I'm writing this on a flight back to LA from New York, where I attended my 5th summit or conference focused on women and our 'issues' so far this year. Five might not seem like many (or maybe it seems excessive) but it's only May after all.
At most of the conferences I attend or speak at, there is much needed and deserved attention paid to gender equality, reproductive health, work/life balance (confusing to me as my life includes my work and I love all of it), STEM or STEAM careers, women in technology and Artificial Intelligence, developing global crises, the glass ceiling, and ALL are compelling and important and even harrowing. And all can be helped or solved by jobs. Work. Purpose. Financial freedom. Opportunities to leave bad relationships, bad countries and bad systems. Jobs. And yet, jobs are hardly never spoken about in this context. At least not the kind of jobs I think about.
You see, I'm very much focused on 'women's issues' being the Founder of a skin care company that boasts 98% women owned businesses that buy from us, and knowing that 92% of our clients are women. And that I'm a woman I suppose, makes our 'issues' even more relevant to me. But, my purpose isn't just about women and I don't want to focus on our issues. My purpose is jobs for women. Careers. Earning a sustaining wage and having enough of an independent income to secure options, opportunities and freedom.
My focus is Financial Independence through Entrepreneurship. Because that's exactly what happened to me, and I have seen it happen to literally tens of thousands of other women (and other people) who mastered a skill, got some business knowledge or experience, or both, and became entrepreneurs who started their own business and employed themselves and a couple of other, or a couple of hundred other people. It works. It's called the American Dream, although I imagine it's a global dream for many of us.
So how about hearing about jobs? And how to create them, not just seek them. How about talking about the KEY aspect of creating entrepreneurs through vocational, skill set training. 'Learn how to do something' -- the five words that my mother said to me and in doing so, changed my life. I went to beauty school to learn a trade that I would carry in my hands, literally, forever. I can go to any country and get a job fast because I have a saleable skill. I can open my own business, employ other people, build a career and company and scale it -- I know I can because I did it. Twice.
But somehow, amongst all the crises and health and STEAM, we lost our memories of what built our main streets, our countries and our entrepreneurs - skill set training that led to a job. Let's not trivialize that pathway to economic security, let's not frown upon it from an elitist view of the four year college gold standard. Let's fund skill set training, support the small business entrepreneurs on our Main Street and revive the memories of what built opportunity for so many.
Watch here and join me as I speak with over 120 future entrepreneurs in Los Angeles;
And let's start adding THAT conversation to our summits and conferences soon.