I was really excited to attend the very first Business Chicks Luncheon in NYC yesterday. Business Chicks originates in Australia, by Emma Isaacs, to unite business women to share ideas, stories and to inspire. They currently have over 35,000 men and women members. I really liked the concept of this company, and was excited to join in their NYC event with Rachel Zoe. The event was held at the Hyatt Grand Central, and I did my fair share of shopping prior to the event in Grand Central Terminal.
When I arrived at the Hyatt, they had noted where the event would be taking place. I headed up to register, very excited! When I got there, went for my badge, the ladies didn't give me any information regarding seating. I figured they would show us to our seats when we got inside the ballroom.
They had martini's being made, I am not a martini drinker, but I photographed some of the action.
Vittoria coffee being used for these Business Chicks martinis !
These gorgeous orchids were given to us as we left the event, provided by Cornucopia Flowers.
The company T2, Australia's largest range of loose leaf tea, was giving wonderful samples of their various tea flavors. The ladies were very nice, and I enjoyed some of their yummy flavors! They have a chocolate chip chai tea on their website that is calling my name! I just love chai tea!!
I then went and sat a bit before the event started. A young girl struck up a conversation with me, very friendly, and what I was expecting at this event. Business women talking about what inspires them to do great things with their lives. We exchanged business cards and headed into the main event!
There were 400 people attending this event, it was SOLD OUT. I walked in, with all these tables and had no idea where I was sitting. I asked one table and they said they had the whole table, in a sarcastic manner. Then I went to another table and asked how do you know where to sit? She said, "Oh, it's on your badge the table number" - I said "Oh Thank you so much, I had no idea" and went to my table.
When I got to my table, I was the last person to sit down. Everyone else was with a buddy, but I figured everyone would talk to each other. The ladies next to me, one was Australian (which she felt the need to tell me, even though she had the accent) the other from the US. They spoke to me a bit at first, how I found out about the event, and that they were members of Business Chicks. After that, well, let's just say, I was on my own. I never even got a glass of wine to have with my meal, which would have been nice, water was my only option. There was bread on the table, but no one passed any butter to go with it. No one talked to each other except those that were with each other. When we got our dessert and coffee, the milk and sugar sure wasn't getting passed around if you didn't ask for it. I have been at many events, and this was a pretty non-social group. I was here to hear what Rachel Zoe had to say about being in business, and what advice she had for us.
The event was from 12:30 to 2:30 pm, Rachel Zoe was interviewed for about a half hour of that time. I was kind of disappointed it wasn't longer, or that she didn't take questions from the audience about being a woman in business. Here is a nice summary of what she did have to say, it all makes sense and you can learn quite a bit from Ms. Zoe:
Rachel talked about how she felt freelancing was her first start to becoming her own boss of her own company. She did say juggling motherhood and work is a hard battle on a daily basis. She will always love styling, but says it has changed so much since she first started. Being the editor of The Zoe Report is something that she really loves and wishes to grow in the future. The ability to make a friend's wedding dress is something she thinks is just oh so cool. Fear is always there, but you have to say to yourself "What do I have to lose" - you can learn from mistakes. Life lessons in life and business - things you learn about people, trusting people that can't be trusted time and time again, you can't believe people are always your friends - you need to develop a thick skin. You have to think about what really matters in life. She defines success by being really good at whatever job she is doing at the time. She feels she has so much more left to do in her career. She never thought she would write a book or let a tv camera in her home, she says you should never say never for your career. Rachel was asked what are your top 3 pieces of advice - "Follow your Gut" "You need to have your hands in more than one thing " "You need to enjoy what you do and don't set unrealistic goals." You can't get too comfortable with success because you can be taken down as fast as you rise. When you get complacent, you can fall.
Being a boss is very hard, hiring people can be a very difficult process. She tends to hire people she really likes, but sometimes they are fun to have around but not good at their job. Her company has a very small turnover rate, and if anyone needs to be fired, Roger handles that situation. If someone does something really horrible, she may do the job of letting them go. To build a team, Rachel doesn't mico-manage people and hires people that are the best at what they do. You have to empower your employees to do a good job. They will not flourish if you stand over them and tell them what to do each step of the way. Rachel doesn't really feel she is a celebrity, she always thinks of herself as a behind the scenes person. She never wanted to expose her private life to the public, but feels it has made a big difference in her career.
Rachel is a big sponsor in Save the Children, she concentrates on disaster relief. Baby2Baby is an organization based in LA but they are hoping to have it grow, which provides low income children ages 0-12 with diapers, clothing and all basic necessities. She feels you really need to give back as much as you can, it is very important once you become successful. It is a dream to have that kind of power to raise money for causes that have special meaning to you. Rachel also does charity work for ovarian cancer, as her Mom lost many friends due to this terrible disease.
In regards to styling, Rachel suggested to find your personal style, it is trial and error. You need to see who you love, who you admire, who do you identify the most - it doesn't have to be a celebrity - experiment, take photos, ask the person who you admire how this looks. You need a few go-to pieces in your wardrobe, those that you know work each time. You need to wear what you are comfortable in, as well as what looks good on you. She definitely wants to do another book, and will be on television again, create evening wear for her clothing line, grow her media business which she really enjoys very much. Rachel sounded very excited about her upcoming projects, and with excitement comes success!
In the end, I would say I am glad I went to the event. Their next event is a breakfast October 13th with Bethenny Frankel. Would I go again? Maybe, if it was someone I really wanted to hear speak that I admired, but I would probably try to get a friend to join me. I will say, if I really want to go solo, I will. I have grown that "thick skin" Rachel spoke about, and I will not let anyone stop me from doing something to better myself. You need to have the confidence that you belong, know that you are great, and not allow yourself to get caught up in "the drama". In other words, be a Business Chick!