I feel like my heart could burst in appreciation for these amazing people that I am honored to call my Prowess Project advisory board. Last night was Prowess Project’s first meeting and I wanted to share my takeaways.
Y’all, I was nervous… these people are giving their time and expertise to help my dream come to life. That is a lot to ask and I desperately wanted them, first, to like each other and second, appreciate and work well together. In the first ten minutes, that nervousness completely dissipated and I felt 100% confident and comfortable that I could not have chosen a better mix.
Quick intros of those who I am honored to call my board:
- Leah Steinkirch – Chief Mom Officer and Advisor: Leah is my go-to when it comes to the “mom expertise”, graphic design, bookkeeping (and the list goes on and on). She pulled together the entire 16+ hour Prowess Project facilitator certification which heavily focuses on emotional intelligence and knowing what the client needs before he/she even asks.
- Jen (Slaski) Halligan – Marketing & Culture Advisor: My real-life fairy godmother and unparalleled marketer. If you want to get to the heart and soul of your brand and message to the world. She’s your gal.
- Andy Hart aka “Tech Andy” – Fractional CTO and Tech Advisor: Talk about tech “prowess”! Andy has it. Plus, his dedication to the values and missions of the company make him the perfect mix between tech and business.
- Andy Fruhling – Strategy & Operations Advisor: Even the girl who is building a company around streamlining processes needs help streamlining her own processes. Andy has already been and I have no doubt will be pivotal when it comes to scaling Prowess Project and I have a hunch we aren’t too far out from that.
As for my advisory board meeting takeaways:
Spend time driving home your “why”
We spent the first hour and a half of our three hour meeting talking about the Prowess Project “why” which is to help empower women in and outside of work, and specifically to help close the gender pay gap, extinguish the mommy penalty, stomp out “mansplaining” and “hepeating“, etc etc. And one of the only proven ways to make progress is for women to contract, even if a few hours a month, to shorten that “gap” in their resume which is exactly what Prowess Project is tackling first.
CEOs be vulnerable
These are the folks that you can be downright honest with. Worried about something? Have anxiety about XYZ? Share and come up with a plan. Every anxiety or vulnerability I expressed, one of them was stepping up to the plate to own it. At one point, Andy Fruhling turned to me after expressing a concern and said, “Ashley, don’t be worried about that – that’s what I do for a living” – THAT, that confidence, dedication, accountability and ownership is what puts me at ease.
SHARE, share, share
That was my favorite part. Hearing the stories of others, understanding why Prowess Project spoke to them, getting differing viewpoints on common workplace scenarios. Listening to their “why Prowess Project” gave me goosebumps and I knew that I had the right women AND MEN in the room. There were revelations made, connections formed, respect established, and 115 collective years of professional expertise standing behind Prowess Project.
Thank you to my board. Hold me accountable, and be my cheerleaders. Words can not express how excited I am for us to change the world.
Until next time,
PS – You can rent meeting space at the Austin Central Library for free. But word to the wise, don’t eat on the carpet…