I’m so excited to be a part of a feminine funding platform called She-EO. I learned about it when I met Vicki Saunders, the founder and CEO, through my friend Chantal’s Emerging Women luncheon about a year ago. She shared how she created this as a response to the challenging state of startup funding for women-led ventures, and the small number of women investors.
Thus, she created She-Eo to create a way that by inviting the essence of radical generosity into the investment experience, she could inspire women to become investors (activators) where women can invest in women. 500 women invest $1000 each to create a fund of $500k. Women-led, women-run ventures can apply, and 5 ultimately receive the funds. Here’s the most fascinating part: the 5 venture founders go on a retreat together and decide how they are going to divide up the funds. The only rule is that they can’t divide the funds equally.. They have to learn about each other’s businesses and decide collectively. Then, the women in the network who are called Activators, pledge to help the businesses succeed with radical generosity by offering their skills, talents, and a very compassionate container to help the companies grow.
How we got here
I have been in the social impact finance world for over 12 years, most recently at UBS Financial Services as an Impact Investing Wealth Manager, and then leaving to start Anastasia Impact to help women and millennials learn about and ultimately invest their portfolios in alignment with their passion and purpose. In all that time, I had not seen such an innovative way to inspire and activate women to become investors.
Earlier this year, as a single mom of 2 kids, Summer (11) and Cody (8), I discovered a divine spark that came to me through a series of ups and downs in my life and career. I saw how brilliant kids are and how mine responded to design challenges and entrepreneurship. I saw how a dear friend, educator, artist, and creative young millennial young woman, Ashley Kulik, was mentoring my daughter and her friend to create their own kid production company, Story Architects. I was inspired to partner up with Ashley and create Dream Tank. An accelerator and think tank for kids. We announced in May 2016 for our first Accelerator week – July 18-22.
Jumping In with Both Feet
I learned She-EO was coming to Boulder/Denver when Jennifer Simpson met me at Global MindED when I was speaking about the upcoming launch of the Dream Tank pilot in June this year- and when I met her partner Heather MacKenzie a month later, I truly felt amongst powerful sisters, and I knew with all of my heart and soul that I wanted to both become an activator (investor), and also apply as a venture.
At Dream Tank my partners Ashley, Dana and I knew – and felt – that if there were others that resonated with the deep calling we feel to unleash the dreams and brilliance of children, that we had a chance. Dana, our newest rockstar founding partner who courageously and passionately joined us in early November, volunteered to take on the SheEo application with me and we rolled up our sleeves, dove into the application, felt our global vision, and prayed.. And then let go of our attachment to the outcome.
Getting the CALL!
When I got the phone call, I was so blown away! My heart pounded with joy and aliveness. I will never forget that moment. My partner Dana loves to say that she feels the energy of kids when she’s really connected. I can say that in this moment I felt the joy of kids everywhere coursing through my body. I shared the news with my partners and we all jumped up and down.
Circle of Midwives
Most powerfully is that I’ve imagined and had visions that Dream Tank – where we are Igniting young people’s innovative dreams for positive social and environmental impact – is meant to be birthed within a circle of midwives – who are women, and men who really get it. Midwives who care about its life, and growth, with compassion, generosity, and love. Regardless if we make the final 5, we already feel so held in a circle of midwives, and will never forget this time as critical in Dream Tank’s journey.