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Patricia Handschiegel

Patricia Handschiegel

Posted April 28, 2009 | 05:45 AM (EST)

The New Power Girls: Business Women Share What They Think About Brands, Media and Business


It was November of 2008 when friend and fellow entrepreneur Meghan Cleary and I were having dessert after dinner at L.A.'s legendary haunt BLD. She and I met back in the early days of "Web 2.0," when I could count on a single hand how many female internet startup founders I knew of. She, Budgetfashionista.com founder Kathy Finney, Coutorture founder Julie Fredrickson and I all had startups and banded together. We've stayed in touch ever since.

Little did we know that we were part of what would later become an emerging trend: A new boom of women entrepreneurs and executives like nothing seen in history.

A mix of high stakes smarts, high level savvy and high profile projects, they're the new era in business. They don't just own the catering company, but parlay it into TV spots and a book deal to drive maximum revenue. They rub elbows with business elite, lunch with top investors I had been studying the history of women in corporate America for a book project when I noticed the shift.

I had remarked to Meghan that I was surprised that nobody was talking about it. That night, The New Power Girls was born.

We wanted to give a voice and face to what we believe is a bonafide movement.Within a matter of a few short weeks, the series email subscriber list quadrupled four times. I've received hundreds of email from women (and men!) from around the world. Media and blogs have written about it, moguls have Twittered. Most of all, it taps the insight and stories of real women on the forefront of what is one of the most prolific times in women's business. We've been engaging in the conversation since.

This past week, the topic was what women think of brands, business, politics and media. It was one of the most interesting discussions I've seen yet.

"I feel the women in media and entertainment for the most part do not do justice to the intelligence of a woman as a whole," said Nickey Hollenbach, founder of Personal Touch Concierge Service, which provides virtual assistants. "There are some that do portray a woman as a smart business woman, however, most tend to either portray a woman as sexual or stupid."

It was a sentiment heard among many of the successful women entrepreneurs and executives I've met and know. "I think the best portray of 'normal, regular' women are the Levitra and Viagra ads - and they're not even aimed at women," Hollenbach added.

"Don't get me started on photo shop," shared Auctioneer/Actress and Co-CEO Tere Morris, of Brand-In Entertainment. "Print a photo as it truly is!"

"I'm so glad Michelle Obama came along," said Sortingwithstyle.com founder Sayeh Pezeshki the other day over lunch. It's not just the First Lady's style that attracts women: She's a representative of what we are, and more importantly, what we want to be. It's the same traits seen in women other women are moved by, from Arianna Huffington to Tyra Banks to Ellen and Oprah.

If you notice, its women who aren't perfect, women of all shapes and sizes. They're not oversexualized or malicious. In other words, they're Power Girls. Girls like you, me, your daughters, sisters.

"Women like women who are what they are and most of all what they want to be. That's what we respond to," Meghan had said that night in November. Want to reach women? It starts here.