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Ep 26: Jennifer Wilkov Founds Speak Up Women and Helps Women Express Themselves

"You have to be willing to get out there and put your toe in the water."

When it comes to making lemonade out of life's lemons, Jennifer Wilkov is a master. Her world came crashing down when she served time in one of the nation's most violent prisons, Rikers Island, for a white collar crime for which she was later exonerated. Jennifer's experience inspired her to start Speak Up Women, an annual conference that helps women find their voice and create the kind of life they want to live. Listen for Jennifer's story of strength and resilience and learn the importance of putting yourself first.

"I want you to live the life that you want to live."

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Jennifer is the founder of Speak Up Women, a conference about the importance of speaking up.
  • Jennifer had the idea for her business after she was wrongly incarcerated for a crime that wasn’t her fault.
  • Jennifer was an award winning financial planner at a top firm.
  • She reported a false real estate investment as a scam but was accused and charged with being a co-conspirator.
  • She was given 6 months jail time on Rikers Island and 5 years probation.
  • 3 years later during an investigation her old supervisor admitted that he didn’t supervise her correctly or follow guidelines.
  • Jennifer is now on the board of directors for an organization called It Could Happen To You.
  • Jennifer has also had to deal with Crohn’s disease for her whole life.
  • Jennifer is an advocate for everyone speaking up to change their own life and make differences for other people.
  • Women have been ingrained in society into playing second fiddle around men and other women.


  • Women need to speak up about the things that are important to them.
  • Important things are not just on a national scale, but can start at home.
  • Find what you like to do that isn’t dependent on other people.
  • This doesn’t have to be a big challenge, for example it could be swimming regularly.
  • Find what gives you joy.
  • You can’t be killing it in the world if you can’t connect with yourself.

Learn more:

  • The next Speak Up Women conference is on March 23rd 2017 at the UN.