Nearly 100 women gathered on a rainy Chicago weekend in May to learn to “Be Brazen,” and learn they did. Brazen Chicago launched at the FinFoundHer conference, where Brazen unveiled a taste of things to come for women entrepreneurs in the Windy City.
“Backing up is not the same as backing down.” ~Alison Levine
Kicking off the event held at evolveHer, a new women’s co-working space, was Alison Levine, a history-making adventurer who served as Team Captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition and spent four years as an adjunct professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“If you want to survive, take action based on the situation,” and “Backing up is not the same as backing down,” were two of the many pieces of advice offered by Levine.
Funding—and how to get it—was the theme of the weekend. Educational conversations ranged from “What is your super power?”, a frank discussion about the value of your business proposition, to the valuation process and cap tables, as well as what investors want and expect—or don’t—from a founder. Attorneys and accountants explained what paperwork investors expect from a founder throughout the company’s lifecycle.
Team-building was another theme, with Ethos Talent Founder Alida-Miranda Wolfe discussing culture creation and having the right team at the right time. Professional dog-sledder and Iditarod racer Karen Ramstead shared her thoughts on building teams you can trust to get you through the most “real” of circumstances, which in her case has included a white-out blizzard with temperatures of minus-40 Fahrenheit in the wilds of Alaska.
Brazen Growth Groups were the highlight of the interactive education sessions. Attendees were asked to bring their most pressing challenges related to raising capital. In a simulated version of Brazen’s Growth Group program, small groups met with a Brazen team member who lead them through the process and software. It was then that the magic happened and founders discovered that their problems weren’t unique and that there were solutions. They experienced the power of their peers, and how Growth Groups can help harness the wisdom of the crowd.
“[Brazen] is a really powerful group and [Growth Groups are] a tool that the Chicago market is already falling in love with,” said Heather Rider, founder and CEO, CourseMagazine.org.
“My goal for Brazen Chicago is to provide the education and support that women founders need to grow their businesses,” said Kristin Fox, Brazen Chicago Director. “I want us to create an ecosystem where today’s founders get the funding that they need to become successful and then fund the next generation and that cycle repeats.”
Growth Groups are forming in Chicago now. To be included in the next cycle, please register now. Deadline is June 15.