When I was talking with a girlfriend recently about how tough it can be to find a job, she said, “Maybe I should go to grad school.” That’s often people’s reaction when they’ve reached a career stalemate. Even Hannah from the hit TV comedy Girls took a crack at it. But before you go all in and rack up more student-loan debt, consider other options that may give your career a boost. Try working for a startup. Get your hands dirty. Learn along the way. Heck, maybe even launch your own dang startup. You don’t always need a piece of paper to get you to the next great position in your career; you just need a lot of tried-and-true hustle.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than 70 Percent
Ladies, one positive aspect of working for a startup—particularly a tech startup—in addition to all the bean-bag chairs and Ping-Pong tables, is that you’re helping pave the way for women in tech everywhere. And that’s something that’s sorely needed. According to Silicon Valley Bank’s 2017 Startup Outlook report, of the 941 tech startups surveyed, more than 70 percent said they don’t have a single female board member.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Espree Devora, Founder of WeAreLATech
While we’ve all heard about the slew of Silicon Valley startups, there’s a sister city to the south that’s challenging the game. Meet WeAreLATech, an “experience club” founded by tech wiz and entrepreneur Espree Devora as a way to unite folks in the Los Angeles startup world.
Espree’s organization centers on the idea of what makes startups so special, that a small group of people can create something exceptional—even in a vast metropolis like Los Angeles. The long hours it takes to bring a startup into the world mean co-founders and colleagues become like family, and that’s precisely the notion Espree is tapping into with WeAreLATech.
The organization started with a video series and events calendar, then grew to add a podcast (the first focused on LA startups), a tech job board and a mobile app. But it’s the group’s interactions IRL that have the most significant impact for members. WeAreLATech offers four to six monthly group activities. But if you’re thinking boring networking events featuring cocktail shrimp and small wine pours, think again. From adventures involving everything from go-karts and drone flying to surf lessons and horseback riding, WeAreLATech gives techies and entrepreneurs a chance to step away from their computers and labs and soak up a little LA sunshine and warm camaraderie.
Known in the industry as “the girl who gets it done,” Espree dove into the startup world in her early 20s, creating her own company or two before becoming a bona fide entrepreneur authority and launching WeAreLATech. Her urgency to connect fellow entrepreneurs is evident in her startup-focused books, in which Espree shares her extensive know-how.
Espree is all about sharing the love for her LA startup community, even going so far as to provide podcast listeners with a step-by-step guide to launching their own indie podcast biz, including listing the specific software and vendors she uses.
Espree’s collaborators have some pretty glowing things to say, with one describing a conversation with her as “inspirational” and “life-affirming.” The CEO of Zappos even says Espree is one of his favorite people in the world.
With those kinds of ringing endorsements, combined with her knack for authenticity and building communities, Espree is destined to go down in LA history as the great connector.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Espree Devora was no doubt inspired by one of her favorite quotes from another captivating entrepreneur, Richard Branson. He said:
“I’ve always believed that there is no point in going into business unless you’re going to make an enormous and positive difference.”
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.