40 Under 40 – Class of 2018

Reema Bhatia, 37

Managing partner, Stickboy Creative

There were a lot of things that could have intimidated Reema Bhatia when she started Stickboy Creative in 2007.

For one, Fort Myers, her launching post, is a far cry from Silicon Valley. Also, the technology industry was and remains a male-dominated field.

But Bhatia’s naturally positive outlook and resilient spirit — plus the support of her husband, mother and other mentors — gave her the confidence and drive to succeed.

“A differentiator is always good, and I’ve just held on to that,” says Bhatia, who originally hails from India. “Frankly, that’s what I love about this community and this country: Everybody’s given a chance. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Once you have a seat at the table, if you have the mental chops to prove that you’re worth the time, everybody gives you a chance.”

She also acknowledges the importance of the team she’s put together to assist clients with custom software and apps, digital marketing and other technology-based services. She trusts them enough to let them grow and develop their skills — even if that means an occasional failure along the way.

“I’m not afraid to let them make mistakes,” says Bhatia. “Coddling people or admonishing them at every step doesn’t allow for the empowerment of people. My mom used to always say don’t cry over spilled milk; just move on onward and upward.”

Bhatia has relied on advice and guidance from people who are farther along on their entrepreneurial journeys than she. And she believes approaching business highs and lows with the right attitude helps her tackle whatever comes her way. “It’s always two steps forward, one step back,” she says. “That’s the rhythm of things. You can’t be down on yourself. You just have to move on, and if something didn’t work out, that’s fine. You’ve got to brush it off. There are tons of other opportunities.”

Survey says

Name: Reema Bhatia

Age: 37

City of residence: Fort Myers

Employer: Stickboy Creative

Title: Managing partner

Birthplace: India

Years on the Gulf Coast: 12 years

Marital status/children: Married/none

Alma mater/degree: NYU

Best place to network: Online

Messy desk or clean workspace: Depends on the day.

Eat lunch out or at your desk: Out always!

Best business lesson ever learned: Whether you think you are winning or losing, it’s in your mind: Attitude is everything.

Your least favorite job interview question: “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Your favorite class/subject in school: Math

Weirdest job youve ever had: Trade show booth model.

Community group youre most involved with: Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership.

Favorite off-hours activity: Travel

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Oprah Winfrey and Conor McGregor.

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Adventure travel

Top item on your bucket list: Visit Antarctica

Your happy place is: Wherever Matt is.

Your biggest fear: Losing my loved ones.

Favorite Podcast: Joe Rogan

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Jessica Alba

What best describes you from high school? Rule breaker

Describe yourself in three words: Creative, courageous, compassionate.