Why womENT

My parents desperately wanted me to take over the family business, a retail jewelry store. After years of watching my parents work non-stop and being roped into working at the store with them, child labor laws be damned, I wanted nothing more than to be rid of that burden. I wanted a career full of clocking out of work at 5 pm and enjoying the rest of my life free of the burdens of being a business owner.  I went off to college to pursue a degree in communication and they sold the store off to the highest bidder.

Even in April 2009 when my friend Damien put out the call for women to help him form womENT I had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur. I would often joke that Damien was the entrepreneur and I was just the woman. We tried to put together a series of round-table discussions to happen during Internet Week in NYC in May 2009. The events didn’t end up taking place for various reasons. We’ll simply blame it on Mercury being in retrograde.

Later that month I got my dream job at a social media agency and it consumed my entire existence. I commuted three hours everyday, worked crazy late hours and traveled for work many weekends that summer. If I wasn’t working or traveling, I was usually answering calls on my work-issued BlackBerry or passed out from sheer exhaustion.  My old dreams of clocking out at 5 pm and my new found passion for social media were simply not compatible. Needless to say my entire life got put on the back burner, womENT included.

I ended up leaving that agency in November 2009 for many reasons, not the least of which was exhaustion! Instead of looking for work at other agencies, I started freelancing. A few months later, a former co-worker from my old agency asked if I wanted to join her in a new social media consulting and training venture and I said sure. Suddenly I was registering business names, opening business bank accounts and writing co-founder in front of my name. I was becoming an entrepreneur through no fault of my own.

The topics and issues that Damien and I had drafted for the round-table discussions were quickly becoming issues I was grappling with on a daily basis. Now more than ever, I wanted to see these discussions take place and I wanted them to involve as many inspiring women entrepreneurs and business leaders as possible.

My biggest fear was having people moan “Why must you must you make it exclusively about women entrepreneurs?” Aren’t you hurting the cause of equality by segregating female business leaders from their male counterparts?” The fact of the matter is that women entrepreneurs and business leaders share a lot of the same challenges as their male counterparts, but there are still many aspects where being a woman brings a unique set of obstacles. I don’t see anyone claiming that men don’t want to run startups because they’d rather have children [see: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/09/women-startups-childre/]. Women’s brains and men’s brains “are wired differently” as my friend Anna O’Brien points out in this post about men and women in social media notoriety. Women led businesses still aren’t getting nearly the VC funding they deserve. See what badass Cindy Gallop had to say on the matter in this interview. These are just some examples I have found.

Whenever I share my list of potential discussion topics with other women entrepreneurs I know, there’s always a resounding “YES! That is something I struggle with all the time!” That’s why I know these topics need to be discussed in an environment where everyone can share their unique experience and help each other overcome these obstacles.

Here’s a dirty little secret… Besides my mother and stepfather, who I was quite reluctant to tell, none of my family members know that I am going it alone. They all think I’m still working at the agency I left a year ago. Well, I have an old school Russian family who would equate me running my own business with me being unemployed and I want to spare them the worrying. Also, I’m still not entirely convinced I can make it on my own. I am technically an entrepreneur in every sense of the term, but in my heart of hearts I don’t believe it. I am in desperate need of role models and encouragement and that’s why I started the womENT Twitter chats. I’m sure all the people joining us tonight will have their own set of reasons for being there.

We don’t live in a vacuum. Women entrepreneurs have male business partners and employees of all genders. Some women have been running their own business for years, while for others it’s just a pipe dream preceded with “someday I’ll…” Some women, like me, just don’t think they have what it takes to run a business. So if you have any insight into what it is to be a woman in the working world, to work with or for a woman or to have a spark of entrepreneurial spirit, I hope you’ll join us (@woment @db @microsteph and me @bianalog) for the first of our weekly #woment Twitter chats tonight at 7 pm Eastern and every Monday night thereafter. Why? Because I need to believe I have what it takes to succeed.

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I’m in LOVE!

Yes that’s right folks. I am in love and it’s not even spring. Today will go down in history as the day I fell in love with running. When someone asked me a few weeks ago if I liked C25K, I said that I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t necessarily enjoy it either. Something changed during my last run yesterday. It was a steady jogging pace I did outside (the Y was closed so a treadmill wasn’t an option). It was my first delve into 5 minute runs and it was delightful. Then today I ventured to Union Square (which is becoming a very dangerous shopping area for me recently!). I picked up the Nike Plus kit at Jack Rabbit where I get 10% off because I’m logged in their system as a return customer. Then I had to buy Emily a new water bottle at Paragon so I happened to pop into their running section and spent about 20 minutes examining an armband to hold my iPod Nano with the Nike+ plug in thing, my YMCA card and my keys. I’m hoping to find it $30 well spent.

The moment that really did it for me was when I pulled  “Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running” off the shelf at Barnes & Noble and my heart did a little flutter. Then I grabbed a chair and started to read. My heart literally ached in the delicious way I have only ever experienced when feeling an overwhelming sense of joy. We’re talking cuddling with the love of your life, opening presents on Christmas, sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner kind of joy and here I felt it while reading a book about running.

The funniest part was when I showed off all my new toys and gadgets to my friend Anna at dinner tonight. She said to me “You’re not going to be another one of those friends whose marathon photos I’m going to have to suffer through seeing, are you?” and my response was something like “Well not yet.”

What can I say folks? I’m head over heels, but more like one foot in front of the other.

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Craptastic!

Today has been a pretty crap day so I’m going to channel my inner Oprah and give you three things I’m grateful for.

1. Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits album Disc 2…those remixes are able to get me out of even the worst funk.
2. C25K…one day I’ll have to do a whole post about how much it means to me to be doing it. For now I’m just going to say it’s awesome that I can run (read: jog slowly) for five minutes straight.
3. Dinner with two of my blogging supporters, TJ and Emily, at delicious Char 4! Driving over there now in a cab.

What’s your silver lining for today?

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New Hair!

This is the first unveil of my new haircut. The verdict is…I didn’t breakdown in tears when I left he salon, but I didn’t jump up and down for joy either. I don’t hate it, but I think it’s going to take some getting used to. In other news, trying to take a photo of yourself in the mirror is annoying. I don’t know why the kids are so obsessed with it.

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This is my hair…

Tomorrow morning I am going to chop it all off! I am so excited (and only mildly nervous that I’ll end up in tears)!

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Sick No More!

Okay so I still don’t feel 100%, but I feel markedly better today than I did yesterday and I hope to feel even better when I wake up tomorrow. I am officially declaring today my last day of being sick. Tomorrow I must get on with life at full speed. As such, I thought I’d do a review of these past few days of illness:

The Good:

  • Taking time to rest and relax and only feeling mildly guilty about it
  • Spending lots of time doing nothing but watching Veronica Mars
  • Sleeping like a log thanks to cold meds
  • Losing a few pounds because my appetite went on strike along with my ability to breathe
  • Despite feeling ill I forced myself to run today. I didn’t use being sick as an excuse; I dragged myself to the Y. Granted I went easy on myself, doing a Week 3 run instead of moving onto Week 4 and I slowed down quite a bit, BUT the important thing is that I did it and I’m only mildly behind on my C25K schedule.
  • Mid-day naps!

The Bad:

  • I have been doing the absolute minimum work necessary the past few days, which means my to do list continues to grow while I do nothing about tackling it.
  • I missed going to Eataly with Steph while she was in town, though I did get to see her Saturday and I’ll see her again in a couple weeks.
  • Besides three-block journey to the Y today I haven’t left the house since I got home Saturday night.
  • Did I mention my incredible fear of waking up tomorrow and finally realizing just how much I have to do!
  • You know the whole not feeling well thing wasn’t so great either.

The Ugly:

  • My wastebasket runneth over with tissues.
  • I make the ugliest sick person! I look like a homeless girl whose boyfriend just broke up with her, but instead of clutching a pint of ice cream it’s tissues.

Lesson Learned:

  • I don’t have anyone here to take care of me, buy me medicine, make me tea and force me to drink it while it’s still hot, refill my cup of water, etc. I really need to do a better job of taking care of myself when I’m sick.

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Still sick…

I would post a picture of the statue out of tissues that I’m building to the god of illness, but I don’t think you’d want to see it. Yes, this is in fact a cop out post because I still feel like death. And what?

Goodnight ya’ll!

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