Ita Ekpoudom Shares the Evolution of Passion & Purpose

Follow-Your-PassionGeneration W speaker Ita Ekpoudom recently wrote a blog post about women who have turned their passion into purpose:  “When it comes to our careers, the Holy Grail is to be able to find a role or environment that you feel so strongly about that what you do becomes a natural extension of who you are.”  Here is an excerpt from her blog where she introduces us to three accomplished members of the Tigress Ventures Network who “epitomize what can happen when you follow your passion to find your purpose.”


Bridgette Morphew’s passion for fashion began at an early age.  While still an undergraduate in Florida, she launched her first business, a t-shirt brand, which went on to garner a cult following and be featured in Rolling Stone magazine.  Realizing that fashion frequently looks to the past to create the future, she moved to NYC and launched Paradox Designs where she sourced and curated a collection of 5,000 vintage prints that is sought out by and inspires some of the leading fashion brands.  As her last name aptly alludes, Bridgette welcomes change and understands it is necessary to evolve in order to grow and has done so with the launch of the next phase of her business Morphew, making her unique collection of vintage pieces available to the public.  As she states, “Everything morphs and now that time has come for Paradox Designs to transform into Morphew the iconic brand bringing its presence online with”.  Morphew has gained traction quickly on both coasts, including amongst celebrities like Nicole Richie.  If you’re looking to take a glamorous trip back in time without leaving NYC, come and spend an afternoon perusing the vintage treasures at Morphew.

Investment banking is known for its grueling hours.  The upside to spending that much time in one place with a small group of people is that it can lead to the formation of lifelong friendships.  Such is the case that I got to spend many an hour in the company of both Jennie Baik and Jessie Gould during our time as analysts at Goldman Sachs.  Our paths have diverged and intersected many times since our respective departures from the firm, but the connection remains. 

Jennie Baik has always had a talent and strength for thinking strategically and taking big and complicated concepts and breaking them down into actionable insights which she further honed at Harvard Business School.  This skill has served her well as she progressed from finance to fashion (including launching a fashion line with best friend and fashion designer, Matthew Earnest) and media, especially when helping top global brands navigate the digital landscape.  Her experiences, particularly with luxury brands, helped her identify an opportunity to co-found the startup Orchard Mile, and develop a platform that will enable companies who have historically focused on driving traffic to their retail stores, create memorable online experiences to vie for the attention (and spend) of the modern consumer who shops across multiple brands.  I look forward to soon being able to “scroll down fashion’s most luxurious mile.”

Jessie Gould is a woman of many talents.  Armed with a mechanical engineering degree from Yale, she made the obvious choice of heading to Wall Street.  Attention to detail and the ability to understand complex interdependent systems is a transferable skillset that she put to good use during her time at Goldman.  Jessie, like Jennie, also went to business school, where our paths overlapped during our time at Wharton.  Jessie enjoyed the world of finance but realized she wanted to transition from helping public companies raise capital to investing in private companies poised for growth.  It was in her capacity as an investor, adviser and finally in hands-on operating roles within one of her portfolio companies, Organic Avenue, that Jessie’s passion to combine her love of food, wellness and business crystallized.  She saw an opportunity to address the lack of fast, healthy, yet delicious and satisfying options available for corporate and private events and she launched Ox Verte in January.  Already a staple at our Women Wednesdays events, the rave reviews are rapidly mounting as she has secured orders from top NYC corporations and startups.

As you can see, each of these women has their own unique path that wasn’t a linear one, but which has led them to fulfilling opportunities.  There is no one “right way” but I hope you, like me, find it helpful to learn from another’s journey.


Click here to read Ita’s entire blog post.

Do you have a story of turning your passion into purpose?  We’d love to hear it.  Send us an email and we might feature you on the Generation W website!