We're delighted to talk with Lara Hodgson, CEO of NOW. Her book, LEVEL UP: Rise Above the Hidden Forces Holding Your Business Back was co-written with her long-time business partner, politician and activist Stacey Abrams. In this talk Lara will share details of their inspiring and relatable personal story and lessons learned the hard way to show how every business owner can confront the forces that conspire to keep small businesses small.
Lara serves as President & CEO of NOW Corp, a company she co-founded to free small businesses from the burden of being a free bank to their customers. Lara co-founded Nourish Inc, and introduced its first patented products for children, in airports, hotels, entertainment venues and retail outlets across the US. Lara experienced the challenge of having to fund the trade credit required to…
Lara serves as President & CEO of NOW Corp, a company she co-founded to free small businesses from the burden of being a free bank to their customers. Lara co-founded Nourish Inc, and introduced its first patented products for children, in airports, hotels, entertainment venues and retail outlets across the US. Lara experienced the challenge of having to fund the trade credit required to support growth. Not finding a solution that worked, she launched NOW Corp and created NOWaccount, the first merchant service payment system for B2B that enables businesses to get paid immediately in a way that feels like taking a credit card for payment (not a loan or factoring) even when terms are offered. NOW Corp is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study and Lara serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Harvard Business School.
Lara is the Co-Author of Level Up: Rise Above the Hidden Forces Holding your Business Back, a highly acclaimed book she wrote with Stacey Abrams and with Heather Cabot. (www.LevelUp2Day.org)
Lara is an internationally recognized speaker on creativity, innovation and access to capital. Internationally, Lara has worked in Koriyama, Japan with the U.S. Defense Department’s EAGLE Japan Program and served as the Ambassador to Lebanon for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Lara received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was featured in USA Today as one of the top 20 students in the US, was the ODK National Leader of the Year and was a scholarship member of Georgia Tech’s Track & Field team.
Lara currently serves as a Trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation and as President of the Board of Atlanta Heights Charter School. She also serves on the board of CTE (formerly known as Carolina Tractor & Equipment Company), Patterson Real Estate Group, and Georgia Tech’s Alexander Tharpe Fund board. Lara formerly served on the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Board (appointed by the Governor), Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business Advisory Board, the Georgia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board and the Georgia Tech Alumni Association Board.
Lara is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2005 and the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2004. Lara taught finance as an adjunct instructor in Georgia Tech’s MBA Program for 10 years. Lara was honored by the Georgia Tech Athletic Association with the Total Person Alumnus Award and by the Georgia Tech Women in Engineering as the Alumnus of the Year. She is a member of the Georgia Tech Young Alumni Hall of Fame, was a recipient of a Womenetics 2013 POW! Award honoring Purposeful Women and was named to the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year. Lara was a 2018 Southeast US Finalist for E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year and was named one of twelve 2019 E&Y Entrepreneurial Winning Women.