Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: Delilah Panio

Delilah Panio, Founder of StilettoDash

Stiletto Gals are a fearless bunch, especially when it comes to travel in our beloved high heels. Catching a connecting flight on the way to a conference, hitting the road for an early morning meeting, and even on the go to grab coffee in the morning - we're used to running in our stilettos! But sometimes all that travel can get stressful, time consuming, and even make a traveler feel lonely and lead to personal relationships struggling to stay strong.

Today, we're talking with Delilah Panio, founder of StilettoDash.com. StilettoDash works to unite women business travelers (or as they're nicknamed, SDashers) into a community with the intention of upgrading their happiness, health, style and overall business travel experience through curated content on the site. Get ready for your first class ticket to finding out how Delilah came up with this idea, why a community like this needs to exist, and what three must-haves she always keeps in her carry-on!

Hillary Gadsby: StilettoDash focuses on creating a community out of women who frequently travel for business. What inspired you to start up this kind of business?

Delilah Panio: As a former corporate climber and road warrior, I used to travel a lot for my job in the capital markets. During that business travel, as I was struggling to stay healthy and connected to my friends and family, I often found myself wishing for some kind of resource that gave me ideas and suggestions on how to travel better. Ultimately, the wear and tear of the business travel got to me and ended up physically and mentally burnt out. So I quit my job, moved to LA for the sunshine and entrepreneurial spirit, and now I'm on a mission to help my fellow SDashers not just survive business travel, but to thrive on the road!

HG: Why do you think it's important that there's a community like this in place for women?

DP: The number of women entering the work force and climbing the ladder is increasing, as is the number of women starting businesses. As the world gets smaller and smaller and we all have to travel further to reach new customers, all of these women will be traveling more for their work. And they'll all be looking for solutions to the many travel pains, whether it be maintaining their style, health or relationships while on the road. A global community of women business travelers and opportunity to share travel secrets and meet up on trips, will be an incredible resource for any SDasher to tap into. Plus we plan to leverage this community of amazing business women to fulfill our social mission of providing women and girls with the travel opportunities to inspire a life without boundaries. So many people never get to travel and for me, travel is a critical component of personal and professional growth... and I want to bring that opportunity to as many women as possible.

HG: What is the worst thing that ever happened to you in business and how did you overcome it?

DP: The most challenging time in my career was when I was starting to burn out from the travel and just being at a job I no longer wanted to do. I was very good at my job and took great pride in my career growth, but once the burn out started, my performance also started to suffer and I was starting to lose credibility at my job. So I knew it was time to leave. I certainly didn't want a decade of great work and reputation to be marred by the end so I quit and never looked back. Making the leap from corporate climber to entrepreneur has certainly not been easy, but ultimately I am much happier following my dream of building a company that really means something to me and is focused on helping others.

"I'm a big fan of Charles David... here are two of my faves!"

HG: What kind of shoe are you and why?

DP: I have to say stiletto right?! But it's actually true... as I'm short at just 5'3", I love the height of the heels to make me feel not just taller but more confident. Most people don't realize how short I actually am as I'm usually in heels.

HG: What are your three biggest travel carry-on must haves and why?

DP: That's easy! I never leave home without my pashmina (bought it in India a few years ago and performs triple duty as a scarf, shawl to dress up an outfit, and blanket on the plane); snack stack (holds 3 kinds of snacks - I put in raisins, almonds and dark chocolate almonds - so I never get too crazy hungry while traveling); and lavender essential oil. I put a few drops under my nose to dispel the smells on the plane and on my hotel pillow for a fresh scent to sleep and wake up to.

For more tips from Delilah and the editorial team at Stiletto Dash, hop over to Stilettodash.com, Pin with them on Pinterest, tweet @stilettodash, and visit them on Facebook! And fill out the travel survey and enter to win a $450 wardrobe from StyleYou and Sole Society!