After 3 days of computer, email and technical battles I am finally back online! I missed yesterday’s Women To Watch Post, but I’m bringing it to you today…and it’s a GREAT interview with Denise Smith of Chicks Who Click.
I was first drawn to Denise by the catchy name, of course, and after learning more about her and this tremendous social media event for women I am even more inspired to spread the word.
Denise brings together top female entrepreneurs and social media mavens to share tips on how to rock your business using social media. I can name at least two of CWC Presenters, Gwen Bell and Shelly Kramer, right off the bat from the 20 Best Social Media and Marketing Blogs By Women article that Forbes published last month! Read on to hear what inspired Denise to get her event started and how she has made Chicks Who Click such a success!
I feature one woman entrepreneur every Wednesday for my Women To Watch series. If you would like to be featured on Market Like A Chick, just check out the details on my Be Featured page and get back to me. We want to hear from you!
To get us started, Denise, could you share a little background on you – Where do you call your stomping grounds? What motivates you? Inspires you?
Californian by birth, raised in Houston, TX and Coloradan by choice! I have been in Denver for approximately 16 years with a short 4 year stint in Las Vegas-definitely happy to call CO home!
What motivates me is connecting people and watching them thrive in their vision and aspirations. I am very inspired by the tapestry of people and cultures, which is why Chicks is such a great platform for me to move that energy into the world and watch amazing women connect in this space.
You’ve done a great job forming Chicks Who Click (love the name, by the way, and wish I’d thought of it first!)…tell us more about the event. What is the focus and what inspired you to start Chicks Who Click?
The focus of the event is to gather like-minded women that are using social media to brand themselves personally or professionally. It is an intimate space to come together and engage in the conversation of how, why and what?
- How are you using social media to stay connected and best brand yourself or your business?
- Why are you using this medium and has do find that it is an efficient way to market yourself or business and what connections have you made through social media and would you be where you are today without it?
- And lastly, what? What is the next best tool, the next wave of social media, the newest freshest tool and way to engage your audience?
The overall focus is to connect, create and collaborate in an intimate environment with like-minded women. To be inspired by what women are accomplishing in their lives, to walk away feeling empowered and educated, to be in the position to champion another woman or gain a mentor.
Why do you think the female factor is so important in today’s business world? How do you see women playing an important part in the growth of social media?
The female factor has always been so important in the business world, we bring a different perspective, we engage in business relationship quite differently than men, but this is to the advantage of companies, especially through social media. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are all about connecting, engaging in conversation, being able to go in and create solid relationships.
Women just know how to interact in this space naturally. Women are the top users of social media. Why? Because women LOVE communication. Here are a few facts that I found interesting:
Did you know that:
- Women in the U.S. spend more than $3.3 trillion annually (purchasing power)
- Women business owners employ 35% more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined (how many of your clients are women-owned?)
- 95% of family financial decisions are made by women (who balances the checkbook in your family?)
- Women in business will invest $44.5 billion in high tech products this year
- 65% of women in senior management positions have children (they kept their job and are raising a family)
(Source: Women and Diversity, WOW Facts 2001 – Business Women’s Network)
How has the use of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn helped build your business and event community?
I have primarily only used Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page to market my events. The response has been fantastic! These two sites are great in the fact that as a start-up business, I can still market, advertise and publish information for free. I use my personal Twitter account to talk about Chicks.
I do this for a couple of reasons: I want people to feel comfortable, to possibly identify with another person, to say, hey she seems like me, everyone on Twitter knows that the Chicks who Click chick, has a kid, a naughty puppy, the same everyday life struggles, the airport fiascos, the insurgence of good thought, oh yeah, and she runs this cool conference for women!
And secondly, someone is harboring the Chicks who Click Twitter handle! 🙂 But even at that, I like to keep it personal and intimate, that has been my idea from the beginning.
There has been some debate over the use of Twitter at live events and whether the instant public feedback is a hindrance or a tool. Do you encourage live Twitter updates from your events? Why or why not?
I do encourage live tweeting from the events. I never have a rolling wall of tweets, I do think that is very distracting and can result in bad taste. But I do encourage the women to tweet and we use the hashtag #cwc10 This enables the attendees to go back and see, not only who was at the conference, but also read the tweets and possibly pick up a tip that they missed.
It also encourages the connection, after every conference, most attendees have at least 30-40 new followers and now new followers that are genuine and interested in the same things and can be used as a resource for them.
If you could step back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?
Stay laser focused with my vision, do not get caught up in the need to be something your not and definitely learn from the feedback. Sometimes failure breeds excellence. Never be afraid to try something new but always learn from your actions.
Any plans to take Chicks Who Click to other parts of the U.S? Where are your next target cities?
Chicks launched in Boulder in 2009 and has been to Kansas City, Vancouver, BC, and Palo Alto, CA. In 2010, we will be in Omaha on March 6, Raleigh on April 10 and then the next three cities will be announced.
What question do you wish I would have asked but didn’t? How would you respond?
What has been your best feedback and how do you feel the conferences are impacting lives?
The conferences have made a lot of positive impact on women. Women who are in transition of mommihood and wanting to get their professional lives started again, women who possibly want to start their own businesses and women who simply want to be in the social media mix.
The majority of women walk away feeling very inspired, just since Jan 23 here in Denver, I have seen the women on Twitter talking about starting their blogs again after putting it on hiatus, I have heard women starting businesses, and women connecting with each other to brainstorm. Everyone needs a place where they can connect and freely ask questions and champion each other to be the best we can be in our fields.
What is the best way for readers to learn more about you and Chicks Who Click?
Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook Fan Page. Or email me to get on our mailing list for our monthly newsletter. Dsmith@Chickswhoclick.net
Thank you very much for the interview, Denise! Can you share with us any plans or lifetime goals (personal or business) that we can look forward to from you?
Thank you so much! I love sharing my dreams and vision for Chicks! You can definitely look forward to Chicks partnering with a charitable foundation that benefits women. That is in the works and something I have been trying to add for awhile and I think I finally found the right thing, so stay tuned!
Personal goals to keep living with the highest of intentions, focused on well-being, allowing all the good to filter in and give back to the universe all the good it has given me!
You rock, Denise!! Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview but even more thanks for organizing such an awesome event for women entrepreneurs and bloggers to network together! I am 100% positive that Chicks Who Click will be a highly anticipated event for years to come. Just one question….WHEN is Arizona going to be added to that geo list? 😉
This is a super opportunity to get to know an Event Organizer that you’ll “wish you’d known when”…so don’t miss your opportunity to introduce yourself to Denise and pick her brain a little. Have you ever attended a CWC event? Ever wonder how it’s all done? Who would you like to see added to the Chicks Who Click speaker schedule? Ask away…or feel free to leave your questions in the comments below!
To Your Success,
P.S. ~~> If you would like to be featured on Market Like A Chick, just check out the details on my Be Featured page. You can choose to write a guest article of your own or be featured in an interview like this. We want to hear from you![Photo Credit Emily Lewin]