Influence & Co. is currently working with over 150 companies, and we have something embarrassing to admit: Only about 20 percent of the subject matter experts we work with from those companies are female. That means that only about 20 percent of the content we put out to major publications has a woman’s name attached to it.
As a female entrepreneur myself, I appreciate hearing from other female voices in my industry. I love reading articles from clients like Loriana Sekarski and Elise Mitchell on leadership and their life experiences, but unfortunately, they are in the minority when it comes to our current client base.
I recently received a note from an employee in which she perfectly expressed why this percentage of women clients bothers us so much. She said, “We help elevate certain voices in the industry through their content — and right now we’re mostly elevating the voices of white men and not doing much to diversify that.” And while we are incredibly appreciative of and grateful for all of our clients, it did solidify for me something I have been feeling for a while: We need more female subject matter experts. Diversifying who is telling the story diversifies the stories that get told — and we all benefit from that.
But saying we have a need is different from taking action to address it.
So this is the first step in what I’m dubbing a campaign to diversify our client base. Companies often talk about diversity and inclusion as it pertains to their employees and their company culture — and we care about that, too. Women are well represented at Influence & Co., with our leadership team being 70 percent female, but we are lacking in diversity when it comes to age and race. That’s one of the reasons we enlisted the services of L.M. Lewis Consulting to help us identify how we can recruit a more diverse group of employees.
But can’t we also focus on the diversity of our client base? We think it’s a problem we can solve, but we’re not entirely sure how yet, and we’d love your feedback. Here’s what we’re thinking so far:
As mentioned above, the first step of this process is to identify a list of women we admire and whose ideas we’d be thrilled to help spread. Below is my list of aspirational female clients that I’d love Influence & Co. to have the chance to create content for.
Arlan is an awesome venture capitalist who started Backstage Capital, a firm that invests 100 percent in underestimated founders. Backstage Capital has invested in more than 100 startup companies led by women, people of color, and LGBTQ founders. Arlan is already skilled at sharing her story and all the great things Backstage Capital is doing, but we assume she has to be incredibly busy and could use a content marketing firm to help communicate even more of the great things Backstage’s portfolio companies are up to. We’d love to help!
This company provides the tools for women to test their own fertility at home, taking family planning to a whole new level. At Influence & Co., 75 percent of our employees are female, mostly in their 20s and 30s. Some of these women may be contemplating starting a family someday, so this company’s mission definitely resonates with us. We appreciate the way the founders position their product as something that provides simple information to help you make more informed decisions about your future, not something to scare you into freezing eggs or force you down one path or another. We would love to see content from Afton and Carly about what made them start Modern Fertility, stories of the women they have helped, and educational content that enables women to better understand their bodies.
These women started their business because they didn’t know what materials their tampons were made of and thought of that as a major health concern. LOLA creates 100 percent organic tampons that are delivered straight to your door. I am inspired by how clever their business is and think their cause deserves all the attention it can get. There are truly so many global issues surrounding periods that the world needs to hear about!
The Financial Gym takes a fun, fresh approach to personal finance. The company already has super fun content, like a podcast called “Wine and Learns,” but what I really love is how it takes a personal approach to helping its customers attack their personal finance goals, like a personal trainer for your bank account. Shannon started her company after working in the corporate banking industry for years. She earned the nickname “The Elle Woods of Personal Finance” from her male co-workers and completely embraced it by starting her blog, Financially Blonde (which is fabulous), and the ball just kept rolling from there. She’s turning the idea of personal finance on its head and doing it from a unique and brave place — total money moves.
BootayBag is an affordable monthly subscription box for women’s underwear. The brand focuses on body positivity and making women feel beautiful in their own skin. BootayBag has built up a community around this message on social media, and I believe that it can expand into other channels to really continue to spread the word. Because BootayBag relies completely on digital marketing to make sales, putting out valuable information that teaches women about what the brand believes in is crucial.
On the one hand, Rosanna is a multidisciplinary software engineer and product designer, and on the other hand, she wants to make the world a better place by making incredible technology affordable. Her company, Carbon Robotics, has a mission to build high-performance, intelligent robotic arms at a low target price. Not only is she a woman CEO, but she’s also a woman who cares about people and the environment. I think she has a truly amazing mission, and there just aren’t enough publications out there talking about women in tech and what they stand for. Putting out content that spreads her message would definitely be a win for us, and we would love to be involved in helping her reach her goals.
Working with the following women and helping them share their perspectives and stories has been nothing short of amazing. There are so many more that we work with and value, but here are a few I’d like to highlight.
Michael Manning is president at Rocksauce Studios, a people-driven innovation agency from Austin that uses technology for corporate digital transformation and popular mobile apps. We create software that people want to use.
Sarah Clark is the CEO of Mitchell, an award-winning strategic communications firm. Sarah is one of the top strategic communications professionals in the country, with more than 25 years of experience in corporate communications and an exceptional track record in protecting corporate reputations and redefining perceptions in key areas of business.
Lu Zhang is the founder and managing partner of Fusion Fund, a company dedicated to promoting early stage venture capital for entrepreneurs. She is also a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was nominated as a World Economic Forum Davos 2018 Young Global Leader.
Hope Horner is CEO and founder of Lemonlight Video Production, a company that produces branded video content at scale. Hope is a three-time entrepreneur who has been featured in Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes, and other publications highlighting her successes in the Silicon Beach community.
Sona Jepsen is responsible for the in-house to outsource sales program at Fidelity National Information Services (FIS). Her team empowers FIS’s clients with the knowledge, the expertise, and the results of moving their technology needs to FIS so her clients can enjoy higher security and greater business efficiency.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter, the goal being to forge a more gender-balanced world. We are starting right here and taking it upon ourselves at Influence & Co. to increase the number of incredible women clients we work with. I’m excited to form new relationships with brilliant and influential women leaders and thrilled that we have a company that can propel companies we believe in forward.