Powerful App: How Networking Entrepreneur Proves Women Are Better Together
The subject line of the email she wrote to her parents was simple: “No one came to my party.”
Too ashamed to call them and explain that the 2014 launch of her event planning business, Chiffon Events, had cost her $3,000 and not one of the 100 invitees showed, Carina Glover instead cried on the bathroom floor and later sent a cryptic email.
“I was devastated for a few weeks,” Carina Glover says. “My parents were my cheerleaders.”
It was a valuable lesson and experience Glover, Omaha-based entrepreneur, CEO and founder of the app, HerHeadquarters, has never forgotten.
“I learned I can never be powerful by myself,” Glover says. “I learned the value of building allies.”
This week Glover launches the collaborating and networking app for what she terms “powerful, bold fulfilling collaborations,” within fashion, beauty, entertainment, events and PR industries.
The mobile platform launches in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Omaha, with 10 additional cities rolling out this summer. There is a free version and a premium version, at $8.99 per month. Membership has a keen vetting process, so the business owner must be a woman, or identify as a woman, and be in a decision-making role.
“We’re reinventing the way businesswomen collaborate by transforming the process of securing powerful, quality partnerships into a more efficient and rewarding experience,” Glover says.
Born and raised in Omaha, Glover says she was furious at first when her parents took her out of the large public high school and enrolled her in the small, all-girls private high school. But that experience changed her life.
At the public school, “They used to say, ‘if you graduate,’ but at the smaller school, our only struggle was what to choose to be successful in. My mind shifted and I realized I had access to be successful no matter where I came from,” Glover says.
Attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha on a scholarship in 2007, Glover majored in communications after deciding she did not align with her pre-law course work. After taking some time off, she graduated in 2014, and launched her event business.
And it was the launch that was a hard lesson.
“I thought all I needed was passion,” Glover says. As Chiffon is her middle name, Glover says, that is what she named her business as all she thought she needed to succeed was to put her name on it.
“My first lessons were that instead of taking opportunities to work with other brands, I had decided to do it by myself so my success story would be greater,” Glover says.
Instead, she adds, “Had I partnered with other women, I would have other women contribute to the success.”
Nancy O’Reilly, author, psychologist, entrepreneur, broadcaster and founder of the non-profit, Women Connect4Good, Inc., agrees. In her new book, In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other in Business and Life, O’Reilly, also a philanthropist, educator and president of the board of Take The Lead, writes about the urgency and necessity of women supporting each other.
“The main things I want women to take away from the book are: Support each other. See ourselves as leaders. Use your voice for great change,” O’Reilly says. “Many of the women in the book talk about how we need to see ourselves as leaders and support each other, which is really the point: All of us are ‘in this together’ and when we combine our talents, expertise and resources to help each other, amplify our voices and increase our ‘power to’ accomplish our goals, we really can do anything.”
Glover learned that lesson. For the first year and half of running Chiffon Events, she says, she continued working solo, sending out proposals, pitching to potential clients. She says she even called Google to complain that something was wrong with her email because she never got any responses. No, they said, perhaps it was her messaging and branding.
So she worked on reorganizing her business and 2016 turned into a great year, with referrals to plan events for the Grammys and the NFL, Glover says.
“As my business was taking off, my love for event planning was dying and I thought, now I don’t even love it.” What she did love was “the reward of seeing other women build a concept from scratch,” Glover says. “I’ve always had the mindset that my lessons and blessings are not just for me.”
In April 2016, Glover hosted “The Aces Tour,” a networking event for 65 women in Los Angeles, spending $4,000 for a high-level gathering to allow women to partner together on their beauty and fashion brands.
According to Forbes, it is natural for women to network with other women entrepreneurs, because at times there is a gender gap in availability for partnerships and mentoring.
“Even if a company has an equal men-to-women ratio, a women’s network provides an opportunity for women to come together and discuss ideas that they may not otherwise be comfortable sharing during their usual work routine or with members of their own teams. As many women experience gender discrimination within the workplace, it’s important to establish these networks as a space to share stories and advice based on their own background and as a way to create a support system for one another,” Forbes reports.
Because The Aces Tour was successful, with women asking for more events in other cities, Glover says the idea for a networking app came to her on a sleepless night about 3 a.m.
“That’s tech, and my skillset is PR,” Glover says. So she applied and was accepted into a program. She spent close to a year researching what she needed to create the app. “I went from being an expert to being in a new industry and not knowing anything.”
“The only thing worse than a product no one wants, is spending months and years and money on a product no one wants,” Glover says. So she put nine months into researching a prototype and creating a product women did want.
Recently, other new apps for networking have launched for women, but none specifically about the industries that HerHeadquarters covers.
Now that women entrepreneurs are signed on in four cities and she has financial backing, Glover’s goal is to be across the country by 2020.
That is a good thing for women entrepreneurs everywhere. Because networking has many benefits for women.
Mira Brancu writes in Psychology Today, “Now here is why this is so powerful beyond just the immediate: The more great leaders and experts you know, the more you become the source of knowledge and access for others. And the more likely it is that you will also learn who to reach out to when you need the ‘right people for the right job.’” Your net becomes stronger.
“I want to be the go-to for women building empires through partnerships.” Glover says. “I want to change the narrative of women partnerships so they are looked at as powerful, not looked at as struggling. Women are bold and powerful, not underdogs.”
She adds, “All these women who are dominating? I want us all to look more badass.”
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com