Natalie Madeira Cofield: Be Brave to Blossom

April 27 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Setting an Example in the Community

As women, we have a lot more power than we realize. We wear many different hats. We’re moms, daughters, partners, sisters, professionals and community members. And because women are kind of a big deal, we are often looked up to as role models.

It’s important to remember that how we live our lives affects those around us. As you sip on your coffee or tea this morning, consider how you can set an example in your own community.


We already established that women do a lot. Thankfully, three moms in Los Angeles added one more thing to their to-do lists: HopSkipDrive, self-described as an Uber for kids. About a year ago, Joanna McFarland, Carolyn Yashari Becher and Janelle McGlothlin started HopSkipDrive as a way to give women a breather while safely transporting their kids to activities. After just a year’s time, the company now has 500 drivers, all fingerprinted and monitored. The company’s motto, “Created by moms, driven with love,” is a reassertion that when it comes to smart ideas, women truly do know best.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Natalie Madeira Cofield, Founder of Urban Co-Lab and Walker’s Legacy

Have you ever noticed that the most growth happens when we step out of our comfort zones? Consider Natalie Madeira Cofield, who leaped out of her comfort zone when she moved from Washington, D.C., to Austin in 2011. Prior to her move, Cofield owned a consulting firm and was already well respected as an entrepreneur, advocate, economic-development director, speaker and author. Whew, I’m out of breath! Wish I had her resume.

At the risk of sounding like an understatement, Cofield was doing pretty well for herself when the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce asked her to be the organization’s president and CEO. Cofield said sure, and made the transition from cherry blossoms to bluebonnets. Talk about brave. Cofield didn’t know anyone when she moved to Austin. But with her at the helm, the GABC soon became the largest black chamber in the state, with more than 400 members. The chamber also adopted the diversity initiative #IAmBlackAustin, founded the Austin Black Technology Council and recently forged a partnership with the City of Pflugerville.

Cofield stepped down from the GABC in October 2015 (#SettingAToughPrecedent) to focus more on her two babies—that is, Urban Co-Lab, a local business incubator, and Walker’s Legacy, a women-in-business initiative.


When I hear about women like Cofield who take leaps of faith, women who take risks, I feel empowered. What makes you feel uncomfortable? Listen for the answer and trust that you’ll be just fine if you venture outside the box from time to time. And when you do test your comfort zone, keep this quote in mind from writer and philosopher Gilbert K. Chesterton:

“A woman uses her intelligence to find reason to support her intuition.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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