02/27/13

Foster.ly & the Room of Collaborative Women

Once upon a time (ok, yesterday), in the DC offices of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, a group of women gathered. Thanks to the DC entrepreneur organization, Foster.ly, and the man behind the curtain, Adam Zuckerman, they found a place to get to know others just like themselves. 

Happily becoming moderators of this fantastic group, Camie & I found ourselves at the head of a huge table for Foster.ly's Women Entrepreneur Study Hall. Women started trickling in at noon and by 1pm we kicked off with one-minute introductions.

Every attendee told a little about their business, a challenge they were facing, and what they offered the rest of the group. During introductions, you would see attendees writing copious notes to make sure they connected with the women speaking.

After all were introduced, the afternoon became collaborative, conversational, and full of excitement. Women swapped seats, asked questions, offered advice, and made friends. Without an agenda, rules, or leading, we had the chance to dig deep and make connections with women we had no other way of knowing. An inspiring afternoon. 

Foster.ly, the DC entrepreneurs network, started doing a Study Hall for developers to connect and solve problems together. Others asked about doing a focused one for women and Adam set it up asking me to help him host. He brought in a crowd of women ready to be engaged and set up an open forum for collaboration. Yesterday marked the 3rd event and it just keeps growing. 

When kicking off the event yesterday, I asked women to write down challenges they faced as women entrepreneurs and here are their answers:

I really don't know how to work with people (especially women) who don't want anyone in their sandbox, don't understand what they're doing, but want to change it all - to their detriment. What do you do?! - Monika Jansen, @monikacjansen

Honestly, I feel that being a female entrepreneur is an advantage. There are so many positive resources & communities for women. Plus, if you're a woman confident and strong enough to launch - there's pretty much no stopping you. - Sara Oliveri, @saraolivieri

Having the courage to think THAT big! I want to meet a woman who has built a business from the ground up and I'm having trouble connecting with one. - Poonam Sandhu @MPoonamSandhu

Selling solutions in a male-dominated military-model of a professional kitchen. As a woman, I often have to bring my husband (chef) to be taken seriously although I'm the problem solver. - Rebecca Gunter, @OperationEatery

How to know if a man is talking to you for business purposes or with other motives. - Allison Sheren, @allie_p @neighborsations

Diversity in the workplace and the glass ceiling. Research shows Board and Executive teams perform far better when women are part of the team or deciding body. But we're still stuck on the outside looking in. - Marcia Moran, @mmoran76

Intuitive women often find it challenging to talk to left-brain detailed logical types who are in a different paradigm. It's a challenge not to appreciate Adam Z and Melanie S for making this awesome event possible. - Unknown

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Thanks to all of the ladies who came out yesterday. It's you who make this possible. I'm excited about the next one.

Related:
» Foster.ly’s Study Hall Strengthens Startup Ecosystem by Marcia Moran
» ​Day of Foster.ly 2013 - May 4
» Facebook: Foster.ly DC Women Entrepreneur Study Hall


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