I decided to start this blog series because there are so many fantastic women leading the way for others in the world of events. It is my aim to profile and interview some of the movers and shakers in the industry; doing great things right now and paving the way for event professionals of the future.
But when looking for inspiration, it’s important not to forget those closest to you. A true trailblazer and true friend, Molly was my summer camp colleague, bridesmaid, and although she might live across the Atlantic, is a friend I’m always excited to hear from as she is always doing something incredible. Like her newest venture, Boston Women’s Market.
Set up in September 2017, the event defines the movement of women supporting women. Their mission?
“To promote the work of and preserve the space for female business women, artists, and entrepreneurs in the New England area”
“To foster an inclusive community grounded in endless compassion for our sisters and a fierce support for each others’ ambitions.”
“To smash ceilings, build bridges, and raise ladders for women with big dreams and small resources.”
What really motivated me to write about Molly and Boston Women’s Market are the reasons she set up this venture which are so important and so current today. Everyone’s heard of #MeToo , we’ve watched Oprah’s Speech, we’ve been inspired by the recent International Women’s Day… but there is now, more importantly than ever before, the platform to speak up and support each other. It’s events like Boston Women’s Market which encourage people into their deserving spotlight and give them the confidence to shout from the rooftops about what they do and why they do it.
Molly is fiercely loyal to those she loves and the work that she loves, so it is no surprise that just a few months after the first market event, it has gained a lot of support and inspired a lot of people.
Can you tell me how you found your way into the events industry?
I found my way into the events industry TOTALLY by accident. Last summer I was in DC and I ended up in this pop-up shop that was rented by a group of women who all wanted to sell their goods, but couldn’t afford the costs associated with renting. So these women pooled together to share the rent, the space, and each other’s work with the shoppers who walked through the door. And it was such a beautiful space. You walked in and immediately were adopted into a community- people offering you tea, people talking about their goods, people talking beauty and art. It was so positive, and I really wanted to bring that to my current home in Boston.
So I started recruiting for an event. It was just supposed to be one, but the response from the community was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and it kind of just snowballed from there. Now we have a website, an Instagram, a blog, and over 80 women vendors we represent.
I never expected to love this work, but I do. It’s my baby and I’m totally committed to its growth.
Despite being a female-dominated industry, there are fewer women taking senior and boardroom positions- where do you think we stand today with the ‘glass ceiling’ for women in the world of events?
It still exists. I feel like I have way less systemic barriers to my success than my mother did, but I’m so cognizant of the way networks work. Networks are boys clubs, even in the world of events. And that is self-perpetuating. I can have access to education, access to capital, but if I don’t have access to those networks, I’m working at a deficit. Cracking that glass ceiling requires cracking into those networks.
What’s the motivation behind Bostons Women’s Market?
BWM started as a response to what I was noticing during the most recent presidential election. The rhetoric around women and their place in society was vile, and it left me enraged. I really wanted to foster an inclusive community grounded in endless compassion for our sisters and a fierce support for each others’ ambitions, and Boston Women’s Market’s mission reflects that. Our mission is to smash ceilings, build bridges, and raise ladders for women with big dreams and small resources.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Social Media. 100%. I think social media gets a ton of flack for being this really dangerous place that treats women horribly and creates cultures that make it hard for women to be themselves. And it can be that. But I will say that Instagram and Facebook have brought me into contact with some of the most inspiring art, empowering women, and thought-provoking statements. It has broadened my community and challenged me to be more inclusive.
3 top tips for aspiring event professionals?
1) In order to pour yourself into your work, you need to pour into yourself. The moment this work becomes more of a burden than a joy, it will cease to fulfil you. Self-care is no joke.
2) There is a lack of forgiveness in the world. People (clients) are so quick to assume the worst of others. Take the high road. It will not only help to foster a forgiving community but will model forgiveness to others.
3) Ask and you shall receive. I think so many times we assume that we’re alone. But we live in a world where 140 characters or a click of button puts you into contact with the entire world. If you ask for help, there is someone out there who will be willing to help you.
To hear more about Boston Women’s Market, check out their website https://www.bostonwomensmarket.com/ and find them on social media.
Thank you to Molly for taking the time to talk to me about what she does and why she does it!