50/50 Female Founders of the Launchpad
I'm so proud to be a part of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University series “50/50 Female Founders” focused on female-identifying innovators and founders who work in the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars.
The LaunchPad is inclusive and seems to represent the Syracuse University population well, as the school is a roughly 50:50, male:female ratio. I’ve been encouraged and given the same tools and opportunities here as the males, and the people I’ve met in this space – other students using the space – treat me like I belong. Gender has been a non-issue and, maybe, a non-thought.
I think being an artist first is unusual for many entrepreneurs. Though, I believe this is dependent on how we define “entrepreneur,” something I’m still sorting out, myself. I think my self-confidence comes through in that I’m not afraid to ask questions. I’m comfortable with myself and with admitting what I don’t know; otherwise I’ll never be open to learning. I think this makes others comfortable around me, and brings respect. This also gives me the ability to express my true self and my art while still maintaining that respect.
All creatives are entrepreneurs, a concept we don’t discuss and I think is lost on most people. This alone is my advice: start thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur, because that’s what we all are as creatives. Sure, some need more business tools, just as others need more emotional tools — but it’s a part of us. We have to forge our own path, take opportunities that make us happy, and keep learning.
Thanks to Kayla Simon for my interview as a female entrepreneur working on my business AIY Studio! I would not be at this point without the help and support of amazing Director Linda Dickerson-Hartsock, and the rest of the Blackstone Launchpad. You can follow the SU Launchpad YouTube for new interviews each week.
Leading up to this video interview, Blackstone Launchpad’s Audrey Miller wrote about me and “how art inspires.” You can read the article to learn about how I work with the Launchpad and its sense of community.