Following Her Vision to Grow Money and Power for Women
November 2018 Interview with Joy Chudacoff – Entrepreneur, Coach and Strategic Business Consultant to Women
“Women control $13 trillion of capital in the US and yet, we as women don’t recognize that that capital can recreate our world in a way that we have gender parity and gender equity in every aspect of the economy. That amount of money can create significant structural change.” — Darya Allen-Attar
Recently, Women Founders Network (WFN)’s Founder and CEO, Darya Allen-Attar, was interviewed by Joy Chudacoff for the “She’s Got Moxie” podcast series. We encourage you to check it out. Here are some highlights of the interview:
Darya is passionate about advancing women in business. In addition to her role as a financial advisor, Darya founded two women’s networking organizations: Broads Circle in 2008 and Women Founders Network in 2013. Broads Circle focuses on business issues for executive women and Women Founders Network supports female founders by providing access to capital, visibility and mentorship.
How did Darya start these organizations and what “calls to action” does she have for fellow women?
From Crisis Comes Conviction
Darya shared that the greatest gift she had was the failure experienced around the 2008 financial crisis. Given her role in the financial services industry, the 2008 crisis was grindingly difficult. Darya was one of the lucky few professionals who survived.
The 2008 stock market correction caused Darya to conduct a values reassessment. Darya shares, “It changed my life. I became centered on my values and what I thought was important – one of which was trying to connect with women around making the most out of their opportunities, money and power to achieve their fullest potential.”
“The real way to help women grow is to help women entrepreneurs.” — Darya
That was the impetus to create Broads Circle, a women’s networking group that allowed women to create opportunities for each other. The group catalyzed women getting together to talk about money and power, and always featured women role models as speakers at networking events. Broads Circle relationships and connections changed people’s lives.
After many years of success building Broads Circle, Darya felt that an even bigger way to change women’s lives was to fund women entrepreneurs. “The real way to help women grow is to help women entrepreneurs,” says Darya.
In 2013, Darya launched Women Founders Network with other Broads Circle members. WFN is a “Venture Catalyst” that connects women building high-growth businesses with the tools and resources they need to achieve success. WFN hosts networking events throughout the year and an annual Fast Pitch Competition for women founders to win cash and professional services. Over the last six years, WFN has awarded over $1.3 million to alumni who have gone on to raise over $45 million. Fast Pitch alumni also benefit from being connected to a network of women professionals who support them in growing their businesses.
Women are Limitless
Darya shared, “The one thing that frustrates me to no end is how self-limiting we as women are. Women control $13 trillion of capital in the US and yet, we as women don’t recognize that that capital can recreate our world in a way that we have gender parity and gender equity in every aspect of the economy. That amount of money can create significant structural change.”
“Most women don’t get that. Because we don’t think about how our money can be put to work. For example, investing in women entrepreneurs creates a level playing field, influencing the companies that we work for, selecting the companies we invest in. In every aspect of our life–whether it’s our personal investments, our jobs–we don’t really understand our power and ask for something in return commensurate with that power.”
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Darya shared, “The reason that I have been able to do as many things as I do, is that I am always looking towards what am I enjoying, what am I good at, and then I find others to help me execute on the other aspects of my life. By recruiting amazing women who are passionate about what I am passionate about, we are able to build organizations and make a huge difference.”
“It’s important to ask for help. Women should not continue with the idea that we can do everything ourselves. Women are known as multitaskers, yet sometimes we need to focus and get the help we need.”
"The power to inspire others with ideas starts with taking the risk to share them, even if it causes discomfort." — Darya
Darya noted that early stage businesses often get bad advice and find themselves in difficult situations. Her advice is to stay focused on what you are trying to build. Never lose focus on the economics of that. Even though building is hard work, there’s such joy in it, don’t let it be a grind. If it becomes a grind, try to reassess and take a step back.
Interviewer Joy Chudacoff added that Darya’s point was reflected in a great book by Gay Hendricks called “The Big Leap” that talks about living in your zone of genius. Any time you get outside of that, recalibrate and get back to it.
Be an Inspiration to Others
Darya says she learned to focus on how to survive in a zone of discomfort and enjoy it. It’s about feeling the freedom of being in a place of discomfort but telling other people what you think and inspiring others. For example, the concept of “Broads Circle” and “Money and Power for Women” was considered somewhat crass at the time. But what she learned was that this networking organization actually changed peoples’ lives.
The power to inspire others with ideas starts with taking the risk to share them, even if it causes discomfort.
Joy Chudacoff is the leader for business & strategy design for women. Founder of Smart Women Smart Solutions®, Joy specializes in guiding already successful businesswomen from where they are to where they want to be. Joy’s channel is available on iTunes and Stitcher, as well as other podcast platforms.
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