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When I first graduated college, I had a hard time finding it. I jumped from job-to-job, looking, searching for meaning. Is this "it"? Are all the women around me having fun, and just not me? I couldn’t shake the feeling that somewhere else my female friends were doing something cooler, something more Instagram-worthy that I didn’t know about, living opposite of my lugubrious life, and I was jealous.
To this day I still find myself searching and stumbling for directions — which is why I was so thrilled to start hearing from women who I admire during this year’s Female Founders Day on March 23rd. At the annual tentpole conference celebrating Women’s History Month, I heard advice and direction from numerous successful women, including what success looks like on their terms.
Co-founded by Rebecca Minkoff and Alison Wyatt, the Female Founder Collective’s annual event was hosted at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, and hosted speakers like Winnie Harlow, supermodel and Founder of Cay Skin; Ellen Marie Bennett, Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Hedley & Bennett; Noora Raj Brown, Executive Vice President of Brand at Goop; and Maggie Sellers, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at MES.
The day was dedicated to supporting founding women in business, bringing together like-minded entrepreneurs to shore up support systems so you can find your Polaris’s purpose. Here were my five key takeaways from the day:
MY TOP FIVE
- Forward_Space: While not a speaker during the day-long event, the Forward_Space team started the day off with movement — forcing the 300+ attendees to stand up, shake it out, and breathe life back into our bodies before embarking on the day ahead. I was impressed: their three-person dance team surrounded the crowd and ended at the front of the room where they then guided us in a cathartic, almost mind-body experience (that was still safe to do wearing heels!) The lesson: movement is a powerful unlock that opened up my physical entity and primed me for the day ahead.
- Madison Utendahl, Entrepreneur and Founder / CCO of Utendahl Creative was the best speaker of the day and I would have paid the full-freight ticket to hear her speak exclusively. Utendahl delivered one damning insight after another, and while I wish we had more time than 40 minutes in the allocated "networking" session, she shared a few insights, including 1) that you can and should forgive yourself for being burnt out, 2) the power of immediacy — for example, asking a client for feedback or for a quote immediately after the work is complete, 3) your ‘why’ has to be more than just making money. Utendahl also shared some of her favorite books and shows, including Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, This American Life, and Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey.
- Alli Webb, Entrepreneur, Author and Founder of DryBar: “Forget the mistake, learn the lesson.” In the opening Keynote with Julissa Bermudez and Alli Webb, moderated by Female Founder Collective co-founder Alison Wyatt, Webb shared the noteworthy nugget of encouraging all founders and entrepreneurs in the room to simply learn the lesson.
- Nyakio Grieco, Co-founder of Thirteen Lune and Founder of Relevant Skin shared that“the best way to pay it forward for free is to be a support system and a resource to others." During the morning’s second Main Stage Keynote, Grieco outlined the value of building your support system while sharing the stage with Candace Nelson, Ellen Chen, and Eve Rosky.
- Rakia Reynolds, the Founder of Blue Skai Media, reported on creating a public relations toolkit for the future, sharing that, “Gone are the days that when your product was the lead — the person is the lead character.”
Five more reasons to love Female Founder Collective:
- Since its 2018 founding, the collective has grown to more than 18,000 members — adding 6,000 new members in 2022 alone.
- Founders Rebecca Minkoff and Ali Wyatt built the business to be an inclusive atmosphere where women entrepreneurs can connect with others worldwide and expand their businesses.
- In 2022, The Female Founder Collective launched The North — an expert advisory marketplace for founders everywhere to book 1:1 time with the top female experts in the world. Since launch, The North has gifted more than $50,000 in grants to female-founded businesses and more than $60,000 worth of advising time donated by some of the world’s highly-prized experts on raising capital, scaling businesses, hiring employees and leadership skills.
- In 2022, FFC hosted 120+ events (such as workshops and community conversations), as well as three tentpole conferences.
- The FFC’s Spring Cohort applications are now open. There are a limited number of spots left, so fill out your application here.