Dallas’ Female Founders Share How to Rock Business and Motherhood

At Capital One's WEDallas: Mompreneur Brunch, some of the most powerful women in North Texas shared their best advice for rocking your professional and personal life. Hear from Shelly Slater, Bree Clarke, Mandy Price, Melissa Youngblood, and Kamilia Smith.

As a mompreneur, sometimes it can be difficult to find the perfect balance between their company and family. But, as Dallas’ powerful female founders attest to—you can have it all.

At the WEDallas event on May 10 (conveniently just before Mother’s Day), North Texas women gathered to learn how to better rock their life, business, and pitch. 

WEDallas is one of the DEC Network’s signature programs, powered by Capital One. Its speaker events, workshops, and conferences are designed to empower female entrepreneurs in North Texas.

The Mompreneur Brunch was a combination of collaborative methods, shared inspiration, personal stories, and best practices. We rounded up the best takeaways and advice, from every speaker, that women can take with them in their professional lives, and beyond.

Shelly Slater, co-founder of The Slate

[Photo: Courtesy Capital One]

Slater, a former WFAA anchor, opened a female-focused coworking concept with her sister back in March. The Slate is a one-stop-shop to simplify your life, housing a variety of trades that creates a network of professionals helping each other grow. She also helps companies win through storytelling with her consulting company, Shelly Slater Strategies.

Her talk, How to Ask the Right Questions to Get What You Want as a Woman, focused on tips to help founders pitch to the press. “Don’t talk in circles,” she said. “Women talk in circles. The last thing you say is what you need.”

Slater said oftentimes, when you’re sharing more than one thing at once, the main point can get buried. It’s important to make small talk—let people talk about themselves, she advised—but then ask directly what you want. Spend time sitting around and thinking: “What is the product? What am I trying to sell?”

Women have some of the best intuition, so use that to your advantage. Use your emotion. 

“The two most powerful words are you and your,” she said. “You can be a beautiful lady with hot pink heels on and get what you want. You just have to have the guts.”

READ NEXT: Dallas Sisters Create Female‑Focused Coworking Concept

Bree Clarke, founder and creative director of The Iman Project

[Photo: Courtesy Capital One]

Clarke is credited with bringing family, friends, and community together “one farmhouse table, design, and workshop at a time.” The Iman Project is a lifestyle brand that creates a sense of community—for all people—through memories & moments.

And that was a key focus on Clarke’s fireside chat with The DEC’s CEO Alyce Alston during the event.

When founding her business, Clarke wanted to make sure everyone had a seat at the table. “We put so many filters on Instagram, I didn’t want us to filter our life,” she said. 

Alyce agreed: “We are incredible women. We shouldn’t have to feel lonely.”

Clarke said she doesn’t bite her tongue, but she does always make sure she speaks from her heart. 

“I’m my own goals,” she said. “Every woman should be their own goals first.”

READ NEXT: Q+A: Five Questions With Alyce Alston

Mandy Price, co-founder and CEO of Kanarys

In February, we told you about Kanarys Inc., a Dallas-based company with an inclusive work culture platform that had recently closed a $575,000 pre-seed funding round. The capital was a big milestone for Price and her business; it was necessary to lay the groundwork to launch the platform and add data analyst and AI/machine learning talent to the team.

Price, the CEO and co-founder, discussed how diversity and inclusion needs to be incorporated from the very beginning as you scale during Why Culture Will Make or Break Your Business. Price shared that technology companies—and all companies, for that matter—led by women make more sense financially. 

“Diversity and inclusion isn’t just something that’s nice to have,” she said. “It’ll help your business scale.”

Price recommends establishing policies early on that create a culture that everyone can fit into. As a CEO, it’s important to pay attention to the example you’re setting. Price makes sure she creates a culture that’s a work-life balance.

She also said you have to be on the lookout for the fake excuses of “We want to hire more women but we can’t find them.” If you feel you’re getting the same type of candidates, it’s up to you to change your process.

READ NEXT: Inclusive Kanarys Platform Raises $575K to Bring Advanced Tech to Social Enterprise

Melissa Youngblood, co-founder and partner of Venn Ventures

Youngblood’s Venn Ventures is an early and growth stage venture firm that she says has 26 companies in its portfolio. She said when looking for founders to invest in, she looks for people—calling Venn Ventures “industry agnostic.”

“You have to have an ask, and you need to follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up,” Youngblood said. “If you’re going to call, you have to call.”

She said most investors will be refreshed when founders are direct and “ask for an ask.” If you’re looking for funding, specifically ask for the money. “You need to ask the important questions or you’ll end up with a spreadsheet of people that liked you, but didn’t invest,” she said. “If you are relentless and you stand behind your offering like nobody else has before, and people will actually buy it, then you have a business.”

Overall, Youngblood left the crowd with three main takeaways: become comfortable with being uncomfortable, have an ask, and (especially as a mom and businesswoman) always be willing to ask for help.

Kamilia Smith, founder of Charleston House

[Photo: Courtesy Capital One]

Perhaps the newest venture of them all, Dr. Kamilia Smith’s Charleston House is set to open next week. As a renowned Dallas OB/GYN, Smith, is taking a more personalized approach to women’s healthcare and wellness at Charleston House in order to improve the overall experience for women throughout all stages of life.

As a medical professional, Dr. Smith had a variety of advice for the crowd. For starters, managing your stress is more important than women may know. Trust your instinct about how your path may look different than other people’s, and be okay with moving into a space of vulnerability.

Of her new business, she summed it up as this: “We want to support you as you go out and change the world.”

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