The 25 & Under Set Is Crushing It Professionally

From small business owners to career multitaskers, these impressive Indiana-area women are all blazing trails and reaching great heights in their chosen fields.

Who run the world? Girls! These seven inspirational, hard-working young women are blazing their own career paths—and sharing their advice and motivation. Whether you’re just starting out in your professional life or reinventing yourself after 25 years on the job, we think you’ll find some inspiring words of wisdom.

KHLOE LOCKWOOD, 20, LEAD CHEF AT BABY’S

BABYSINDY.COM, @BABYS_INDY 

It is rare for someone to be a lead chef at a restaurant in their early twenties—so to hold the position at age 20 is an incredible achievement. Khloe Lockwood is doing just that, overseeing the kitchen at downtown Indy’s acclaimed restaurant Baby’s, which is owned by Khloe’s sister Kendall Lockwood. But make no mistake: Even though Khloe has a familial connection, she still had to work her way up to achieve her position.

“When I was old enough to get my first job, I knew I wanted to be in a restaurant. My passion for food and the way it could make people feel is really what started it all. I stayed in the same restaurant for about three years until I had an opportunity to work at my sister’s restaurant, Baby’s. I started out as a server, and eventually realized that my love for food and the excitement of creating a wonderful experience through cooking is REALLY what I wanted to do. My wonderful sister recognized my passion for food, and over time I gained a leadership role in Baby’s kitchen,” Lockwood said.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO DO YOUR JOB WELL?

One necessary skill is being able to work well in high intensity situations along with knowing how to problem solve. When you’re in a leadership role you grow and learn every day, and I always try to stay calm and listen to what my team has to offer because they often have wonderful solutions and ideas that make us all better. 

There’s more to kitchens than just the cooking aspect. There’s cleanliness, preparation, organization, consistency, and so much more. Working in such a high volume restaurant has really given me a better knowledge and understanding of the things that are important in a kitchen. It has taught me how to work fast and accurately while remaining cool and collected during stressful situations. Being a good leader also means that people are comfortable coming to you when they need something or have a question—no one should have to deal with a tyrant chef as their boss.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SUCCEED?

What motivates me to succeed is the feeling I get when I can make a lasting impression with any dish. The people around me at work also motivate me; I have been in positions where I have been treated poorly in kitchens, and I don’t want that for my team. I want to be the best leader I can for them each and every day. I am also an artist outside of work and food is such an expression of love and beauty, it keeps me passionate.  

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS IN BUSINESS?

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your age defines how well you work or what you can do. You know who you are and what you can accomplish. Always try and do your best to be expressive and put yourself out there; someone will see your bright light and help it shine even brighter. Never give up and never let anyone change your greatness—but always remember to stay humble.

MEGAN LAUGHLIN AND TAYLOR MCCARTHY, BOTH 24, OWNERS OF THE BEAUTIQUE

BEAUTIQUEINDY.COM, @BEAUTIQUE_INDY

Located in New Palestine, The Beautique salon is actually two separate business entities operating under the same stylish roof: The “Lash & Brow Beautique,” owned by Taylor McCarthy and specializing in eyelash extensions, microblading and permanent cosmetics, and Megan Laughlin’s “Hair Beautique,” a full-service hair salon with cuts, color and styling. Former classmates who became best friends their senior year at New Palestine High School, McCarthy and Laughlin initially bonded over their mutual desire to create companies in the beauty industry, and that bond helped shape the ethos of their businesses.

“We knew from the beginning we wanted to run our salon differently. We wanted it to be booth rent, no drama and wanted our team to feel like they could come to us for absolutely anything,” McCarthy said, adding, “Being a family is the most important thing to us!”

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO DO YOUR JOB WELL?

TAYLOR: Since I specialize in eyelash extensions and permanent makeup: Focus, patience and a steady hand are the most important skills to have to do my job well. Of course, having a creative eye helps too; a lot of what I do can be customizable to each and every client. This is where practice makes perfect! 

MEGAN: Because I am a salon owner and hair stylist, I feel like it’s important to stay up to date with trends. I also feel like it’s important to enjoy dealing with people. Staying organized helps a lot, but I’m sure I could get better at that. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who know best. 

HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR WORKLOAD AS BUSINESS OWNERS?

TAYLOR: I like having a routine throughout the week. Working out in the mornings is a must for me, plus a huge stress reliever. I also try to make sure my surroundings are clean and everything is organized. Not only am I a business owner, I am also a wife, so it is so important to find balance. On the weekends I try to turn off “work mode” and enjoy time with friends and family and do things that I really want to do.

MEGAN: I am still trying to figure this out. I struggle with trying to please everyone around me but not having enough time for myself. Waking up early has helped me a lot; it allows me to get prepared for the day. Also making time for working out, cooking, and cleaning throughout the week helps. As long as you can find a balance, you will not be overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to take a day off here and there, because it’s important to have time to do business tasks or even just household things. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS IN BUSINESS?

TAYLOR: I believe in the saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Always write down goals, small or big, and hit them. Also, never stop learning and practicing what you love. 

MEGAN: Always believe in yourself. If you set your mind to it, you can do anything. People may try to push you back or knock you down, but you can’t let that stop you. Stay focused on your future, never stop dreaming, and work hard! 

MARIANA GUTIERREZ, 25, OWNER OF SACRED CUTS AND HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANT AT BRUNS BUILDING AND DEVELOPMENT 

A true multitasking pro, single mother of three Mariana Gutierrez balances her career in human resources at Bruns Building and Development with her own independent barber business called Sacred Cuts, specializing in men’s haircuts. Gutierrez earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from IU East in May 2017 and is currently attending the Recalibrated Christian Beauty and Barber College in Fort Wayne with the goal of having her own freestanding shop in the future.

“I plan on opening my own barbershop, but first I want to go back and get my master’s degree in social work so that I can combine my social work and barbering skills to create a safe place for teenagers to come, get their hair cut and do homework,” Gutierrez said.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO DO YOUR JOB WELL?

To do any of my jobs well it takes determination, dedication, and consistency, and the number one thing is to not give up.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SUCCEED?

My kids definitely keep me motivated, because they deserve the best, and I don’t want them to have to struggle with the struggles that I’ve gone through. Since I’m a single mom, I want to succeed so that I can be able to dedicate more time to them.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS IN BUSINESS?

Stay focused, don’t let negativity impact you, and focus on the things that you have control over.

JAMIE CONRAD, 22, OWNER OF JAMIE DESIGNS CO.

ETSY.COM/SHOP/JAMIEDESIGNSCOSHOP, @JAMIEDESIGNSCO_

In addition to graduating last month from Huntington University with a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Small Business and another in History and International Development Studies, Jamie Conrad of Whitestown is also a talented and in-demand hand-letterer and illustrator who has created her own business and recently launched an Etsy shop showcasing her talents. Conrad has developed her skills over the last few years thanks to a combination of dedication and flexibility.

“I began practicing hand lettering during my freshman year of college in 2016. Obviously, as with anything new that you start, I was not great at it. However, as I watched videos, filled journals, and doodled through class, I got better. Friends started asking me to make them signs, write things for them, and address their wedding invitations, so in the summer of 2019 I finally decided to put a name to this hobby and call it a business,” she said.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO DO YOUR JOB WELL?

The most obvious skill necessary for what I do is the actual hand lettering, which I have acquired through four years of trial and error, practice, YouTube videos and repetition. However, there is much more to this business than that. I have to understand what my clients and social media audience wants from me in terms of content and products. Time management is also a critical factor—gauging and allowing myself enough time to create the piece of work. Lastly, an eye for design is crucial. You must be able to see the canvas, the surface, the colors, the spacing and make it all work together so that it looks how you envisioned. 

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SUCCEED?

More than anything, I am motivated to succeed in this business because I love creating beautiful things. Seeing a client be head-over-heels for the piece that I’ve created for them, being able to bring their vision to life, is the greatest feeling. However, close behind making beautiful things is my desire to do my very best at whatever I am doing. I want to do well in whatever I pursue and I will push myself to reach and then maintain that place of operation.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS IN BUSINESS?

My biggest piece of advice is to just go for it. If you wait until you are “ready” or “perfect,” then you are never going to do it. You learn so much in the midst of stumbling through running the business than you ever could pacing behind the door, afraid to mess up. You will mess up. That’s okay. Every business owner has, and they learned from it in order to do better the next time. Also, the practical side of me wants to tell you to set incremental goals for yourself in your business. There is no harm in dreaming big and declaring huge things for your future. However, those incremental, attainable goals will allow you visible and tangible evidence that you are moving forward. They will also give you vision and direction as to where you’re going next.

BROOKE WYATT, 18, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF ROSIE BOUTIQUE

SHOPROSIEBTQ.COM, @SHOPROSIEBOUTIQUE_

It’s impressive to start a business at any age, but Brooke Wyatt took the entrepreneurial leap at just 16 when she created her popular online shop Rosie Boutique. A recent graduate of Hamilton Southeastern High School who is headed to IU Bloomington in the fall, Wyatt, now 18, has been running her e-boutique out of her family’s Fishers-area home for the last two years. Why did she do it?

“When I was a junior in high school, I knew I wanted to start a company, so I researched and learned about inventory, finances, connections—the whole nine yards. I went through the process of creating a company name, and after a few different ones, I narrowed it down to Rosie Boutique. Rosie, although it’s a simple and cute name for a shop, is also short for rosary. I am Catholic and my company is based off of the three pillars of faith, fashion and entrepreneurship, and faith is a large portion of my life as well,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt decided to focus on carrying loungewear in early 2020, so you’ll now find an array of cozy, comfortable options on her website.

“I’m buying pieces that women can lounge in the house in, run errands, or go out on the town with friends,” she said, adding, “I saw an opportunity in the niche market of loungewear and I want women to feel comfortable, beautiful, fashionable and like a boss when they’re wearing Rosie Boutique clothing and accessories.”

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO DO YOUR JOB WELL?

I have learned an incredible amount since I started Rosie and I still am! I do think that running a company of any sort requires hard work, dedication, perseverance and grit. I love the word “grit” because it defines doing something well and not giving up. Running a company comes with its challenges as well, and the key is to not give up when you fail, but rather learn and grow from it. 

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SUCCEED?

I’ve grown up in an entrepreneurial family and have definitely followed in my dad’s (Matt Wyatt, founder and CEO of Recovery Force) footsteps. My dad’s perseverance and grit is so inspiring and makes me want to continue to grow and succeed like he does. Additionally, I am all about female entrepreneurship and boosting up other women, and a fulfilling part of my job is using my platform to spark inspiration in other women for them to do their thing and go for it. It’s so motivating and fulfilling for me to speak about entrepreneurship and being a “Girlboss,” as they say, and I only want to spread that fuel and drive to other women and entrepreneurs.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS IN BUSINESS?

If you’re a young woman who already has a business, go you, because that is something to be proud of. My advice to other women who want to achieve great things in business is to never give up! I know it sounds cliché, but it really is so true. Running a business takes an unbelievable amount of dedication and hustle, and if you stay in the game long enough, great things happen. Failure is inevitable and growing from mistakes is what makes individuals and companies stronger—trust me, I’ve learned that one too. Being willing to learn and make connections also helps tremendously. I have met an abundance of intelligent, kind and passionate entrepreneurs in only the past year that want to help, educate and see you succeed! I’ll leave you with this: Do not wait, go out and start your dreams now. Go out there and “Win your day,” as I say. It’s an exciting life, and why not start now?

KATIE OGG, 25, PR & SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER AT WHIRLAWAY MARKETING AND INSTRUCTOR AT CYCLEBAR

WHIRLAWAYMARKETING.COM, @WHIRLAWAYMARKETING

CYCLEBAR.COM, @CYCLEBARFISHERS

It’s clear that Katie Ogg of Indianapolis knows how to hustle and succeed—so much so, she is not only a high-level PR manager, she’s also a cycling class instructor multiple days a week. It was while going through instructor training at Cyclebar that Ogg met Whirlaway Marketing’s founder, Haley Eveleigh, the two clicked, and she ended up joining Eveleigh’s team. Due to coronavirus-related precautions Ogg is hoping to return to teaching classes at the Cyclebar Fishers location next month, but in the meantime, she’s been busy managing the public relations of local favorites like Spoke & Steele and Bovaconti Coffee.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE SUCH A BUSY WORKLOAD?

I thrive on having a full schedule and feel really fulfilled after a busy day. I like to start my week off by prioritizing what is of the most importance so I can mold my week around what needs to get done. At Whirlaway we call this our “Hot List” and it enables me to focus my time and energy in the right places. I teach spin a few days a week as well, which always offers a great release after a busy day. 

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO DO BOTH OF YOUR JOBS WELL?

Relationship building, communication skills, and positive energy. Our work at Whirlaway is rooted in creating relationships with the right partners that are going to help build awareness for our clients. In addition, it’s so important to build strong, trusting relationships with your clients, because at the end of the day they’re trusting you to communicate on behalf of their business! Teaching spin is similar. I need to be a clear communicator and build trust with my riders in order for them to feel like I can help make a positive effect on their lives. For both roles, positive energy is one of the biggest game changers. I have found that you can do a lot with a positive, enthusiastic attitude and being passionate about your work.   

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SUCCEED?

Winning through others. I love seeing our clients win and grow and am motivated by others’ success and being in the background to cheer them on. This makes me feel like I am a part of something greater. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS IN BUSINESS?

The importance of networking and high learning agility—networking is how I landed my job. It’s not always about what you know, but who you know and how you present yourself. Additionally, high learning agility: Although you may not have every skill at the start of your career, the ability to adapt and learn will help you excel. When I first started at Whirlaway, I was hired to work on a specific project with a specific role, and I am now managing multiple projects and have obtained versatile skills just by working closely and learning from my mentor.

Stephanie Groves is an Indy-based freelance writer who had no idea what she was doing career-wise at age 25, and now, really still isn’t sure.

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