Businesses owned by women are on the rise — and they're a major contributor to the economy.
According to the US Census Bureau, in 2014, women owned 7.8 million businesses, accounting for 29% of all businesses nationwide. As the number grows, women are looking for even more ways to give each other opportunities and advice for the road ahead. That's one reason Ellevate Network is hosting its first summit, after 20 years of connecting ambitious women leaders and entrepreneurs.
Interested in attending the next Justwomen event?
“There’s a need for it,” said Tina Pettigrew, Director of Communications at Ellevate Network, a global women’s network.
We spoke with Tina about the goals of the upcoming summit, and how Ellevate Network works.
Want to check out an interview with Ellevate’s CEO? We have it here.
Q&A with Tina Pettigrew
How far does the Ellevate network stretch?
The community, including alumni and supporters at our events, is around 40,000 women. We have chapters all over the world. Our network itself — between social media and email list — is a couple million at this point.
Every chapter has their own regional flair and community of local women. In Dubai, it’s totally different than all the chapters we have in New York, Chicago, and LA. It’s a good thing, the way we see it. We want every chapter to have what’s a fit for them.
What do Ellevate’s chapters do?
Ellevate chapters give opportunities for local leaders to connect, and to provide each other with opportunities at a local level. It also ramps up online presence to create smaller groups for people to connect remotely.
Part of the reason we exist as a company, in general, is we recognize men have the upperhand because their networking involves drinks, the golf course, and being pals with one another. Women haven’t had the same type of thing. We want to provide women a chance and a space to do that.
Chapters are the backbone of the organization. Not only are they advocates of what we do for the cause, they’re on the ground as Ellevate’s ambassadors.
What inspired Ellevate to create its first summit on these topics?
Part of our values as a company is that we really believe in the power of diversity. What I mean by that is not only diversity in the people we hire and work with, but also diversity in the work we applaud. When we have customers or members tell us something they want or don’t like, we listen. It’s a regular habit to take everything into consideration.
People have always wanted to have a summit or conference. This year is our 20-year anniversary, and we decided this is definitely the time, even though as a small team we have so much going on, we thought it was really important.
The conversation about women in business is bigger than it’s ever been. That’s great for what we do for our community. It’s a good opportunity to bring some of the best leaders in the space advocating for equality in business. The timing is right, and there’s a need for it.
What do you expect attendees to take away from this summit?
We talk about things and have great discussions, but we’re not the type of event you go to if you are ambivalent. We’re a network made of changemakers — it’s a very action-oriented summit.
The whole idea is everybody needs a checklist of things they’re going to do tomorrow for themselves or their community or at work — lessons they’ve learned from the panels and session they can take to their everyday lives, a commitment they can take for speaking up or talking to their bosses, a strategy they can use.
We want to give women access. Not only are we giving people an agenda at the event, but we’ll have a manifesto of everyone’s impact statements and actions you can take from your everyday life at the summit. We want to hear back from people. We want people to take it into their own hands.