While I’ve spent years devoting my working and waking life to women’s entrepreneurship, this past week was pretty special. Last Saturday, January 20th, 12PointFive co-hosted the Mentorship Roadshow with Hera Hub and InnovatorsBox.  With the support of a grant from Beacon DC and sponsorship from Popcorn and Ice Cream, we brought two dozen entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs from around the DC area together. Our idea, crowdsourced from our target audience, was to offer customized, high quality resources to individual business owners who are pressed for time. With the generous help we received from our powerhouse volunteer mentors, we were able to give each participant at least two meetings with an experienced business leader to talk about issues specific to her business and her stage of business. Our mentors were:

Monica Kang, InnovatorsBox, Renee Lewis, Pensare, Danielle Tate, MissNowMrs.Com for entrepreneurs in the idea stage.

Kristina Francis, Esteem Logic, Julia Westfall, Hera Hub, and myself for entrepreneurs in the startup stage.

Melodie Narain Blackwell, Black Girl Vision, Kim Bryden, Cureate, Hillary Berman, Popcorn & Ice Cream for the growth & scale stage

Kimberly Moore, Go Together talked funding and Faye Coleman, FEC Enterprises, LLC counseled mentees on exit strategies.

In addition to these meetings, Beacon offered attendees a chance to shape future programming and resources for women entrepreneurs by participating in a focus group. Deloris Wilson, Beacon fellow, captured the wants and needs of our entrepreneurs to inform the direction Beacon continues to take in being a platform to build networks and access for women in the DC area.

The result was an inspiring and energizing day not only of structured meetings but building meaningful relationships. The mentorship meetings set the stage for those waiting for a meeting to engage in networking and peer to peer mentorship. It was invigorating to see how bringing 40 women together amplified each person’s network, access, and voice. For me, I reconnected with old friends and colleagues and am taking steps toward embarking on a new project to capture the energy of women working together to achieve more. My network has expanded with connections to other women’s business leaders in DC. Each mentor summed up the day with golden nuggets of advice. The ones that stood out to me are surround yourself with supportive people, be social and socially engaging, and find a theme song.

One woman talks to another woman who is taking notes

The joy of mentorship: Liz and Eleni Pallas meet and mentor.

I look forward to reaching out to our attendees to see what value the event provided, what connections they made and where those relationships go. Most of all, I look forward to seeing how much more we can do together.