From Editor to Entrepreneur: Lesley Jane Seymour

From Editor to Entrepreneur: Lesley Jane Seymour

lesley jane seymour headshot

Lesley Jane Seymour is the personification of resiliency and versatility. Having first lost her job as editor-in-chief of Marie Claire magazine in 2006 as a result of cost-cutting, then 10 years later, after losing her post as editor-in- chief of More Magazine upon its closure, Seymour has reinvented herself by going back to school to pursue her original career aspirations and by venturing in her own digital startup company.

“I originally went to school to be a marine biologist and that is why I am finishing up my degree now in sustainability. I waited until my 60s to finish a concept that I always wanted to do.”

After More Magazine shuttered in 2016, Seymour’s original reinvention plan was to apply her sustainability degree to the corporate world.

“My reinventing plan was to go into a corporate situation in sustainability. I thought I would take it from publishing to the beauty business. They need help in the sustainability area.”

Her plans were sidetracked when over 600 loyal More readers reached out to her on social media, literally demanding ‘more.’

“When the magazine closed, all these readers came to me and said, ‘do something else for us. I said, ‘Okay let me try that.’ I have never been an entrepreneur, so I am giving it a try.”

In response, Seymour was able to poll these readers to find the research for her startup idea, CoveyClub, an online/offline networking platform for women 40 years and older who want to continue learning, growing and expanding their world by making new friends and deeper connections. CoveyClub is a combination of Seymour’s passions – education, networking, and reinvention.

“I think education is a wonderful answer when you are stuck on anything – a health issue – or what should I do next? I always turn to education. That is why I call the CoveyClub, ‘where lifelong learners come to connect.’ Education has always been such a big part of everything I do. It sets apart that CoveyClub reader and member.”

Seymour says the CoveyClub is especially beneficial for those who are reassessing the trajectory of their life.

“It’s a wonderful tool for reestablishing and rethinking things. I always tell people if they don’t know what to do, to take a class on something they like. You don’t have to get a degree in it.”

As CoveyClub continues to shape and grow, Seymour shares the transition to entrepreneurial life isn’t easy.

“It is a different approach going from corporate to entrepreneur. I am thrilled to be doing my own thing, but I need to raise money. Being an entrepreneur can be hard. It can be lonely and isolating. You don’t have comraderies. You might just have one or two part time workers.”

To assist her with CoveyClub, Seymour has a group of friends and advisors who give her guidance and suggestions.

“I am bringing people who run businesses in to help me with my business plan. One woman who writes business plans for a living is meeting with me once a week. I have someone else who ran her own business giving me ideas as well. I’m pulling ideas from all my friends because I like a lot of input and because I don’t know exactly what I’m doing.”

The best piece of advice Seymour has been given is, it isn’t so easy to be entrepreneur.

“It is not easy, especially coming out of corporate life. It is a lot tougher than you think. You want to know that, this is a reality and it is hard. A lot of other people are going through the same thing and it’s not so simple to solve.”

As for her own self-improvement skills, Seymour points to online articles, entrepreneurial books, and NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast as helpful resources.

“‘How I Built This’ is very helpful because I get to learn what other people are doing and how they are doing it. I read the Lean Startup by Eric Ries and I read everything I can online.”

Even though Seymour finds these resources beneficial, she says having the courage to act and produce is key.

“A lot of it is just doing it. You have to stick your neck out there. In the beginning, I was afraid to put it out there because of fear of failure. My friends kept telling me to just put it out there and see what happens. I’ve had my screw ups which I wanted to kick myself about, but they say as an entrepreneur, to fail fast and fail hard. So, you move on and learn from it.”

Even when a mistake is made such as upsetting a valued customer, Seymour says the entrepreneurial world offers more opportunities for growth and scalability.

“Luckily, there are a million other people to sell your idea to. I like the entrepreneurial world because it is big. There are people all over the place who are interested in what you are doing. You just have to find them.”

You can meet Lesley, and learn more about her and her story at the upcoming She Leads 2018: The Second Chapter conference, taking place in NYC on October 26th.  Get your tickets today atwww.sheleadsmedia.com/upcoming-conferences-events

Pitching to the Media vs. Investors: What Makes for a Compelling Pitch?

Pitching to the Media vs. Investors: What Makes for a Compelling Pitch?

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You may think you have all the boxes checked when it comes to what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. You’ve got a fantastic idea for a product that fills a need in a specific niche. You’ve got the drive, the experience, and most importantly, the passion.  However, there’s so much more to running your own business than having a product or service that you’re confident will sell.

The need to stimulate interest for your business will arise at not only the start of your business but also continuously throughout the entire lifespan of your business.  Therefore, you’ll need to know how to effectively pitch. Your pitch will likely be used to pique curiosity in your business concept or your company’s existing products or services – targeted to either potential investors who may want to invest in you or to the media to compel them to pick up your story.

The Perfect Pitch for all Occasions
While pitching to potential investors, clients, and the media have different desired results; there are elements which are essential to a pitch regardless of the outcome you hope to achieve:

Do your homework and know your audience 
Just as buyer personas greatly influence your sales and marketing strategies, so should knowing whom you are pitching. Whether you are pitching to a potential investor or a publication, do your research and understand who you are pitching to.  Without doing your homework, you’re simply wasting time – both yours and the person to whom you are pitching.  You may learn that the people you are considering don’t invest in specific types of startups because it conflicts with their existing investments.  Or, the journalist you found covers women businesses, but not from your particular industry.

Explain exactly what your product is and who benefits most from it 
Your potential investors or the publication you are pitching to don’t want to hear a drawn-out story about how you came up with your idea and all the dreams you have for it. They want to know from the beginning what your product or service is and who will want to buy it. 

Be authentic 
Every entrepreneur has a story, and it’s crucial that you be authentic when you tell yours. Not only will your pitch be more credible, but it will be easier for you to perfect your pitch when you speak and write the truth consistently. And only by being authentic and therefore, natural, can you make an emotional connection with your audience.

But while there are similarities to the way you pitch to potential investors and the media, there are also significant differences that you should be prepared for. 

Pitching to Investors 
Pitching to investors can take place at various stages of your business’s lifespan. In the beginning, you may have a brilliant business idea but don’t have sufficient working capital to kick things off. And at some point, you may want to expand your range of products or services or move to a better facility and need more funds to make that happen.

You could have the best business idea in the world, but without the ability to present it in a way that is compelling enough for investors to pay attention, your vision is never going to become a reality. An outstanding pitch is like getting your foot in the door. And the way you deliver your words and how you present your idea could spell the difference between that door to funding being thrown open for you to enter or it being forced shut.

So what are the ingredients of an irresistible pitch that improves your odds of attracting someone to invest in your business idea? Here are some tips:

  1. Be enthusiastic and interactive – You know your product, your story, and your mission. And now it’s time to sell all those along with your passion and purpose. Investors want to support entrepreneurs who not only have a great product but also have a positive attitude about their business and its potential. They want to know they you are thinking long-term and are already envisioning well beyond your initial product line
  2. Dress to impress – If you know you’re going to be in front of an audience or meet potential investors, the last thing you want to do is show up looking sloppy. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a designer dress or get a professional glam squad to do your hair and makeup. If you prefer to dress simply, be neat and presentable. Unless, of course, your niche has a specific look and dressing outside of that doesn’t honor the market you represent. And here is where doing your homework also helps. If you’ve done your research, then you’ll know the audience you are addressing or the people you’re going to meet, allowing you to dress appropriately for the occasion.
  3. No reading allowed – You can’t display authenticity if you’re reading from your notes. If you know your business well, from its finances to your vision and mission to your long-term business plan, there’s no need for you to have cue cards. Speak from the heart and tell your story.

Pitching to the Media

You’ll also find the need to pitch to the media at some point as you define your marketing goals. It’s great exposure for your business if your story gets picked up by a publication.

You’ll want to persuade them that your story is newsworthy. Perhaps the biggest difference between pitching to investors and pitching to the media is that pitching to the media means having to perfect your pitch in written form.

Journalists rarely ever accept pitches by phone. And because journalists will receive up to a hundred pitches in a day, you’ll have to make yours stand out. The contents of your email need to reflect the verbal pitch that you’ve already perfected and needs to flow well in an email.  It should be short and straight to the point.

Here are tips for creating a persuasive pitch to journalists that will lessen your chances of your email getting sent to the trash:

  1. A short but specific subject line – Journalists receive so many emails in a day and have admittedly judged emails based on their subject line. Subject lines that are hyped up with too many marketing adjectives are quickly dismissed. So take the time to craft a subject line that is specific yet succinct.
  2. Get straight to the point – Journalists are busy people who don’t want to spend all day filtering through hundreds of emails. When you’re pitching to an audience, you may only have 10 minutes to talk and feel you still have the luxury of building up your story. However, when it comes to emails to the media, you’ll want to skip the pleasantries and go straight to the good stuff. They’ll want to know in the first few sentence who you are, what you do, and why your business is worth talking and reading about in their publication.

The importance of perfecting pitches for all situations is crucial. There are times when you will have the opportunity to pitch your idea to the media over the phone or in person such as an event. And there will be times you need to pitch your business to potential investors via email. When emailing a potential investor, you can use the pitch you would typically send the media but include financial data that will show investors how prepared and business savvy you are.

Have someone who can truthfully critique your pitch. Present it to them and say it exactly as you would in front of a potential investor, complete with hand gestures and body language. Have them read your email pitch and ask them if it flows well and if they spot any typos you may have missed.

So whether you are pitching to a live audience, one-on-one with a potential investor, or emailing the media, perfect your pitch by having someone you trust and who can be honest with you about what your pitch lacks or what it should do away with.

Ultimately, the goal of pitching to investors or the media is the same; to pique interest in your business and keep the conversation going.

Why not try out your pitch below?  I’ll give you my expert feedback and specific tips that you can use to refine your pitch.

She Leads Media Announces Leading 5th Annual Conference for Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders on October 27th in NYC.

NEW YORK, October 23/ She Leads 2017 will take place on Friday, October 27th from 8:30am – 7:00pm at the Wells Fargo Conference Center, 150 East 42nd Street in NYC.  This conference marks the fifth annual gathering that brings together 250+ women leaders, accomplished female founders and entrepreneurs with experts in marketing & social media, public relations, entrepreneurship, personal branding, entertainment and music, global business development, finance and the news media.

The mission of She Leads Media is to bring gender balance to the world by educating, inspiring and providing women with the tools, resources and networks they need to increase their visibility in the media, in leadership roles and as business owners.

The annual She Leads 2017 conference is designed to offer a primarily female audience practical and actionable advice to pursue new business opportunities, scale existing business and hone leadership skills.  The format of the conference includes keynotes, panel discussions, several networking opportunities, and a vendor showcase of female-run business.  She Leads 2017 will once again feature the extremely popular Pitch The Media panel, where audience members are given the unique chance to pitch themselves or their businesses and receive live, constructive feedback from a panel of media experts such as Linda Lacina, Managing Editor of Entrepreneur.com and Alicia Syrett, CEO of Pantegrion Capital and regular guest of CNBC’s Power Pitch.  Other panel highlights include the exploration of which entrepreneurial path women can choose, how to effectively leverage digital and social media in 2017 and beyond, how women lead in the US and around the world, and they ways that women can more powerfully show up as leaders from a 360-degree perspective – in person, online and from within.  Attendees will have the opportunity to network with speakers and like-minded professionals to learn, pitch ideas, and get tips to apply immediately in business and life.

Adrienne Garland, CEO of She Leads Media says, “The annual She Leads conference offers women who are serious about taking action to make an impact with a face-to-face environment to learn, network with a purpose, and do business in an intimate and genuinely supportive way.”  Garland adds, “It’s my mission to get more women into powerful positions in the media, in government, in boardrooms and at the helms of thriving businesses so that there is equality.  This world needs to achieve gender balance rapidly, and I believe women are ready to accelerate the force of change.  The She Leads Annual Conference provides a forum for women to learn from experts and one another so that we are all inspired to take action.  I’m confident that She Leads attendees will come away with the inspiration, knowledge, tools and connections to begin to take more prominent leadership roles in all aspects of their lives.“

This year’s 35+ expert speakers were carefully curated to showcase diversity of thought and leadership across a variety of industries – entertainment, music media, marketing, law, finance, the arts, and more.  The all-star lineup includes keynote speakers Gloria Feldt, Founder and CEO of Take the Lead and Jennifer Iannollo, CEO of The Concordia Project, and speakers Keara Tanella of Facebook Creative Shop SMB, Russell Cassar, CIO of JP Morgan, Karen Cahn of iFund Women, Sheila Di Gasper of Ingram LLP, Courtney Spritzer of Socialfly, Ayat Shukaira of Invesp, and L’ay Green of SheTek.  The audience will also be treated to a special appearance by teen entrepreneur, Anna Zhang, Editor-in-Chief of Pulse Spikes.  Each speaker contributes a unique perspective and is committed to helping women to lead and grow.  For complete list of 35+ speakers, please visit: https://www.sheleadsmedia.com/events/annual-conference/speakers.html.

For those looking for even deeper networking and a truly unique experience, She Leads offers a VIP Event taking place on Thursday, October 26th from 5:30 – 9:00pm. 50 VIP attendees will be treated to a custom art tour at the New Museum given by NYC-based Judith Walsh, CEO of Art Smart, followed by a networking reception at the Buddy Warren Gallery.

She Leads 2017 is sponsored in part by Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti, LLP, Wells Fargo, TONE Networks, UPS, Goldman Sachs Tory Burch 10,000 Small Businesses, The Corncordia Project, and Curating Simplicity, Whova, hint water and Appleseed Communications.  Vendors include non-profit Healing Headbands and NAWBO NYC, as well as for profit companies BRNGL Pop-Up featuring W by Worth, Body Soul Beauty, Jlew Bags, Jovana Djuric and Cupright.  Registration fee is $259. For a complete listing of the day’s schedule and speakers, as well as information about the VIP Event, visit www.sheleadsmedia.com.

About She Leads Media: She Leads Media, Inc. is a marketing and content company dedicated to curating exceptional experiences that positively impact women by bringing visibility to woman entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide.

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/SheLeadsMedia/
Twitter:        @SheLeadsIt
Instagram:  @SheLeadsMedia

For all inquiries or further information, contact:
Adrienne Garland
Adrienne@sheleadsmedia.com

SOURCE She Leads Media

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https://www.sheleadsmedia.com

Bringing Gender Balance to Leadership and Entrepreneurship

We all see, hear and absorb an overabundance of male-focused leadership images and business success stories from movies, on television, online and in the news. Startup conferences and pitch-fests attended primarily by men seem to occur every day of the week. And, we’ve all heard the stats – men raise more venture capital, are funded more frequently and scale to greater levels than women.

There’s no indication that this activity will slow down anytime soon. The world needs to evolve and people need to innovate to bring new services, products and philanthropy to light. However, evolution and innovation is not a one-sided, male-dominated equation. It does not take seed from one magic place or emanate from one particular group or a singular line of thinking. Rather, innovation occurs across cultures and genders, as well as age groups. The images we see and the stories we hear need to be brought into balance.

She Leads Media was created to provide women with a platform – a place – where they have access to the specific tools, resources, network, skills and confidence needed to bring the world of entrepreneurship and leadership into balance. We all need to participate. We all need to be profiled in the media. We all need to get our voices heard; to speak up and step up so that everyone absorbs a more equal amount of leadership images and business success stories from movies, on television, online and in the news.

The She Leads 2017 conference is designed to meet the needs of women who are ready to take action and to make a lasting impact. During the day-long event, some of the important questions we will explore, discuss and take action on include:

  • What does leadership look like? Sound like? How can you, as a woman, be a more effective and visible leader?
  • What does leadership for women mean in a global context?
  • What could being an entrepreneur look like in your life – as a full-time career, as a side-gig? How realistic is it to transition from a corporate career to starting a business and becoming a successful entrepreneur?
  • What is the best way to position and pitch yourself to the media so that you make it easy for them to cover your story and turn to you when they need a subject-matter expert?
  • How can you effectively show up as a leader? What does your physical presence communicate? How can you use your voice to build rapport and relationship? How can you tap into your inner-power to help you achieve your desired outcomes?
  • What amazing things are women doing and creating in the media, entertainment and music space that have impact and influence on our culture and the way women are portrayed?
  • And practically – how can you market all of this? How can you best leverage social media to sell yourself and/or your business?

If you agree that now is the time for the world of entrepreneurship and leadership to be brought into balance – and whether you’re a woman or a man – please take some time to check out the She Leads 2017 conference. And, please, feel free to let me know what you think. Everyone’s opinion and reaction is welcomed.

Visit the She Leads Media website to learn more. To register for She Leads 2017, please click here.

Note – I first published this article on LinkedIn – found here

Meet The Mastermind Behind #SHELEADS

Meet The Mastermind Behind #SHELEADS

3This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post, and was written by Katharine Voyles Mobley.


As a marketer, writer, and a speaker, I am always amazed at how my universe collides with others. With channels such as Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter, I am accustomed to meeting amazing people at conferences & events, but when I met Adrienne Garland, I knew instantly I wanted to be a part of her mission.

Adrienne is the founder of SheLeadsMedia, a conglomerate which brings together experts from a variety of disciplines to provide actionable advice to women looking for entrepreneurial and leadership advice. Needless to say, we hit it off and I want to share my insights from conversations with her and others, leading into SheLeads 2016. I hope you learn from these women what I have learned from spending time with someone I am thrilled to share the stage with in October at SheLeads 2016.

For a better understanding of Adrienne’s mission and the conference, I will be writing a weekly series leading up to this event. To begin, I felt it best to start with a Q & A with Adrienne as to what drove her to make the decision to start the conference. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I interview speakers and sponsors leading up to the event.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to start your business – was there a life event or other pivotal moment that drove you toward entrepreneurship?

Isn’t there always?  In 2010, I had been working for a global management consulting firm for almost two years, and there were circumstances, both personally and professionally that left me feeling extremely disenchanted with corporate America.  I realized that I was making choices that led me down a path of self-sabotage.  When I recognized what I was doing, I knew that it was time to make a dramatic change in the way I approached both work and my life.  Since I have always held a deep belief in myself and my abilities, I reasoned that if I was able to rise through the ranks as a marketing leader in corporate America, I could likewise create success within my own business.  Therefore, in May of 2010, I set out to create a marketing consulting firm with a focus on helping women-owned businesses to grow and thrive.  I wanted to help other women like me create success on their own terms, with their own vision.  Since that time, many things have shifted and my business, She Leads Media looks quite different today than it did in 2010.

What is the best part of being an entrepreneur and what’s the worst? Let’s hear it, in tandem.

Truthfully, the best AND, yes a BIG AND the worst part is making all of your own decisions. We all struggle for control but when you have it, it can actually get lonely, you have to be able to trust those around you, it isn’t an easy process. Which is why I wanted a platform where women could be women, so to speak.

What was your original vision for your business, and do you still have the same vision today, or if not, how has it changed?

My original vision for my business is very much the same, and that is to help women understand that they are the leaders of their own lives and can make career and business choices that work for them, at any stage of their lives.  The thing that has changed about my business is the way in which I help women to achieve their objectives.  Originally, my client work was very focused on individual businesses and working with founders one on one.  Today, I am reaching more women using the She Leads Media platform, for which I am very proud of, because I want women to believe in themselves and who they can empower.

How do you differentiate yourself from other companies/firms/individuals that are in the same field as you?

I am very focused on providing value through actionable advice that gets results.  All the content that I curate is filtered through this lens.  I am also highly selective about the language I use and the products, services and thought leaders I promote, as I don’t want to waste anyone’s precious time.  Starting a business, growing a business and leading a life is difficult enough, and I don’t want to be anything other than helpful and a trusted resource for women.

How has your business evolved over the years?  Has digital or social media impacted you in a significant way?

My business has gone through many changes over the years, and I am still in the process of changing, growing and refining everything that I do and how I do it.  My goal is to impact as many women as I can through my content curation and facilitation of conferences and events that lead to action.  My business relies heavily on digital communication and so social media has played a significant role in how I communicate and with whom I communicate. Remember that is how we met, social turned into an #IRL meeting. It can certainly become overwhelming to be on every social network and leverage that network to its full advantage.  One of the things that I have found to work for me is to manage the social media myself.  I believe that it is better, more effective and more genuine to communicate directly with those you are attempting to reach.

How has your industry evolved over the last several years?

My space is very crowded, especially here in NYC.  There are many wonderful women’s organizations, conference and individual women who are working toward the same goal as I am.  I’d like to see all of these groups, including She Leads, find an efficient and effective way to work in collaboration so that everyone would financially benefit and make the greatest impact.  I do see many conferences that are focused on millennials, and I think that is wonderful!  That said, there is a void in the marketplace for women who are in the second chapter of their careers – which is the sweet spot where I see She Leads living.

In general, what unique talents, skills or advantages do you believe women have as leaders?  As entrepreneurs?

The ability to achieve and accomplish so much.  We are natural nurturers and builders of things.  We build lives, we build families, we build societies.  And we care, deeply, passionately, about the things that are near and dear to our hearts, our souls.  I also believe women are intuitive, which helps them to know things that may not be able to be articulated.

We must, as a society, do more to highlight and showcase success and leadership models that are achieved by tapping into these ‘feminine’ skill-sets.

What was the best advice you ever received?

Run your own race.  We can get so distracted trying to compete with someone else who is on a completely different journey for a completely different reason than you.  This can pull you so far off course that it’s extremely difficult to realize why you started running in the first place.  Always keep your personal goals and objectives at the top of your mind, in everything that you do.

What advice would you give to women who are looking to start their own business?  Who are looking to step up as leaders?

Yesterday I heard a very profound piece of advice for women that is informed by statistics…The advice is to create a business model that allows your business to scale.  Women tend to build lifestyle businesses that don’t achieve the same level of financial success as businesses that are started by men.  So, while there isn’t anything inherently wrong with a lifestyle business, the less women build scalable businesses, the smaller piece of the financial pot we will get.  Consequently, these businesses and the women who start them will be perceived as less credible and able to build a financially successful business.  This is where women have a great chance to really step up as leaders!

There’s always a million things to tackle when you’re running your own business – what is your top way to stay focused and productive?

This is a very difficult one for me.  I always have so many ideas, I’m fascinated by people and their stories and I want to be everything from a designer to a professor to a world traveler to a talk show host, author and a bi-lingual yogi and more on a daily basis!  Deadlines and pressure keep me very focused.  They’re not the most positive ways, but that’s what works for me.  I also need to have a very neat and organized work environment so that I can focus on tasks at hand.

Tell us all about She Leads 2016

I’m so excited for this year’s conference! It will take place on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at Wells Fargo 150 East 42nd Street, from 8:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Attendees can expect to hear about leadership and entrepreneurship, as well as get actionable tips, tools and information that will help them to not only lead their own company, but also their life.  The conference is a great way to meet with inspirational women leaders and business owners who’ve experienced similar challenges in business and in life.  There will be numerous stories about how different women moved through business and life challenges, as we all have, to achieve their own brand of success.  I hope that women can take away practical lessons that they are able to apply to their own business or professional situation so they experience less frustration and fear.  We will also be giving audience members the chance to speak and get valuable, live feedback in our Pitch The Media and Now What? sessions –which have been so popular year after year.

We have created a unique and intimate setting where others can learn, network and feel comfortable doing business with strong women leaders.  She Leads is creating a thriving community of women leaders and experts who are focused on doing what’s necessary to encourage women to start, launch and grow successful businesses and become leaders in their community.  She Leads 2016 and the She Leads community seeks to impact the economy and society overall by offering women the platform, tools and support they need to become leaders – which directly influences and benefits the world.  We have over 30 speakers and an agenda packed full of keynotes, fireside chats, interactive panels, networking and more!

How can people connect with you?

They can go to www.sheleadsmedia.com

Come to the She Leads 2016 conference on October 6th!  Register here: http://bit.ly/2cmU0g9

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