Women on Top Awards: The Transformers

For Marie Claire's third annual Women on Top Awards, we combed the country for the up-and-comers leading thought-revolutions, creating businesses, and making names for themselves in fields from the military to the arts. None is a day over 40, with a couple of notable exceptions: We've added a "Super Woman" category to celebrate women of any age who made their mark on 2012. But their accomplishments speak for themselves...

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October 22, 2012 9:33 AM
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4. Top Entrepreneur

Loren Brill, 28, founder and CEO, Sweet Loren's

Résumé: Three months out of college, Brill was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Facing six months of chemo, she moved home to New York City and plunged into baking, a lifelong hobby. Word of mouth about her creations took off, and in 2011, Brill, now healthy, launched Sweet Loren's, a line of all-natural, preservative-free cookie doughs and brownie batters.

Path to the Top: "I've always had a sweet tooth, but when I got sick, I realized that the ingredients in my favorite baked-goods recipes — refined sugar, white flour, and butter — spiked my blood sugar without providing nutrition. So I took classes at Manhattan's Natural Gourmet Institute and incorporated unrefined sugar, whole grain flours, and coconut oil. The new cookies were satisfying, so I didn't have to eat five of them to keep the sugar rush going."

Defining Moment: "In 2009, I won the Lower East Side Girls Club charity baking contest. One of the judges, the pastry chef at Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo, convinced me I was on to something. Next thing I knew, I was scouting production facilities and spending $20,000 of my savings on sourcing ingredients."

Dough Patrol: "Sweet Loren's cookies are lower glycemic than a conventional cookie, but they're not made of kale! So I do a lot of yoga, and during major taste testing, I run around the [New York City Central Park] reservoir twice a day."