Thank you for being here. Thank you for sending me your thoughts and your ideas. I’m working on getting information together for the community on our mission, our values and what we are going to do together. In the meantime, I’ve been meeting with incredible, amazing, talented women one on one to share my vision. You’re going to get a chance to meet them, too, as they come on as a part of my founder’s circle.
While we get the rest of the machine moving, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about me and show you part of my story. Like so many in our community, I’m a DC transplant and moved here from Los Angeles 8 1/2 years ago. I had a few friends in the area, but no real network or tribe here. Since that crazy first step, I’ve taken on a number of different jobs, and lost a few, got married, had a baby, became a student and teacher of yoga and have been gifted a crash course in the unique challenges women face in business.
I’m an entrepreneur, and after years of fighting within organizations and positions that maybe weren’t the best fit, I’ve finally embraced it. Before striking out on my own, I found myself where many working moms do: In an environment that challenges me both professionally and personally – and not all in good ways! I’ve got some stories, and will gladly share them over a glass of wine if you ask, but for now I will stick to what I discovered.
There are systemic issues in this system. While there are certainly exceptions, the issues women face in balancing work and family and their own aspirations can be insurmountable, especially when we tackle them alone. These issues become so much more acute when families grow. Things that I could ignore (sexual harassment), try to overcome (bias against women both from colleagues and clients) and fight against (a very real gender pay gap – $30K in one job for me!), became so much harder to set aside once I had a daughter that needs me to be strong and to be present.
I am so lucky that I have a partner that is willing to support me on this journey, and unbelievably inspiring and incredible women who have chosen similar paths that I can lean on. My transition to entrepreneurship opened up a new world to me and I realized that many women who have chosen to “off ramp” (h/t Cheryl Sandberg) are not actually idling at the exit. They are creating their own paths! And for every woman who finds or creates a support system to do this, I bet there are others that don’t know that they can.
We’re here to support women. Period. I don’t care if you are still on the highway, looking at the exit sign or forging new roads. These issues that drive us are fixable. They can be overcome. We don’t avoid them be exiting the highway. We must work together to support each other’s business and pursuit of balance. Join me.