Stuart and I were super excited to be in New York supporting our fabulous friend Emma Isaacs as she launched Business Chicks to the US this week, and loved the opportunity to gather a group of our New York friends together for lunch with Rachel Zoë.
We had had the opportunity to hear previously from Rachel when Epic Pharmacy sponsored the Business Chicks Brisbane lunch she spoke at last year, and thoroughly enjoyed her stories of her entrepreneurial journey. She is an amazing business woman, who, together with her husband Roger, has created a diverse empire from her beginnings as a fashion assistant.
I wanted to share some of my top take outs from the New York event, where Suzy Welch did a fantastic job interviewing Rachel and drawing out her stories.
Rachel strongly believes that it is critical to be passionate about your work, and that it’s only when you’re happy and having fun with what you’re doing that you’ll experience success. If you find yourself doing something you don’t love, take a left turn and make the change to getting back to a place that makes you happy.
She shares the same self doubt that so many female entrepreneurs struggle with, saying she is cursed with the inability to know when she’s been successful, and that realisation of her achievements only comes with hindsight well after the moment has occurred.
Rachel is very conscious that you can fall just as quickly as you are lifted up, and that getting too comfortable increases the likelihood of a fall. She reiterated the importance of stretching from your comfort zone, saying it is crucial that there is always an element of fear in everything she does.
As at the Brisbane event, one of the messages that spoke most strongly to Stuart and I was when she talked about her partnership in business and life with her husband Roger, and how that partnership was absolutely crucial in every aspect of her life. We particularly loved the way she articulated it this time, saying that while they were 100% independent they were also 100% co-dependant – I can see us using this to describe our own partnership many times ahead!!
She spoke of her deep love for her children, and the change in perspective that having them had provided. Not having the exact shade of white in available shoe choices to select from is no longer the absolute disaster it was in her pre kids life!
Fashion and style is undoubtedly her passion, and she closed giving some fantastic advice for working women on creating a uniform of things that you know will work when you have limited time, that you know you look great in and feel comfortable in.
When asked to name her list of style must haves, she refused to nail down absolute specifics, saying that the must have list was different for everyone, depending on their own personal style. One woman’s LBD is anothers luxe tuxedo, its about creating a signature style that you feel comfortable in.
Rachel is warm, funny, and absolutely authentic in her love for her work and her family. Ignoring the obvious desire of ‘her people’ to keep her moving after the event, she took the time to chat and pose for pictures, making each person feel that she was genuinely interested in them and why they were there. Personally I loved that she recognised me, asking why I looked so familiar and where we’d met before – major fangirl moment!!
While the lessons from Rachel were fantastic, it would be remiss to finish this post without including the biggest lesson of the day, the one provided by the ultimate Business Chick Emma Isaacs. Emma is living proof that barriers exist only when you create them. No shortage of people would have said that it wasn’t possible to successfully launch an Australian women’s’ networking business in the US market, and blow away audiences in not only New York but San Francisco and LA in the space of an action packed week. Doing so when your 4th child is only 11 weeks old takes that to a whole new level. Emma and her team believed in themselves and her vision, stayed true to the authenticity and values of the brand, and knocked it out of the park this week. The room yesterday was abuzz, and people couldn’t sign up fast enough to become a Business Chick.
The chicken served up at yesterdays lunch might have been a bigger portion than is often seen at a women’s event (especially in NYC!), but it paled into insignificance in comparison to the size of the dish of inspiration delivered by these two rockstar business women.