Worthy Women started out as a hashtag and a room with 40-ish women at Maker City in Downtown Los Angeles. We say that “at Worthy Women we remove barriers to belonging by creating communities where people thrive.” We do that by curating free events where female entrepreneurs and boss ladies can give our audience practical business advice without the sugarcoating, so they can apply it to their endeavors. Our content revolves around four basic pillars we’ve identified as crucial areas of interest for women in and entering the business world: entrepreneurship, finance, leadership, and career advancement.
In 2016 Worthy Women grew from 40 women to nearly 200 every month and 70 percent of our audience identifies as WOC. When we got the news about our new head of state we decided that in 2017 we would go across the country and attempt to reach as many women as possible. In March we finished up our first half-day summit in San Francisco and we’ll be hitting Brooklyn in April, L.A. in May, Chicago in June, Miami in August, Philly in September, Manhattan in October, and we’ll be back in L.A. for our two day conference in November. In July 2017 we’ll be honoring 100 exemplary community-nominated Women of Worth who live and lead in integrity. We will also be awarding the first annual scholarship to USC’s Online MBA Program, something we are really excited and proud to be a part of.
I get asked a lot what about trends I’ve seen working with women in business over the last year and a half. In terms of what is happening for WOC in business, there are four main issues that prevent us from achieving larger scale success:
Lack of access to resources. [i.e. money]
Eight out of every 10 businesses started since 2007 have been by WOC. However, WOC need more resources to scale their business, growing their teams, create partnerships, and take on investors. WOC often lack the connections that are necessary to get in front of decision makers. Not only that, according to American Express’ “The State Of Women Owned Businesses Report” only six percent of women own businesses get venture capital funding; the number is even lower for Women of Color. As a result, women tend to dip into their savings and drain their 401k’s to start their businesses. Worthy Women works with Back Stage Capital, one of the only WOC run VC funds, to try to connect women with money so they can take their business to the next level.
Lack of community.
Women are hungry for a supportive, safe community of likeminded women who want to see them succeed. Your network is the most valuable thing when you’re an entrepreneur trying to make it happen or simply trying to move up at your job. Building a squad you can bounce ideas off of and feel supported by is essential. Worthy Women is a place where women can let their guard down and get real. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing many of our regular guests become friends with us and with each other.
Lack of access to mentorship.
There are so many little details about business/office etiquette: What to say, who to talk to, and connections that can only be learned by experience. WOC tend to have fewer high powered or high ranking women in their networks, even fewer of them are fellow WOC. This makes leveling up harder because insider knowledge is often elusive. Mentorship opens the doors to practical advice and answers to questions about business and career advancement.
According to the Harvard Review “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 percent of them.” Sometimes we hold ourselves back, because in reality, to get one ‘yes’ you’ve got to swim through a sea of no’s. We forget that it only takes one ‘yes’ to turn things around. I see women everyday who are afraid to take the next step simply because they are afraid to ask. We are always addressing “Impostor Syndrome” and airing out our shame stories to empower WOC and to show them that they are not alone.