These incredible ladies are the founders of Women You Should Know, Women You Should Fund and OUTHOUSE PR. We met Jen and Cynthia through the relationship of bloggers and PR reps over six years ago. They were repping Coldwater Creek at one of our Getting Gorgeous Events and from the second we met them, we loved them.
It was instantly cool meeting this dynamic duo – business partners and friends – we felt a kindred spirit with them! What really made them stand out to us was their passion, their drive, their motivation and their work ethic. What was extra cool about meeting them was also finding out that they had a deep passion for female empowerment through their incredible digital media property and community – Women You Should Know. Their mission is “to tell the untold stories of relatable, everyday women across the country and globe who are making things happen in their world; women who have outperformed, innovated, discovered, defied and soared.” Women You Should Know sparked the inspiration for their amazing crowdfunding platform, Women You Should Fund.
We were thrilled when they said they would love to be part of the Hustle Diaries! And we have to add this here, too. These ladies are the nicest, kindest, smartest and just the most supportive to everyone. They embody what it means to hustle and just driven to bring some excellent into this world.
1. Tell us a little bit about your hustle. How do you define your hustle/business?
Our hustle has been a 16 year adventure in serial entrepreneurship. We founded and built OUTHOUSE (estab. September 2001), an award-winning PR and event marketing firm, and 10 years later it organically gave rise to Women You Should Know (launched September 2011), an editorial based brand that we’ve grown to be a leading digital hub of women’s and girls’ empowerment. We recently expanded the mission of WYSK with the launch of Women You Should Fund (February 2017), which is the crowdfunding platform we’ve built that sets entrepreneurial ideas into motion by helping women and women-led teams make their products, projects, and business ventures a reality.
2. How do you dig deep to work hard and continue your hustle?
We don’t know any other way to operate, it’s just what we do and passion is our fuel. We have always LOVED, LOVED, LOVED what we were/are doing at every stage of our evolution as entrepreneurs. And now through WYSK and WYSF we are driving an important conversation about women’s and girls’ empowerment, making an impact in women’s lives every single day, and growing a community that believes in the power of women supporting women. It’s soul-filling work and it’s all the motivation we need to keep doing what we do.
3. What are some of your greatest professional successes?
We’ve had so many standout successes over the years, and we’ve been humbled by the recognition we’ve received. But one of the top 5 highlights was last year when we were featured by the Ms. Foundation For Women in their #MyFeminismIs campaign alongside leading advocates, activists, and influencers. We’re also just incredibly proud of the fact that over the last 16 years as business partners, we’ve taken 3 different ideas and turned them into thriving businesses through our own hard work, determination… and lack of proper sleep, of course.
4. Where do you find inspiration and motivation?
We are both very self-motivated women, but we are also fortunate that we get a daily infusion of inspiration from all the kickass women we profile and others we get to connect with through our work and community.
5. What’s your secret sauce? Give us one tip that you think has added to your success?
We work insanely hard, we deliver (typically over deliver), we are creative, we are strategic, we believe in the work we do, and we are genuinely un-filtered… so you get what you see and we mean what we say.
The greatest tip we ever got came from a client who told us “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” We’ve applied this to our business model ever since because it has always proven to be true for us. It’s also a good credo for life, in general.
6. Did you always know that this would be your path in life – career wise?
Jen: I have always been a self-starter, and being my own boss comes with that mindset. So while I’m not surprised I’m an entrepreneur, I never could have envisioned precisely where I am today. My 23 year professional career path (16 years spent as an entrepreneur) has been exhilarating, wildly fun, and at times challenging and frighteningly unpredictable, but I believe that every turn it has taken – even the occasional shitty ones – have led me to the right place at the right time.
Cynthia: Entrepreneurship runs in my family, so yes, I expected that someday owning and running a business would be in my future. With that said, I definitely didn’t anticipate that my path would take me from fashion to public relations to running a women’s and girls’ empowerment brand and a crowdfunding platform for women. I never could have predicted that!
7. When you’ve faced obstacles/roadblocks – what do you do? How do you get past them?
Jen: An intense work out is a great obstacle crusher for me. It wipes my head clear of the chatter and doubt, so I can focus on exactly how to tackle a challenge. The specific “how” I employ depends on the obstacle, but my go-to method is “just plow through.” It sometimes leaves me banged up or feeling like I’ve exhausted every single cell in my body, but eventually I always get to the other side.
Cynthia: I tune out the chatter, turn off the internet and go do something for myself. A small break gives me a chance to recalibrate my thinking and approach things with a new perspective. Like Jen, it’s more about plowing through than getting past.
8. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?
Jen: Yes, and it’s from my favorite book. “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Cynthia: Oh my. There are so many. Recently I was reading Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road, where she says, “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” That gave me a totally new perspective on “dreams” both personally and professionally.
9. How would you love to hear someone describe you?
Jen: As a “badass”… and that awesome honor was bestowed upon me by a woman you should know Loren Raye, co-host of The TJ Show on 103.3 Amp Radio Boston when she featured me as one of her “Badass Chicks” for the work we do to empower women.
Cynthia: That I am a kind, loyal and fearless woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it.
10. Where can we find you on social?