More than 130 women descended upon downtown Dallas to the Dallas Entrepreneur Center for the first-ever Mompreneur Brunch and Learn last week.
The event was a part of a multi-year series called #WEDallas, which is dedicated to creating programming that helps educate, equip, encourage, and empower women entrepreneurs.
Capital One, in partnership with The DEC, presented WEDallas Mompreneur Brunch and Learn May 24 at The DEC in order to inspire, empower, and connect women entrepreneurs across North Texas.
In 2015, Capital One launched Future Edge, an initiative that pledged $150 million over five years to help more Americans get the skills, tools, and resources they need to succeed in the 21st century. As part of this initiative, Future Edge DFW symbolizes Capital One’s commitment to make Dallas-Fort Worth a destination for top talent, spur growth as a world-renowned technology hub, and nurture leaders of tomorrow.
“As part of Capital One’s Future Edge commitment to helping Americans succeed in a digital economy, we believe that small businesses and the startup community are a critical pillar in achieving that goal. The DEC and programs like WEDallas are providing education and networking opportunities to grow the startup ecosystem in DFW that is fostering innovation across the region,” said Monica Shortino, director of social innovations at Capital One.
The day was moderated by Melissa Larson Youngblood from Venn Ventures and the program was separated up into five different talks where each of the speakers addressed some of the “Essential Elements Mompreneurs Need to be Successful.”
Here are the takeaways from each of those five “essential” talks:
Overcome Your Fear of Failure with Kristen Przano of Capital One Garage Innovation Center
Kristen Przano, senior manager of The Garage, Capital One’s innovation center, talked about the need to be vulnerable as a way to grow and succeed as a women entrepreneur.
“Companies are trying to figure out how to survive, and the key is innovation. In order to have a culture that embraces innovation, people have to feel empowered to fail. To do that, requires a mindset that people are OK making mistakes. Vulnerability is not a weakness, it’s a strength and it promotes creativity and allows us to reach our full potential,” Przano said.
“Vulnerability is not a weakness, it’s a strength and it promotes creativity and allows us to reach our full potential.”
In her talk, Przano demonstrated her commitment to vulnerability in the stories she told and the life lessons she learned through her constant attempt to “do it all” after she had her first child.
Her message resonated with the audience and many of the attendees had a sense of relief to know that only through vulnerability and authenticity would they be able to fully and successfully pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Find Your Balance with Sarah Shadonix of Scout and Cellar
Sarah Shadonix, founder and CEO of Scout and Cellar, walked the women through three simple lessons necessary for success: be present, sleep, and have the courage to say “no.”
When you are at work, focus at being at work, but when you are home or with your kids, turn your phone off, be intentional, and stay committed to creating the necessary separation to be present.
“The best asset we have to give the world is the contribution of ourselves.”
“The best asset we have to give the world is the contribution of ourselves. By sleeping and protecting that asset, we are higher performers, have more creativity, are better problem solvers, have more energy, and ultimately have a better output,” Shadonix said.
About saying no, she added, “As moms, we get lots of practice saying ‘no’ to our kids. We just have to be brave and say ‘no’ to people that ask us.”
Scout and Cellar is a rising star in the realm of direct marketing companies shattering all early projections and reaching more than 1,700 consultants in less than nine months.
Get Money to Build Your Business with Terese Hunwick of Thayer-Carver and Golden Seeds
The attendees heard from fundraising guru, Terese Hunwick, founder of Thayer-Carver, a company that provides management consulting services for startups. She outlined the seven steps of fundraising, and used real-life examples from a lemonade stand to explain expansions and diversifying.
“Don’t be intimidated by all the jargon,” Hunwick said. “There are advisors out there willing to help you. Just ask for it.”
Seeing a need and opportunity to fund women entrepreneurs, Hunwick created her own investment fund and also is a participant in Golden Seeds, which has a chapter in Dallas as well and is dedicated to seed level investments for women-founded companies.
“Don’t be intimidated by all the jargon.”
That message resonated with Helen Malick, founder and CEO of the soon-to-launch mobile app Figable. Malick was a former software executive with an entire team that supported her efforts, but has been learning the ropes of launching a business on her own.
“The funding presentation helped me realize what stage my business is in and helped me learn what type of funding is a good match,” Malick said.
Equip Your Business Tool Belt with Yasmeen Tadia of Fluffpop
Yasmeen Tadia, founder of Fluffpop, covered the age-old question about finding your sweet spot in business.
She discussed the importance of the product, audience/target customer, the brand, and service.
With a palpable sense of confidence and story after story of how she had been bold and courageous in building her company, Tadia showed why she is one of the most sought after companies for events, gifts, and entertainment in the country. An audience member then asked how she landed her biggest client.
“We have the mindset of treating everyone with respect and fostering relationships.”
“We have the mindset of treating everyone with respect and fostering relationships,” Tadia said. She also added, “Make it the customer’s idea to buy your product.”
One of the female entrepreneur attendees, Ami Thakkar Raval, founder of the podcast AmiTuckeredOut said, “It was so encouraging to hear from the speakers. Yasmeen said not to worry about a business plan, and for me, that was a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch with Ann Margolin, former Dallas City Council member
Finally, the last speaker included special remarks from former Dallas City Council member Ann Margolin, who taught attendees how to write their elevator pitches and what makes a pitch most effective.
Margolin shared that most people are afraid because they don’t know what they are talking about or don’t have a plan, but with practice, they feel confident. To drive the message, Margolin had all attendees practice their pitches in real time.
One of the unique elements of the day was that a few of these moms where given the ability to give their “elevator pitch” inside The DEC’s actual elevator.
Here are three of those pitches:
To end the event with a bang, there were more than 20 moms who got up on stage and delivered their one-minute pitch to a panel of judges including Ann Margolin, Robin Strong from Capital One, Cathy Williamson, The Middle Page Blog, fashion blogger, and influencer, and me (Trey Bowles, CEO and co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.)
Three winners were announced and given mentor sessions with Amber Venz Box courtesy of Cherry, Bumble’s Director of Field Marketing Samantha Fulgham, and Ann Margolin professional pitch coach. The three winners for the day were Keri Lehmann with Savvy Boheme Skin Care, Jessica Gore with Tasty Clean, and Prisca LeCroy with Cursive Logic.
The moms were showered with gifts including homemade cupcakes, a special wine tasting from Scout and Cellar which included a sparkling wine, NV Gruber Roschitz Gruner Veltliner Frizzante from Austria, provided by consultant Taylor Bowles, a special discount to Cherry’s on-demand nail services, and a Capital One-branded flash drive pre-loaded with a series of documents, articles, and videos all specially selected to help these mompreneurs move their business forward. In particular there was a formula-driven set of financial excel sheets that has a Pro-Forma, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cashflows with all of the formulas created so when they plug in numbers it calculates all necessary information to plan for the financial future of their business.
It was a very special day where moms from across the North Texas region came, they learned, and they conquered leaving with tangible and necessary tools for success.
Photos by Grant Miller.
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