8: Cat Cora
Number of restaurants in France that refused to hire chef Cat Cora after she graduated from one of the coun-try’s elite culinary schools, where, Cora says, she and the handful of other women students had endured verbal abuse from male instructors. Still, she persisted, even working for no pay at a three-star Michelinres-taurant just to gain experience, and finally landed apprenticeships with two of France’s top chefs. The winner of Bon Appétit’s 2006 Cooking Teacher award and author of three cookbooks, Cora became the Food Network’s first and only female Iron Chef in 2005.
50: Kara Goldin
Number of beverage-industry experts who told entrepreneur Kara Goldin, a former vice president at AOL, that the product she’d invented—an unsweetened, naturally flavored, zero-calorie water drink—would never sell. “You’re gonna be roadkill,” said one expert. “People like sweet,” said another. Confident she’d succeed, Goldin went ahead anyway and launched her company, Hint, in 2005. It took three more years of relentless pitching before she persuaded Starbucks to stock the drink (now found in 6,800 stores). Hint is also on shelves at Whole Foods and other high-end grocers.
11: Deborah Manchester
Number of years it took Deborah Manchester, PhD, to transition from her career as an audiologist to creator-producer of the award-winning, animated science-for-kids TV series The Zula Patrol. Manchester came up with the idea while in a leg cast. An animation student, she doodled some characters on the cast and eventually developed a TV show around them. Over the next few years, she pitched her series to the major TV networks. They all turned her down. Finally, she landed a deal with PBS. The Zula Patrol launched in 2005 and now reaches 300 million households worldwide.
Kathryn Stockett overcame 60 rejections before releasing The Help. Click here to read her story.
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