Hi Janet, Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.
- Can you provide our readers with just a brief summary as to how 85 broads came along? And when you began?
When I left Goldman Sachs in 1993, I was really tremendously sad that there was no easy, efficient way for me to stay connected to my friends and colleagues at the firm. I know this sounds like the Stone Age, but “back then” there was no internet or cell phones — the only way I could stay connected to my GS friends was to call them on the telephone or write them a letter or get in my car and drive down to 85 Broad Street. 85 Broads was founded in 1997 but it wasn’t until we “dot-commed” the network in 1999 that our members were really and truly globally connected. Hands down, this was one of the most exciting moments of my entire life.
- What would you say is the “star attraction” or more direct, how would women benefit from becoming a part of 85 Broads? Why would women today want to join an organization such as 85 Broads? Great question. One thing the media has not picked up on (yet) is that as women get older, they “prune” their network of relationships. They primarily focus on their immediate family, their colleagues, and on an intimate circle of friends. I think what is so awe-inspiring about 85 Broads is that we the antithesis of “pruning” – we encourage women to connect with other fascinating women who will enrich their lives and expand their knowledge base in a way that probably haven’t done since college or graduate school. In essence, I think the “star attraction” of being a member of 85 Broads is to find new opportunities every single day to inspire and be inspired and to stay in the game!
- Since the inception of 85 Broads, is there any one event or even connection that stands out that reaffirms for you, 85 Broads was one of your best endeavours.
An event we had a few years ago that featured Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach for America; Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen; and Linda Rottenberg, founder and CEO of Endeavor. All 3 of these women are so amazing in their own right but together they rocked the house! Also any event that Susan Payne has spoken at! Susan runs our London chapter and is the CEO of her own hedge fund, Emergent Asset Management. She is also immensely proud of her Canadian citizenship!
- What would you say to women out there now who are looking for example to start a new business, take on a new career, follow their academic dreams but may have those infamous “fears of change or new beginnings”?
The first thing I would tell them to do is read “More Than 85 Broads” which features 95 amazing members of our network who are true trailblazers! It’s an amazing book! My other piece of advice is to work with the smartest, most ethical, and most optimistic people.
- One last question Janet, what future growth do you see occurring for 85 Broads or would like to see?
I have had the most amazing life. My “formal” career ended when I left Lehman Brothers in 2007. But instead of just finding happiness in my two kids and my two dogs, I wake up every day knowing that I’ll have the incredible good fortune to “meet” dozens of fantastic women who have just joined 85 Broads from all over the world! Most people would no doubt be surprised to hear that I actually approve every single application submitted for membership! The women who join the network might be in college or they might be the CEO of their own company – that is what is so amazing – I have been inspired and empowered by women from all different walks of life. Each one, in their own special and unique way, is an absolute rockstar. That is why I created this network – I don’t ever want to wake up one day and not be inspired!