Carina Glover of HerHeadquarters: Why I want to inspire of movement of ‘Real Bosses Have Allies’

A want to inspire of movement of ‘Real Bosses Have Allies’. This movement would change the narrative and image of women who collaborate revealing the true courage, confidence, and strength of women who join forces to become allies through partnerships. I want to reinforce that women who partner are not the underdogs or the struggling […]

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A want to inspire of movement of ‘Real Bosses Have Allies’. This movement would change the narrative and image of women who collaborate revealing the true courage, confidence, and strength of women who join forces to become allies through partnerships. I want to reinforce that women who partner are not the underdogs or the struggling business owners. They’re the women determined to dominate and they’re taking their allies with them.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carina Glover. Carina is the founder of HerHeadquarters, a newly released collaborating app exclusive to women entrepreneurs within the Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment, Events, and PR industries. After 18 months of building a foundation and creating a product described as the ‘digital collaborating capital for women building empires’, Glover launched the first brand partnership platform for female founders in major cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Omaha. Prior to being awarded grants, being accepted into a prestigious accelerator program, and securing an investment deal before her platform even launched, the Omaha, Nebraska native gained experience and an education. After attending a private all girls high school, she attended the University of Nebraska — Omaha on a full ride scholarship where she studied Communications & Advertising. In her final semester of college, she launched her first business, an event planning firm. The business provided services to brands and clientele within the entertainment industry. The midwest based entrepreneur eventually found herself working major industry events like the Grammy’s and NFL Honors Awards. The journey connected her to women entrepreneurs across the country while adding fuel to her fire and her desire to work with & serve women building empires. In 2017, she committed to the vision of building HerHeadquarters and was accepted into an accelerator program for entrepreneurs in tech shortly after. During 2018, she spent months learning her audience and applied that knowledge to the concept of HerHeadquarters. After months of research, user testing, and pre-launch campaigns, Glover introduced the game-changing platform that created an innovative way for women entrepreneur’s to secure powerful brand partnerships and discover allies willing to collaborate with them on upcoming projects, events, and campaigns.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My toughest lesson as an entrepreneur came on the first day. I experienced devastation when not one single person showed up to my business’ launch party in 2014 for my then event planning business. I made the mistake of thinking that I would be viewed as more ‘successful’ if I did everything alone. While my event planning business eventually saw success (two years later), that lesson stuck with me as my passion for catering to women began to skyrocket. The more I worked with female founders and business owners over the years, the more I noticed that women were open to partnering with one another, but that process often came with various struggles. I reached a point where I wanted to do something bigger and more impactful, one random night everything came to me so clearly and suddenly. The idea was to launch a collaborating platform called HerHeadquarters that would be exclusive to women entrepreneurs and female founders. I wanted to change the image of women who build businesses through collaborations, to portray them as bold and powerful, while also making the process of securing quality local and national collaborations easier and more rewarding. In the fall of 2017 I began working on the foundation of HerHeadquarters, in the spring of 2019 we launched in four major cities.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was accepted into an accelerator program for entrepreneurs in tech in early 2018. During my first meeting with the co-founders I remember them asking me about my product and what I wanted to create; excited and passionate, I went on and on about HerHeadquarters. I talked all about the app, the features it would have, who it was for, and what made it unique. When I finished they asked me, “How do you know women want this app?”. I had never been asked this before. The most simple of questions I had not been prepared to answer, dumbfounded, I responded, “I just know”. That moment revealed to me how many assumptions I had made. I was ready to sign contracts, spend thousands, and invest time I’d never get back into something that I hadn’t even validated. I really didn’t know if women wanted or would use an app like HerHeadquarters, I just assumed they would because I would. I spent the next 6 months researching, conducting focus groups, interviewing, and user testing to make sure women not only wanted a collaborating app, but that it was created in a way that would create value to them. During that process, I really discovered the challenges, needs, and desires of my target audience. I became an empowered founder because for the first time I really knew my audience. I used that information to develop a strong foundation for my brand, a central point for my platform, and a sound message in the brand’s marketing.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The HerHeadquarters platform is unique in several ways. From releasing an app that’s catered to women entrepreneurs exclusively within specific industries to having a vetting process that determines if a person can be granted access to the app. We understand that in order for HerHeadquarters to be valuable to our users, we need to have discretion about who has access to the platform. We only want to provide our users with valuable allies and quality collaboration opportunities. Other platforms used for business networking allows anyone to join. The disadvantage for the users in this case is that they have to do the filtering themselves, filtering out those who are not serious, who have poor communication, or who overall won’t offer a great collaboration before you discover the gems in the bunch. With HerHeadquarters vetting process, we only allow the gems access.

HerHeadquarters also removes the risk of entering partnerships with business owners you’ve never worked with before. Our collaboration rating system allows users to see the history of their potential collaborator based off the women she previously partnered with on the app. We’re not only giving our users access to partnerships to join, but the ability to discover the best partner for their collaborations with full transparency of other user’s collaborating background.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re planning to have our first major pop up shop this summer in Los Angeles. The event will cater to women entrepreneurs and will give attendees the first opportunity to experience the HerHeadquarter’s Bosses Lounge. Details of the event will be released next month via our social media Instagram and Facebook handles.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

I think it’s important to discuss professional growth. As a leader it’s not just about being in charge, but developing your team members and allowing them to evolve. Employees leave companies because of poor management and lack of opportunity for growth. Have conversations with every team member at every level and discover what role or position they’d like to work towards within the company. This not only gives you an idea of how long they’d like to be around and what skillsets they’d enjoy contributing to the company most, but it also gives you an opportunity to create a game plan with each team member that allows them to grow into the right position when the time is right. It prevents people from staying stagnant in roles they feel they’ve outgrown, it makes employees feel more valued, and often boosts their excitement and loyalty to the company.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

There were companies that I worked for in the past where the owner of the company would walk right past me and not even know my name or how hard I was working for his/her company. It made me feel little. It may be challenging at times, but I’d recommend making your employees at every level feel important, it doesn’t matter if they’re the vice president or an intern. Their contributions to your company impact your success. I always recommend having a new hire gift and a handwritten note welcoming them to the team, anything from flowers, custom merch, a fruit basket, or something else. Create a culture of appreciation and a team dynamic. Maybe introduce team days once or two a quarter that allows you to spend time with your team and get to know them. Be an accessible leader, not just the boss.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Erica Wassinger and Nathan Preheim, the founders of The Startup Collaborative accelerator program, played a major role in guiding me down a journey I’d never thought I’d be on. When the idea of HerHeadquarters came to me, I was excited and terrified. I didn’t have any experience in tech as a designer or developer. They guided me on how to not only validate the need for my product first, but also how to build a strong foundation that would make it investment worthy down the line.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My success and journey with my previous business really redirected me and pushed me to introduce HerHeadquarters to the world. The impact this platform will have is limitless. HerHeadquarters does more than give women access to brand partnerships. It gives women more time with their family by reducing the time they spend trying to securing partnerships. The platform gives women access to more exposure, more clients, and more revenue through these collaborations and gives them access to other female founders and business owners who genuinely want to partner with them and support them. I’ve used my success to reinvent the process of collaborating, boost the rewards, and decrease the risks.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Passion Is Not Enough, You Have to Do the Work

I’ve never been a lazy entrepreneur, but I have been an unexperienced, naïve one. Before evolving into a wiser business owner, I made several mistakes. One of the biggest was thinking that my passion (and my passion alone), would be the key to becoming successful. While passion may be a key ingredient to becoming a successful business owner, it’s definitely not the only ingredient. When I started my first business, an event planning business, I was more unexperienced than I had realized, I wasn’t prepared, and I hadn’t done enough work when I launched. I thought that having some business cards, a website, a launch party, and a ton of passion would make me an overnight success. My first two years of business was the rudest awakening I’ve ever had, especially when no one showed up to my launch party. I quickly learned that I wasn’t entitled to an easy journey and that I needed to work 100x harder to get half the success I desired. Passion was not enough.

Validate First, Act Second

The only thing worse than having a product that no one wants is finding out that no one wants it after you’ve invested time and money into creating the product that you can’t get back. I learned early that you cannot afford to make assumptions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tech product, an apparel line, a new wine, new service, or other product, do your research first. Research can come in the form of interviewing your target customer, conducting focus groups, surveys, user/customer product testing, etc. It’s important to acknowledge that everyone doesn’t think like you and every idea isn’t genius. Doing the research first will help you create a masterpiece, this way you’re creating the product or service exactly in the way your customers need it and with a enough value that they’ll pay for it. Never let the first time you get your customers feedback be after you’ve released the product, always before. If I created and released the version of HerHeadquarters I initially had in my, pre-validation and research, no one would be using my app. After doing months of research, my audience helped me discover how the app could be better, what would make it more efficient and valuable to them, and what was most important to them.

Make Your Team Feel Valued

Making your employees feel valued goes beyond giving them a paycheck. The talents, experience, and education they have took years to acquire. They could have contributed those talents to any company, but they chose to give them to yours. Make them feel appreciated and show them that you value them. Over the years, some of my most loyal team members were the ones who felt the most valued. Their opinions, feedback, and contributions all mattered and I never made them feel anything less.

Be Conscious of Your Perspective

I used to feel overwhelmed at how much I didn’t know, so overwhelmed that I allowed something positive like learning & evolving to become a negative thing. Be conscious of your perspective as you have the power to make a negative a positive and a positive a negative just with your mindset. You’re only out of options if you think you are and your back is only against the wall if you think it is. At one point, I almost signed a horrible deal that consisted of giving away 30% equity in my company because I felt overwhelmed with my lack of progress and lack of resources. I had become desperate because all I saw was what I didn’t have. My perspective and lack of patience almost caused me to make a decision that would later be damaging to my company. While I came to my senses and realized I was about to enter a bad deal, more importantly, I realized that I almost allowed my negative perspective to impact my business decisions and forever impact the future of HerHeadquarters. Never forget that you can bounce back from anything and always be aware of how much weight your prospective carries.

You’re No Good on E

I have a PhD in being hard on myself, at one point my self-discipline became unhealthy. I became so ‘disciplined’ that I crossed over into being unhealthy by not allowing myself to engage in basic human necessities like using the restroom, eating, and sleeping until my work was complete. At the time I thought I was doing what was necessary to be successful: being committed, making sacrifices, and making zero excuses. The result was sleep deprivation, fatigue, constant headaches, becoming irritable, and my quality of work became poor. It took months of this unhealthiness for me to realize that by pushing myself to the limit, I was unintentionally causing harm to my business, my mental health, and my physical health. I was busy from morning until late hours in the night, but I wasn’t productive. I was drained and constantly on E. In order for you to be valuable you have to be sharp, focused, and refreshed. You can only refuel your energy after taking a break and allowing yourself to rest mentally, emotionally, and physically. Give yourself permission to breathe.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A want to inspire of movement of ‘Real Bosses Have Allies’. This movement would change the narrative and image of women who collaborate revealing the true courage, confidence, and strength of women who join forces to become allies through partnerships. I want to reinforce that women who partner are not the underdogs or the struggling business owners. They’re the women determined to dominate and they’re taking their allies with them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Behind me is infinite power. Before me is endless possibility. Around me is boundless opportunity. Why should I fear?” — Stella Stuart

I left my full-time job this year to go full-time with HerHeadquarters, at the same time I was about to get married. There was a lot of major transitions in my life going on at the same time, as exciting as it was it was also a little scary and overwhelming. This quote made me feel empowered, strong, and encouraged me to embrace all seasons of life without fear.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

There are many women I look up to for various reasons, but lately I’ve had a strong desire to become a master of business strategy. When I think of an expert in this area, I think of Kris Jenner. I’d love to have a private breakfast or lunch with her.

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