You're an ambitious creative woman

There is a point in your career where it’s time to coast, or step up your game. And coasting is not for you. You’re not that kind of woman.

But work is not school. There’s no right answer. And sometimes it feels like you’re getting lost on the way, lost in the day to day. You wonder if you’re doing it smarter, or just doing it harder. You’re not where you want to be, you’re not doing work that fills you up, and you’re not sure how to get there. 

You’re starting to wonder if “there” is really all it’s cracked up to be. You don’t want to opt out, but opting in doesn’t look all that sweet to begin with.


While women graduate at parity with men in many creative fields, women are still not making it to leadership at the same level as men. And it’s not you, it’s your workplace, Research shows that men are promoted based on their potential, while women are promoted on their past accomplishments. Women are interrupted more at work than men. Job applications with male-sounding names garner more callbacks than female-sounding ones.

"It’s not you, baby, it’s me."

– Your Workplace

So what’s a girl, I mean,
a woman to do about it?

I founded Build Yourself because I believed that with the right strategies, the support, and a little bit of sass, women can build the dynamic, powerful and meaningful careers they want.

I believe you can have it all – but only if you get clear on what you actually want – and not what you think you’re supposed to want. And you have to have to get a little fearless – and a little less perfectionist – in pursuing your vision

But don’t worry, that’s where I come in.

I’ve been supporting other women for as long as I can remember. Maybe it runs in the family – my mom is a sassy, empowered social worker single mom. Apple, tree, whatever.


Struggling with the lack of female role models when I was in high school, I did an independent study on the topic. And as an adult I taught a women’s empowerment workshop and worked for a Women’s Center. When I started design grad school, I brought a group of my friends together for a Women’s Power book group so we could plan how we’d get the most out of the experience.

Along the way I discovered a special talent.

I found that I loved – and was good at – getting women to realize that more was possible for themselves – and then to actually go and get it. Call it being a ‘tough love cheerleader,’ that special combination of inspiration, strategies, and accountability to break through the obstacles that hold us back.

I founded Build Yourself because I was tired of seeing talented women hold themselves back from the careers and lives that they wanted.

I knew that we’d be in a better place if we could unleash that potential on the world. And at this point I’ve worked with hundreds of women and I know the patterns that we tend to fall into – the challenges we tend to come up against along the way.


I’ve worked with women to earn 40% salary raises, and to send out the screenplay they’d been sitting on for years.


I’ve worked with women who defined their career visions, and women who were named principal at their firm.


I’ve worked with women who grew into leadership and used that leadership to make their field better for other women.

Change is possible

I know you can get there because I’ve seen it before.

The Formula Is Simple

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I mine the research on how women succeed in the workplace with my training as a design strategist to help you find smarter not harder ways to get what you want in your career – without overcomplicating things.

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Strategies are helpful, but they’re just sitting around in your head until you put them to use. I built Build Yourself programs to hold you accountable, to help you apply these insights to your life.

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Growing is hard! I know it. This can be lonely, hard work without a crew that gets you, that has your back. Build Yourself women cheer each other on – and bonus – they build your ‘old girls’ club.’

This is a journey, but I want to be on it with you, and I believe we get there faster when we go together.

Official Bio

Maya Sharfi is a creative agent of change, a do-er and big-picture thinker. She founded Build Yourself to help women in creative fields move past the obstacles that hold them back in in their careers, and to make those workplaces better places for women’s talent.

Maya is a trained facilitator and has worked on women’s advocacy for over fifteen years. She’s run a research effort on women in social impact design for the Harvard Business School, is a founding member of the Equity Roundtable at the Boston of Architects, and was named as one of Impact Design Hub’s Social Impact Design 40 under 40. She has spoken extensively across the country including at the Association of Community Designers, and A Better World by Design, as well as the University of Pennsylvania and UT Austin. Maya received degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Brown University. Her writings on issues of equity in design have been published in the Christian Science Monitor and GOOD.

Want more on me?

Find more information on Maya or Build Yourself, or on speaking engagements
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