Many women, including some of our very own reader’s I’d bet, are sitting at their jobs, slaving away, mindlessly doing work. What many women, including some of our own readers I’d bet (again!), don’t realize, is how fortunate they and we are to be employed. Cue the courageous and inspirational women of the Step Up Women’s Network who have a mission that is twofold. As they note, “Simply stated, Step Up connects you to the professional women you need and the underserved teen girls who need you.”
What’s it all about?
One of the many things The Step Up Women’s Network does is host networking events nationwide that bring professional women together. This past week in New York City, the Step Up Women’s Network hosted a Stepping Up In the City event where Jasmine, a high school senior from the Bronx who is part of Step Up’s Teen Empowerment Program spoke about how Step Up has propelled her to beat the odds. The odds being that no one in her family has ever finished high school, let alone attended college. Jasmine is defying that stereotype and hopes to attend Barnard or NYU in the fall.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely (pictured above, center, with Shecky’s President Claudia Chan (left) and Step Up Managing Director Angie Grabski (right)) was then introduced as the keynote speaker. While guests schmoozed over Patron-sponsored drinks and ‘inoteca-provided hors d’oeuvres, Blakely shared her inspiring journey. With a mere $5,000 in her savings account and no prior business, fashion or retail experience, she started Spanx after she realized how unhappy she was with the current shapewear situation. When she started her mission, she also noted that everyone she came in contact with in the stocking and shapewear world were men. A lightbulb went off…and Spanx was formed!
Blakely then explained how to be successful, whether you’re starting your own line of shapewear, or making the best of a 9-5. She talked about listening to your gut, as she feels the answers to our most difficult questions are within ourselves. Her father encouraged her to fail growing up, which she now realizes was a profound lesson. Failing is essential because it means you put yourself out there and tried.
She went on to discuss how important it is to differentiate yourself in the work world and to know what makes your product, your ideas, you special. Blakely discussed Spanx’s charity efforts, which have provided $10 million to those in need since Spanx’s inception. Her words were insightful and inspiring as she touted Step Up for helping women realize and reach their full potential.
I think the Step Up Women’s Network is a wonderful idea come to fruition: women coming together to help each other and ultimately, help themselves. They are building a community of support and strength and their efforts are having an enormous impact. Oh, and in regards to Sara Blakely, I obviously couldn’t praise her wonder product more, as evidenced by past posts!
GIRL TALK TIME: Are you a part of the Step Up Women’s Network? Have you ever been to a Step Up event? Do you wear Spanx?