"Social Media enables different people from different lifestyles to share in one voice....Social Media has been a platform to connect with encouraging & supportive women."
-- KL Taylor, co-author, Empowered Women of Social Media
"I bridge the gap between the non-technical and technical, living at the intersection of strategy, solution and execution."
-- Jason Frasca, Full Time Entrepreneur Instructor and Startup Mentor at Montclair State University's Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship
Today's digital playground, AKA as the Internet, is akin to a group ride in DisneyWorld that never ends. Its traffic is powered by a collective hunger to know. Reading and communication are both at an all time high, thanks to social media and mobile technology, including eMail and eBook Apps.
The blogosphere and related newsletters you can subscribe to, are full of tidbits and tomes on a plethora of topics ranging from tech news you can use, to interviews about cultural trends, to whistle blowing editorials, to to thought leadership about finding your life's purpose. For the less intrepid reader, trivia and "top ten" lists abound, providing endless hours of amusement and decreased productivity (thanks, BuzzFeed!).
Information is truly the currency of the Digital Age, where people partake of constantly shifting streams and power hubs and entrepreneurial opportunities to broker this power along the pipeline. All you need is a WiFi connection, some time on your hands, and a desire to learn. Oh yeah, don't forget to polish your consulting chops and create and launch a product/service that renders someone else's service/product obsolete. Or solves a major pain point collectively felt in our increasingly transparent and globally connected society.
There has never been a better time to do so than in 2014, unofficially dubbed the "year of the entrepreneur". There's never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur, especially if you are within the age range of 40-44. Especially if you understand the power of communication, empathy, and philanthropy. All of which all "grease the wheels" of startup ventures all over the world.
But time management, tech-savvy, and virtual mentorship alone do not help our startup culture build better entrepreneurs. Despite the cost effective analysis and convenience of telecommuting, webinars, and the popularity of MOOCs, entrepreneurial success actually depends on the people factor.
Entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly dependent on the architecture of technology to stay current and sustain their client base. But they must also retain the art of their human expression and ability to connect with others.
That's why my speaking engagements are part of my entrepreneurial brand, part of the Socially Speaking™ Experience. That's why I make it a point to still attend live networking events and seek out and hear other speakers share their insights and expertise.
I had the privilege and pleasure of attending two recent women entrepreneurship events where I networked, learned, laughed, and even course corrected a few of the deviations from my own "script". WomanCon 2014 was held on September 19 in New York City. It attracted women from all over the United States who came together for a few hours to share one voice and collaborate.
Women Entrepreneurship Week 2014 was held from October 14-16 (I attended the event on the 14th) at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. It provided a variety of thought leadership on issues re: women leadership and STEM.
Both events featured stellar speakers and women attendees with impressive resumes and fascinating stories. Both events showcased the changing role and outlook of women in business, and the impact many of us have already had on the future of work.
Here are four memorable quotes giving much food for thought:
"I did it because it was a good business idea, but my heart wasn't in it. Until you leave your comfort zone, you don't really find out who you are and what you can offer."
-- Vanessa Loder, Founder/CEO Akoya Power LLC
"Techies & 'Treps need to reduce miscommunication. Tech speak is like learning a different language."
-- Nelly Yusupova, CTO Webgrrls, Founder, TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs
From Women Entrepreneurship Week:
"Women founders, more than men, reinvest money back into their families and communities."
-- Dr. Wamwari Waichungo, VP, Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Coca-Cola Company
"Success is a result of accepting one's limitations and finding a support system & team which fills in the Swiss cheese holes."
-- Tracy Doyle, CEO Phoenix Marketing Solutions
Meeting such a great, diverse, sincere, and knowledgeable group of women entrepreneurs made many of us exit our "bubble" and ask ourselves thought provoking, difficult questions. Questions that will hopefully empower us and give rise to increased creativity and innovation.
Social media has given women entrepreneurs their voice. A networking event, when done right, give us our wings. It's our playground worth saving, and our best defense against inertia, stagnant thinking, and emotional isolation.
Long live the live event!