• Hannah

Inspiration & Education: Women Innovators at The U of M

One of the best parts about living in the Twin Cities is that there are so many opportunities to meet creative, strong, female entrepreneurs. I met my mentor in a shop just down the street in Uptown and a supportive cohort in Women Venture classes. Today, that trend continued at the Women Innovators Conference at the University of Minnesota.

The conference started out with an improv session that had us literally shaking out all negativity we all naturally carry into new situations. Margi Simmons from Brave New Workshop listed the 5 traits that stem from a fearful mindset: checking out, criticizing, whining, concealing and stalling. I find myself doing these things all the time, even though I'm passionate about Delica Winds and the potential of eyewear accessories in the market. To be honest, before I arrived, I was trying to find an excuse to dip out of the conference early (thankful I didn't - more on that later).


But the magic happens out of our comfort zone - like here, networking with successful women. The Big 5 traits that move us in the direction of our dreams: listening, deferring judgement, reframing, declaring, and jumping in. Listing those words here doesn't do them justice. Living those words, even a little a day, can dramatically change your mindset for success.



My initial skepticism about the conference was that most of the speakers were from tech and medical industries. Minnesota is a leader in medical technology and its amazing what these women have done in the classically male-dominated field of science. My fear revolved around my judgement that innovative fashion accessories can't be in the same room as high-level tech designers.


I was wrong and I'm so happy with the result of purposefully opening up for advice on innovating in any chosen field. If we hadn't started with Margi's exercise, I would have missed the really great advice from today! Listening to the experiences of these entrepreneurs, I realized that our journeys are all fraught with doubt, hope and distractions. Building on innovation, whether its science, tech, fashion or the arts, is a matter of persistence and optimism.


If you are starting a new business or brand, look for people who are following their passions. Listen to them, no matter what field it is, because by listening you can learn what success looks like with a different mindset. No matter where you live, you will find these mentors and opportunities if you look for them. But lets be real, the best ones are in Minnesota.

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