The first step to achieving anything is admitting you probably can’t do it alone. When you learned to tie your shoes, did you figure it out on your own or did someone else help you? When you finally nailed crow pose in yoga class, who lent a hand? When you timidly thought about launching your entrepreneurial venture, who gave you the courage to get started? While there’s a common notion that reaching success in any endeavor solely requires your effort, most of the time, that just isn’t the case. It might be difficult to recognize, but the people who back us up and teach us along the way are partly responsible for our accomplishments. Today, let’s give a shout-out to women who are helping other women. After all, every little bit of encouragement helps!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Number 1
Let’s chat about Brooklyn, New York, the Dutch-founded borough that’s home to more than 2.6 million residents. Sure, it’s the spot for trendy vegan-cheese shops, urban wineries and fashion-conscious hipsters, but there’s also a little-known fact about Brooklyn that is proving it’s way ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to supporting women in business. Brooklyn is the number one place for female entrepreneurs, boasting more female-led startups than any other American city. Not only that, but between 2009 and 2014, 28 percent of Brooklyn startups that received initial funding had female founders. I’ll raise an overpriced frou-frou cocktail to that!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Cyndie Spiegel, Founder of The Collective (of Us)
One such Brooklyn-based female entrepreneur totally kicking butt—and helping other women founders and small-business owners rise to success—is the feisty Cyndie Spiegel, a unique high achiever whose mission is to empower 100,000 women in building bold businesses by 2020.
As the founder of The Collective (of Us), a small-business accelerator supporting diverse women in leading profitable, daring businesses with equal parts strategy and wisdom, Cyndie employs her take-no-BS perspective and business savvy to ensure women founders get the resources and supportive community they need.
A former fashion-industry veteran, Cyndie describes herself as “a pragmatic bohemian with a penchant for professionalism, large doses of inspirational honesty, encouragement and color.” She definitely has an eye for craftsmanship, a mind for business and a heart for relationship building.
What sets Cyndie apart is her matter-of-fact approach. She openly shares struggles she’s encountered as an entrepreneur, including uprooting her career, starting over and embracing entrepreneurship at the ripe old age of 34—much older than many of the female founders she coaches. Of course, another obstacle of being a female entrepreneur is, well, the female part, which, disappointingly comes with all kinds of unwelcome attention. For instance, Cyndie describes male tech entrepreneurs asking her out for drinks and calling her “cute.”
So, what’s an enterprising woman do to find her supportive tribe? Well, duh, start her own! Cyndie is adamant The Collective (of Us) is for women who need support, but who also have a lot of experience to share. Instead of backstabbing their way to the top, those involved with The Collective (of Us) want to thrive alongside other female founders they support. And it’s a model that’s really working. According to Cyndie, more than 80 percent of participants increase their revenue and nearly 90 percent feel more confident in their brand identity.
Membership in The Collective (of Us) includes strategic coaching directly from Cyndie, business courses, group strategy sessions and social calls. That’s right, boldly navigating a new business may require a night of unwinding with a glass of pinot! Count us in!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s end today’s On The Dot with this rousing quote from Cyndie Spiegel herself:
“What if we stopped looking to everyone else for the answers? What kind of work could you put into the world if it was truly your own?”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.