If last week wasn't enough to prove that there are incredible women everywhere in business today I don't know what else will. My first email Monday was from the female business development VP of a major company updating me on their interest in an acquisition of a project. Next, I had a call with the powerhouse behind some of American Express' most incredible programs -- Nancy Smith, AMEX's Vice President, Global Media, Content and Community. Nancy has won awards for her work. Incredible. It followed by a chat with Shazi Visram, founder of Happy Baby and one of three finalists in the NBC/AMEX "Shine a Light" program. In just three years, Shazi has taken her product line from a handful of stores to a full out empire sold in more than 5,000 today. Then, I spoke with the Diane Von Furstenberg, one of Shine a Light's two female judges, iconic fashion designer and wife of one of my biggest role models, Barry Diller. Sunday I grabbed brunch oceanside with some of the most talented and successful women from L.A. tech business.
"Any time you put three women in a room to discuss business, I'm interested," Von Furstenberg said during our chat.
Power Girls are everywhere. In fact, there are more of us than ever.
Smith had shared that AMEX was inspired by a desire to bring attention to small business, which plays a big part in the success and economic state in our country. Visram talked about how if chosen as the winner, she'd use the Shine a Light grants to help benefit a unique virtual employment program Happy Baby offers to moms, which currently employs 50 women. Von Furstenberg said she was moved by the enthusiasm seen among the Shine a Light entrepreneurs.
But it was Smith's comment about how she and AMEX had asked themselves, "What did entrepreneurs need?" in creating the Shine a Light program that got us thinking. With more women in business than ever, more opportunities than ever, what did people need to succeed today? What, if anything, did women founders especially need or want? We asked more than a thousand women founders on the New Power Girls email subscription list to find out.
"I think women entrepreneurs need more experienced mentors," said Sophia Chiang, CEO of Qlubb.com.
Sortingwithstyle.com founder and "The Office Stylist's" Sayeh Pezeshki, feels it'd be helpful to have more case study examples and anecdotes from women. For New Power Girls co-creator Meghan Cleary and I, it was all about recognizing a lack of exposure, which Shine a Light is also addressing. It's why we created the New Power Girls HuffPost series, and expanded it today to include NPGDaily.com, a new daily blog covering women startups and existing companies. Moving forward, we'll continue to write both. But by far the biggest element we noticed most among all of the women who responded to our query this week, virtually all were willing to lend a hand in helping everybody move forward. Many are active in mentoring, charity and all kinds of other stuff.
After all, when Power Girls see a need, they fill it.