EMPOWERING WOMEN EVERY DAY IS THE CLEVER WAY
• March 8, 2017
Eight years ago, Cat Lincoln called me up and said, “Want to start an influencer marketing agency with me?” The answer was obvious, and a few months later, I called Kristy Sammis and said, “We need you.” If you ask women, women calling up other women to “do a thing” together isn’t unusual; it’s how sh*t gets done.
When we started CLEVER as a boot-strapped business, we knew we wanted to build a different kind of company. As a woman-owned—and woman of color-owned business—we wanted to create a company that reflected our values. We wanted it to be proudly and unapologetically “GIRL.” Why? Because we weren’t interested in having a seat at the men’s table. We were building our own damn table.
We started CLEVER in the middle of one of the worst recessions our country has ever seen with a mission to help women influencers achieve their personal and professional goals. Now we work with all kinds of influencers from women to men to pets, across many different social channels, but the mission has remained the same.
Starting a self-funded company in the middle of a recession will teach you a thing or two about business, but we’ve remained successful because we do what we think most women business owners do: make sensible (and often tough) decisions about how and where to spend money, find out what our employees value and create policies around those values, empower our staff to think critically and solve problems, and build a strong culture to support a healthy work-life balance.
And it’s not just us. Women in business are kicking ass!
According to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report produced by American Express, women-owned firms now make up 30 percent of all businesses in the U.S.
The number of women-owned firms is now estimated to have surpassed 9.4 million enterprises, generating revenue estimated at nearly $1.5 trillion – an increase of 79 percent since 1997.
Women entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of the economic recovery as female-owned companies grew at a rate five times the national average over the last nine years.
We are now at 11 million women-owned companies, a 45 percent increase in the past decade, and they are responsible for more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.
We are so proud that at CLEVER, not only are we woman and woman of color-led, but:
82% of our company is women
Our Principal Engineer is a woman
63% of our leadership team are women
We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate based on gender or gender identity
We provide a wage replacement program for mothers (and fathers) to care for their newborn babies
And not only that, since we started we have donated thousands of dollars in cash-money and pro bono work hours to organizations who support women and children. Our commitment to supporting women—and human rights—isn’t a one-day thing. We live and breathe this commitment 24/7/365.
We are proud to have created a company that empowers and supports women on International Women’s Day—and every day. To our sisters out there who are fighting to gain ground and make their voices heard in the business world and beyond—we march along side you every moment of every day. Who run the world? Girls.
Stefania Pomponi is Founder, President and Chief Evangelist of CLEVER.