Creating a Women’s Lifestyle Brand with Claudia Chan
For the past several months I’ve been working with entrepreneur Claudia Chan, who is launching an online media brand and talk show focused on profiling, interviewing, and celebrating women of style and substance. Over the summer we’ve secured interviews with iconic women such as Christy Turlington (supermodel turned global maternal health advocate) to emerging leaders such as 27-year old Alexa Von Tobel, who recently raised $24.5 million dollars for her company LearnVest, which educates women to take control of their personal finances. Of the 100 women we are profiling and interviewing, what they all have in common is a commitment to creating value-driven lives and careers, as well as a sincere passion for helping women.
It’s been exciting for me to work side by side such a visionary entrepreneur. Previously Claudia was the President of Shecky’s, a media and events company that has entertained over 1 million women across America with its popular “Girls Night Out” event series. With this new company, Claudia is shifting her mission from entertaining women to empowering and advancing women.
As a women’s lifestyle entrepreneur, Claudia is designing this new media brand for a mass audience — the women who read Vogue and Marie Claire — rather than only activists and niche groups. By sharing the stories and uncovering the wisdom of today’s most influential and inspirational women, we hope to open up the conversation about important women’s issues in a meaningful and accessible way.
The content we are producing is relevant to women across all aspects of their lives, including health, happiness, balance, and motherhood. We’re also looking at more serious questions such as what prevents women from rising to the top of corporations, why do so many women opt out of the workforce after having kids, how can we start changing this, and how would the world be different if men ran half our homes and women ran half our businesses and institutions? Furthermore, by featuring 100 female career role models and leaders who are doing work they love and making a difference, we want to remind our readers and viewers that, like the women we are showcasing, they are the CEOs and creators of their own lives. In spite of the numbers and statistics, anything is possible and the future has yet to be written.
The Status of Women and How We Can Change It
While in the United States men and women are equal under the law, we have not reached equality in the workplace or in our homes. An August 2011 study by Catalyst shows that of Fortune 500 CEOs only 2.8% are women, despite representing almost 50% of the labor force. Additionally, across all industries women earn less than men for the same work, and in our homes women are still expected to take on greater responsibilities than men.
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg so eloquently stated in her 2011 commencement speech to Barnard graduates, “…only when we get real equality in our governments, in our businesses, in our companies and our universities, will we start to solve this generation’s central moral problem, which is gender equality. We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.”
The inequalities that women face globally extend beyond the office and the home. In their book Half the Sky, authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn lay out an agenda for three major abuses against women — sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape, and maternal mortality which claims one woman’s life a minute.
While the challenges that exist for women, both locally and globally, may feel insurmountable, there is one thing we know for sure — and that is that before we change the world, we have to change ourselves. This means educating ourselves on the issues that matter, as well as understanding ourselves and figuring out what our unique contribution to the world will be. What we are creating is more than a media brand, at it’s heart it is truly a lifestyle brand. To create the change we must be the change, which is ultimately a lifestyle decision we sincerely hope to inspire today’s generation of women to make.