Organizer Spotlight, Mother’s Day Edition: Founding Moms
Jill Salzman wasn’t planning on starting a revolution when she founded the Founding Moms Meetup in her suburb of Chicago. The moms only networking Meetup was originally supposed to be a small local gathering. When membership climbed into the hundreds for her group of entrepreneurial mothers, it was clear that she was on to something. Jill decided to turn her local community into a global network. Today, the Founding Moms are active in 42 cities across eight different countries. They “take each other’s businesses out to our own networks to help each other thrive.”
Founding Moms Meetups follow a familiar format: a speaker kicks things off with a business related lecture and then the women spend some time networking with each other. The thing is, the Founding Moms are all parents so they put their own spin on things. Every Meetup is kid friendly. It’s rare to find a business event as welcoming as the Founding Moms.
When you’re exporting your Meetup to another city, it’s tempting to just launch the Meetup without any local support. Jill is quick to note that, “You have to find someone on the ground who’s committed to the mission.” It just doesn’t work without someone on the ground to lead the community. Today, Jill has a whole process for getting new chapters off the ground, but at the beginning, she made it up as she went along. With 40 organizers, the Founding Moms schedule weekly organizer calls and are constantly communicating with each other online.
Earlier this year, Jill decided that it was time to charge her members money with tickets and dues in some of her chapters. Deciding to charge for a Meetup isn’t easy and Jill was “scared that [her members] would all just leave.” Instead, the opposite happened, her members told her that she was providing so much value to them that she should have been charging all along.
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