The Women Who Start Something: Anne Day

Anne Day’s career focus has always been women and children, as she has moved from leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector, to government and communications work and finally to opening her own consulting practice. It was while running her own consultancy that Anne started Company of Women as a way to meet up and connect with other women entrepreneurs. Company of Women is now an award-winning organization which Anne leads on a full-time basis.

Company of Women was set up to be a dynamic women’s networking group for entrepreneurs and women with start-ups, how does Company of Women exceed the expectations of a other networking groups?
I actually never really think of us as a networking group because we do so much more.  We’re an organization that provides support, education and connections to women through the 80 events a year that we offer as well as our annual conference.  I’d like to think that one of the difference is that we care.  Our members are not just numbers to us, and when we can connect them to opportunities, we do.  For example, I just introduced one of our members in Vancouver to a journalist who wanted to interview someone who’d been downsized and started her own business.  She’s in the now in the April edition of a national magazine.

 

I’m particularity interested in ‘The Good Enough Project’, as it speaks to the insecurity most of us have felt at some stage in our careers of lives. How did this come about and what does the project entail?
The project started after I heard some “outwardly confident women” share that they didn’t think they would achieve their 10 year goals because they weren’t good enough and didn’t deserve success.  This was at a retreat and their response blew me away as from the outside it seemed they’d got their act together.  So I partnered up with Amy Hunter and we start to delve and dig deeper on the subject.  Through focus groups, interviews and a survey we have connected with over 350 women and this “not good enough” feeling is almost epidemic.  Women feel judged and mostly they do it to themselves by comparing themselves with others.  Our other main finding is that sense of overwhelm and when they can’t do everything or strive to be perfect, they don’t feel good enough.  We have started to write our book, sharing not just the stories we heard, but how to change this mindset. Our goal is to finish the book in 2015 and when it is launched, start to deliver workshops and design tools to help women.
When you’re not busy working on Company of Women, you’re a writer and regular contributor to the Huffington Post. You have penned three books that focus on women in business and entrepreneurship. What is it that drives you to write and devote your life to this topic, and to helping other overcome the roadblocks to success?
I love to write and it’s taken me a long time to realize – a bit like the women in the Good Enough project – that I am more than a good enough writer :)  I love to be able to describe a situation/strategy that will help women and see the light bulb go on.  One of my personal take aways from the Good Enough Project is when one of the women interviewed shared that you can still revisit your childhood and change it.  For her, it was she bought herself a teddy bear, as she’d never had one as a child, so when she asked me what I missed in my childhood, without hesitation I answered sisters as I was an only child.  This aha moment made me realize that in my career and work which has always focused on women – I have already created what was missing in my life – sisters.  I have surrounded myself with women who have become like a family to me.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at 21 years of age, what would it be?
Be true to yourself.  Listen to your gut and follow your dreams.  Your dreams, not someone else’s dream for you.
Anne Day is the founder of Company of Women, an award-winning organisation that connects entrepreneurial women. Company of Women has six chapters across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, over 300 members and host over 80 events a year.