ArcLight Cinemas in Lincoln Park’s new entertainment district, NEWCITY, partnered with three Chicago lifestyle and tech entrepreneurs for a special movie night and panel discussion for female entrepreneurs this November.
After watching Jennifer Lawrence’s stellar performance in “Joy,” and munching on complimentary Coke and popcorn, a theater full of Chicago women listened to Chicago’s female entrepreneurs, Katy Lynch, Jessica Zweig, and Theresa Carter’s honest advice about their success stories and tips for making it in the start-up world.
Chicago Female Entrepreneur Panelists
Jessica Zweig formerly founded Chicago’s largest digital lifestyle magazine for women, CheekyChicago.com,
Katy Lynch is from Scotland and founded her own start-up when she was 25 years old. Since then, she’s been the CEO of Techweek, and right now, she’s working with her husband on a new start-up.
Theresa Carter founded The Local Tourist, one of the best traveling blogs for Chicago, Milwaukee, and San Diego.
Q&A from the Movie “Joy.”
Moderator: What experience most reminded you of Joy?
Lines like “You shouldn’t be more than a housewife.” or “This is what you’re good at, don’t reach too high,” resonated with Theresa.
“Don’t compare your hustle with someone’s highlight reel. You don’t see the moments where we work 100 hour weeks,” Katy shared.
“You don’t have the business acumen…You know what. I’m going to f-ing Google.”
Moderator: Did you ever have a moment where it felt so hard, and you felt like giving up?
“Every single day. I’ve felt it, we’ve all felt it. I look back, and I made a lot of mistakes – hiring people, firing people. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not pushing yourself enough,” Katy shared, “Dwelling on failure is the death of the entrepreneur.”
Theresa felt these feelings as well, but she reminded herself, “Could I do anything else? ‘Probably.’ Do I want to? ‘No.'”
Moderator: – If someone wants to start their own business, what advice would you give?
“I firmly believe in surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you. 1 or 2 or 3 years from where you want to be,” Jessica shared.
“Find a mentor. Find someone who you can be accountable with,” Theresa added.
“It’s not your typical 9-5. Work hard. Work really hard. Get comfortable with making mistakes. And get comfortable with the word ‘no,'” Katy shared.
She went on that being an entrepreneur means being a salesman. “If your company doesn’t profit, then it’s just a hobby, it’s not a business.”
Moderator: – What is the value of face to face communication?
“It’s a principle for life, not just business. The power of face to face communication is a beautiful thing,” Jessica shared.
“‘Get shit done’ – my personal motto,” Katy shared.”You look at Joy in the movie – and she’s willing to get her hands dirty. That could be a face to face meeting it could be multiple emails or texts. Your company is your child. You have to preserve for a long time to reach that level that you saw in the movie.”
Moderator: What companies inspire you?
One of Katy’s favorite businesses is Tesla. “I love the disruptors. You’re a bad ass. You take risks,” Katy shared, “We need more of that in the world.”
Jessica’s favorite is NastyGal for several reasons including that she was on the cover of Forbes. And she started an eBay store. She has been able to leverage her book. She’s getting paid $50 grand to speak.
Jessica shared, “The fortune favors the bold who get shit done…she has used her spotlight for positive change for women.”
Ashley Furniture is Theresa’s favorite.
After the female entrepreneur panel discussion, we went to the ArcLight Cinemas theater bar to enjoy sparkling wine and raffle off a basket full of girl boss merchandise to get the next female entrepreneur started and inspired. You can find out more about the ArcLight Connects programs and upcoming events here.