At Bite Society, we are crushing this. We are a women owned business. Jessica* asked me to write a bit about what it is like to be a woman business owner. That made me laugh. Katy and Shana, like me, have worked almost exclusively for women owned businesses in our years as grown-ups, so we almost don’t know any other way.
We have occasionally bumped into the real world and quickly scampered back to the one we made. A couple of years ago, the three of us were hired as consultants for a major tech campus food service program. We took a rideshare to a fancy downtown architect’s office and sat around a big table filled with various project stakeholders (we learned a lot about jargon). The table was impressively large. The view was distracting, and the snacks and complementary beverages were flowing. Back in our shop, the conference room is called the “hidey hole”, everyone has to stand if someone needs to get around the table, and anyone over 5’8” has to duck to enter. We were in a new world.
We brought some good ideas. Bakery adjacent to the loading dock in an alley, on-site craft brewery, something called the Fruit Butcher (that one is Katy’s, don’t use it). We also for the first time ever, had the experience of having some of our dismissed ideas relaunched out of the mouth of a male stakeholder to great interest. Stories like this were all over the news, and yet, the experience was news to us. We also met a super smart engineer who truly judged everyone by his estimation of their brain power (nerd alert, he loved Katy).
We continued to work on the project until our contracts were up. Unlike the two women architects working on the project, we had little to lose at the meeting. No promotions were on the line, we were not up for more projects, we were playing out of bounds, and trying something new. I cannot imagine engaging in a steady stream of those meetings, and it appeared to be second nature for them. In the end, we had the privilege of being back in the Hidey Hole, feeling heard and moving forward on ideas from every part of the room.
I asked Shana what she thought about owning a business, and she delivered in Shana-fashion what I think we all want and wish for:
“As a mother of two young girls, it has become more important than ever before to demonstrate that women can become whatever the eff’ they want to in life. I look forward to the day that being a "woman owned" business isn’t really that big of a deal. Don’t get me wrong….I think it’s fantastic that we are highlighting an entire month to Women in Business, but I’d rather discuss accomplishments as a result of hard work, perseverance, and grit; not conversations of one’s gender.
Change my response if I sound like an asshole.”
Nope. Definitely didn’t change her response. Here at Bite Society, we have grit. We are determined. We clear the entrance to the Hidey Hole with ease (except when Shana wears heels.)
*A word about Jessica. J-Bakes. JB. (Full disclosure, she is married now with a different name, but I am still hanging on.) Jessica handles social media and email marketing in addition to some account management. She is also a fancy culinarian, a former caterer, and disarmingly hilarious. We have photos of two things at Bite Society: Food and Jessica. Sometimes, they are together.