There’s No Business Like Lady Business
Why every lady in business should find a girl gang or create their own
I showed up a bit late to the feminism party. The invitation had been on my front stoop for a while but it took a few solid years of podcasts (Women of the Hour, Call Your Girlfriend, Note to Self, the Liturgists, Why oh Why) and political upheaval and long book club chats to really get it.
Thank God I figured it out, just in time for #metoo (because yes, me too).
Turns out Trump brings out the feminist in almost all of us. Here in Vancouver it seemed like everyone’s husband/BF/partner was holding signs as allies at the women’s march.
So a few months ago, out for dinner with a good guy friend, I was shocked when he challenged feminism, saying maybe it was going too far and it was so exclusive to have women’s only groups. “Why are there no men’s groups?” he asked.
First I laughed. Then I realised he was serious.
Was it too obvious to point out that until a couple decades ago, every club was a men’s only club? That most workplaces were men only? That literally everything was designed for men to gather and advance, and this is just the first time the scales are starting to balance?
I’m part of multiple communities of women: a book club, an annual retreat for business owners, a thriving Facebook community and the monthly Lady Business dinners started by the fine women of Flax Sleep.
The value of these groups feels obvious, but let’s say I had decided to entertain my friend’s line of questioning. Here’s why lady business matters:
- Zero-judgement advice
There’s some insight you can only get from another woman—like what to do when a client makes a seemingly harmless (but nevertheless uncomfortable) comment about your ass. The advice I get from my communities of women always comes with empathy so no question feels off limits.
- Curated connections
The moment I met them, I was enamored by the ladies of Flax and would never turn down an opportunity to spend time with them. Turns out good people know good people. They’ve introduced me to some of the most talented women in this city—fellow marketers, interior designers, film producers, purveyors of Canada’s finest all-natural flours and grains, to name a few. Not only are they people I would choose to befriend, they’re the first people I would call if I had a business need.
- An expansive female talent pool
Many of us work in industries where women (and minorities) are historically underrepresented. I’m committed to evening out the gender imbalance through my business, and my lady communities connect me with incredible female talent week after week. They make it really easy to grow a business with great women.
- People to celebrate with
When you’re getting a business off the ground there are a million small milestones along the way that women are great at acknowledging, without the competitive spirit often present in groups of men. These ladies get the significance of signing your shareholders agreement or launching your website or moving into your first office space. There’s no sense of competition—your win is their win and vice versa. Raising a glass or throwing a high five just feels better with other women who have gone through those milestones too.
Amanda Lee Smith is a partner at Monday Creative, a brand strategy and content marketing agency in Vancouver.