Being a mom is so rewarding. Being a working mom is double rewarding. I have the opportunity to flex my mental muscles when I'm among my colleagues and when I return home, I spend one-on-one time with my daughter. I teach her the importance of a balanced life and normalize the behavior of a successful working mom. Though, I couldn't do it with my tribe, the women and men who support me and my little nugget as I navigate this unknown territory. The top five relationships I lean on are:
1) The relationship with myself. Sounds obvious, but sometimes as working #momboss we forget that we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. This includes our children, our spouse and our professional team. So, I carve out time to meditate every morning. I center myself through an active devotion to bring clarity to my mind and heart. I also believe that my strength, creativity and ability come from a higher-being. My spiritual belief is the cornerstone of my life and guides me every day.
2) The relationship with my daughter.
She's my inspiration and my motivation. Before I was a mom, I was equally focused on my career but I operated from a very selfish place. I wanted to acquire more knowledge, more influence, more responsibility and yes, more money. Now, I work smarter - not harder; more efficient - not longer. Because of that, I'm more productive. I am inspired by the opportunity to serve as a great example to my daughter.
3) The relationship with my partner.
We are a team that has to lean on each other, support each other and we really are the truest form of "ride-or-die." This relationship is so important as you need that person who is interested in your day, your wellbeing and your happiness. They will be honest with you, be your mirror when you're facing challenging times of difficult decisions; they will be your advocate when you need protection; and they will cuddle with you and tell you how beautiful your mind, body and spirit are when you feel defeated. This is such an important relationship, only 3rd on paper, but equally as important as the others.
4) My other #MomBosses.
It is so important to have mothers around you who live a similar life. When I was pregnant, I was the only one within my friend-group that was a new mother. Being originally from Tennessee, most of my friends had children in their 20's and my NYC squad were like me, in their late-30's, resolved that children were not in their future. I was an anomaly. I didn't fit in anywhere. That was until I found my mommy blog and made connections from my infant-CPR class or prenatal yoga class. And, as our children have gotten older, these relationships have sustained me during the meltdowns, growth stages and milestones. It has been an enormous support to have first-time mothers to lean on when I find myself examining a (typical) rash on my daughter's leg or trying to find the most obscure hypo-allergenic sunscreen to prevent said rash.
5) My tribe.
From other mothers, to my mother and non-parenting friends, I have created a pretty wacky support team. This is my tribe. Being an only child, I was so concerned that my daughter wouldn't have a rounded-out life since she wouldn't have any cousins. Well, you pick your friends, who become your family. Isn't that a nice thought? I have a rich life full of laughter and disagreements, and play-dates and double-date nights.
It is a life...
full of diversity - from family structures to cultures to ages;
full of love,
full of insight,
full of support,
and, full of opportunity.
We're here. We're queer. Now that it's pride month, it feels like every store and corporation is flooding us with their best rainbow merchandise, capitalizing on a $917 billion dollar consumer market.
The rainbow flags are out. The mannequins are sporting pride tees. And corporate newsletters are full of interviews showcasing all their queer employees ("Look, we have a gay person here! We GET you!").
To me, this is blatant evidence that the future is queer.
These corporations follow the money, and with 20% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z openly identifying as queer, these businesses have to capitalize on the growing purchasing power of LGBTQIA+ consumers. With a recorded market size of $917 billion dollars in 2016, and a growing interest in socially conscious brands among young consumers, this is clearly a market opportunity that corporations cannot afford to ignore.
However, I'm always surprised by how little attention investors and the entrepreneurial community devotes to this undeniable trend, despite being constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.
This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm.
The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.
As data-driven and forward-thinking as this industry claims to be, we haven't caught up to the queer founders, particularly queer women, who are rethinking the future. These founders understand and speak to a generation of increasing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people whose market share will only continue to grow exponentially. VCs and investors are already behind the curve.
SoGal Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, is helping bridge this divide between queer women founders and investors with the launch of applications for the second annual Global Pitch Competition for diverse entrepreneurs. Hosted in 25+ cities across five continents, and culminating in a final global pitch competition and 3-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley, this is the first and only globally-focused pitch opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs.
Startups that are pre-Series A (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman or diverse founder, apply here to pitch! The top teams selected from each regional round will join SoGal's final global pitch competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley for guaranteed face time with dozens of top Silicon Valley investors, curated educational programming, unparalleled 1:1 mentorship, press exposure, and a chance to win investment capital.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ founders: what's the best way to kick off pride? Apply to pitch!
Regional pitch rounds will be held August-November 2019; final pitch competition in Silicon Valley in February 2020. Details and additional cities to be announced.
SoGal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global platform for diverse founders and funders in 40+ chapters across 5 continents; our mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship. SoGal Foundation's global startup competition represents the first and largest opportunity for women and diverse entrepreneurs and investors to connect worldwide. Join the SoGal community & follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.