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Taking Initiative, with Maisha Walker

Taking Initiative, with Maisha Walker


Episode 65: Taking Initiative, with Maisha Walker

Along with being the President and Founder of Message Medium, an Internet strategy consulting firm, Maisha Walker works to empower fellow small business owners as an author, educator, and speaker. In this episode, Maisha tells us the story of how she left the world of finance to start her own online business, how she thrives as a remote worker, and how she manages being an introvert as an entrepreneur and public speaker.


Episode Transcript

[music]

00:00 RG: Welcome to the Ellevate podcast. Conversations with women changing the face of business. And now your hosts, Kristy Wallace and Maricella Herrera.

00:13 Kristy Wallace: Hello and welcome to the Ellevate podcast. This is your host Kristy Wallace, and I am joined today by Jess Matley. Hi Jess.

00:21 Jess Matley: Hi there.

00:23 KW: So Maricella's out on vacation, and Jess has very graciously agreed to step in and hang out with me and do the intros, and I'm excited to have Jess here with me because she plays such an important role at Ellevate, and has a great perspective on what we're working on. So Jess, have you calmed down a little bit? Have you sort of gotten back to normal after our summit that happened a few weeks ago?

00:48 JM: Yeah, I'm getting there. I'm really trying to sort of slow my internal systems down a little bit from being, I think, caught up in the whole adrenaline rush of it, in the two weeks leading up. And then of course on the day, I'm still, I think, a little bit... Ticking a little bit too fast. But yeah, trying to slow down, follow up with all the amazing people I personally met, and all the great people that were involved. It was so much fun, and I'm already thinking about next year, and all the ways we can improve and make it bigger and better.

01:18 KW: But it was a pretty big accomplishment this year. So we had 17,000 views of the live stream.

01:25 JM: Yeah, really amazing.

01:27 KW: And we were trending on Twitter, we were number seven worldwide, #MobilizeWomen, and just an amazing line up of speakers and attendees. I was hearing time and time again how much fun people were having, how many connections they've made, what an impact it made on them personally, and how much action that they've already taken.

01:48 JM: Yeah, yeah, it was great. And like I said, still I think, on that high. And really, here at Ellevate, we're still really wanting to drive the momentum, to keep that going, if not speed it up. Let's keep talking about it, let's keep sharing ideas and making those connections.

02:06 KW: Absolutely. So today's podcast is with Maisha Walker. And Maisha's done some events with us in New York City.

02:13 JM: Amazing women.

02:14 KW: She just has so many fantastic perspectives from being a business owner, a woman in STEM, a head of National Association of Women Business Owners in New York City. She is also just incredibly passionate about innovation and business and entrepreneurship. And in my conversation, I learned so much just talking to her. She's fantastic. And she started coding when she was nine.

02:47 JM: Unreal.

02:48 KW: Right? That's fantastic.

02:49 JM: Very impressive.

02:52 KW: And just how do we get more women and men, or girls and boys to start doing STEM and technology, and particularly girls? We've had this conversation many times around the lack of gender diversity within the sciences and technology. And I was actually recently at an event with Kirsten Gillibrand, who's the New York state senator, and she was saying that, I think it was Stanford, had done this experiment where they listed, it was an environmental engineering course, and they listed it as "environmental engineering", and 70% of the registrants were guys. And then they listed it as something along the lines of "impacting the environment through blah, blah, blah.", and then 70% of the registrants were women.

03:43 JM: Amazing.

03:43 KW: And so part of it is how do we even just have that conversation around technology that's appealing to everybody, right? Who may have different purposes or different aspects about STEM that they're looking to do.

03:57 JM: Yeah, yeah, it's really interesting.

04:00 KW: So Jess, as you know, we love to open up the podcast with either some... A poll or with a question that one of our listeners submitted. If you're interested to Jess or to anybody, in sharing... Asking us a question, you can feel free to email it at podcast@ellevatenetwork.com, or tweet to @EllevateNtwk, #ellevatepod, and ask us your question. One of the questions we've received today ironically, which great timing given our conversation with Maisha, is around remote work and what are some insights... I'll read it right here. "Hey Kristy, I recently took a job where I'll be working remotely and I'm worried that I will miss out on some of the culture that you find and some of the camaraderie that happens when working within an office. What are some tips to stay engaged and in touch with the rest of the team?" Jess, what do you think about that?

05:01 JM: Great question, yeah. And I think it's... Obviously in this day and age, it's more and more becoming an concern of people, and work forces are more and more becoming a majority remote. What do we do? We have a couple of remote workers who've been with the team for a while, for a long time. We do a lot of video conferencing and video meetings, and we also have a lot of instant messaging, using apps like Slack for instance. And I think there's a lot of jokes, there's a lot of gifts that we share, so it's not all strictly work. And I think that really helps to keep them engaged on a personal level as well. What else, Kristy, would you say?

05:43 KW: Well Jess, I specifically picked this question for you too because I think that you do a great job of driving culture and connection within the Ellevate team. Friday afternoons, you can oftentimes find us with some wine and doing some late afternoon working, and it's always about how do we incorporate those that are working remotely? Some of our employees work from home on Fridays, some live in other states, but how can we get together at the end of a long week to share a glass of wine, hang out, socialize with one another. And it's been really nice and that came as part of your efforts and you created that. I really have seen the benefit of that with just the team and how they interact with each other.

06:26 JM: Yeah. I think it's so important to sort of close the computer every now and again, and really just connect with each other on that sort of... On just even a fun level, it doesn't necessarily have to be personal, like talk about what you're doing on the weekend. Talk about the latest movie that you saw, and just connect in that respect. And of course I'm Australian. So yes, there's usually a bottle of wine involved [chuckle] or some kind of cold drink.

06:51 KW: Perfect. Well, let's get to my conversation with Maisha, she's fantastic. I know you will enjoy this. And if you want to share the Ellevate Podcast with your friends, your family, your co workers, please do so. We love hearing feedback and we love when, as part of our community, we share the things that really inspire us, so you can always share via iTunes, feel free to rate us, review us. That is huge when you are trying to build a podcast and we really appreciate that. And again, always feel free to connect with us on Twitter at EllevateNtwk #EllevatePod.

[music]

07:44 KW: I'm very excited to be here today with Maisha, who I had the pleasure of meeting at an Ellevate event. So thanks so much for joining me today.

07:53 Maisha Walker: It's great to be here.

07:55 KW: And thanks for your support of Ellevate Network. It's so important to have many voices in women who work in business and non-profit, who have started their own companies to really share those perspectives with the community as part of that ongoing learning. So thanks for adding your voice to the mix, and I cannot wait to hear what you have to tell us. But I'd love to just start out, you own your own business. And how did you get to that place?

08:26 MW: So it's an interesting story. And it's actually particularly interesting this year because... So I started an advisory board for my business, and this is... I initially intended for them to meet quarterly, which was very ambitious, I realized later. They meet once a year, that's just about what I can handle. They're very opinionated, which is why I asked for them to be on the board, and I just learn so much in the two to three hours that I spend with them, that I can't deal with executing on it more than once a year. But this year really marked a bit of a turning point for us revenue wise, and in many ways I feel like... So I've been on my own in business for 17 years, it's been a long time. Yeah, but I made a lot of mistakes the first 12. [chuckle] So in some ways, I feel like I'm running a three year old business just because the things that I was really able to activate and put in place in around 2014-2015 really created a turning point for us.

09:36 MW: And now we're on this fantastic trajectory building the business I've always wanted to build, but it took a long time, it took a long time. So I started out to go back to your question. I started out working in finance, actually. I worked as so many in New York, especially. I had some student loans I needed to pay off. [chuckle] And it was a great way to get that done. So I worked at Morgan Stanley. I worked at an investment management firm called Neuberger Berman, and I learned a tremendous amount from those experiences that really helped me to create the business I have now. I also worked in direct marketing for a magazine publisher that no longer exists. They got bought out and then got bought out and then bought out over the years. But I worked on.

10:22 KW: Is direct marketing still a thing?

10:23 MW: It is still a thing.

10:24 KW: Actually I shouldn't even ask that question. My mailbox knows that it's still a thing.

10:27 MW: Absolutely. A lot of it has shifted to digital, you know My Space, but it definitely is still a thing even in print. And so in the magazine publishing industry, the direct marketing is really just the little cards that fall out of the magazine when you're reading them. So I worked on the finance in the marketing side of magazine publishing, and it was also really a great experience. It's where I learned my first spreadsheets. [chuckle] And totally fell in love, which is what led me into finance after that. But it was when I was in Morgan Stanley, we were right on the beginnings of the dot com boom. And I left Morgan with basically all my student loans paid off and a lot of money saved. And I said, this is my chance. And I had been programming, actual coding, since I was nine. So it was just a great opportunity and a great time to be a coder and there were all these great companies that were looking for people who could help them sort of figure out how they were gonna wrangle the web. Now it's so much more than that. The web is quaint, and there's all these other digital elements. So I left Morgan and started my business, and I worked as a freelancer. I did a lot of work in what was then the social media space, but social media didn't exist then. So my stent in the space predates Facebook by about eight years. I know it's crazy. It's crazy even when I say it out loud.

12:00 MW: So back then it was called online communities, and I built some of the first online communities. And you know, everything from designing all the little widgets and tools that people would use to interact with each other to literally designing their analytic system's 'cause they didn't have one. So I also predate Google by two years, there was no such thing as Google Analytics. So I designed their entire analytics system so they could track what was going on in their communities, designed their entire customer service system and their teams and like wrote all the scripts for the customer service messages. [chuckle] I mean the crazy things that people did back then 'cause there was just nobody else to do it.

12:39 KW: Yeah.

12:40 MW: So yeah. [laughter]

12:43 KW: I laugh because I joined a startup in 2001, and it's interesting and I think about it all the time 'cause everything we built, we built in house, right? Everything. We had...

12:56 MW: 'Cause nothing existed.

12:57 KW: Discussion boards and communities and tracking and CMS and all of that and you built it in house. And then today it's like, if you want something you're like," Okay, who has an API, who's already built it, let me license it."

13:10 MW: Which of the five options are we gonna research and then decide which one makes the most sense to invest in?

13:15 KW: Which is just... I mean it's like... Really if you think about that, just in that span of time, how many companies have been created to kind of automate and meet this need.

13:25 MW: How many industries have been created?

13:27 KW: Yes.

13:28 MW: It's pretty crazy.

13:29 KW: Yes, but you were the initial like, "We're gonna build it in house," and you know. Oh my gosh. So to take a step back, because I love the fact that you started coding when you were nine years old. [chuckle] And, I mean, what did that mean? Were you on the dot matrix? See, I remember computer classes in school and it was these big, huge computers. You were doing like...

13:58 MW: Yes, dot matrix printers, yeah. And I remember all of that. So I actually had, I don't know if you've ever read the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell. So he talks, one of his stories that he tells is about Bill Gates and how... And the theme in the book is that while many of the icons we know were absolutely exceptional people, they also lived in exceptional circumstances, and that contributed to their greatness as much as the people who they are. So obviously they had to be the kind of person that was gonna take advantage of the circumstances that they had, but had they not had those circumstances that things might've turned out quite differently. So one of the interesting things about Bill Gates was that his father, I believe, worked for IBM or like some major tech company or like a research center, I can't remember exactly what it was, but his father actually was able to give him access to all of this technology and these computers that he was able to go and basically play with, as like a 10 year old or 15 year old, something crazy like that. And it was that that really helped him explore his love of technology and computers at a very young age, and he was able to actually start building a business in that space before he was 18.

15:18 MW: So just this really interesting... So I have a similar, not that similar, but when I was in 2nd grade is when I got introduced to computers because I went to this amazing school and we had a computer lab for 2nd graders. And I tell people that and they were like, to me it was normal. And that's where I discovered computers and discovered that I wanted to learn how to program and I hounded my parents, who were not, I mean we didn't have a lot of money, but they managed to get me a computer. And that's the beginning of a very long love story.

15:48 KW: Oh my goodness. Where did you go to school?

15:51 MW: So I grew up on Long Island and I went to this amazing private school called Portledge, shoutout to Portledge. [chuckle] So a tiny school. My graduating class was 25 people.

16:02 KW: Yeah.

16:03 MW: Yeah. It was a really incredible experience and I cherish the education that I got there.

16:09 KW: I remember being in grade school and we had a computer lab that we went to I think for like half an hour a week. They just rotated, and you sort of did these little HTML type, I guess that was projects at the time.

16:29 S41: So you're a little younger than me. [chuckle] When I was doing this, there was no internet, there was no HTML, there was no...

16:34 KW: Well, no, I didn't have... No, we didn't have internet until I graduated from college. But, yeah, I remember, I always talk about how I was faxing resumes out to people and looking at the classifieds in the newspaper. [chuckle] My kids, it's crazy how they have zero concept of what a fax machine even is.

16:57 MW: Right, why would you do that?

16:58 KW: I try to explain how that worked. But, no, I think it's great when you talk about taking advantage of a situation because you have this opportunity and it's kind of like, it's understanding at a young age like, "This is something I'm interested in," or, "I have questions about," or, "I want to learn more about," and then taking that initiative to do it. And that's impressive. And following through on it too. You don't see that type of commitment to ongoing learning and working.

17:33 MW: Yeah, it's funny you say that because now I... I sort of went in and out in the programming world, so I was obsessive about it when I was... From eight to about 11, and then went as far as I could in terms of what I knew and what my parents had access to. And so, it dropped away for years, and then I went back to it in high school. And so, when the internet became an industry, I was very excited. I felt like here's an opportunity for me to code again in a way that felt more relevant, where I wouldn't just be coding. Before that, most of the programming that happened, you were building things, tools, software that would only be used by a very small number of people in a very tight context, and what the web did was it expanded the visibility for coders, that coders could actually build things that would be seen and interacted with by millions of people. And that was a sea change, I think, in the tech world for programmers.

18:38 KW: Tell me a little bit more about your business today.

18:41 MW: Sure. So now we work with small businesses, usually businesses on the larger side, so usually in the million to maybe $50 million range. And they come to us because they are very aggressively and actively looking to grow. And they strongly believe that digital is gonna be an important part of that growth. And they have a variety of reasons why they believe that, but the commonality is, they wanna be able to leverage the access that digital gives them to new markets, to going deeper into existing markets. And they usually just don't have the resources in house to understand how to strategize that, so what to do? And they also don't have the resources in house to execute on it. So, they may have a piece here or a piece here, one team member that's a graphic designer, or one person that understands Facebook and Twitter, but they don't have the full package of an entire digital strategy.

19:40 MW: So they come to us, and they essentially outsource all of that to us. And to some extent, we work with their internal, whatever pieces of teams that they have that we can leverage, we work with them as well. So, it's everything from designing and building websites, which I was doing 20 years ago 'cause there was nothing else, [chuckle] to email marketing campaigns, search engine advertising, so Google ads, Bing ads, social media campaigns, social ads, the whole spectrum of leveraging digital in order to either just simply be more visible and get your brand in front of more people and create brand awareness. But usually, more often, we like to work on things that are actually transactional. So we're trying to actually acquire customers for our clients online. So a very big part of what we do, coming out of my finance days, is all of the digital analytics across all of those channels, and coming back and looking at how that generates either brand awareness or actual lead generation or actual sales, actual transactions on a client's website.

20:45 KW: So when we did the event together, the Ellevate event, you had talked about remote workforce, and I found that as really interesting. We have on our team a few members who work remote as well. I'll tell you, I'll be honest about one of the challenges that I face is when someone's not physically in the office with you, you have to be very intentional about how you can extend a culture to workers that are not in the office, and how you can engage with them and communicate on an active basis, because I think, oftentimes you are so heads down, and then you're like, "Oh, I haven't talked to this person in a day or two." And that feels... It feels lonely for everybody. And that's not what a workforce collaboration is about. So what have you learned?

21:40 MW: Well, my situation is a little bit, I guess, different from yours in that, from the very beginning, I was very intentional about wanting to build a remote workforce. So back in the early 2000s or mid '90s, when I struck out on my own, I wanted to... I was very passionate. I'm an introvert, [chuckle] so let's start there. So commuting into a workplace every day in and of itself is very draining for me. And I really wanted to, as an entrepreneur, throw out the mold and define a way of working and a way of being an entrepreneur that was authentic to me and that was gonna work for me and my lifestyle in every way that I could. And some of that was thinking ahead to, "Well, maybe I'll wanna have a family, and it would be great to really own my time more and be able to live the lifestyle with my family the way that I would want to." But also, some of it was just being respectful of myself as an introvert and not feeling like people need to have face time in order to do a good job. I felt very strongly about that.

22:55 MW: So I was also really excited about working with other people who felt the same way. And so, my goal was to have an entirely remote workforce. And that was not... [chuckle] In the mid '90s, that was a little unusual. And for a while it was hard really finding people. Sites like Guru, and Upwork, and all these other online freelancer sites, HireMyMom, [chuckle] like those sites did not exist. So it was a lot harder finding, just connecting with people. They were out there, but it was harder connecting with them. And even when you did, they didn't always have a lot of experience with working remotely, so you were stumbling through it together.

23:41 KW: Even the infrastructure, the cloud and file sharing and everyone's like VPN'ing it and...

23:43 MW: The infrastructure wasn't... Skype didn't exist. Dropbox and Google Drive didn't exist.

23:49 KW: You're buying them a printer... Printer fax scanner combo.

23:52 MW: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, it was definitely a different time to be doing it, but I have found... And so, I underscore the difference between our situations, mainly to say that it's actually, I think, easier when your entire workforce is remote, because everybody is dealing with the same challenges, whereas if you have a workforce that's blended, you have some people who are in person, some people who are at home, and it can be more difficult, I think, to blend those two cultures together. 'Cause working from home is its own culture. [chuckle] So, how do you create an environment that is really great for people in both situations? I think that's actually harder. So I give you kudos for being able to figure that out.

24:41 MW: I think my job is easier because everything that we figure out is applicable to everyone. The one place where we do have more challenges is just understanding... Some people are extroverts, some people are introverts. And working from home as an extrovert can be painful, can be actually draining, and it took me a while to learn that where I find being around people too much draining, they physically find it draining to not have direct human contacts. And phone contact is not the same. [chuckle] So that has been an interesting learning experience for me, is just understanding how to make sure that the remote people on our team are happy regardless of whether they love working from home as an extrovert or love it as an introvert. How are they sustaining their needs as human beings? And meeting human interaction has been... That's a new challenge for us, as our team has grown, just figuring. So, I don't have an answer for that yet, but it's something that we're working on.

25:44 KW: So you work from your home?

25:45 MW: I do. I work from home.

25:47 KW: And do you have a whole setup? I know so many women in our community also have started their own businesses, or may be working from home. And I love, actually, I do love working from home because... Personally, but I think because it removes all the other distractions. And so, I just like sit down. I sit there, I focus, but I don't have a dedicated space to work at home. I'm at my kitchen counter or something. And I know I've heard the setup is important. You need to have your clear office.

26:20 MW: So I'm not one of those people. [laughter] I work from wherever. I think this is also a part of me being an introvert. It is very easy for me to get into my own head and just cut everything else out. So I don't really need a dedicated space. I end up having one mainly because it's just easier. You have your setup and everything's there, so it's just easier.

26:41 KW: Yeah. You don't have to put it away and bring it back out?

26:42 MW: Exactly. I can grab it or not grab it or... But I often don't use that space. I often will find more comfortable spaces to work. I like working the sort of stand up desk, so I often have to take breaks. So, I'm standing up, and then, you can't stand up all day long, especially if you're not moving. So, I often have to take breaks, and I go sit down, and I have to remember to go sit down, and then I'm just like sitting on my couch.

[chuckle]

27:09 KW: You're like, "I wonder what's on Netflix."

27:10 MW: Yeah, well, see, so that's an interesting thing. A lot of people say that they could not work from home because they would just be too distracted. I don't have that problem. I think I'm just naturally a kind of intense person, and I love what I do, which helps. So, I want to be doing it, and I want to be making progress, so I don't find that I'm often very distracted.

27:33 KW: So you've mentioned a few times that you're an introvert, but I met you 'cause you spoke at an Ellevate event. You were speaking at an event this morning. And then you're speaking at an event this evening?

27:45 MW: I am not speaking this evening, but I'm gonna be with a whole big group of people this evening, so that's gonna be interesting.

27:50 KW: So how does an introvert network and public speaking?

27:55 MW: Yeah, so, networking is a challenge. Networking is actually much harder, for me at least, than public speaking. [chuckle] I was explaining this, I don't know if it was at your event actually that I was explaining this to people, but for me, public speaking is much easier, partially because I'm speaking on a subject that I'm very knowledgeable about. I've done it a lot, and so I'm relatively comfortable talking. I still get very nervous [chuckle] before just about every event and wonder, "Why am I doing this?" But I get past it, and it's... I actually really do enjoy it. I find it deeply satisfying.

28:35 MW: I think it's also easier because I don't have to worry about trying to create conversation or trying to figure out where someone is coming from, even though I really do enjoy that. Speaking has its own context and has its own guardrails. You know what your topic is, you can expand on that, and push the edges and create some interesting exchanges and dialogues, but you know what that's about. And I find it's a great way for me actually to network, because I find networking so uncomfortable that when I'm on a stage and everybody knows that I'm there to speak about this particular topic and then they hear me speak, and hopefully get the sense that I know what I'm talking about, then people actually come up to me at the end of the event, and they wanna talk to me, and they have very specific things they wanna ask me about. And so, [chuckle] it's a fantastic way for me to network and meet people and help people understand more about what I do and what I'm passionate about. So, I strongly prefer networking by doing speaking engagements rather than going into the middle of a room of 100 people. And usually, a classic introvert style, I will find one person, [chuckle] and talk to them for the entire time, and have a fascinating conversation with that one person.

30:06 KW: I do the exact same thing.

30:08 MW: Do you do the same thing?

[laughter]

30:09 KW: I'm a total introvert as well, which is funny. We actually always joke because Ellevate... Many of the people that work here are introverts. We're like, "We're introverts that are running a network [chuckle] with lots of networking events." But it's... Yeah, it's just exhausting. I've been... I have an event tonight, it will be my third event this week, and tomorrow I just wanna go home, and yes, and watch tv.

30:35 MW: Pull over covers with... My boyfriend laughs because he loves watching television. I'm not much of a television junkie, but he loves it. And so there are a few things that I'm willing to [chuckle] watch with him. But for him, television is like an interactive sport. He watches it, and he wants to pause it, and talk about things, and, "Isn't that goofy?" and, "Isn't that funny?" And so, I can do a certain amount of that, but he doesn't understand that sometimes I just wanna literally be under the covers with my iPad watching something with the headphones on. For me, that is incredibly...

31:12 KW: Just need alone time, downtime.

31:13 MW: Exactly, exactly. It's sort of like cutting off the stimulation. I just need not a lot of stimulation, and I need my brain to not be thinking. And if I'm talking to someone while watching TV, that's too much stimulation. [chuckle] It sounds crazy, but it is.

31:32 KW: So you also wear another hat with the National Association of Women Business Owners, NAWBO. That's a great organization, I'd love for you to share more.

31:40 MW: Right. NAWBO is the National Association of Women Business Owners. It's a national organization that was founded actually in the early '70s. Can I just take a minute to tell this story, because this story blows me away. So, the women who founded NAWBO went... They were all entrepreneurs in their own right in the mid '70s, early '70s, and they wanted to join the chamber of commerce, their local chamber of commerce. So, they went to the chamber of commerce and said, "How do we sign up?" And it turned out that the chamber did not allow women. I just wanna let that sit for a minute. [chuckle] It's shocking to think that that happened, for me, in my lifetime. Obviously, I was a very young baby, but I was born, and women were not allowed to join the chamber of commerce. [chuckle] And it was perfectly legal. The other thing that blew me away was... You need more, but... [chuckle] The other thing that blew me away was, you also, as a woman, could not execute a legal document. You couldn't sign for a loan, you couldn't sign for a lease, and if you wanted to, say, take money out for your business and get a loan, you had to have a male signatory, and it usually had to be someone in your family. So, there's this classic story of this woman from NAWBO, from the early days of NAWBO, who wanted to take out a loan for her business. She didn't have her dad, she wasn't married, she didn't have a brother. She had to get her 18-year-old son to sign the loan for her.

33:26 KW: I can't... It's...

33:30 MW: How crazy is that?

[chuckle]

33:31 KW: It's like, I'm laughing, 'cause I'm like, "This is insane."

33:33 MW: Because it seems absurd.

33:34 KW: It's so...

33:36 MW: It seems absurd, but we have really come a very long way in the last 40 years as women, as a country, as a culture, to the point where that now seems absolutely absurd. But that was the environment in which women were operating back in the '70s, not that long ago, and it was NAWBO who changed that. It was actually NAWBO women who went and lobbied Washington and got the laws in place to prevent things like that from happening and make women essentially full citizens. And some of those laws actually didn't even change until the early '80s. It took a while. So, really remarkable. You think about our parents and our grandparents, and the context in which they were living and operating and trying to be professional women, it really puts things in perspective when you understand some of the very specific details of the environment in which they were operating.

34:33 MW: So fast forward to 2017. So yes, I am now soon to be President of the New York City Chapter of NAWBO, so NAWBO has chapters all over the country, and we still have a very strong commitment to political activism in Washington. The organization is non-partisan, both nationally and locally. And I do think one of the great things about NAWBO is that it does help to encourage and teach women how to take more political action as a business owner and speak to the issues that they're really excited and interested in addressing as business owners. So, there's this whole political leadership element of NAWBO that I think has been a constant theme in what has made the organization last for 40 years, and so successful at galvanizing women. But ultimately, also, it is an organization for women business owners, and a lot of what we do is about supporting women and helping women to support each other in being more successful.

35:42 KW: Well, wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us today. This was great.

35:46 MW: You're welcome, it was great. I'm so glad that you invited me.

[music]

35:52 KW: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out. Subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review. Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter @EllevateNtwk, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website www.ellevatenetwork.com. That's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E network dot com. And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller, she rocks, and to our voice over artist, Rachel Griesinger. Thanks so much and join us next week.


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