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Become a Female Trailblazer

June 11, 2014

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen


As I sat in my office at the State Tower Building in July 2005, there was a knock at the door and in walked Karen DeCrow, American feminist attorney, author and activist. She had just heard about Women TIES from one of her friends. I knew about Karen, a past president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) during the transformative 1970s, when she championed the national movement for the Equal Rights Amendment and for greater opportunities for women and girls. I was honored she came to meet me.

After asking me to explain what Women TIES stood for, she invited me to a private dinner at her house with other members of the Syracuse NOW Chapter to share the vision for my new company. I gladly accepted and asked my brilliant friend Shannon Magari, who holds a Doctor of Science in Environmental Health from Harvard, to join me. As we arrived at Karen’s private residence nestled in the forest in an eastern suburb of Syracuse, I felt like I was on an adventure entering the house of this female trailblazer.

After dinner, piano music and singing, we went to her living room for the conversation. As I described to Karen and her guests my reasons for starting Women TIES, which was to help equal the financial playing field for women entrepreneurs by promoting, marketing and connecting them, Karen looked at me and said, ‘Don’t forget to invite men to the table too. It’s as much about men understanding the cause as women.” I told her I appreciated her sentiment and would consider it but I said, “Until the day women are earning the same as men, my events will be primarily for women so they can be the ones making money, getting business or gaining exposure until women earn as much as men do.” She looked at me with a sparkle in her eye approving of my strong personal mission.

Today’s blog post is to remind you that we must be trailblazers in some aspect of our lives. Life is too short to not be making a difference. We can contribute to society by living out a strong personal mission, creating a life-changing company that benefits others, rallying for injustice, or donating our time to worthy campaigns. No matter what moves you, make sure you are contributing to something; and if you have the extra conviction, become a trailblazer like Karen DeCrow.

I’ve always said, “If at the end of my life, I have helped as many women entrepreneurs as I could make more money and the ripple effects of them making money helps their family and others, I will know I have made the difference I wanted to make in this world.”

Karen DeCrowKaren passed away last week on a glorious New York State blue skied summer day having changed the world and inspiring a lot of women like me along the way. In honor of Karen, I hope you say “yes” more often to invitations to meet other amazing women who might just be changing history and inspiring you to do the same too.

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