In late January, I received an email from a former client of mine. The subject: Yo, Badass!

So of course I opened that one first over the 17 emails that were new to my inbox.

This client frequents Hacker News and had stumbled upon a blog post from Jessica Livingston at YCombinator announcing that they would be hosting the First Female Founders Conference on March 1, 2014. I thought about it for 30 seconds and then applied. There were approximately 1200 applicants for this event.



Hell Yeah.

Fast Forward…

When I arrived at the Computer History Museum I saw something I’ve only seen once before (when H&M opened in Charleston, SC): Women everywhere. In line, up the stairway, spilling out of the door etc. Not your typical Tech Conference.


Everything was fantastic. From the healthy food and networking to the speakers and friends made. I am not your average founder when it comes to what I call Startup Nation. I am a licensed and ASHA Certified Speech-Language Pathologist. This was shocking to some of the gals as they had grown to know these events as being “tech heavy.” The only difference to me was more people were curious or interested in what I did at AstiNova. Almost immediately I was asked about English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction, my typical type of client, the amount of success people have with me and I was even asked if I could assist some of the founders with their pitches to VC’s. It felt amazing to share ideas and even headaches. Amazing. I guess because a lot of my struggles were validated and some even solved at a One Day Event. Solved.

I’m not totally code illiterate. I consider myself as using Training Wheels when it comes to Rails thanks to One Month Rails, which is a YC Alum!  Several founders asked Me: Why would you want to learn code?! Answer: To make my own awesome stuff! If you’re like me you know the pains of having great ideas spilling out onto your legal pad but having no way to actually make these ideas come to life. I’m all about outsourcing as I can’t possibly learn and accomplish everything my company needs. But… it’s so hard to describe and explain your vision to someone else. So, I’m learning to code. Baby steps…


I won’t bore you with a step-by-step recap of the event but I will share some things that have left a permanent tattoo on my brain. The opening act and introduction from Jessica Livingston was wonderful. I know she was concerned that she may receive backlash from some people {media, bloggers, haters} but I thought it was outstanding. What more can you ask for in a conference, meeting, or life other than honesty? If you don’t like it you can always STFU and GTFO. Yup, I said it. We are too fast paced and positive here for those who want to spend time finding something to complain about.

Adora Cheung founder of Homejoy showed pure determination. Most Startup’s are born because of a problem and her successful idea solved just that. Her willingness to frequently sleep in her car just so she could learn the ins and outs of cleaning houses shows her determination. Her honesty of the bumps along the way was really important to help show support for new founders.

I think The Muse Cofounder Kathryn Minshew’s presentation hit home immediately. I loved her “Start Somewhere” philosophy. I am frequently victim to my own sabotage when it comes to my ideas. I think about the pros & cons and the incredibly distant future instead of just starting the damn project. Like writing this blog post that I intended to start 5 days ago.

And then there was Diane Greene Cofounder of VMware. There were ladies cheering and jumping out of their seats when she was announced to come and speak at the podium.  I’m serious. This modern-day superhero was so laid back and candid. Her messages were delivered as stories and examples. She did a fantastic job of making sure her experiences assisted every founder in the room. She said: You can never over communicate.  Immediately I wanted to print that on mugs, notebooks, t-shirts, and everything I own. My company was born to increase positive, confident, and clear communication. So I felt pretty badass when she said this.


I still feel over the moon after having been accepted and attended the 1st Female Founders Conference. The value of the ideas, relationships established, networking opportunities, and learning experiences can never be matched with a price tag.  After the conference concluded I was able to continue to network with other founders. I’ve gone to dinner with some of the gals, swapped ideas over coffee, emailed articles and research found, and I even have a Google Hangout scheduled for this weekend to share marketing ideas. Nothing holds more value than sharing life and experiences.

Thanks to those founders and speakers that I had the honor of talking to. Your positive support and wonderful ideas have already helped me to grow in new ways.