About Us

HEART OF GOLD: Explore your dreams. Share your vision. Design your future.


Heart of Gold is a supportive online environment which provides girls with the tools, information, and inspiration to explore and connect with their personal passion, be innovative and creative risk-takers, engage in entrepreneurship, volunteerism and social activism, and design the future of their dreams.

Aimed at girls ages 13 and up, Heart of Gold uses its unique approach, practical girl-focused content, and inventive, interactive environment, to deliver on its mission while focusing on 4 distinct areas:

Entrepreneurship: In our Entrepreneurship channel, girls find in-depth, how-to information on all aspects of starting and building a business; inspiring profiles of successful women and teen entrepreneurs; access to entrepreneurial experts for Q&A; and opportunities for sharing ideas, creating support, and connecting with like-minded girls.

Social Activism: Our  Activism channel provides changemakers with information and resources for promoting their causes from a position of strength and confidence; a place to spread the word about the issues they care about most; profiles of outstanding social change agents; and a supportive environment where the values of social responsibility are fostered and embraced.

Volunteerism: Heart of Gold’s Volunteering channel focuses on generosity and giving back, and offers ideas for helping girls choose volunteer activities that allow them to explore their passions while having a true impact; strategies for translating volunteer experience into real-world goal setting and achievement; an interactive tool for identifying volunteer opportunities in their community; and inspirational profiles of other teen volunteers.

Self-Exploration and Self-Care: Heart of Gold knows that girls who take care of themselves – mind, body, and soul – are more likely to reach for and achieve their dreams. In our Lifestyle section, girls are provided with confidence-building strategies to boost their self-esteem; practical advice on goal-setting and college and career planning; and self-care information with a special focus on health and wellness. Lifestyle also reviews appropriate books, movies, TV shows, and other media.


Marla Isackson, Founder & President

Heart of Gold is the passion project of Marla Isackson, a marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in creating innovative marketing initiatives for some of the most famous names in business, including Barnes & Noble, WebMD, and American Express. The mother of two and an entrepreneur herself, Marla created Heart of Gold to give girls tools and information for discovering their individual passions, stand up for what they believe in, and realize their unique ability to make a difference in the world. She believes tuning in to the inner authentic voice within each of us – our heart of gold – is the key to living the life of one’s dreams. Email: Marla@heartofgoldgirls.com


Mia Michaux Carroll, EVP of Business Development

Mia Michaux Carroll leads the Company’s development of strategic relationships and oversees its revenue strategy. A web pioneer and seasoned publishing executive, Mia has been developing business opportunities for online properties since 1995 at leading media companies including Hachette Filipacchi, Fairchild, Meredith and The Tribune Company. In her role as a publishing executive, Mia specialized in forging strategic alliances and partnerships with Fortune 500 companies. In one of her most notable achievements, Mia developed and executed the revenue strategy for Africana.com — an online media property supported by Harvard University — which led to it being acquired in 2000 by AOL Time Warner.

Since 2007, Mia has focused on consulting with online media companies and creative industry entrepreneurs helping them develop new business activity through strategic relationships. Her strategic networking company, MMC Partners, has helped dozens of clients develop strategic relationships to achieve their business goals. Mia received her education from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University where she was a McGuffey Scholar and studied Broadcast Journalism. Email: Mia@heartofgoldgirls.com


Debbie Reber, Editor-in-Chief

Debbie Reber is an award-winning author of many books for teens, including Chill: Stress Reducing Techniques for a More Balanced, Peaceful You, In Their Shoes: Extraordinary Women Describe Their Amazing Careers, and the teen self-help series Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: The Real Deal. She created and edits the first-ever series of teen-authored memoirs, Louder Than Words, which premiered in August 2009. Deborah is a life coach for teens and young women, and frequently speaks to and presents workshops for girls of all ages on topics like finding balance, self-care, and dreaming big. Through her writing and work as a speaker, teen girl authority, and life coach, she is dedicated to helping girls connect with their true purpose to live more authentic, inspired, and fulfilling lives. Find out more at www.debbiereber.com. Email: debbie@heartofgoldgirls.com


Jen Jones Donatelli, Managing Editor

Jen Jones Donatelli is a Los Angeles-based author and freelance writer whose work has appeared in online and print publications like Variety, MSN, E!Online, LA Confidential, San Francisco, Natural Health, Total Beauty, Vital Juice, Whole Life Times, Shoptopia and many others. She has also authored more than 60 non-fiction books for tweens and teens, including the fiction series Team Cheer. Along with writing, she is a seasoned photographer and loves taking yummy photos of food for Conde Nast Traveler, LA Times, and more. An entrepreneur at heart, she also owns Creative Groove, an online education hub with classes in various creative topics.


Kate Pavao, Contributing Editor

Kate Pavao is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in teen culture. She earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a master’s in journalism at Columbia University. In addition to contributing to Heart of Gold, she also reviews young adult books for a number of publications, including Publishers Weekly. Previously, she worked at Entertainment WeeklyTeen People, and ChickClick.com.


Anne Lapour, Features Editor

Anne Lapour is a counselor and educator who holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in career and vocational psychology.  She has published and presented on the career goals of teenagers, and is especially passionate about the professional development of girls and young women.  Anne worked as a career counselor and teacher in the university setting for several years, helping young adults navigate the transition to adulthood and identify their career aspirations.  By contributing to Heart of Gold Girls, she hopes to inspire girls to engage in social action and personal reflection that will bring meaning to their lives, and focus to their futures.


Amanda-300x193Amanda Kennedy, Special Projects Editor

Amanda Kennedy leads special projects at Heart of Gold, including the Brand Ambassador program, the annual Holiday Gift Guide, and her column, “Amanda’s Corner,” where she muses on current events, college, careers, and entrepreneurship. Amanda graduated in 2013 from Bryn Mawr College. While in college, she founded a campus chapter of She’s the First, a national nonprofit that sponsors girls’ education in developing countries, through which she realized the true potential of her entrepreneurial spirit. She led an executive board and club members to accomplish awareness events and creative fundraisers, which raised almost $1,500 in the span of 1.5 years and helped send two girls to school. Her interest in issues facing girls led her to Heart of Gold, as well as Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, where she served as an intern. As a recent graduate, Amanda is excited to see where her career path takes her. You can always find her infusing her entrepreneurial spirit into any project she undertakes.