WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS.
It’s Women’s History Month, y’all.
Basically, the best month of the year. As we take this time to celebrate and honor the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society, we are reminded that YES. We do, in fact, run the world.
As I’ve been prepping for International Women’s Day, I thought about the amazing, incredible, and inspiring women I’ve known, the ones I’ve wanted to emulate. Talking Shop, in fact, grew out of a desire to share the stories of these awe-inspiring women. What better way to kick off the month than sharing the insight from one of these out-of-this-world females?
This week’s Talking Shop features an extraordinary woman, Allison Lew. As CEO and founder of Braid, she has built a powerful organization that offers skills-based workshops and a supportive community for women, helping them attain economic independence. And that’s merely the beginning of the work she’s doing. Seriously amazing.
Today, I pick her brain about women in entrepreneurship (spoiler alert: there are some challenges), the influence of Braid, and advice she’d give to young women.
Everyone, meet Allison!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Tell us about your job as Head of People and Culture. How does your work make a difference in the environment and culture of a workplace?
Working with our leadership team on people and culture strategy has been really rewarding. Our leadership wants to build a workplace that walks the walk when it comes to being a place where people can thrive as members of our team. Knowing that they’re not interested in bandaid or superficial solutions, gives me the opportunity to implement policy can have long-term positive impact.
What got you interested in female entrepreneurship?
I got to know really amazing entrepreneurs first while I was an intern at Provo Mayor’s Office.
How did Braid get started?
Braid started as a city program in an effort to build programming and community with women entrepreneurs in mind.
How have you seen Braid influence members of the female business community?
Bringing people together to the same place at the same time is sometimes all you have to do to see great things start to get put in motion.
What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of your work?
Hearing success stories like new jobs, new hires, new clients, new mentors, etc., from Braiders as a result of a connection made through our community is what fuels me through some of my harder days.
What have been the most difficult challenges?
As a cause-based business, building a sustainable business model has been challenging.
What have you found to be the biggest challenges girls and women face in entrepreneurship?
Lack of capital and mentorship.
What advice would you give to young women and girls looking to pursue their passions?
Explore as much as you can as early as you can. If you’re interested in something, find someone who works in that field and ask if you can shadow them, complete an unpaid internship for them, or just take them out to lunch. Exploring early on in your education or career can help save heartache working full-time in a role that you don’t love.
You’ve done an amazing job at working to create a vibrant business scene in the Provo area. What do you love about the Utah Valley area?
My favorite thing about living in Utah Valley is the community that I’ve been able to be a part of. If I ever were to move away, the community would be what I would miss the most.
The Fun Qs:
What is something people might not know about you?
A recurring dream for me is being able to do the left and right splits just like I used to in my teenage years.
What is the most inspiring book you’ve ever read?
This is really difficult to choose. But I always recommend Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because her writing is beautiful and thought-provoking.
What are your favorite out-of-office activities?
I love inviting people over to my home and cooking for them. Cooking food is definitely a love language for me.
The best movie you’ve seen recently?
The Farewell. I treasure the relationships that I have with my grandmas, so I literally wept through the whole film.