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Julia Pimsleur Aims To Create Million Dollar Women Via New Summit Strategy

Business

Female empowerment - an elusive and sometimes difficult concept, is Julia Pimsleur's life's work.


Having penned her award-winning business book Million Dollar Women last year, she now hopes to take the success and message of the powerful book further by holding a Million Dollar Women Summit in two weeks. Because the book's focus was to encourage and school women on how to take their businesses to the million dollar mark. Pimsleur is keenly aware of the lack of female representation in the upper echelons of business. To wit, she is laser-focused on helping to close the gap in this sense by coaching the aspirational entrepreneurs of today.

Pimsleur's summit marks a departure from typical conferences where attendees are preached to rather than engaged with. Keynotes from peers, mentoring sessions and face time with a plethora of executive talent will allow an opportunity not only for networking, but for brand enhancement, quality advice and a level of establishment one can only derive from being immersed in an exclusive event such as this.

What drove you to put the summit together?

You know that quote, "Do the one thing that scares you?"

I wrote Million Dollar Women because as an entrepreneur I was mad about two statistics: only 3 percent of all women entrepreneurs get to one million in revenues (meanwhile, it's 6 percent of men) and only 4 percent of venture capital is invested in female-led companies.

Now I am on a mission to help one million women get to one million in revenues by 2020.

After my book Million Dollar Women was published I started coaching women from all over the country on how to scale up their businesses in my Million Dollar Women Masterclass. They loved being in this online community but then they started asking "when are we going to meet in person?" I really had no plans for a summit at the time but it felt like these were signs that it needed to happen and was the next important step in the Million Dollar Women movement. But I was also terrified! I had never raised corporate sponsorship dollars, I have never organized an event for 150 people and I knew I'd need to call in pretty much every favor-which I have. The summit is going to be a game changer for the women who attend, as it includes coaching, interactive workshops, and a pitch competition.

What can budding female entrepreneurs expect to gain from the summit?

The summit is designed to help women fill in their knowledge gaps so they can accelerate their businesses more quickly. We survey all of our attendees and ask them what they need to learn. Then, we put them in interactive workshops on those topics with top-rated teachers.

We also match each attendee with a female founder coach in their same industry who has "been there, done that" and can provide lessons learned and contacts.

We end the day with a pitch competition, in which five attendees will present their companies to five judges (who would typically take months to get in front of), and one will walk away with a $50,000 investment and additional prizes.

Tell us a little about some of the event speakers.

The Muse's CEO Kathryn Minshew, who has spoken at MIT and Harvard, will serve as a keynote speaker, and will deliver a talk called "Breaking Down Barriers And Scaling Up". Alpana Singh, a restaurateur and Grand Master Sommelier, will join her as a keynote speaker delivering a talk on "Big Wine, Big Business". Other event speakers and panelists include Kim Kaupe and Brittany Hodak, co-founders of ZinePak; Chole + Isabel's CEO Chantel Waterbury, and Desert Jet founder Denise Wilson. Additionally, there will be a mentor from across a variety of industries to cater to all attendee questions.

What will the Pitch element add to the summit?

I go to a lot of women's festivals and conferences where people tell their success stories of fundraising or bemoan the lack of funding.

We decided to do neither and instead use that time to create an opportunity for five women to pitch in a relatively friendly and supportive environment and walk away funded.

I am passionate about seeing more women raise capital and scale up their businesses, so I am especially excited about this part of the summit.

Why, in your opinion are women so far behind in terms of becoming large-scale entrepreneurial success stories?

We have been starting companies at nearly twice the rate that men have over the last two decades but we are not yet "going big" in large numbers. This needs to change. Women really just need three things to get to the million dollar mark and beyond: the right mindset, skill set and network.

Why did you choose Microsoft as the summit HQ?

We are thrilled to be holding the summit at Microsoft, as they are such a friend to small businesses and to women entrepreneurs specifically. We have a deep partnership with them as they are true champions of female founders.

Will this become an annual event, and will there be summits in other cities?

The Million Dollar Women summit will be an annual event and we are in conversations with partners in other cities. For this, stay tuned!

What are you looking forward to most about the summit?

I am most looking forward to seeing the faces of the 150 women, knowing this will be a game changer for so many of their businesses. I wish I could have attended something like this when I was scaling up my business, Little Pim. I am also excited to celebrate the summit with the Justice League, my incredible advisory council, who conceived and executed the event with me and are a class A group of Superheroes!

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Lifestyle

Going Makeupless To The Office May Be Costing You More Than Just Money

Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.


Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.

Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.

As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.

Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.

So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.

Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.

For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."