Support female founded businesses. Make small business purchases for things like clothes, jewelry, books, artwork, etc.
Educate yourself about other women. Understand the current state of our economy, read books, listen to podcasts. Open your mind to better understand the world around us.
Use social media as a tool. Social media is incredibly powerful, engaging with female-owned businesses by liking, following, sharing, and saving their posts is a wonderful way to support.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joss Richard.
Founder and CEO Joss Richard is an Emmy Award winning Producer who was born and raised in Toronto where she worked as a Television Producer before moving to Los Angeles. At the age of 28 Joss has been formally recognized by the Daytime Emmy Awards and worked at Netflix, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Walt Disney Company creating digital content and managing their content strategy.
Joss has pivoted to the entrepreneurial world when she realized there was a gap in women’s access to mentorship and that women struggle with asking to be compensated for their time and knowledge.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I have always wanted to work in television; it was something that excited me. I went to school for Broadcast Journalism and volunteered at local news stations in college; I did everything from being a camera operator, handling teleprompter, and managing audio, until I became a Producer. After college, I was hired as an Entertainment Producer and was very fortunate to be interviewing celebrities and attending red carpets at the beginning of my career.
That line of work eventually led me to Los Angeles where I continued to work for incredible companies and landed my dream job multiple times. However, I realized there was a gap in women’s access to mentorship and that women struggle with asking to be compensated for their time and knowledge. It was then I came up with the idea for Margot.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I would say being able to interview the late Christopher Plummer. I’ve been in the presence of a lot of celebrities, but there was definitely a sentimental attachment there and to be able to interview him is a memory I will cherish forever.
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?
Oh boy, I feel like I’ve blocked out a lot of the mistakes I’ve made and I definitely didn’t feel like they were funny at the time! I know I’ve made a ton in my career, and I still make mistakes every day. What I will say is that for every mistake I make, I see it as a learning opportunity to not make the same mistake twice.
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?
I’ve been fortunate to have many extraordinary women within reach throughout my life; however Teri Hart who is a Television Host and Producer is someone that stands out. Early in my career she was someone I looked up to and she took me under her wing and taught me invaluable information, not only about the industry, but about life. She has become more than a mentor, but one of my dearest friends.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The Multi-Hyphen Life by Emma Gannon is a must read for anyone that is wearing various hats. It validates that it’s okay to not have one career path or job title. I also highly recommend “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero; it’s my go-to if I ever feel an ounce of self-doubt. The book is dog-eared left, right, and center, and falling apart.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
“Where you are now is not where you’ll be six weeks from now” from Teri Hart. She told me this when I first made the decision to pack up everything and move to Los Angeles. I was scared and she assured me that things wouldn’t be so scary. It’s something I tell myself once a week; if I’m anxious, or even if I get too comfortable. It’s a reminder that things are always changing.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
After starting my own business, I was talking to a wonderful woman who’s actually a mentor on Margot, and she had this incredible resume of working at the UN and actually making the world a better place. I admitted to her that my experience in television felt very superficial in comparison to hers, but she corrected me and told me that with Margot I really am helping women.
I’m using the skills and connections I’ve made throughout my journey and empowering women to be compensated for their knowledge and also advocating for girls and women in communities with socio economic barriers, and providing them mentorship they wouldn’t necessarily have access to.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
I think there’s a lack of resources to help create businesses as women, as well as the lack of representation of female founders — especially those or color. I am grateful to be in a lot of female-founded organizations and communities so I’m surrounded by female entrepreneurs; but unless you’re seeking them out, there really isn’t much representation.
I also believe that the entrepreneur space is still male-dominated, and a lot of funding tends to be granted to males first. I read that investments in companies founded or co-founded by women averaged at 93,000 dollars, less than half the average for men at 2.1m dollars.
Can you share with our readers what you are doing to help empower women to become founders?
Margot is an inclusive online network helping women-identifying and non-binary individuals find mentors, provide virtual 1:1 time with them, and normalize women being compensated for their knowledge. In addition to advocating for women being paid, Margot provides a Give Back Program; in which a percentage of our profits go towards providing mentorship to girls and women in communities with socio economic barriers.
A large percentage of the women that we have as mentors have founded their own businesses. By giving these women a platform to share their experiences and stories with other girls and women, they are empowering the next generation to be founders as well.
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Whether we realize it or not, younger generations are impacted by what they see in the media. If a young girl sees a female scientist, astronaut, CEO, or Vice-President, they’re seeing that potential in themselves one day. We need more women founders to inspire the generations to come. Young girls need to know that they can be anything they want to be.
Through Margot I have connected with countless female founders and I can say from first-hand experience, and also by seeing it through our mentors; women work hard. Women work twice as hard to overcome stigmas, prove themselves while pitching, and reduce biases. The result of this work is shown in the data; we need more female founded businesses and leaders to contribute to our economy.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share 5 things that can be done or should be done to help empower more women to become founders? If you can, please share an example or story for each.
- Support female founded businesses. Make small business purchases for things like clothes, jewelry, books, artwork, etc.
- Become a mentor. Through Margot you are able to become a mentor and share your knowledge with other women.
- Educate yourself about other women. Understand the current state of our economy, read books, listen to podcasts. Open your mind to better understand the world around us.
- Use social media as a tool. Social media is incredibly powerful, engaging with female-owned businesses by liking, following, sharing, and saving their posts is a wonderful way to support.
- Start your own business. No matter what it is! Don’t be afraid to try something new.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My idea is thankfully, currently in motion. I am using Margot to normalize the conversation of women advocating for themselves and their self worth. Through Margot we are also providing girls and women in communities with socio economic boundaries access to incredible women they wouldn’t normally be able to talk to on a personal level.
We are very blessed that some very prominent 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.
Someone whom I admire is Jaclyn Johnson, the Founder/CEO of Create & Cultivate. At a young age she was able to build an incredible community focused on women and it would be amazing to have her as a mentor.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.