Yesterday I told you guys about this phenomenal event with the Women at Zynga. It was so good I couldn’t write about it all in one newsletter. First I wrote about how inspired I was by Phuong Phillips, Zynga’s chief legal officer.
Today I want to talk about another panelist Rebecca Covington Webber, a phenomenal Broadway actress currently starring in Hamilton. She described herself as a girl from Kentucky with a dream who just kept pushing on that dream. She talked about the level of faith that took—given when she would watch the Tony Awards she didn’t see any African-American women. “That was really hard for me, because I’m like, ‘How do I do what I love [while] looking how I look and being who I am?'” she said. And at the college she went to in the South, she was the first black person to graduate in that program—full stop. She moved to New York after that and straight up hustled.
Oh. My. God.
The Women at Zynga group hosted a phenomenal event yesterday that I was so honored to be part of. It was a breakfast all about female empowerment and pushing through boundaries as told from women across the tech and entertainment landscape.
On the panel was Zynga’s Chief Legal Officer Phuong Phillips, Rebecca Covington Webber from Hamilton, and Trisha Yearwood from…pretty much every entertainment medium on earth.
There was so much I took away from this experience—both the greenroom conversations and the actual panel itself. I want to spend a few days in this space, talking about what I learned from each of these women and reliving it myself! (I had a lot to say too, but if you read this newsletter often, you know all of my talking points already!)
You can’t accuse Pixar of not hyping Toy Story 4 enough. There have been billboards and posters up on every surface, and we first saw the preview in theaters last Christmas. For months my kids have been bemoaning that it doesn’t come out until June. Eli has insisted we get to every movie for the last six months just in case there’s the trailer he’s already seen of the movie 1,000 times.
Well, guess what? June finally arrived.
I decided to take them out of school early last Thursday to see the very first showing in San Francisco. I’m either the best mom or the worst mom, but I know which way Eli and Evie would vote. We did not feel let down.
I can understand—to some degree—why Hollywood is trying to do everything it can to invalidate Netflix’s sudden gargantuan presence in entertainment, whether it’s leaning on theaters not to show Netflix films or trying to change the rules of who can win Oscars.
Netflix is one of those classic Internet disruption stories where traditional industries simply can’t compete. It has the reach. It has the dollars. And it will boldly use them. In those ways it’s similar to Napster in the early days of music disruption or Uber in the transportation realm.
When you are promoting a new company or a new book, you tend to fall back on sound bites so you sound on point in every interview, not just one. One you have likely heard before if you’ve ever seen me on TV or read a media interview about Chairman Mom’s vision of rebranding working motherhood as just what it is—completely badass—you have probably heard me say a version of the following:
“Why is it that we think it’s brave when someone quits their six-figure job to start a company, knowing the odds at which startups fail, or we think it’s baller and hardcore when someone decides to run a 100-mile ultra marathon despite the toll it takes on the human body, and yet, when a woman dares to have a career and raise a child, she’s told not to even try and that she’ll just fail?
Jana from UX and Design at Chairman Mom here!
When I first started at CM, I took the time to meet with some users and self-described CM evangelists. Soon after, I had a head scratching moment of “Wait, where are the users that want to complain to me about the user experience of the site?”
You see, I had worked at Amazon for almost a decade and watched many usability studies with our customers. Not once did a user come in and say how much they loved shopping on Amazon, but my Chairman Mom user studies were very, very different. Our members wanted to tell me about their CM experience, and it wasn’t “I’m so excited about free shipping,” sort of situation. CM users really loved THIS COMMUNITY. Some had posted a question themselves, but most had witnessed another member post a question and then watched as the community rallied with a variety of carefully written, supportive, and non-judgmental responses. Many had helped another member out with their own experiences. The users I interviewed were really happy to be a part of this community, and now I was too.
The other day I was in a Lyft with an exceptionally chatty driver. He is also a life coach and writing his memoirs, spending a lot of time reflecting on the nature of love for your kids versus love for your spouse.
This man had been with his wife since high school; she was his best friend and loves her dearly. And yet he experienced what so many of us do after having kids: A visceral sense of the difference between unconditional love and conditional love.
This was his take: You can love your spouse with all your heart, but it’s still conditional love. It’s predicated, perhaps, on them not cheating on you. Or them not emotionally shutting you out. Or them continuing to work on the relationship. Maybe it would take something unimaginable for that love to go away, but there are limits to it. Because, he argued, it’s something you opted into.
Tonight is the first ever Chairman Mom Preach in Seattle at the Riveter’s Capitol Hill location. It’s the first ever Chairman Mom Preach outside San Francisco, in fact, and the first official event we’ve done anywhere outside California.
I am heartsick that I’m on the other side of the country and can’t make it there, mostly because I’ve fallen in love with the women of Seattle, whether they work at Microsoft, Amazon, are building their own companies. The event will be hosted by Jana Kleitsch, Chairman Mom’s head of UX and design, who I met through this very badass Seattle startup community.
It’s summer. It’s hot AF in San Francisco. I’ve spent 18 months working at getting in better shape. I’m feeling badass and recharged, having shed my imposter syndrome. And I’m totally sick of my hair.
I typically like my hair a shade darker than it is naturally, and I’ve got grays. So I—not super regularly—Madison Reed it dark. But I’m outside basically all the time. I walk everywhere, I run outside, I’m outside with my kids on the weekend. My hair just won’t stay dark. And I hate—HATE—this brassy red it keeps wanting to turn.
As we mentioned in a question yesterday, The Chairman Mom Preach is coming to Seattle this month in a new partnership with the Riveter! ICYMI: The Preach is our monthly FREE event with wine and food and badasses. Sometimes we just hang out, sometimes we have amazing speakers. Roughly 50 women reliably show up in SF every month (with asks!) and I always leave feeling recharged.
Go here to sign up!
In-person meetups were the number one thing our community told us they wanted from Chairman Mom. We’re hoping that partnering with awesome female-first spaces like The Assembly and The Riveter can allow us to do that in a scalable way that benefits our community by giving them a place to regularly gather—and benefits those spaces too.