On September 21st, a diverse group of women will gather for the second Wonder Women of Boston event at Mantra in Boston’s ladder district. Hosted by entrepreneur and event organizer Jeanne Dasaro and sponsored by KAPLAN, Boston’s own Second Glass, Yelp, and Hint water, the event is one part networking opportunity and one part celebration of Boston women’s many accomplishments. Open to the public with a suggested donation of $5, 100% of ticket sales and raffle proceeds go to Project Have Hope, a Boston-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda.
I spoke with Jeanne to learn more about Wonder Women of Boston and hear her thoughts on women’s leadership in Boston and beyond. Women’s entrepreneurship has been a hot topic recently, especially in the technology community. Just last week, BostInno’s own Ali Powell hosted her first Boston WomenPreneurs event, and tomorrow there is a Girls In Tech Women Getting Funding event. Click here to read about a recent Girls In Tech event.
BostInnovation: What is the goal of Wonder Women of Boston on the whole?
To provide an opportunity for women in Boston—whether they’re in the corporate or non-profit worlds, community leaders or entrepreneurs, job-seekers or students—to build new connections and relationships with other brilliant women while at the same time raising money to support women entrepreneurs in Uganda.
BostInno: What is your hope/intention for Wonder Women of Boston events?
About a year ago, I discovered I’d developed a network of women with pretty impressive credentials: writers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, the list goes on. But when I mentioned one person’s work to somebody else, I found that these amazing women didn’t know each other. So quite simply Wonder Women of Boston began as a way to bring together Boston’s aspiring and accomplished women.
BostInno: What interests/excites you about the entrepreneurship scene right now in Boston?
How supportive the city as a whole is of entrepreneurship. There are countless events, resources, and organizations around Boston that are committed to supporting startup (for-profit or nonprofit) ventures. It’s a good feeling to know that help for startups is there and available.
BostInno: What interests/excites you about women’s entrepreneurship right now in Boston?
Many women entrepreneurs I know have fashioned their interests—be it design, youth development, art—into their own business ventures, which is refreshing. For a while being successful businesswomen meant modeling ourselves after the men who came before us, but now we’re just being ourselves, which is awesome.
BostInno: Why is there a need for a separate women-themed organization/network like Wonder Women of Boston? Why is this necessary, significant?
Women face a variety of gender-related challenges as professionals, and it’s important we discuss and share what we’ve learned along the way. Plus, it’s important for women to see other women in leadership roles, women who are successful professionally. Personally, I find it easier to aspire towards a goal if I have role model to look up to and when that role model is like me. This makes the goal seem much more tangible. Women-themed organizations/networks are one way of providing such opportunities to women.
BostInno: What are your thoughts on the conversation happening right now about the lack of women in entrepreneurship? The “where are the women?” (specifically in tech) question? This article in Fast Company sums it up nicely.
I won’t argue whether I think the lack of women is because “it’s an exclusive white boys club,” or “women don’t promote themselves enough.” I will say—and I think most people would agree—that there is a lack of women founders and executives in most sectors, especially business. We shouldn’t argue about where the women are; instead we should focus on how we can better support the women who are out there and encourage more women to participate in these circles in ways that truly value their expertise and knowledge.
Click here to read more or register for Wonder Women of Boston next Tuesday, September 21st. Please note that Wonder Women of Boston will be partnering with The Swapaholics at the event to offer attendees raffle tickets toward a chance at free tickets to Boston Fashion Week Sip & Swap on September 30th in exchange for each donated piece of designer/stylish clothing. Register for more details.
Alexis is a freelance writer and editor and co-founder of The New Prosperity Initiative (NPi), a media organization dedicated to knowledge sharing in the social justice field. Lex serves on the board of directors of The Writers’ Room of Boston, is a “Connector” for Boston World Partnerships, and holds a B.A. in Government from Smith College.