Workplace Revolution with Amy Nelson
Hey, buddy, what's up? It's Chase. Welcome to another episode of the Chase Jarvis live show here on creative Life. You'll know this show. This is where I sit down with the most amazing humans. And I do everything I can to impact their brains with the goal of helping you live your dreams in career, in hobby and in life. My guest today is an amazing entrepreneur, former lawyer, now founder and CEO of the Riveter, which is a modern union for working women and allies. My guest is the Amy Nelson house. No. Okay, so I have you here excited to be here. Ah, has been some time in the making, so thank you for showing up. Uh, I'm hoping that we get a handful of things out of today's conversation. One your view on the future of working women and allies, of course, which is the company The Riveter? To get some questions about the future of work is we had a lot of people in our universe here who are creators and entrepreneurs and whether their future is a side hustle hobby or they want to change car...
eers. It's a very, very big area of interest for our our listeners, and then third is just a personal rehashing of our friend circle. And so we're gonna go in reverse order. Okay? So much overlap is right. There is. There is. Um I remember the first time we met, I bumped into a friend of mine boarding the plane. Her name is Carrie. I was like, Hey, she's like, What are you doing? Chasing? And you sat right behind me. And we were when Icahn What I call the nerd bird, which is the flights that connect San Francisco and Seattle because a lot of tech investor entrepreneur founder nerds that are on that, um, that flight I was on that flight yesterday. You were? There you go. There you go. Times have not changed. Uh, and I was familiar with the Riveter, and I knew that my friend Kerry had taken a job working with you. Asimo. And I just got to learn a lot about your business in a very in, like, 15 minutes. We were delayed and we were talking and I was so inspired. And since then it was when you were trying to raise your thinking first round of funding and now you're two rounds in. Yeah, um, and you've covered a lot of ground, so we have covered a lot of ground in a short time. The Riveter is only 2.5 years old, which feels wild me dog years. It is. Doctors start appears our dog years. Um but so goods go back to this former lawyer piece. Let's go back to the beginning and maybe a little bit of history on leaving law. I know you spent some time in politics. Yeah, with the Obama administration. And what led you as now, Mother Four. Because I have four daughters. Wow, I'm an overachiever in all areas. Really? Before I have four little girls, you are and seven months. So wow, I had just exploded on uncle to one Giant. But it's kind of for me, like with parenting. The bomb was really 0 to 1. Like going from not being apparent to be apparent and just pile it on, just sort of like a start up. Every that's right in any way at a layer. But so help us. I mean, I've signals where I wanted a conversation, but let's go backwards and give me a little bit of color on Why Law? Why leaving LA? Why politics? Why leaving politics to start. Ah, the riveter. Yeah, I was drawn to the law for a pretty specific reason. So I grew up with a mother who was a public school teacher. The father who was a small business owner. And they were, um they weren't like progressive activists, but they were active in their community. Was always they always showed up. They would go door to door during elections for the candidate secured about the leadership activities in our small town in Ohio. And so it was always for me that you showed up. You were part of the community around you you engaged on, and that led me to politics because I cared about issues that were relevant and that politicians could make change on Yeah, um and so I started volunteering for political campaigns, and I interned at the Statehouse in high school and in college. I went to college in Atlanta and Jimmy Carter still works in Atlanta. He has an organization called the Carter Center that focuses on peace and democracy around the world. And when you're a college in Atlanta Getting an internship at the Carter Center is like the Holy Grail. If you're involved in politics or kind of a political dork like I am like when I was a child, I read books about the president's, um, still something I think about a lot. And ah, so I've gotten internship of the Carter Center through luck and grit, I think, and partly that into a full time job. And so I worked at the Carter Center on Elections around the world. So I was 2021 22. Going to Ethiopia in Jamaica and working on and a peace, democracy, anti corruption elections. It was wild. I loved it. I loved it. I thought I was impacting change. The work was really hard. I was around brilliant people. Um, it was adventurous, right? Going all around the world, doing this. And so I went to law school so that I could continue to work in the international politics I went to and why you were out of focus and international law. Um, that was really I mean, I've been to New York once for two days before I move there. So that was that The whole thing, but I think about a lot. I remember when I moved to New York, I moved, I think 48 hours before law school started and I got into my apartment, these village, and I like I opened up like a map. And I was like, How do I get n y u like, highlighted it on the map. It was two streets over. I was going to say, If you're you're, um But, uh, it was a great experience I loved. And why you and it was expensive experience. Um, I think when I was 21 years old and I signed up for law school, I didn't think a lot about the cost of law school on and the very real costs. And I paid for it through loans and scholarships. But I came out of law school with a lot of debt, and going back into international politics wasn't a reality for me in terms of paying off my loans. And so I marched all the way down the Wall Street and started with a big white shoe law firm on Wall Street. And that was in 2006. And in 2007 the world changed with the financial crisis course and I was a financial services litigator. And so that led me into this other really interesting piece of history. So for five years, I lived the financial crisis. Every day I was back and forth between New York and London in D. C. It all sounds very glamorous. That was, of course, just like a shit show. It was a lot. It was a lot. And I learned a lot. It was drinking from a firehose every day. No, I didn't know what a derivative waas in 2007. And then I could tell you all about these esoteric financial products inside now, over the next five years. And so But we did things like preparing credit rating agencies for congressional testimony. Um, I mean, just really living what was happening then. And I loved it. And I learned a lot, and I knew it wasn't my passion. I remember on the eve of turning 30 I kind of took stock of my life. I was living in Chinatown, working at this big law firm, working a lot. I had amazing friends, but my life in New York was really work or going out. And I thought if I turned 35 if I turned 40 and this is my life, will I be happy? And the answer is no. And I think it can be really hard to just, like, take a hard pivot. Yeah, but it's also sometimes the only way to really change your circumstance. And I still know. Look ahead, five years, 10 years from doing what I'm doing now or where I think what I'm doing now we'll leave me. Will I be happy? The answer today is yes. So restate that because that was Say it one more time if I'm doing what I'm doing now or where this will take me. Yeah, so there's a little bit of production in their like I'm on a path to go. So yeah, I think you know, I look and I say if in five years or 10 years I'm doing what I'm doing today or end up where my actions today will lead, Will I be happy? That's the question I ask myself every year and today the answer is yes. And so I think the pivot I made when I left law into starting this company was the right thing. Did you manage to pan for student debt with your time on Wall Street? Not quite almost. No, that's probably partly my fault in the way I spent money. But, you know, it's but it's really I had 1/ tuition, scholarship it and why you and I left law school with $150,000 in debt. There you go wild. Yeah, and that's not something. It's that is a whole topic, you know, if you know, that's one of the reasons that Creativelive will always have a free product. Just never, never not be able to get a lot of learning here. We've given with billions and billions and billions. I think it's more than three billion minutes of free learning. That's amazing, because specifically, I also left graduate school with $100,000 in debt and it took me and think like an hour to sign up to get that debt. Yeah, not very hard to get it very hard to undo it completely. And also, I think I don't know how old you were when you went Teoh graduate school, but I was 21 when I made that decision. I didn't know, right? And you know what? Like I'm really glad I went to N Y u. It was an incredible education. An incredible network. Um, but I don't know, it's something you should think about for sure. So at some point, you clearly made a decision like and this is somewhere around your 30th birthday. You couldn't say yes to the question. Would you be happy? And 5 to 10 years doing the same thing or where it would lead me So and so I made that decision that I knew, You know, at the age of 30 I saw myself in New York at 35 or 40. Big law No, a partner. And I didn't want to do it. And the thing at that point was at 30 I didn't know exactly what I wanted to dio. I knew that it 30. I said, I want my heart to be more belongs. I want to find a way to do more in politics. And at the time I was raising money for politicians I cared about. I had always kind of kept doing that when I graduated from law school and knew I was going to work on Wall Street. I asked myself how I could stay involved in politics. And I said, Well, I'm gonna be around. A lot of rich people learn how to raise money. That was really I thought of it. And it turns out learning to raise money was incredible skill, because I learned to ask for something and I learned to hear no over and over and over again. And I learned that no, today doesn't mean no. Always. And these are things that have made me such a better entrepreneur. If I didn't have that skill, I don't know if I would be where I am today as a founder. Um, so ultimately, when I was 30 I said, Okay, I'm going to keep lawyering and I want to do more politics. And so in my mind with that necessitated was a move out of New York in back to the Midwest Room from, and I have spent my summers growing up, going to and then working at this camp in the boundary waters in Minnesota. I had no idea. Yeah. Oh, man. One of my dearest friends, like Boundary Waters, the biggest fan of all time. It is my favorite. Have never had a conversation with Hasn't said boundary waters like five times because it is the best place and it is still my favorite place in the entire world. So I washed dishes up there. It was a lifeguard, you know, a new guide. And so I wanted to be back in the West. I wanted to keep lawyer and get more involved in politics. Ron, maybe run for office s. I moved to Minneapolis. I knew at the time I think like five or six people that lived there, but love Minnesota knew I would find home there. Andi joined the law firm where a V club guitar had worked in Walter Mondale and got got quickly involved in politics. Um, and loved it, and I was happy that I was there. I think I found a new a new place to be, and I thought it was going toward where I wanted to be. And then I had a major curveball because I met this guy. Uh, yes, guys. This guy Carl. Yes. Um, and I met Carl, and he six months after we met got a job offer for tech company name to amazon dot com. And so we moved out to Seattle. Um, and that's where my life really changed. We got married and I became a mother. And for me, the day I got pregnant, um, changed everything, Not because I knew I was going to be a mom. I was really excited about that. You know, it was kind of nine months out that that would happen. But when I told the people he worked with, I was pregnant, that's when my world just kind of changed on a dime. And I felt like everything I've done up to that point as a lawyer, as a political fundraiser, just as a professional was under shadowed or was overshadowed by the fact that I was now going to be a mom. The questions I got at work from my colleagues from my bosses were all about becoming a mother and how I would handle pregnancy and how I would if I would come back to work. And what I want to travel would I want to go to trial was like, Of course, I want to go to trial. So basically, the only interesting thing about the a lawyer so it was really, you know, but all of these questions over and over and not really about my career, but about how motherhood would impact my career and looking back interesting. That's a subtle but very powerful, distinct. It's right, like in it. And it's, I think, a lot of about it, because what I've come Teoh and thinking about it over the past five years is that I hadn't really thought a lot about the gender gap before that because I had just been over cheating my way out of it. But if you become pregnant, it is this visible signal that no one can ignore and people don't, and there is no way to over achieve your way out of whatever think people think of it. Wow. Very, very profound. And I kept loitering after I had my first daughter and after I had my second daughter. Um, so you know, I left the law when my younger daughter was about six months. Um, and I worked really hard, and I figured it out, and I managed how to do it. But I also knew that things were different somehow for me, regardless of my ambition, the way the world looked at me. It was somewhat different when I remember at that time it was really seeking information and community and trying to talkto working months, and I looked around my law firm. I looked in my group within my law firm and I was like, Oh my gosh, there actually are no working moms on this group and it was like, How can this be possible? Because half of law school graduates are women and have been for literally decades. And then I had him like I went on the Internet and I looked at my law firm in New York and my do These are all great place store I wear. I love the people I worked with and I went up and looked at my law firm in New York, and I had started with a class of 40 attorneys, 20 men, 20 women and I went on the website and I was like, There's one woman left and then I started really digging into it, and of course I was like, How have I not noticed this before? Um, and I started reading. I started talking to people, and one of the things I Did was read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It's interesting book. There's, you know, lots of opinions about it, but for me, what stuck with me very clearly as a footnote, I think it's Footnote 92 and it says that 43% of highly trained professional women off ramp after they have kids. And I read that footnote and I was like, That's not a footnote, That's the whole story. 43 43% and I later looked up. I, like, went to the study and highly trained meant college graduates. So almost half of college graduates leave the workforce of the workforce after they have kids. And I was like, Why are we talking about this? Because this is the whole story. And if this is true, the system is completely broken. We all know it, and we just accept it. And I think the reason we don't talk a lot about it is because I think that we think it's what people want. We think that women want to leave the workforce after they have kids. I believe that a lot of them and leave because it's death by 1000 paper cuts and because the system doesn't work. The system wasn't built for working moms, and, just like it very much wasn't built for working dads who want to be participatory in their Children's lives. And so to me, that became kind of the thing I was really obsessed with, like, this is a problem. I want to solve it. I believe it's solvable. How do you solve it? And for me, And it's part of that journey. I was reaching this breaking point where it was like, Well, I have to offer him because I cannot figure out a way how to make this work and where I believe I'm finding equity in the workplace. Um, I mean, I had gone in house as an attorney and I was passed over for a promotion opportunity, and I was told, like, very literally, by another lawyer that it was because I just had a baby. Yeah, and I said, Like to myself, lawyers are saying this to one another. What the hell are other people saying? Wow. Yeah, um and so I thought of starting my own legal practice. Um, and working really with working women, like trying to find some kind of way into that field of the law. And I started going to classes on how to write a business plan. How to do your financial projections because I'm Super Taipei and don't have an M B A. And those classes were held in co working spaces. So like we work or other co working spaces, and in going to those classes, I was excited to talk to other women. Obviously, this is kind of like the central point of my life at that point, and I went to the classes in there weren't any women, and it was just I was like, Where are working women, like, Why can I not find these people? I know they exist. Um and I thought I looked around the classes around starting businesses, and I was in these spaces once again, very much like the law firms I was at or the tech companies. They were built for men, and it was like, Well, I guess once a woman is making choices about her career, like, why is she going to spaces that are built German thinking of men first? Why not choose to be around, um, people where you feel like you belong or you find community belonging is radically important. Uh, it allows us to speak up. It allows us to feel safe. It allows us to be brave if we feel safe and in spaces that are built thinking of men first men confined those things and women can't. And so I started talking to women across the country like, where do you go to find community? What did you do when you left corporate America to start a job? How did you navigate if you stayed in corporate America, uh, and kept coming back today? Do you have community, which is super important to me and always has been like I grew up in a house. My parents told us to show up for people around you, for your friends, my best friends of the people I've known since I was five. But they still are. I love that and super close to my parents, and it's just like it's the way that I was raised. And what I have found is that women were very isolated and talking about work and experience and work, work and thinking about work. When we ran up against problems, you might text our friends who might sit in silence trying to figure it out. But we didn't have anywhere to go to guide us in any real community around it. And ultimately that's where I came up with. The idea for the Riveter was this idea of what if you built a modern union that considered how you move the needle for working women and that considered We can do this by working together with men as you as you must and sharing information and community and resource is and time together to solve the problem. And so that's how the Riveter came to be. But that's the Riveter in concept. Not in actuality, because having a business idea and thinking about it, and and and then actually making it a business where, where there's dollars in hours and people show up and you say that this is what I'm doing, like there's identity and all this stuff. So I want I want to go there. Next I'm gonna put a pin in average second retrace. So when you took these classes in spaces that were largely designed by men for men, Um, how did it make you feel and maybe feel like I was going from one world built for men to another world built for men, and it felt exhausting. And it felt very also unoriginal, like women are half the workforce and we actually today or the majority of the workforce. And I didn't think it would be that much of an ask to try to find or to build spaces that thought of even including women, let alone putting women first. Um, and you know, I know how to navigate spaces built for men. I worked on Wall Street, which is largely male. Uh, but it doesn't mean I want to, right? At a certain point, you just get tired of fitting into other people's worlds and you would like to find a place in your own. So that's how you felt or how you Yeah, I guess how you felt when the gap between When what? How low did you feel like you had to feel about those spaces and we're to inspire yourself toe action. Where it was it like depression level, frustration and anxiety? Or was it like, this is an opportunity. Like what? I'm trying to get in the mind of the entrepreneur here I think on the one that the reason I started seeking my own path and a different community, I had a lot to do with feeling like I didn't have an equal shot. I mean, I was told I didn't have an equal shot. At the end of the day where Iwas and I felt angry. I was righteously angry, like I was a good lawyer. I worked really hard for for a long time, and I am driven a lot by kind of I'm driven by anger. Sometimes I'm driven by a desire to fix things and a desire for fairness. And oftentimes, I've been driven by a desire for fairness, you know, across the world, it's what drives you to politics and policy, for sure. But here, and, uh, I was raised. My parents were both college graduates, first generation college graduates, but Colorado college graduates. I have a lot of privilege. White, which carries privilege. Um, so I hadn't experienced that much unfairness in my life. And I was angry because this is the first time I have felt like Wait a second. Yeah, like just because I'm a woman just because of the mother does not mean, I cannot do justice Good of a job like I'm a better lawyer than most men. Eso that lead. That led me to a place of seeking something new. And when I went to these spaces or is taking classes and Nazi woman that I saw an opportunity and that's like the optimistic and shining part of it of like, OK, this is an obvious need. Why is no one doing this right and and specifically, why has no one Julie this and bringing men along with him to? Because I never had a desire to just go off and put women somewhere else. It was like we can lead and share and show and bring everyone along with us. And that's I love the and allies part of the the way you've described the Riveter and your your approach to it. Okay, so that gets us from, uh, let's just say lost to I have this great business idea. Yeah, but for most people who are listening, are entrepreneurs or and or creator self identified and this is where, like, having an idea is certainly, ah, hard part because there's like somebody thinks they could be doing and I'm in a distill what you said just into a little nugget. Here you like area of passion, frustration, anger, fear, excitement, opportunity. All these things come together. You're like If I'm spending as much time thinking about it, then there's gotta be an opportunity. But and for some, that's really hard, because what do I do? I'm interested in so many things. The that's the good thing, that the pressure of creating the diamond right, a lot of pressure is like That's where the best stuff is. So you clearly pull on that thread and it said, This is an area of opportunity. Now help us go from zero toe one in your world, go from not having anything. And I want, like, the details. Like what? Step one, Step two. Cause right now you're sitting at home like I'm just picturing you at a desk with a blank piece of paper staring at the wall like what am I doing? Yeah, what's thing one? Would you? So thing one waas thinking about it, googling everything under the sun in terms of like, what is Ah, what is a co working space? What is I literally never been inside a coworking space before I took these classes. Um, what are other communities geared toward women and in the United States? Like what exists out there on Ben? Super basic things, like how to start a business. I didn't know, you know, you have no idea. Um, and and then I did something that was out of my comfort zone, but that I think, made a world of difference. I entered a small business pitch competition. Um, I'm also driven by winning. I like to win. I'm an athlete, and I also throughout my life, have needed an orienting principle to get me summer like I'm the person that's like, if I'm out of shape and need to start running again, I signed up for a marathon. Right? Because if I don't, I'm not gonna do it. Um, And so Saletan is my favorite thing on Earth because we have a palate on treadmills like my big purchase for myself. Expensive, grand. It's amazing. And I use it a lot. It was like their points to win and competitions to win can win. I win enough win, win, win, win, win. But so I entered the small business pitch competition entered it in August, like right before the deadline. And I found it on Google and had it right before the deadline. And it took me through this process which said, You have to come up with a businessman, you have to build a basic financial model. You have to come up with a name. You have to figure out a pitch this thing and threw 3 to 5 minutes. Um, I got to meet with mentors. It was through kind of, ah, small business community platform. I got to meet with mentors. I thought about different ways to finance the business What it would look like, how I would make money. Um, all of the basics of that and that all lead up to a pitch competition. Um, and that was between August and November of 2016. I was still loitering. So I was doing this at nights on the weekends, and, uh, just a guided me to a place. That's where I came up with the name The Riveter. Because you're naming is important super, super important. And, uh, I I wanted a name that evoked strong women, but that wasn't the women's place because this wasn't going to be just a woman's place. And I am also a history buff and loved World War two in terms of what the history of it. It's a very complex time in American history, and one of the complex things that happened is that women went toe work in droves by the millions because the government asked us to and the icon from that area is Rosie the Riveter with, you know, she's got that way. You can do it. And it's really interesting because and they chose Rosie the Riveter because women went to build the machines of war. We built gardens, tanks, planes and with the planes. Plays are held together by these little things called rivets, and they put two things together. Um, and I thought, Well, the Riveter makes lot of sense. Rosie is this iconic American woman. We defines the workforce during World War Two, and I think women will to find the workforce again and can and be Leaders on rivets are putting things together, and I think that the way we get somewhere else is by coming together to do it. And that's where the name the Riveter came from. Um, and at the time when I was in this small business pitch competition, I was always thinking the River of the Riveter as a small business in Seattle where we live, Um, one physical location and some sort of online community. Uh, and that was very core to it. And I talked a lot about it with my husband, who was very supportive. But he's an Amazon. We've got two little kids were like, I'm going to give up my lawyer salary. How do we do all of this? And I was like, It'll be fine because I'm going to have a small business and all my time will be really flexible. I won't work as much as I did as a lawyer. I mean, sorry, I'm giving away the job. I think it's ridiculous. My husband knows me very well. He's like, OK, like sounds good. And so I enter the pitch competition and the pitch competition was held on November 4th. It was a Friday night and I want and it was amazing and I pitched this idea of the Riveter, the one you know, the one location with events workspace driven to really bring women together who are leaving corporate America to stop start businesses. And I got a $10,000 check. Well, yes, right, that was the prize was a lot. Um, it was amazing. And it was amazing weekend. And then I sat down and I was like, So I quit my job. Is that what I do know? Is that the next step? Um, and I was thinking about it. And sometimes I think like time finds us in some ways. Because the next Tuesday was the 2016 presidential election. We just wild. Yeah. Um, so that's crazy. It's still hard for you to talk about that election, which is crazy. It's a presidential election, but it's really personal, right? It was, you know, ends. You know, Hillary lost. And it was It was the next day that I was like, Well, and there's every time to do this. It's now not just because the world is galvanized around this, but because I am right. Because I want to define my own destiny and no one will do it for you. No one will do it for you. Open the door for you. Coming to save you. This is a thing that is like existentially. It sounds harsh to say, but the reality is like the reason no one's coming to find. He's not cause you're not loved and cared for and valuable. It's just because they're busy saving themselves right. It's true. And it's also this, like, you know, when I thought about leaving the loss, if I didn't start a business, I thought about going into politics. And I think politics is super important. And I think that women could make more progress today through business that we can through politics. And I think the more progress we make on the economic side, the more political progress we will make and so very interesting on ramp to that. That is how you know I made that decision and it's deeply personal. I can try to tell this story without crying, but like I told you, I'm like a presidential buff, right? I love this stuff, and when I was a little girl, I would ask my mom, Can a girl be president and my mom and say Sure she can and it's a But look at my book. There's no there's no one in here, right? None of these girls are presidents and and my mom and I, my mom would tell me they can be It will happen, you know, a girl be president. Maybe you'll be president should just, like, encouraged me all the time. And at the time of the 2016 election, I had a two year old and a five month old six month old. And in Washington state, we vote by mail. And so I have a picture of me holding my daughter's voting for Hillary. And I thought, they will never ask me if a girl could be president because the first president they will ever remember will have been a woman. And that is that means the world. What's it right? Like that's that's the thing. And so when she didn't win, it was just like, Oh my God, right? And it's hard to read. Engage in this presidential election because I feel so It's just There's so much there, right? And so if a woman doesn't win this time, Sloan will be the next election will be in 24 so it'll be 10. She'll be in it. My oldest will be in it right? She'll be asking me the same questions and I don't know how to answer it. Right. So So I quit my job, so I quit my job. Um, e got to start getting into this. I need to do this thing and this thing. Now, is it good for me? But it's good for women. And it might even be good for women in politics. Basically, is that the think it like, Think about think about who we respect in American culture, who we put faith in. We put faith in the dollar. A lot of this country. I mean, we really do it right. Like I mean a lot of debate around whether Trump was a good businessman, but he was a businessman. Like that's how we look at him. Sure, right. Look at him as a businessman. And that gave a lot of America a base to respect him. A base to support him, a base to say, Well, surely he'll be great at the government. He was great at business. Um, no. Bloomberg gets in the race right now, and everyone's like, great businessman. And he is I don't think Tom innovator on that, and and he's right in, right, Um and like I just think we put a lot of stock in that, and we haven't seen a ton of examples of women leading the company's or women starting unicorns right, And we need to see it to make women and power more normalized. And the more we see women and power normalized in business, the more communal come normal in politics, the more it could become normal everywhere. It's hard to be what you can't see. It's super hard to be what you can't see. That drives a lot of what I dio, and it drives a lot of how I talk about what I'm doing, which has been something I didn't know that I would do a lot of, um so yeah, I mean, it's Yeah, I think I think women in power is still something we're deeply uncomfortable with in America, and we have to find a way past that. I'm very comfortable with it, very seek it. That's great. Yeah, and I do think the interesting thing is, I think generationally we're getting more and more comfortable with it. But the people in power in many ways, which are still largely white men, yes, for sure, and a lot of the older Reitman are not as comfortable with it. And so it's like it's this thing of like, I don't want to wait for dinner or I don't want to wait one more generation because like, this is my time. Um, I often get asked if I'm doing this for my daughters, and I am. And I'm also doing it for me. Yeah, right. Like it's I'm still here. I got a lot lab, but a lot of time left in, and I want it to be a time of progress. Um, well, thank you for that recap that was powerful. And I think specifically, um, there is a lot of personal stuff in there, and I think whether or not that is if you're listening or watching whether that's your stick or not, what is indelible? Part of that conversation is the part that how important the you part of what you just said is in the thing that you're making. Yeah, and a lot of people I find are chasing a market opportunity or their friend had a good idea for business. Or isn't this a a thing that where people could make a lot of money and I'm just on the sidelines of their life, going like, Yo, don't do that. I think that's not the thing. And when I hear you talk about the why behind your work, to me, it's just there's just It's so clear. It's like laser focused on anything. Teoh is. If I didn't know what it would be like, I still like what I have done it. If I don't like, look at the dark circles under my since you don't know what you want. Are you sure you want? This is not for everyone, but I do know this that, like when I'm sitting on my bathroom floor crying and I want to quit, I don't because I care very deeply and that if I was doing something I didn't care so deeply about, I might not get up off the bathroom floor and go to work because it's nearly impossible. And it doesn't stop being nearly impossible, right? Which is the one thing I think. When I started, I was so uncomfortable, it was so hard and I was like It will get easier. I'll feel less than comfortable and then I was like, Well, im three years and I feel the same. And I now understand that, like at five, look your five, it will feel justice hard. And I don't feel just doesn't comfortable in, say, mature 10. And that's okay, though. I mean, you get used to that. You do get comfortable feeling uncomfortable, but the discomfort doesn't going away. Just like oh, hello, old friend. Yes, And like you make a mistake and you're like, I'll never do that again. Six months later, you're like, Oh, my God. I just stepped into the same vial. Like here I am again, huh? And life does a good job of bringing back the things that we don't fix. It does. I think the one of the most interesting things about entrepreneurship is it has made me the most self aware I have ever been. I know. Now I know what I'm good at. I know what I'm bad at. Like it's so clear to me. I know like I know what I do. Wanna get afraid? I know I Because I have You get in so many crazy situations like you see how you react and you learn and you do the same thing every time It's just a variation of it. And that's been interesting to learn to become that aware of who I am and how I act. This is to me this is a beautiful arc, your life and the we're getting tactical. Like I entered the pitch competition Google. They did all these things. So I want to go back to that now and pick up. You have a $10,000 check. You don't have a job? Yep. What? Made a little bit more than $10,000 a year as a lawyer? There's a disconnect. Just a little gap in funding there. Yeah, but yeah, what did you do next? Because again, I keep putting myself back. I the hearts and minds of our watchers listeners. And they're like, they're hooked right now. Great. I'm I'm taking knows I'm doing these things now. I have a check, but you still haven't actually done anything. I haven't done a thing, right? And I'm sitting there with this check of like, I can't spend this money until I know what I'm doing. When will I know what I'm doing? Right? And that there is that question. So a lawyer and new was like. Okay, let's go about this methodically. Like, let's form a corporation. Take step one, because you have to have a corporation. Have a bank account to deposit the check. Well, it's very basic. Um, it was at that point that I made the central decision that has driven my life since then. Um, I called a friend of mine who was a startup lawyer, And I said, I have this idea cos called the Riveter. This is what we're gonna dio in Seattle. Should I form an l l C or a C court? He's like, You should do it. I'll see. I'll get you, like some forms you can fill out. I'm too expensive. I'm not your lawyer. Yeah, obviously, I'm not paying you to do this, but could you guide me in the right direction? Um, and then this guy called me a couple days later and he said, Can we get a beer? I want to talk to you about your idea. And I was like, Sure, and in my mind, said I was like, He's gonna tell me this is a terrible idea. Like he's been stewing over this for two days. Like I tell my dear friend, this is your dumb You're gonna Yeah. So we meet up for a drink and we sit down and I was like, What's up? And he's like, you know, I've been thinking about your idea and just like, Why are you building one of these? And why are you doing this Just in Seattle? And I was like, What do you mean? He's like, Well, like, quite literally, Why are you building one? Why don't you build 50 build 100 do this all over the country? And I was like, Oh, well, I don't have an MBA. He's thinking that was your answer. I was like, I don't have an M b A. Like I don't have business experience. He's like, Have you ever Googled the founders of a lot of like very valuable startups in this country? And I was like, No, I have never done of them. Haven't like nobody. No one went to business school and I was like, really? Like so that they worked for other startups. Big companies. He's like, No, he like most people just have an idea and start a company and just go for it. And I was like, Oh, well, I just don't You know, we talked about it. He told me what venture capital was. It's very precious, like I really I When I say don't don't have a background in this, I did not have a background. And I've been very focused on building a small business, so I've been looking at small business sources of funding and thinking of it that way. So I go home. Is he telling you about venture capital in your meeting? Yeah, He's like this is what? Because I was like, how would I for all these, get some of that? I would benefit, but not how you get it at a base level. How would I pay to do this like I don't have millions of dollars. They told me about venture capital and all the things in that world you know, over a couple of drinks. And I went home and I got on my laptop and Google's my new laptop because my work laptop was gone. So I like how to go get right, you know, 1000 pitch competition that you want to buy any laptop, so I get laptop to go home, and I Google and I could Wilson founders like I Googled Adam Newman. I got gold. Mark Zuckerberg. I just I Googled some founders, and I was like, Oh, I have a lot more experience these people had. Right? Right? I was like, Well, if they could do this, why can't I do it If I've been in long have been in politics and I've been Yeah. And I was like, I don't ask people for money. I could raise venture, which you know, a small gap there. But I'm a big guy of asking for money for a political candidate and raising venture capital. But, you know, I really thought about it. And I was like and I thought about my network. I thought about how it worked in politics and community organizing and those principles or quarter who I am. And I thought if women in Seattle knew this woman everywhere needed and I'm might think that I shouldn't be the person to raise my hand to do it. But why not? Like, why me? Who? If not no one? Exactly. Um And so you know, my husband was home that night. He traveled a lot and he was home that night And I said, What would you think if instead of building one riveter like I built riveters all over the country and he looked at me and he's like, I think you've already decided That's what you're gonna dio he's like. So if you're gonna do it, do it Well, wow, amazing partner. He's amazing. And, um And so I made the decision then that I would build a company across the country about five hours after hearing the term venture capital for the first time. Um, but it is all to say right that I tell that story and I think it's so important because we talked about this. You can't be what you don't see. And I hadn't seen women starting venture scale companies. I hadn't seen women building these enormous companies worth billions of dollars, you know, and ink and entrepreneur like I just haven't seen it certainly hasn't seen mothers doing it with young kids, and I think that's part of the reason it didn't occur to me that I could do it. And so it was a guy that told me I could do it, and then a guy that validated that I could do it right, And I think it's really important to note that. And I think about it a lot because I want to live in a world where I could wake up and think I could do that because I am justice qualified. I have just as much grit just as much hustle. And so I could do it. You know, at the time, I didn't know that women received 2% of venture capital funds. I didn't know that I was choosing the hardest thing, right, Um, but But I chose it, and I think that's, uh, that's the point, is making the choice. I quit my job. I chose to do what I was going to do, and I did it. I started. I could have thought about doing this forever. I could have thought about doing it for another six months, and I would have lost the opportunity or it wouldn't have been the right time. Um, it was just 2.5 years ago, right? Like it's not our three years ago now, but I left. It's actually three years ago this week. Whoa! That was my last table, Larry. Whoa! That's where I looking lands ago. Bom bom this'll week this week. Yeah. The great thing about social media is it reminds you thought this time three years ago you were earning in my badge, you were turning in your badge and you had a $10, check from a pitch competition. Yeah, and just again for the tacticians out there listening, watching, like our audience. They want to do what, Amy, you're doing. So you win this pitch competition, you have a conversation with your friend who's like, why is this a Seattle only thing? Why isn't this a global thing? And you're watching and we work. And Adam Yeah, you know, you know, basically raised billions and millions of dollars. All the billions, right? All of it. And you're sitting here. I wanna pitch competition. Keep walking me down. The path like you and me today is like it is like it's really important to talk about all the nuts and bolts because it's not. Yeah, and I do. I think this is, like, beautiful, your personal. Why the hard part? There's the women, the lack of opportunity, the playing through that. And there's also the And so I did this And so it So keep tell what I did after I made the decision to build this around the country as I, uh, I incorporated the riveter chose a C Corp. Which is what you should do if you want to build a national scale company that spans many states to do in Delaware, where you just I did it in Delaware. This is a well known saying they're afraid company. Um And then I made a spreadsheet. So I went back, Teoh how I raised money for politicians and I would sit down and make a spreadsheet of everybody I knew that I thought could afford to give to a politician. And then I would write down how much I thought they might want to give, and then I would ask them for double. That was how I raised money for candidates. Um, so I sat down with the spreadsheet and I said, Who do I know that could potentially invest in the start up like $5000? $10,000. 50,000, 100,000. Um, the personal list of people I knew was not that long, but I made that list and then I started reaching out to those people on scheduling coffee dates or phone calls that they live somewhere else to call them and tell them about my idea. I didn't immediately Austin for money, but I was kind of socialising what I wanted to build on that I would be raising money. And do you have any ideas? You have an idea that people to talk to you and you can kind of gauge if they were interested it that that it was stupid. I've had some people say That is ridiculous, right? And I had some people want Teoh invest money before he asked them to and a lot of people in the middle. And then the other thing I did is I went onto the Internet and started Googling like Seattle Angel Investors, because in every city there are people who invest in a number of startups like that's something that they dio make early stage investments in Seattle. There's probably 10 or 15 people that are kind of well known for it. I've never heard of any of them, but the Internet told me who they were and then took those names, put them in my spreadsheet and then I went on Lincoln and I put their names and a Lincoln and I found if I had a second or third connection to them, I put that second or third connection into my spreadsheet. And then I would reach out to the middle person and say, Hey, can we get coffee? I want to tell you about an idea. It was scheduled coffee dates with that middle person. And during that coffee date, I would say I saw Arlington that you're connected to Joe. I'd really like to meet Joe. I know then that Joe invests in early stage companies. Would you be willing to introduce me? And then if they said yes, I would follow up with an email that they could forward to? Joe, thanks so much for a conversation. Glad you like the idea. Let me know if you have another feedback. Yeah, Yeah. I would love to meet toe, you know, blah, blah, blah. And they would forward it onto Joe and Joe would say yes or no to meeting me. Most people said no. Um, and then if I got that meeting with Joe, then I would go sit down, have coffee and talk to him about my idea. It is a very tedious process, very manual, very manual. It's not exciting. It's hard. You hear no, constantly. It's exhausting, and you have to treat it like a full time job to get through it. Um, and I raised almost $700,000 in three months. They were combination of people I knew, and largely through Seattle area Angel investors. Um, some of the money came in a weird way. Uh, the other thing I did other than this very manual spreadsheet is I started talking about my idea to everyone, to every random person. Um, I was at my two year old wasn't like fake preschool like a like a fake preschool class for two hours once a month, once a week. And, um, I went to it with her one day and I was talking to another mom in the classroom, and I was telling her what I was doing. And she said, Oh, you have to meet my husband. He's a serial entrepreneur and I was like, Oh, obviously I had no idea eso we said I sat down with her husband, like, three days later, on a Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Because that's the other thing. When you're raising money, you just go whenever, wherever people will talk to you. Yeah. Um, and we sat down at 7 a.m. for coffee on a Saturday, and I started telling him about my idea. And he's like, Well, we would like to invest $25,000 and I love to connect you to a lot of my other investors that invested in me. That's great. That so That conversation at preschool ultimately led to $225,000 of investment in my pre seed round. Wow, right, Like. And it's just like, what if I'd never write a seven AM meeting? Yeah, right. Or brought it up to the woman at preschool? For sure, I wouldn't have known that her husband was getting people excited. To me, is constantly in the the advising the 90 or people like I've got a great idea. I don't want to tell anybody, do my idea, like, trust me, man. No one has the time to do your thing. Most. 99% building care about your thing, let alone like, would do it the same way you would you just do it better. Yeah. Tell everybody you know about your exciting thing. Tell everyone because those people open doors for you. And so I raised that round between January and March 3rd. Remember the date? Um, which is fast? That is really course superfast. I worked 60 70 hours a week. I'm getting this done because I wanted to build it like I wanted to build the thing and I needed money to build the thing. And I did some crazy things, too. So this was, you know, I started right after the holidays ended March 3rd. And on February 14 I signed a five year lease for the first Riveter with tens of thousands of dollars of rent a month. Wow. I was like I got and I find a personal guarantee on the lease. I could put my house up bilateral in there, but it so that moment in that moment, like that's the one way door. And like the amount of conviction that you have to have. And if you're married, your partner has to have its everything. This building were sitting in kitten and personally guarantee the lease on this building. And you like you carry that? They chased the human. And Kate the human? Yeah, carry it, carry it, carry it every day for sure. And the leases, like, if it's whatever 1000 times our May 10 years, that is the bill. I know exactly how much left on my first riveter. There you go. And, um yeah, so this what you end up having is the start of your business And this Now, let's do a massively Because again, this is for the benefit of people watching and listening. They are loving your story as a mother of four, who has, by the way, also in the middle of a couple of kids. I mean, I found out I was pregnant December 31st. Like leading into this. Okay, there's plenty going on. Just leave it at that. And then, But I also want to fast forward now. So where you all in your fundraising cycle? What? You're sort of operation. Give us the jump from Yeah, You raised 700 grand from friends and family to now what's happening? So we've raised a total of 21.5 million to grow the company in three different rounds with including that 700, all around. Um, we have nine riveters in six states and seven cities. We have 13,000 members across the country. We have had a $10 million run, right? And then some. Um, we've grown. It's been ah, lot over the past 2.5 years. Clearly, um, a congratulations. Be ownership conversation from the tactical and the financial to the emotional and spiritual. So what? Yeah, thanks. Have straight. You want to stretch out? We take a take a break here. So let's talk about the you putting a flag in the ground for women entrepreneurs and their allies in this time in this space, like, What is it? What does it mean to you personally know? So is there more drama than you want to go wrong? That, or is it fueling your fire? Is it helping grow? The business feels the fire. It helps grow the business, and it's terrifying. So when I started the riveter, the river is about riveters, right? It's about working women and allies who want to change the world. Um, I didn't have a concept of how much the river. There would also be about me as a founder. Yeah, I probably should have, you know, understood more that the founders were tied to the product. And our story matters to people. And my story matters a lot to people because there are not a lot of mothers having young kids. Um, and starting big companies. We don't see a lot of it. It's not something we really talk about culturally either. Like in corporate America, it's very much like I felt like I couldn't be a lawyer and a parent at the same time. Like I didn't talk about being a parent at work. You know all of these things? Um, And when I started a riveter, we grew a platform. Um oh. I decided to share more of my life so that if it could provide anybody with that idea that you can do it, Yeah, you can watch me do it like you could do it too, right? I'm from Ohio. I drive a minivan. I've got let the little kids like it's possible, and that would be meaningful to people because I had wanted to see it. That was what I was seeking when I was trying to understand how to navigate the work world and so but the thing that I didn't think about when I made the decision to start sharing my life more was the risk. Um, like I am making a public statement that working women can be mothers and be powerful entrepreneurs. But what if I fail? Does that mean that I'm this really negative statement that see, She said working moms could do this and they can't motivations. Yes, I am motivated by fear. I e. It is motivation, but it's like it was an entrepreneur. I think it's really interesting because when you have a certain degree of success or you get going, I think a lot of people around you think we've done it. You're successful. You don't know how the story ends like I don't know how the repeat historians it is just beginning. We are at the very beginning like that. I know, and a lot of different things could happen there to be a lot of different outcomes. I know what I believe and I know where we're going. But you know, stories weave and bob and things change and there are different chapters and, um so I I don't like I don't want to ruin it for other people. Yeah, but well, I guess embedded in there something that I to me is is Ah, I wanna learn from this conversation with you. And we sat next to each other on the plane on the way back on the nerd bird from San Francisco CEO at a conversation and told you everything I know about venture capital. Then we met as a follow up, like good, bad, ugly. And you're clearly on your way. Um, the number one thing that I want to learn and this is selfish perhaps, But I know again, the listeners and watchers right now, I think my hope is that this will help some subset of them. You are so clear in your vision about helping women in the workplace and allies. Yeah. How can the people who are not women in the workplace be allies so up? I mean, it's really none of this is rocket science. When I think investors need to fund women, women are woefully underfunded, not just adventure. Where we received 2% of venture capital dollars, but also in small business sellers. Women get 4% of small business loan dollars. I read the thing that I believe you said there are more Fortune 500 CEOs named John. Then there are Fortune 500 women CEOs. Yes, that's true. There are also separately, more Fortune 500 CEOs named James than there are women. CEOs. Wow. Yeah. Let that think in for just a second. Like when I Yeah, that is bonkers. Yeah. And so I think funding women, I think acknowledging pattern recognition and implicit bias like we are affected by the patterns we see. We see, you know, male CEOs over and over and over again. That's what we think is CEO. Looks like I had an investor once say to another investor in this other person told me later when I didn't find me just I know CEOs and she's not a CEO, right? Like, what does that even mean? First of all, that's why I e with my hand, right. So, like, you just have to, like, acknowledge it and then try and then try to move past it right? Like we can't understand. We can't pass something if we don't acknowledge it. That it's happening like we all have unconscious bias. We have to go shirt right, And so and then I think the other thing is stand shoulder to shoulder like we are all better together. The wage gap is not a woman's issue, so most men in America over the age of 30 are married to women. Women don't receive the same dollar as a man. And so if your wife isn't paid the equal dollar that affects your household's bottom line, everyone should care about that, right? Like the average. There's this interesting math I was doing earlier this year in the lake. The wage gap was it cost a woman of like with an average salary over the cost of an average career, and it costs almost half a $1,000,000 of lost wages. For most people in this country, that's a different life. It is entirely different life that is, multiple houses, college educations, right, like that affects families. It's very really affects people's kids. It affects everything. So standing shoulder to shoulder and saying, How do we just make sure there's equal pay and it's not like it's not. Some like scientific formula we need to come up with, right, just like doing analysis at your company if people are paid equally if they have equal experience for unequal job and then if they're not fix it. Mark Benny off did it at Salesforce. So one of his executives, Cindy Rana Robbins, came to him and said, We've got a pay gap problem. And Marc Benioff, who's a good guy, said, We don't have a pay gap problem. I'm a good guy. I'm a good CEO, like I wouldn't do that. But then Cindy challenged him and said, Let's do the analysis when he said yes and the result was there was a massive pay got problem and so many expect millions of dollars fixing it. And the interesting thing is they have to look at it every year because they acquire companies, brings back a pay gap problem with the new equity required companies or just things happen right in the pay gap, every individual manager department or whatever, because of the bias. Yeah, right. And so taking that on I'm fixing it, I think is really important on. But I also think one thing that could really radically change corporate America and gender disparities is parental leave. Um, we talk a lot about maternity leave. We need parental leave, and we need men to take it. We see the best outcomes in countries that have mandatory paternity leave. Because it signals in culture and work that men are equal in parenting. It is not the woman's job. So brilliant. It's just But, well, thank you for sharing like those air thing, those air tactical things that we can do reasons why, if you weren't convinced when you first started listening, Um and then I guess the last thing I am keeping you under. Then I said I was gonna keep you happy. Okay. Ah, but with the experience inside a riveter for the people are curious. And what what kind of? That's another way of saying, What kind of community are you aiming to create for people who are listening that might be interested, So the community were aiming to create is really intentional. So it's a culture built upon inclusivity. So everyone belongs there regardless of where they live, of how much money they make of what they look like, how old they are with her job is so we have members who are lift drivers. We have numbers who are executives of Fortune companies. We have mom's who have taken years off and are trying to find a way back into the workforce. We have no single men who really believe in equality for women. We have all sorts of people, and we're really built on the premise that everyone belongs there and everyone has a place and whatever you need, that's what you want to help you with. And so we have programming on everything from no social media when I want. If you're building a business, Teoh how to deal with care, taking of your parents and navigate work, rightly care taking of your parents. It's a very real thing that a lot of Americans are dealing with for sure, right, and we don't talk about it. A lot of work and that idea, like we need to hold humans to be good at our job. I think we can't separate these pieces out. That's why I created life is in your price product literally a bit. People like realizing we need to invest in and not we're going to invest in you and we're going to give you access to how to be better at pivot tables and excel This is like how to be a better human, physical, emotional communication. Obviously, creativity Zahra. Huge foundation for us. But it's phenomenal that people don't think that they would invest in the whole human and that you're somehow going to get right the results that they want. And that's when I mean it's interesting, like from the other side of it, right and building a company. It's something you have to think of a lot, and it's a struggle being a startup and wanting to do all of these things, your team and not having the money. And so what can you do? Like, how can you be a good leader? How can you build a good culture? When I was a lawyer, I never managed. People like litigators are project based, like a SWAT team. You go and you do the job, you get out. The very clear objective is to win, and I had like once a year, would have a performance review for 10 minutes, and that's not the world of a company. It's not the world of a good culture and so I've had to really kind of try to learn how to do that and it's really hard, and that is the thing that like and that's what keeps me up at night with no instruction manuals for this. Like being apparent right? I'm not a parent, so I don't know. But I've heard that's like something Owen wrote a good handbook for doing the thing you're trying to do. No, no. One, no one did. And then and I also like I was raised in a professionally in a culture of like, be stoic, like people are aggressive. Um, there's no real authenticity to it. And in building the Riveter, if we're out there trying to build this culture externally, to change things for women like, I had to find a way to be a good and authentic leader internally, and it's hard like to be vulnerable to really hard to be vulnerable with people that you're leading because you don't want them to be scared. But they're part of the journey and they want to hear the story. They want to know where you are, and so it's taken a lot on me to say OK, I'm going to be brave enough to share with them The bumpy parts, the hard parts where I don't know what the hell I'm doing in the hopes that we can be a team and come through it together. Speaking of sharing your story, I wanna say thank you for sharing yours with us. Um, what an amazing story. Before you go, though, I gotta let people know the coordinates. Like, what's the best way for them? Toe find and follow what you're doing. Um, and how the folks who are created by pop from here to know how to get you. Yes. So you can visit us online at www dot the riveter dot c o. We have riveters in Seattle, Portland L. A Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis in Austin. Um, good cities. Yeah, they're amazing. Think there's so much opportunity in the middle of the country. And then you can visit us on social media at the Riveter CEO and digital programs as well as physical for people who aren't in those cities. Yes, we have digital programs and digital community where you can really talk about the hard parts of work and find community to guide you through those pieces. Thank you so much for being on the show. Everything really grateful for coming to be on our platform here. Thank you. And, uh, for those folks who were not check it out. It it's amazing. And of course you can. You're your energy. Like I want to go out. So, like, just go do it. But thanks a lot for being on the show. Really grateful. And for those folks don't see it again. Hopefully, but, you know