Dear Members & Friends,
Over the last few days I hope you have enjoyed a little rest and relaxation. I hope that you have taken time with your friends and your families and enjoyed a break from your business. And that you will find a quiet moment for yourself to enjoy all that we have been through this past year.
These last few days while away from email, I have been thinking about the year we are about to close, and about many of you and the experiences you have shared with me and with the members of Her Corner this year. I wanted to share a few of those member highlights and also tell you about some of the things I am planning for Her Corner and for our members in 2015.
As I have mentioned in previous messages, one of the hardest things for me to do is to watch as our members go through difficult times and make hard choices. I have learned to listen and to watch, as each and every one of us must make the best decision for ourselves. Sometimes that means deciding to slow down or close down a business, let employees go, break up partnerships, or go back to a job working for someone else. In 2014 I saw all of these things; difficult decisions that were made based on circumstances that were personal and unique, but each time the decision was made thoughtfully and carefully, as women tend to do. And for each of these hard decisions, I have learned to watch with inspiration as the women have then stepped into new roles and emerged as stronger more resilient women.
I also watched with joy as many of you took on new roles in your lives; so many new babies were born this year within our Her Corner community, so much abundance of happiness from these babies, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, marriages, and even children off to college. In our groups, where we see members most often, I watched in awe as women like Sue and Dana broke through that $1M revenue mark (and did so graciously,) Courtney opened her first brick and mortar store after working so hard to open the doors, as Johanna worked through the challenge of going from a solo-preneurship to a team of 8! I was brought to tears listening as Rachel talk about leaving a bad marriage but maintaining her business and leaning on other Her Corner members to help her through those times, and amazed at how her story inspired other women to find the courage to do the same. I cheered and got angry alongside Ilene, Aviva, Carla, Susan, and others who continued to pound the pavement trying to raise capital for their businesses. I watched Yael get turned down time and again, but continue to get up and try again as she looked to find the funding to open her first cake poppery (now scheduled to open next month!) I was thrilled to hear Marcia grow her business 10x what she did last year, all the while smiling and laughing about how much fun she was having. And Diane who launched herself head first into a manufacturing business, taking every opportunity to learn, listen, and do more to get her product in front of the right people. Sydney challenged herself to lead a new group (her 7th) to Nepal to raise awareness for human trafficking, and women like Anjali and Peggy Anne put themselves out there despite not knowing what would happen when they did so (and you should see what did happen – it was amazing!) And what about Heather who decided to launch a whole new business, on her own, despite already running a highly successful one with her husband? And Lindy who had her first baby and never missed a beat, continuing to run her events business with her baby at her side.
I could go on and on and on, telling you stories of the women in Her Corner who have inspired me this year and those who inspire me every single month with their stories of perseverance: trying something, changing course, trying again. I am the luckiest girl I know – working within this community of women who make me smile and make me proud each and every day of the year.
Our community has grown; so much so that sometimes I regret that I can no longer remember everyone’s businesses, or details about each person’s lives. But I’m going to keep trying, because I love the women who have joined Her Corner and the stories they are telling. This month we close out the year with almost 130% growth in our membership – it’s truly amazing. And if our projections are correct, by the summer we should be into the thousands of members. As you know, my model was never to grow through membership dues, but rather by partnering with companies who could help us grow – and having them serve as sponsors. Thanks to the TaylorMade Experience team we have recently brought on Insightly as a new national partner, and I hope to continue to bring our members cool companies next year that can help with our growth plans.
But I’m also thinking strategically about how to help you make the most of this community as we grow to other cities and grow in numbers. At the very top of my priority list for 2015 is a plan for communities in other cities as strong and vibrant as the one we’ve built here in the DC, MD, and VA areas. And I’m also thinking about the technologies we can use to help us connect, really connect, as we grow to thousands of members. Soon I won’t be able to know which ones of you are trying to raise capital, but through the right use of technology we should be able to allow you to find one another. These are the things we are working on for our members: more benefits from sponsor companies, stronger programs and presence in large cities (and virtual access to all for all these programs,) and the technologies to better connect those of you who want to connect to help you grow.
I want to wish all of you a wonderful end of the year, and a happy and prosperous New Year. As always, thank you for being a member of Her Corner, it is truly my pleasure to have you in this community.