SHELLEY REID BLOG
2020 has been a bizarre year for all of us, but before we went on lockdown, I was lucky enough to attend a Visionary Women event where I met my new friend Torrei Hart. (For more on my fun and memorable night with Torrie, you can check out the episode HERE.)
The event was held in honor of International Women’s Day and Jane Fonda was the
honoree. I had such an incredible night, and it led me to think that while we may attend such events, we don’t always fully appreciate all the work that goes into them, nor do we stop to recognize the mission of the organizations putting them on. It’s really easy to get caught up in the glitz, glamour and maybe even the stars in attendance, that we sometimes find that we lose the message of why we there, giving our money, contributing our time, or both.
But this event was different. I felt the collective power of the women in the room, from the boldfaced names to the regular folks, it felt like a palpable celebration of sisterhood. So I set out to learn more about Visionary Women, and connected with their president, the elegant and poised, Shelley Reid.
She imparted that Visionary Women, which is a unique non-profit community focused on engaging conversations with innovative leaders and funding high impact initiatives for women and girls, was created to NOT be a “women who lunch” group. It was founded to be an inclusive group, a tribe of women supporting other women. This was music to my ears. Sure, I used to run a publicly traded tech company, but I’m from Utah. I’ve spent much of my adult life gallivanting across the great cities of America, but I’m still a small-town girl at heart, who hangs with childhood friends, and still makes my home in my tiny hometown.
What I loved about interviewing Shelley is that we could not have come from more different backgrounds, but we speak the very same language when it comes to empowering women and girls. Shelley has multiple degrees and is an attorney. Her first taste of arts philanthropy occurred when she helped found a ballet company while in law school in Los Angeles. She said she “put her hand up” and got involved when she heard LA didn’t have a ballet company. And I loved when she said that, because “raise your hand” is one of my guiding principles; it’s how I’ve made my mark in the business field without any formal education or training.
We also discussed the importance of mentors and role models. Shelley was cocooned by a network of women who helped and encouraged her as she was starting out professionally. I felt starved for female mentorship, but my mom was my role model, and I was lucky enough to have a few good men mentor me along the way. And it’s funny, I have two sons, but there was something inside me that made me realize it was my duty to empower other women. Maybe because I didn’t have a female network to lean on, I knew I had to blaze a trail for women at Overstock. During my tenure, I grew the ranks of females in leadership positions from 7% to 33% - it felt good to give back, and to ensure that strong, smart, and capable women were given the opportunity to advance, just like I was.
And Shelley and I talked about the role of men. She told me about a program Visionary Women did with the uber-successful Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment and Ted Sarandos of Netflix. She learned that women had been mentors to them. Two of the top men in Hollywood had female mentors. I love that! Men are welcome in the organization and some attend their salons, but the whole staff and leadership team is comprised of females.
So if you’re seeking some inspiration or you want to BE an inspiration, check out my interview with Shelley to hear about how Visionary Women has raised nearly $2M for causes both local and global, and how they kicked into overdrive to help during COVID. (These women are making shit happen!) To learn even more, visit their site at visionarywomen.com and join the mailing list to be invited to their engaging events with interesting and prominent speakers.