Angela Lussier is a career and business coach and is best known for rescuing entrepreneurs from their 9-5. She is the author of The Anti-Resume Revolution, CEO of Angela Lussier Enterprises and founder of the Do+Make Business District, a global online community of entrepreneurs escaping the 9-5. She is a TEDx presenter who inspired the audience to “stop waiting and start creating” in 2010. Angela is a recipient of the 2014 40 Under Forty award given by Business West, the leading business magazine in Western Massachusetts. She also blogs about entrepreneurship for Virgin.com and mentors startups through Valley Venture Mentors‘ accelerator program in Springfield, Massachusetts. Angela has also been a past contributor to Lioness.
Starting this fall the UMass Family Business Center will host a new peer group for women business owners and key managers, which will meet nine times per year for three hours in a central location. As facilitator of this new group, Ira Bryck, director of the business center, caught up with Angela to see what’s in store and what women can expect at the roundtable.
IRA: Hi Angela! I’m excited that you will be facilitating a new roundtable for women in business for us, starting this fall. What do you expect someone could get out of a group like this?
ANGELA: Each time I’ve had the opportunity to be in the same room as other powerful women, I’ve felt an electricity that wasn’t present in my everyday life. When I speak of this feeling, other women say they know exactly what I mean. I would like to bring that same electricity to this group and use it to help foster growth, inspire new possibilities, and support one another while making big decisions for their businesses.
IRA: What do you think happens in a confidential group discussion like this, that doesn’t usually happen in everyday conversations?
ANGELA: I was once in a group like this and a woman opened up about her fear of not being able to attract new customers. She was ashamed and didn’t want to admit this to us (or herself). After a few minutes, she found out that the entire group felt the same way! At subsequent meetings, a new level of friendship and respect was formed and members felt safe enough to be even more open about their biggest fears, challenges, and dreams. You can’t get that kind of deep connection and trust from everyday conversations.
IRA: What sorts of challenges do women in business face that might not be as common for men in business?
ANGELA: A lot of women feel ostracized because there are so many more men in business. They feel they are at a disadvantage because men may not see them as equals and other women are threatened by them. They also have a hard time selling themselves and not coming off as manipulative or pushy. Usually the most powerful women are the ones who need to be reminded just how powerful they are (especially by their peers).
IRA: Is it necessary that women in this roundtable have a particular political/feminist/business perspective?
ANGELA: No. Actually, the more varied views, the better. The power of groups like this lies in their diversity of viewpoints. Some of the most effective conversations I’ve witnessed have come from people who have completely different backgrounds and worldviews. It’s exciting to watch someone’s mind open as they learn of an entirely new approach from someone they wouldn’t have met had it not been for the group.
IRA: How would you describe yourself as a business facilitator/ guide/ mentor?
ANGELA: Soft when I need to be, hard when I have to be. In other words, I’m a drill sergeant dressed as a Care Bear. There are times when true understanding and support are needed, and there are other times when tough love and truth need to be spoken! I like to guide the conversation when it is going off course while also ask deeper questions and make sure we are getting to the heart of what each member needs when they are asking for help.
IRA: If someone is considering joining this roundtable, can they speak with you to see if it feels like a fit?
ANGELA: Absolutely! I’m happy to talk and answer any questions. Get in touch with me at email@example.com or 413-426-2720
IRA: And interested women in business can also speak with me, at 413-545-4545 or Ira@UMassFBC.com.