, focused and passionate, stepping into to create my legacy.

Today, I wake up with purpose.  I work long hard days, but oh, it’s so good!