Hello YFE’ers! I’m here today to share the origins of our IRL (ahem, IRL = “in real life” – pardon my Twitter speak!) event to Los Angeles. As with many things in life, there’s a bit of a story to share. In January of 2010 I moved from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. Big change! I kept my job, becoming a remote/telecommute employee. The situation was pretty close to perfect, but there was one big aspect that was missing: the connections with my peers and colleagues on a daily basis – my network. In my D.C. life I worked between various locations in the city, traveled to military bases around the country and attended a conference or two each month. Networking was built in as part of my job.
Feeling the need for more connections and the need to make new friends, I started to edge my way into the L.A. networking scene. As an “INTJ” (hello, Meyers-Briggs fans!) going to networking events was a pretty uncomfortable activity. But the words of Eleanor Roosevelt are seared into my brain: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I try to live by those words.
Not knowing where I fit into the L.A. networking scene branching out a little more daunting and confusing. I tried networking groups for creative types, but they lacked the business development I was seeking; the fitness world and health coaching scene was a bit too frenzied for my taste; the start-up groups were geared more toward genius wonders looking for angel investors; I was too old for the college crowd and too young (…and not making enough income from my business) for many of the ladies-only entrepreneur groups.
Where does the YOUNG FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR go when she needs to find the perfect fit? Online, of course! A fellow Twitter peer suggested I join in on the chats for YFE. I joined my first one in late 2011 and was hooked. These were finally my people! Rapid fire conversations about life, love, dreams, business and wanting it all. I couldn’t wait to meet up with the women I had connected with for a cup of coffee or lunch or a fun excursion! But… these were my online friends. They didn’t live in Los Angeles and that cup of coffee was really only going to happen over Skype.
I loved everything about YFE and sensed I wasn’t alone in wanting a real-life meet-up that perfectly hit our target demographic. I pitched my ideas for creating a YFE event in Los Angeles to Jennifer. She said “yes” and I did a few cartwheels of joy around my house. I asked a few of my girlfriends that I had the luck of meeting at various networking events about their interest. They were in and I knew I had to get started!
After months of emails and planning – YFE LA was born. Last Thursday over 25 women from Los Angeles met up to celebrate, connect and meet their fellow young female entrepreneurs.
I cannot say thank you enough to Jennifer for having the vision to create & continue YFE on the national scale. Any woman can partake in the YFE activities Jennifer hosts each week on Twitterand YFE TV. A million-and-one thank you’s also belong to Christina Dely for her time & talent as the photographer behind these gorgeous photos. You can see the full set of photos via the YFE L.A. Facebook Group (request to join if you’re in Los Angeles). Additional “THANKS!” belong to Stephanie at Jewelmint (Beachmint) for donating $20.00 gift cards to all YFE attendees. Special “thank you” to Nailah and Donna for believing in me and jumping on board with such enthusiasm to create this event and serve as the first hostesses.
YFE LA is just getting started and I hope you’ll join us “IRL” if you’re in L.A. Our next event is scheduled for July 18th at 7:00pm. The event location details will be released the second week of June, along with our featured hostesses and photographer.