The Girl Boss – It Is Time To Reinvent Her

By Anna Whiteman

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Most headlines would lead you to believe that being a female founder today is all about breaking glass ceilings, shattering fundraising records, or spectacular rise-and-fall sagas. Emily Weiss is obsessively lauded as the Teen Vogue intern who rose to the helm of Glossier’s billion-dollar beauty empire. Ty Haney’s recent departure from Outdoor Voices was scrutinized down to the granular level of her Instagram stories. But what about everyone in between? What do these headlines mean for women entrepreneurs going forward?

To find out, I asked the Rad Ladies.

I never meant to start a pseudo-club for female founders, but over the short course of five years as an early-stage investor, the message was clear: Women tend to build, present, execute, and problem-solve differently than men. Women also tend to have shallower networks supporting what they are building. So I made it my responsibility to informally connect those I thought could help each other — and Rad Ladies was born.

Our first meeting involved 10 founders, 10 bottles of wine (yep), and three pizzas, and took place in a dark office in downtown Manhattan in 2017. The format was simple: Drink, eat, and let your guard down to talk honestly about what isn’t going well for you or your business — unsexy, non-­headline-worthy material. The conversation, when framed this way, was unstoppable.

Rad Ladies has grown organically through supportive referrals over the years, today consisting of around 100 founders. We meet monthly (nowadays by Zoom) to confront all manner of business issues. We have a dedicated Slack channel with threads for cobranding, recruiting, fundraising, and more.

I asked some of the Rad Ladies what they thought about the recent resignations of Haney and other high-profile founders, including Sophia Amoruso of Girlboss and Audrey Gelman of The Wing, to name a few. The founders I spoke with were empathetic to the unknown challenges these founders may have faced, hesitant to blindly accept headlines, and mindful of the work still to be done to level the playing field. As one member put it: “The first wave of successful female founders proved that women could start and run businesses. The second wave should create visibility around all the things that are preventing us from doing it over and over.”

Many Rad Ladies felt strongly that looking ahead, it will be critical to take a cooperative versus cutthroat approach. They stressed adopting an abundance mentality, which involves reorienting roadblocks and reframing rejection as an opportunity.



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