Hey, gals. If you don’t like it when your boss makes an inappropriate comment about your attire, don’t get mad, become entrepreneurs and CEOs of your own companies.
That’s what Erin Bagwell did. First, though, she found inspiration from strong and passionate female entrepreneurs she met online. Then she started writing a blog called Feminist Wednesday and profiling them. Then she began attending networking events and meeting even more inspiring women. After a particularly bad day at work, she quit her job as a designer of computer graphics for a big Manhattan firm to fulfill the dream she’d had for a while, making a movie.
Dream, Girl is the result.
Thanks to Roc Girl Gang for bringing that documentary to The Little on May 16. A few hundred women were enthusiastic attendees, and it was a great idea to have a panel of local women share stories of their journeys as entrepreneurs. Here are five key points I picked up from the film and the panel:
Recognize self-sabotage and stop it in its tracks.
You believe in yourself but others don’t. Tune them out. Don’t procrastinate as that is a prime way you sabotage yourself. (Guilty!) You can read more of Dream, Girl producer Komal Minhas’ thoughts on this topic here.
No woman is an island.
Even entrepreneurs need all kinds of partners. As Dream, Girl shows, when Bagwell started writing her blog, she reached out to other women to write for her blog, too. When she started making her movie, she built an all-female team to help her. She even ended up working closely with two of the women whom she originally met when she wanted to feature them in her movie: Komal Minhas and Joanne Wilson. Minhas became the doc’s producer. Eventually Wilson invested in the movie and found other investors. (See next item.)
Network with each other and support each other.
Thirty years ago, women had to compete much harder with each other because there were so few opportunities at the top and even in the middle. While there are still too few female CEOs, studies show that when women are at the top, more women advance throughout the organization. Angel investor Joanne Wilson, featured in Dream, Girl, talks more about that here. (Her blog is Gotham Gal and I just subscribed.) There are many good networking organizations in Rochester. I’m definitely going to keep a closer eye on Roc Girl Gang now that I know about them.
Pick one dream and focus on that one.
A recent Rochester Institute of Technology grad in the audience at The Little told the panel that she has many great ideas. She asked: “Do I have to pick just one?” Yes, the panelists said, nodding and smiling, but then once you fulfill that one dream, move on to the next.
Behind successful women are super supportive spouses/partners.
I second that emotion! That partner can be someone who shares your dream and will make dinner every night. (From my personal standpoint, my husband Gary Brandt has kept me sane through years of a hectic newspaper career, and yes, he did make dinner pretty much all the time!)
After absorbing all the powerful messages in the movie, it was good to talk about it with local entrepreneurs. The panelists from left to right are: Simone Boone of Apogee Wine Bar; Jacquie Daley Parnell of Jacquelyn Daley Photography; moderator and Roc Girl Gang founder Sarah Knight; Leah Stacy of Boomtown Table; and Nicole Renee Kazimer of Hikyoga.
What lessons can you share about being an entrepreneur?