I have developed a theory that it is good to spend time with people who seem better than me. No, not better like I think I’m total crap and I feel inferior. I mean better like they can do cool things that I have yet to learn how to do. So I learn from them.
I am #blessed these days to know and spend time with some highly fantastic women.
Like my friend Kim can throw a fucking mean fast pitch. My friend Ellen can make homemade Oreos from scratch that will make your mouth bleed from joy.
My friend Karen is a badass investor who supports women entrepreneurs. And she helped write a book about it! In our start-up boys club culture, this is a Very Big Deal.
Full, full, full disclosure: this is a BLATANT FRIEND PROMOTION and I don’t give a crap. Between me and my friend Karen we have 100 children (or 7) and we work and we are tired and all we want to do when we hang out is enjoy a stiff cocktail, make each other laugh, and build each other up. We only got time for love, haters.
So this here interview is the first in what I hope is a series of many BLATANT FRIEND PROMOTIONS.
Me: Hi Karen, let’s start with the book. Give me the elevator pitch.
Karen: Impact with Wings is a collection of personal stories, research and interviews presented with two goals: activating new female angel investors and getting more funding to female entrepreneurs.
Me: Now imagine that I don’t have the book and I know nothing about it. Give me three good reasons why I should read it.
Karen: Only three? If you care about equality, social impact or simply want the economy to be kick-ass, this book lays out the first basic step to get there (hint: invest in the other gender).
Me: What if I have a penis? Should I still read it?
Karen: If you have a penis, surely you must know a few people who don’t have one. Not only should you read this book but you should buy copies for all of those in your life without said special appendage.
Me: Okay, now let’s back up and give some context to your participation in this project. Why did you personally decide to contribute to Impact with Wings?
Karen: I met my co-authors several years ago during an angel investing training program. As we learned about the shockingly skewed gender statistics in investing and entrepreneurship, we realized we could do more to bring attention to the gender imbalance. We collaborated and wrote this book to shine a light on the untapped capital that women hold, the challenges of being a female entrepreneur, and the economic and social importance of investing in women.
Me: I know that you have like 100 kids (or 4), so how do you find the time for the whole work/life balance, plus creative expression? I know that is a very loaded question that you could write an entire book about, so give me so give me some quickie life-hack advice that works for you.
Karen: Well I don’t believe in balance, as you’ll read in my chapter. It’s those who try to do it all at the same time who burn out and don’t move forward. My strategy has been to put energy into one project at a time, while accepting that some others must take a backseat for a few days or weeks. Spending time with my children always comes first, then I choose just one goal at a time to focus on during work hours. When the parenting and professional worlds collide, I try to attend to projects in the early hours of the day, before the lovely kid-chaos begins. That light on across the street at 5 a.m.? That’s mine.
Me: You are a tough cookie, Karen. I have seen you grow and change in so many ways during our friendship. It is such a thrill to witness. What’s next for Karen as a writer, investor, feminist, mother?
Karen: Do you mean the metamorphosis from silenced larva to feminist pupa? I credit the smart, strong and socially-conscious women in my life, including you, my friend. As a writer, I hope to co-author a book with one of my kids (which one of my 100 offspring and on what subject matter TBD). As an investor, I’ll continue to invest in female-founded, social-impact companies from time to time, and plan to launch a Wingpact fund with my colleagues specifically for female social entrepreneurs. As a mother, my biggest goal remains to be as present as possible and to ensure that my kids are safe, healthy and thinking critically about the world around them. I will only feel like a success as a mother when I know my kids have moved beyond that silenced larval stage, truly understand the difference they can make in the lives of others, and their voices and ambitions are heard loud and clear.
Me: Anything else you want to share?
Karen: There is truly nothing more important – and impactful – than investing in girls and women. Thanks, Robin!