Q&A with Conference Founder & Entrepreneur Adrienne Garland
As the founder of She Leads Media, Adrienne develops content and curates experts to offer super practical and actionable advice to women entrepreneurs and leaders through conferences, events, a book publishing imprint and a podcast that’s in development.
Adrienne also leverages her MBA from NYU Stern as well as her deep experience working with entertainment and technology companies, to consult with startups and Fortune 1000 brands primarily in media, entertainment, and technology to create marketing strategies that deliver results across digital marketing, social media, business strategy and event production.
Adrienne is passionate about encouraging, supporting and giving women in the US and around the world the tools and practical advice needed to start and grow successful, profitable businesses. She believes that through entrepreneurship, women can achieve business and financial equality and gender parity within the global economy.
Learn more at http://www.sheleadsmedia.com
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I began my career in equity research and investment banking. When I returned to graduate school at NYU Stern to pursue my MBA in finance, I soon fell in love with marketing with a focus on media, entertainment, and tech and then quickly changed my major. After graduation, I worked in marketing and product strategy for a large public cable company in Long Island for almost eight years, then moved on to run marketing at PR Newswire and then to PricewaterhouseCoopers to run the NY Metro Marketing team.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have a very entrepreneurial, creative spirit, which allowed me to thrive in the corporate world but only up to a certain point. I looked around at management at PwC and didn’t see myself or many other women in leadership positions. That’s when I decided to venture out to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams and help women to do the same. I wanted women to be confident that they had a choice - that they could choose to launch a profitable company and know exactly how to do so.
Where is your business based?
My company is based in Long Island, but my conferences take place mainly in NYC. My clients are primarily located in NY Metro area. We will be expanding into new markets in 2018.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I started by letting everyone that was in my network know that I had left my corporate job and that I was looking for consulting work. I thought about the things that I loved to do and that I was good at and went into the world of consulting with an open mind and a can-do attitude. This led me to several opportunities that kept me moving along the path and toward a business partner.
As I continued with my marketing consulting work, we launched a conference for women in 2013 called WomanCon. In 2016, I took over the conference and brought the marketing consulting together under one umbrella media and marketing company - She Leads Media.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
For She Leads, the most effective way of raising awareness has really been word of mouth. When anyone experiences the She Leads conference or works with our team, they understand that we are approaching ‘doing business’ in a more thoughtful and heart-centered manner than they’ve ever experienced. We deeply care about each person who comes through our conference doors and we do everything to help them to gain access to tools, resources and super-practical, actionable advice so that they can grow and thrive.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is creating a sustainable and profitable business model that allows us to serve both our clients and our platform. Each client is different and has a unique set of needs. We tend to go ‘all in’ when it comes to our clients and we end up becoming, in essence, one of their trusted staff members.
However, our conferences, events and other media properties require our time and attention as well if we plan to scale. So we are constantly trying to balance our needs vs. the needs of our clients while attempting to move toward profitable growth.
How do you stay focused?
This is a pain point for people like us that are creators and idea generators. We certainly know how to veer off course and chase the shiny objects. It takes true mindfulness and focus on the bigger picture to remain both grounded and focused. I like to set aside a half or a full day every couple of weeks to take an inventory of all we’ve accomplished and all we have left to accomplish and check it against our larger mission.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
We offer super practical and actionable advice, all wrapped up in a genuine, caring package that’s focused on the larger mission of helping to get women’s voices, thoughts, and perspectives out into the world.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
E-mail! Our email list is our gold, as is strategic partnerships with other complementary organizations.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Be sure that you have your business model - the how you will generate revenue and grow profits - at the top of your list. Ideas are great and passion is a requirement, but you need to be sure that your business is generating cash flow so that it can grow and sustain and improve your life and lifestyle.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
My favorite book, or rather the book that has stuck with me over time is Beneath a Marble Sky. I was captivated by this book because it describes the building of the famous Taj Mahal as a gift of incredible, almost otherworldly love. The genre is historical fiction, which is my favorite, as it intertwines what is historically accurate with a fictional story. I think I’m a sap for love and one of my favorite quotes is by Pink where she sings “I love love”. That pretty much sums things up for me.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
My favorite business tool is by far my iPhone - especially email and the calendar. These two things keep me organized and on track. They help me to plan my day, week and month and allow me to communicate with people all over the world.
Who is your business role model? Why?
I would say Oprah is my business role model. She has a media company that is known across the globe in a variety of genres such as television, magazines and satellite radio. I love that her media company seeks to help people which seems to guide her media outlet choices. Plus, she is so relatable and does everything with intelligence, style, and a bit of humor.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
In the next 6 months, we will be in the midst of planning She Leads 2018, as well as working on a few stand-alone events such as our ever-popular Pitch the Media panel. We will also be launching a podcast, some action-oriented webinars, and a marketing mastermind group.
How can our readers connect with you?