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Meet Your Director: Jasmin Brand, Brazen Dallas-Fort Worth

Author Jasmin Brand Published April 24, 2018
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Brazen Global is excited to introduce Jasmin Brand, the new Director of Brazen Dallas-Fort Worth! 

Jasmin Brand Brazen DFW

 

I started my first business by accident, really. I was laid off and not sure what my next career move would be. I started consulting and landed my first client. For the first time in my professional life, I experienced what true freedom felt like and quickly realized that I could never go back to working in a corporate setting ever again. I was a business owner and proud of it! The sky was my only limit and if I worked really hard, my entrepreneurial dreams could come true.

 

It’s been a decade since that very first client, but I can still remember the excitement. It feels like it was yesterday.

 

Despite the challenges that come with starting a business, there is something powerful about not having a corporate glass ceiling when it comes to achieving your aspirations.  Over the last ten years, it’s been my mission to help other women feel this freedom too.

 

Throughout my different business ventures, I have attended my fair share of networking events and have joined countless organizations and groups dedicated to supporting women in business. While I met some incredible people and learned new things, it always felt like there was still something missing for me.

 

The instant I learned about Brazen, I knew that I had to be involved in some way and that Texas women needed this incredible organization now more than ever.

 

Brazen is unlike anything that I have ever been a part of. Finally, an organization for women that proudly and boldly leads with a “business first” approach.  And this is exactly what has been missing here in Dallas-Fort Worth.

 

I’ve witnessed an uptick in the number of women starting businesses in the Metroplex, which is exciting. Women are increasingly feeling inspired and empowered to create businesses and become CEOs. But there comes a point in your journey when you’re ready to move past the “honeymoon” phase with your company and get down to business. That moment when success is truly calling your name and you’re ready to take your company to the next level. You need more than inspiration and empowerment to make this happen. Brazen is the solution.

 

As the CEO of Launch DFW, a Texas based digital media company on a mission to celebrate and support the North Texas startup community, I know firsthand the brilliance and sheer fortitude that Texas businesswomen possess. It’s not a coincidence that the Lone Star State is leading the way nationally when it comes to the number of women-owned businesses starting every year.  The time is now to help these women succeed in a big way.

 

I am excited to see the impact that Brazen will have, not just with female entrepreneurs, but with the entire community in general. It’s time for Dallas-Fort Worth to get Brazen. Join us!

 

Dallas-Fort Worth just got a lot more BrazenCLICK HERE to become a Member today. To schedule office hours with Jasmin and learn more about Brazen DFW, CLICK HERE. Keep in touch with Brazen DFW happenings on Facebook  and Twitter and Brazen Global on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

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Brazen Announces Expansion to Six Cities

Author Jennifer Ehlen and Aimee Dunne Published
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Brazen Full Team Photo

 

It’s a big day at Brazen.

 

After growing in St Louis for four years, the time has come to expand our programs and services into six new markets: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth and Philadelphia. To the women entrepreneurs in these new Brazen cities and beyond – we are thrilled to meet you!

 

We have worked in the entrepreneurship space for over 20 years combined, in academic entrepreneurship environments and serving as coaches, mentors, speakers and investors. At various points in our careers, we each became increasingly aware of the incredible ways that women innovate. It was also clear that they faced unique and meaningful challenges.

 

In our hometown of St. Louis,  women entrepreneurs were facing significant challenges. Our region consistently ranked among the lowest in the country in terms of growth and economic clout of local women business owners. So, like many women entrepreneurs, we decided to do something about it. We set out to develop a program that would go beyond the monthly speaker series and explore topics that would engage women business owners at a deeper, more actionable level. 

 

Somewhere along the way, we realized that we were facing the same highs and lows that the women we serve experience every day: the highs of new customers, new team members, new investors, and the lows of our website breaking, the bank account getting a little low, and the fears and concerns that keep us up at night. This entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart!

 

We are sisters on this adventure with you, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Brazen is the organization for women on this terrifying and exhilarating journey. There is power in coming together with other women entrepreneurs to celebrate each other on the days you’re at the top of the mountain and encourage each other on the days you wonder how you’ll keep climbing. We are more Brazen together. And we will never lose sight of that.

There is power in coming together with other women entrepreneurs…We are more Brazen together.

 

 

These are our core principles at Brazen, and our promise to you:

 

1 – GROWTH SEEKING – We will always focus our services on “growth seeking” women entrepreneurs looking to take their companies further. We will not place exclusionary labels like “high growth” or “tech” on our participation requirements. We don’t care what label you choose to wear, sisters. If you’re looking to kick things into the next gear, we want to help you get there.

 

2 – BUSINESS FOCUSED – There are many organizations that help professionals ask for a promotion or negotiate a raise. These are all important skills, to be sure. But we stay true to helping you answer the scary questions that keep women business owners and CEOs up at night. We offer business focused content, including core strategies and nuts-and-bolts tactics for growing your business.

 

3 – INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM – We welcome all who identify as women and all intersections of life that they bring to the table. Period.

 

4 – CONTINUOUS, IMMERSIVE PROGRAMMING – We know the feeling: you’ve just attended a great event and want to keep the fire going. But then you return to CEO island, feeling as lonely and on your own as ever. Brazen connects you to programs and a membership network that helps you feel supported 24/7/365.

 

5 – HIGHLY CUSTOMIZED, HYPER-NICHE PROGRAMS – You are a unique woman, running a unique business at a unique stage of growth, looking to take things to the next level. A cookie-cutter approach to programming isn’t going to help you get there. We provide you with programs and content that feel hyper-relevant to YOU and YOUR business, in an affordable and accessible way. And if you’re not in one of our new Brazen cities? We have a place for you in our Virtual Growth Groups.

 

6 – GLOBAL NETWORK – This journey is hard as hell. We want to connect you with a tribe of sister CEOs both where you live and beyond your geographical boundaries. With other women who GET YOU and have your back. We can learn from one another in a way that cuts through the noise and gets right to business. There is a world of women entrepreneurs who are waiting to connect, help you with your business challenges and hope you might help them with a few of theirs.

 

We are ready to keep growing Brazen right alongside you as women entrepreneurs ourselves — attending our own events, joining Growth Groups, asking questions online and connecting with other women CEOs.

 

Along our journey, we’ve learned to do it our way, with no apologies.  And we can’t wait for you to join us.

 

Let’s Be Brazen together.

 

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Meet Your Director: Bonnie Bogle, Brazen Philly

Author Bonnie Bogle Published
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Brazen Global is excited to introduce Bonnie Bogle, the new Director of Brazen Philadelphia! 

 

When you decide to take the leap and start your own business, it’s because you’re passionate about what you’re doing – whether that’s building a new product that will makes lives easier, disrupting a broken industry, or providing a service better than what you can get today. It’s almost never because you’re *really* excited about taking on the day-to-day of running your own business, and rarely because you feel oh so prepared to do so.

 

That’s why what Brazen provides is so important — it helps you figure out the nuts and bolts of running your business, so you can get back to building your company.

 

I know this firsthand. I was 23 when I started my first company with some friends from college.  I had never taken a business class, but I had a pretty good resume…for a journalist. “Business” was not in my repertoire, but I was passionate — I wanted to modernize the technology that nonprofits and international development organizations were using so they could do their work better. Learning the basics of accounting and employment law was simply a step along the way to help humanitarian organizations better understand their resources to respond to disasters, or for international observers to monitor contentious elections in countries like Afghanistan. There is a lot to figure out in running a business — I rarely felt confident that I was taking care of everything I needed to, and I did a *lot* of Googling along the way.

 

Running a business is hard. As you grow, it only becomes more stressful. After years of slowly growing a consulting business, my co-founders and I decided to do something crazy and see if a mapping product we’d been building on the side could make it big. We created a new company called Mapbox and went after VC funding.  Eight long months later, we closed on our Series A funding.

 

Then we grew — we doubled the size of our team that year (and every year after), added new offices as we needed them, and kept building our product and going after new users. It was my job to figure out how to best grow — and take care of our team and the business as we did. Every new stage the company hit meant new challenges, and the best solutions were tailored to who we were as a company that day – which, of course, was constantly changing. When I exited Mapbox last year, our team was 225 people, we had five offices in the US and around the world, and our maps were being used by companies like Snap Chat and the Weather Channel.

 

In all, I spent 10 years running operations for two very different startups. When I look back, I think about how much easier it would have been — and how much faster we could have grown the companies — if I had a community to talk through all the questions I had, and if I had more support from people who had built companies before. This is why I’m so excited to bring Brazen to Philadelphia and provide this to entrepreneurs as they start and scale their businesses.

 

Philadelphia is full of people starting truly creative companies — from our amazing local restaurants to products revolutionizing healthcare and cancer treatment. I can’t wait for Brazen to be up and running and supporting our women entrepreneurs, and to see what we can all do together. We’re a city of champions, the sky is the limit.

 

Philadelphia just got a lot more BrazenCLICK HERE to become a Member today. To schedule office hours with Bonnie and learn more about Brazen Philly, CLICK HERE. Keep in touch with Brazen Philly happenings on Facebook and Twitter and Brazen Global on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

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Meet Your Director: Olivia Omega, Brazen Denver

Author Olivia Omega Published
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Brazen Global is excited to introduce Olivia Omega, the new Director of Brazen Denver! 

Olivia Omega Brazen Denver

 

Brazen is coming to Denver! And I’m honored and elated to lead the charge! What this means for me is a new and exciting extension of the work I’m already doing to help local women entrepreneurs build authentic brands and businesses. I literally prayed for the opportunity to impact even more women, and Brazen was the perfectly-timed answer. Brazen will provide Denver with a powerful resource that curates the tools and knowledge necessary for women entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses.

 

My entrepreneurial journey began at a young age. Being homeschooled in Denver gave my mom the opportunity to teach me how to sew. For my very first business, I handmade outfitted, stuffed animals (think Build-A-Bear Workshop before its time and run by a kid). Then, after many years at an advertising agency, I started a business where my knack for marketing and making things landed my goods on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. This sparked my desire to support other women entrepreneurs through branding coaching and consulting.

 

My unique entrepreneurial journey allowed me to be both on the field and in the stands (que sports analogy). I’ve been both the business owner receiving encouragement from others, and the cheerleader giving out smiles and toe touches in support. As an entrepreneur and advocate for women in business, my cheerleading skills have been a great asset, but on their own they’ve never quite paid the bills. I tried my hand at high school and college cheerleading. It was short lived, but I learned a lot, including the importance of the roles of a cheerleader versus a coach.

 

We cheered when we won and we cheered when we lost. We were supposed cheer just as hard when we made a good play as when we made bad ones (which was often). What about when the plays aren’t working? What happens when the business model is flawed, when the funding isn’t there and when we’re down by 20 points at half time? Cheers will help us keep going, but they won’t fix what may be broken. At the end of the day, as much as I believe the players appreciated our encouragement, what they really needed to succeed was great coaching, training and the support of their teammates. This is what Brazen offers our community.

 

I’m beyond excited to help pioneer an organization that is dedicated to seeing Denver’s women entrepreneurs grow in an incredible way, with “business focused” programming…a little less cheering and a lot more tangible support, like growth tools and access to expert resources. Brazen was exactly what I needed when I first launched, when I started to plateau, when I wanted to grow, and when I needed to scale. I believe that Brazen will take this city to heights unimaginable. And I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves.

 

Denver just got a lot more BrazenCLICK HERE to become a Member today. To schedule office hours with Bonnie and learn more about Brazen Denver, CLICK HERE. Keep in touch with Brazen Denver happenings on Facebook and Twitter and Brazen Global on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

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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.

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Meet Your Director: Monica Wheat, Brazen Detroit

Author Monica Wheat Published April 24, 2018
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Brazen Global is excited to introduce Monica Wheat, the new Director of Brazen Detroit!

Monica Wheat

 

I sit and type this from my hotel room in Istanbul, Turkey where I’m serving as part of the U.S. delegation to the Global Entrepreneurial Congress. This group was brought together to recognize top ecosystem developers from around the world and allow them to teach, learn and scale their ecosystems together.

 

The spaces I now sit in, like this one, were not always open to me. As both a female and an entrepreneur of color, I know firsthand the immense barriers that members of both of those groups face in launching businesses, gaining funding, and securing partnerships. As I walk the halls and speak on panels and judge global competitions, I’ve been doing a ton of reflection on how I arrived at this point in my career. More importantly, I think about how my path could have been expedited if a group like Brazen had existed when I was making my journey.

 

I started my first profitable company when I was a teenager: a simple, city-wide babysitting service. We had dozens of customers across Oakland County, Michigan and made several thousand dollars in a short few years that I split with my co-founders (also teenagers). The company was what would now be called an “on-demand model” with processes and systems set-up with the technology of that time. Yes, pagers and land line telephones! Although certified, organized, and very profitable, we were never encouraged to grow our budding company or continue on our entrepreneurial path. We had no examples of other women who had launched businesses to follow. We were counted out literally before we began. We were smart and ambitious and shuttled directly to corporate careers because that’s “what smart girls do” with their lives.

 

Fast forward to almost two decades later and I’m now known as a serial entrepreneur. I’ve launched and led several different entities across technology, entrepreneurship, and corporate partnerships with very few female members in my network or in the rooms I’ve sat in. I have led global companies, brokered multi-million dollar deals and helped entrepreneurs launch their own businesses as Director of Startup Boost Detroit, a global pre-accelerator with locations in Detroit, Toronto, New York, London, Ireland, LA and Seattle. I have led ecosystem development as lead of Techstars Startup Programs in Detroit and tech education as Entrepreneur in Residence at Grand Circus Detroit and as Founder of Digerati Girls, Inc. exposing over 6,000 youth to STEM and coding careers.

 

I enjoy and simply thrive in the process of developing entrepreneurial ecosystems. I’ve held roles and executed programs in multiple cities throughout the U.S. and abroad. But Detroit is close to my heart and my home base — I am fiercely determined to see movement for its entrepreneurs and will work diligently to understand what they need. Detroit is a prime example of a Renaissance City, both rebuilding and building new industry for the past several years. We have focused on encouraging talented and ambitious folks to take their business ideas from paper to initial profit. We are prime for the next stage.

 

Even with all the advancements and investments moving into the City, I still see a gap for women entrepreneurs who want to scale their businesses and grow them to the next level. How can we offer consistent, growth-focused programming for women? How do we better advance women, who typically earn the short end of the stick in access to resources, meetings with key players, and less than 4% of venture capital? That’s where a group like Brazen comes in.

 

I am proud to have been tapped to help Brazen Detroit bring this type of programming to the Detroit market and launch these much-needed opportunities for Detroit area women. Detroit is “hot” and that is positive for our region – but women need a focused lever to fully tap that momentum. Through Brazen, I’m planning to equip Detroit female entrepreneurs with a network, programs and resources to help them continue to grow in our Renaissance City. Join us in welcoming this amazing new group to Detroit! 

 

Detroit just got a lot more Brazen! CLICK HERE to become a Member today. To schedule office hours with Monica and learn more about Brazen Detroit, CLICK HERE. Keep in touch with Brazen Detroit happenings on Facebook and Brazen Global on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Meet Your Director: Kristin Fox, Brazen Chicago

Author Kristin Fox Published
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Brazen Global is excited to introduce Kristin Fox, the new Director of Brazen Chicago! 

Kristin Fox Brazen Chicago

 

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned over the course of my career as an incurable entrepreneur, sometimes-angel investor, and fierce advocate for women in business, is how to identify opportunities and seize them. I knew from the moment a friend told me about Brazen that this was who I was going to be next.

 

I’m a builder and not a maintenance person. I began my career as a journalist and preferred starting niche publications over working for big news organizations. I left journalism in the early 1990s and became the third employee of a hedge fund consultant. This wasn’t just a start-up firm, it was a start-up industry. I didn’t know the difference between a hedgehog and a hedge fund when I started, but I had wonderful mentors and I learned. It was because of those mentors that I had the opportunity to marry journalism and hedge funds into an internet-based news, data, and research business that ultimately was sold to Reuters. Leaving Reuters in 2009 lead to a series of start-ups and ultimately to Brazen.

 

My start-up career extended into the non-profit world as well. In the early part of my hedge fund career, I was typically the only woman in the room.  Sadly, no women who had gone before me were willing to be mentors. That presented an opportunity and I became one of the founding board members of 100 Women in Hedge Funds (now 100 Women in Finance). Started in 2001, 100 Women is now a global trade association and foundation supporting women in the financial industry and providing philanthropic funds to organizations benefiting women’s health, education and mentoring.

 

Chicago entrepreneurs face the same challenges as their peers in other places. Funding is scarce and the market is competitive. As is the case across the country, women in our region do not receive the lioness’ share of funding. Because Chicago is a large geographic area, it’s easy to become isolated, and the distance can make collaboration and camaraderie difficult. Brazen offers so much of what I wished I had had early in my start-up career. If I had had the ability to harness the wisdom of the crowd and to network strategically with like-minded, growth-focused women, I would have had far fewer scraped knees, elbows and checkbooks.

 

Brazen offers unique solutions to the challenges women founders in Chicago face. Brazen Growth Groups brings small groups of like-minded founders together monthly to discuss their challenges and be accountable to one another. As a geek, I really like the proprietary software that “runs” the meeting. Growth Groups allow everyone to get out of their offices and out of their heads and really harness the wisdom of the crowd.

 

Roundtables are another powerful Brazen tool. Roundtables help entrepreneurs get through the tipping points, which can too easily become quitting points. Members sit down in small groups and discuss a specific subject matter with an expert. It could be funding, expansion, marketing, or any of the numerous tasks that entrepreneurs face beyond the passion that led them to their business in the first place. The beauty of Brazen Roundtables is that they are designed to meet the specific needs of members and I think that really strengthens the community.

 

My vision for Chicago is a healthy, self-perpetuating ecosystem where education brings funders and founders together. I believe that strengthening that relationship will yield successful companies and profitable portfolios. Ultimately, those successful founders will become tomorrow’s funders and the cycle will repeat itself. But first, we must bridge the funding gap! Onward Brazen!

 

Chicago just got a lot more BrazenCLICK HERE to become a Member today. To schedule office hours with Kristin and learn more about Brazen Chicago, CLICK HERE. Keep in touch with Brazen Chicago happenings on Facebook and Brazen Global on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

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12 Days of Brazen: Your Holiday Shopping Guide

Author Brazen Global Published December 6, 2017
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Support women entrepreneurs this holiday season by purchasing products made exclusively by Brazen Members!

 

For every $100 you spend locally, $68 stays in the community (versus $43 when you shop at a national chain).

 

Click on the beautiful, functional, delicious, and just plain fun things below to be taken to individual websites to browse and shop. 

 

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Brazen! 

 

 

 

Ooh St. Lou Studios – Portrait sessions for children and pets

Marie Angelique – Full service lingerie boutique specializing in bra fitting

Liv & Kiss – Custom and handmade clothing for sizes 14-32

Fauxgerty – Goods for the conscious consumer

del Carmen – Authentic Cuban style beans

CottonCuts – Personalized pre-cut quilting fabric

CORE + RIND – Cashew cheesy sauce (gluten, dairy, & soy free)

Casey York – Hand painted quilts, pillows, and original prints

Banner Road Baking Company – Delicious Granola with fresh, local ingredients

Lindsay Obermeyer – Knit Caps on Etsy and at SOHA Gallery

Sutton Lasater Jewelry – Jewelry with an elegant mentality and bohemian presence

Soozie’s Doozies – Gourmet refrigerated single serve cookie dough