What were you doing before you became an entrepreneur?
Minda: I started my career as a Director of Development.I spent over a decade as a professional fundraiser for universities and colleges. Helping universities and colleges raise millions of dollars for their endowments and various scholarship funds.
How and why did you start The Memo?
Minda: I came up with the concept early in 2014, and it evolved from there. While there is a lot of great career content on the Internet, I didn’t feel as though the content was geared towards women of color. Women of color have a different experience in the workforce. For example many women of color make, on average, less than the often quoted 77 cents to a man’s dollar. I wanted to create a space where women could have access to amazing resources, a strong network, and the skills to break the glass ceiling. The goal was to create an on and offline community that would bring women together into an intimate setting, where we could create an amazing experience while building confidence and career skills. My cofounder, Lauren Broussard, and I decided we needed a platform for women of color, built by women of color.
How did you meet your co-founder? How do you two divvy up your duties and responsibilities to the business?
How does your upbringing and growth as a first-generation college student impact the way you do business today?
Minda: As a first generation college student I know, appreciate, and understand the importance of being first. I am the oldest of three kids, so there is a certain leadership trait already ingrained in you. I grew up from very humble beginnings, so I know how to stretch a dollar. And starting your own business is all about being frugal and scrappy. Learning how to execute with less is key. I remember when I was 13 or 14 I wanted to learn how to ride horses. My family did not have the money for me to take up this sport. I pulled out the yellow pages and called every stable and asked if I could come and learn how to take care of the horses in exchange for learning how to ride. Within a few calls, I had my parents driving me out to a horse stable to start my new lessons and learn a new skill. Having less should never discourage you from your goals or dreams! There is always a way, if you have the will! If you want your business to succeed — there is nothing in this world that will get in your way.
What has been the biggest challenges running a business? What have you enjoyed about it the most?
Minda: As with most entrepreneurs, we didn’t have the startup capital. A great idea and not enough money. We poured our own resources into it because we believed in our mission, the women, and our product. Lauren and I took what we had and built the plane as we started to fly. In our first year, we had “pop ups” in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
Our attendees are all amazing women with different stories, struggles, and triumphs. We have some women that attend every boot camp we have. When they tell us they’ve reached a career milestone, we get so excited. Those women also bring other girlfriends, because they want them to have access to this information as well.
Please share some upcoming projects that The Memo is working on.
Minda: We are entering the second leg of our Career Readiness Boot Camp Tour at HBCU’s for women in their last two years of college to help them make the transition from campus to career. We believe it’s important to equip the next generation of women of color with the skills to negotiate their first salaries, build their networks, and maintain their personal brand. And when they graduate, they have a community waiting for them at The Memo. Additionally, we have a brand new platform for our clients launching in February. We will offer enhanced career development tools, more Career Boot Camps (on and offline), and access to women of color they wouldn’t normally have access too. We are very excited to launch our new platform next month.