NEW YORK (PIX11) — Lindsay Kaplan and Carolyn Childers met in 2018 at what Kaplan calls a “really bad women’s networking event.”
“I think you know the one,” Kaplan said. “Warm glasses of wine, stale conversation, really ugly, poorly placed name tags.
They quickly became friends, bonding over their shared experiences and struggles as women executives, Including how they were always getting asked to provide support and mentorship, but lacked a support system themselves.
“It gets lonely at the top, and it gets lonelier a lot faster when you’re a woman,” Kaplan said.
So, along with Childers, Kaplan co-founded “Chief”, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders through workshops, peer support groups, and insightful guest speakers like Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, and former First Lady Michelle Obama. And unlike most companies, going virtual during the pandemic was a good thing.
“Yes, Zoom, we’re all getting a little sick of it,” Kaplan said. “But the ability for us to skip the commute, to be accessible, to know that we can create actual equity because people don’t have to get on a train, leave their kids behind, to have these meetings, allowed us to really flourish. We saw demand go up. We saw engagement, attendance, and everything we do go up.”
In just a few short years, Chief has gone national, welcoming in 10,000 members, with another 60,000 on their waitlist. And instead of looking back, Chief is looking forward, rebranding Women’s History Month as “Women’s Future Month”, a campaign that includes the company’s first-ever television commercial, and a full-page ad in the New York Times, with a phone number that people can call to share their visions of a future led by women.
“Our goal, and I think we’re on our way, is to build the most powerful network of the most powerful women,” Kaplan said. “And that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be the biggest, it means, we are looking for women who are open to making sure that as they join Chief, that they’re leaving the door open — that they are extending their power to make sure that we are building that table so that the next generation can be even larger when they join us.”