News

Proud to be Brazen: Introducing Mindy Mazur, Brazen STL’s New Executive Director

Author Mindy Mazur Published November 28, 2017
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The wonderfully brazen and bold Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

 

It’s with that spirit in mind that I’m excited to join Brazen St. Louis as its first full-time Executive Director.

 

I have spent my entire career either directly or tangentially working for gender equity, which simply won’t happen without the economic empowerment of women.  Brazen St. Louis is empowering more women entrepreneurs and business leaders every day – and it’s the tip of the iceberg.  I’m so thrilled to be part of it and join you on this journey. 

 

I thought I’d answer some questions to start:

 

 

What’s My Background?

My work experience has spanned a variety of leadership and management positions in nonprofits, government, campaigns and a multi-media advertising and public affairs agency. In those roles, I’ve had the opportunity to define new organizations and initiatives and help build them from the ground up. 

 

Through the years, I’ve worked to advance and empower women through work such as strategic consulting for women’s and civil rights organizations, electing women to public office, mentoring and sponsoring women inside and outside the office, and volunteering my time in women’s leadership groups. My work has been largely focused on action – taking concrete steps to help more women advance in their careers and chip away at the leadership gap that still exists in almost all arenas.

 

 

What will I be doing?

As the first Executive Director, I will be responsible for leading all efforts related to Brazen St. Louis (a 501c3), including operations, administration, membership, events, program management and community partnerships.  In short, I’ll be running the St. Louis regional “branch” of Brazen.

 

 

What about Jennifer Ehlen and Aimee Dunne and Brazen Global?

Now that Brazen St. Louis will have a full time Executive Director, Jenn and Aimee will be directing their focus on the expansion of Brazen Global, its for-profit parent company.  They are actively exploring opportunities to help more women entrepreneurs grow their businesses in other cities around the country.  Stay tuned for more on this!

 

 

Anything else to add?

Yes!  Please connect with us.  As I take on this new role, I look forward to meeting Brazen STL members in the region to see how we can best help you advance your business.  I’ll also be reaching out to others in the community to support our efforts, and of course grow our amazing network of members.  In the meantime, please “like” our new Brazen St. Louis Facebook page, subscribe to our newsletter, and sign up for a Brazen membership…and invite a friend to as well.

Top Tips

10 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter

Author Brazen Global Published November 21, 2017
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As entrepreneurs, sometimes our days are too busy to read an entire news article. Or maybe our brain is just too full to dive deep into a certain topic. This is when we turn to Twitter, our handy guide for easily digestible bits of info from the sources we want to hear from the most.

 

We’ve made a list of some movers and shakers who are doing big, brave, amazing things and who we love to follow on Twitter: 

 

Kathryn Minshew @kmin
Founder, The Muse
Tweets about branding, personnel and company culture.

 

Laura Weidman Powers @laurawp
Co-Founder & CEO, Code2040
Tweets about economic inequity, the technology sector and social innovation.

 

Daniele Fong @DanielleFong
Cofounder & Chief Scientist, LightSail Energy
Tweets about science and the energy sector.

 

Kris Colvin @KrisColvin
Foudner, FreshID
Tweets about user interface, design and branding.

 

Jennifer Ehlen @jenniferehlen
Founder & CEO, Brazen Global
Tweets about investing, raising capital and business strategies for growth.

 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo @smarcelo
Founder, Care.com
Tweets about technology and women in businesses.

 

Jessica Mah @jessicamah
Co-Founder & CEO, InDinero.com
Tweets about product architecture, fundraising and growing her company.

 

Rashmi Sinha @rashmi
Founder, Slideshare
Tweets about ther experience building and selling her company, marketing and social media best practices.

 

Natalia Oberti Noguera @nakisnakis
Founder & CEP, Pipeline Angels
Tweets about raising capital, investing and non-binary entrepreneurs.

 

Aimee Dunne @aimeeinstl
Co-Founder & COO, Brazen Global
Tweets about gender parity and business strategies to grow.

 

Do you already follow any of these women? Tweet at us @BrazenGlobal and let us know who you love to follow!

Interviews

Genuine Relationships important for Support, Exploration, & Accountability

Author Meridith Unger Published November 7, 2017
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Nix is taking the guessing out of hydration with a single-use sensor that analyzes sweat during activity. It informs athletes, soldiers, and laborers, when, what, and how much to drink to perform and feel their best. With five patents licensed from the Harvard School of Engineering, Nix is leveraging its sensor platform toward a pipeline of proprietary and partnered programs beginning with hydration and extending to other consumer use cases in areas such as beauty, sports, nutrition, and infant care. 

 

Before founding Nix, Meridith Unger helped launch six life science startups with several venture capital and venture creation firms. Meridith received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College where she received the Anna Pell Wheeler Prize for Mathematics, and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is a Kauffman Fellow as well as a Harvard Business School Blavatnik Fellow. Meridith is a college basketball player-turned-runner, and has run seven marathons on her way to completing all the World Majors with one more to go.

 

Are you a natural leader? What do you find easy about leading a team? What do you find difficult?

 I seem to have certain qualities that make me a natural leader, and others that I’ve had to work hard on. I was blessed with a voice and physical presence that is substantial and commands attention, and an outward confidence that others are comfortable following. But I am also conflict avoidant and sometimes struggle to have the difficult conversations.

 

What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

We have worked hard to establish and maintain a culture of Radical Candor (it happens to also be the title of a great leadership book). We hold genuine, personal relationships with one another in the highest regard, and value support, kindness, and generosity. It’s what lets us support each other as we stretch and try new things. But we also value candor, honesty, and vulnerability. It’s how we hold each other accountable. You can’t have one without the other. If you are supportive and kind but too shy when someone’s performance falls short, it’s disingenuous. If you’re hard and unforgiving and also honest about people’s mistakes, you’re inhuman. It’s a balance.

 

“If you are supportive and kind but too shy when someone’s performance falls short, it’s disingenuous. If you’re hard and unforgiving and also honest about people’s mistakes, you’re inhuman. It’s a balance.”

 

How do you find people to hire that truly care about the organization the way you do and how do you know you’re bringing on the right team member?

There comes a point in every recruiting process where I try for the “relationship breakthrough” with the candidate, typically by asking about their personality traits, weaknesses, etc. It’s a simple, non-scary way to assess their emotional intelligence and self-awareness. If they can communicate with me with both confidence and vulnerability at the same time, that’s a great sign. This is more important to me than their hard skills in a lot of cases.

 

When you first started hiring employees, how did you delegate tasks, create a company structure, and make sure everything worked efficiently as you grew?

 At first, being highly organized is a luxury, and there were a lot of days where delegation had more to do with “who has time for this?” than “who has done this before?” Now, I try to empower employees who have proven themselves to articulate the future direction of their own roles.

 

“If they can communicate with me with both confidence and vulnerability at the same time, that’s a great sign. This is more important to me than their hard skills in a lot of cases.”

 

Do you have a business partner? How did you find them? How have they added to the success of your business?

 I had a co-founder who was a wonderfully experienced senior marketing executive at some highly relevant companies. He was very well connected, charming, and despite meeting in a professional context, we became fast friends. Unfortunately, his risk aversion and later-stage in life caused him to have to depart Nix, but the friendship we had built endures.

 

What do you think are some major differences between someone who is an entrepreneur and someone who works for someone else?

Every entrepreneur has one daily pattern in common: every single day we are doing things we’ve never done before, and finding answers to questions we never asked before. This takes a personality that is comfortable and confident in the face of uncertainty and that embraces vulnerability. This is the single-most important difference between an entrepreneur, and someone who works for them.

 

“Every entrepreneur has one daily pattern in common: every single day we are doing things we’ve never done before, and finding answers to questions we never asked before. This takes a personality that is comfortable and confident in the face of uncertainty and that embraces vulnerability.”

 

As a biotech company, how do you make sure your team has the right balance of business experience and tech expertise?

Most of our business team has a background in a high-tech industry, so getting knee-deep in the data has to be comfortable for them. For those that don’t, we rely on our relationships to communicate what each employee needs to understand to be successful in their role.

 

What other wearable tech ideas do you have for the future? Can you give us a peek into some of your upcoming products or where you think the industry as a whole is headed?

Everyone talks about consolidation and seamlessness as two major trends in wearables and biosensors, driven by the beliefs that people don’t want to wear multiple devices, and the more passive these sensors are, the better. This has driven a lot of folks to slant toward smart fabrics, but there are still major technological challenges. We strongly believe in the patch form factor and have a few tricks up our sleeves with respect to custom analyte sensing approaching to expand well beyond hydration into other “consumer diagnostic” applications in nutrition, women’s health, infant care, skin care, oral health care and more.

 

Connect with Meridith and Nix here:

          Online: nixbiosensors.com

          Facebook: @NixBiosensors

          Twitter: @NixBiosensors

          Instagram: @NixBiosensors

          LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/10110706/