Yes, Chief

Um it is universally accepted truth that Women are superior to men Our next guests truly understand that And that created a Billion Dollar Plus Business that is all about An exclusive high-powered women's Network And they're going to come talk about it Better than I can so with that please Welcome to the stage our co-founders of Chief Carolyn Childers and Lindsey Kaplan and your moderator Natasha Moscarenas warm welcome [Music] Okay I feel like we need to be on stage In order to get water here so feel free To take a sip we made it thank you all For coming and thank you guys for being Here thanks for having us we're excited For the discussion oh my god well I mean First off you survived 2022 or 2021 You're into 2022 and I mean the the Thing that came to mind when I saw that You guys are coming to disrupt is your Biggest competitor just left the market The wing that I would say is the biggest Competitor shut down earlier this year What kept you alive what is kept Chief So long lasting throughout all the years To now you know a 1.1 billion dollar Company yeah uh we I don't know would Say that that was actually like the our Biggest competitor I think you know for Us we were excited to have a lot of

Um momentum in organizations that were Focused on driving women into you know Positions of of power and and about Empowerment in that way and so I think For us Um we're just excited that we're Continuing to you know fight that Mission Um and for us I think the biggest Competitor honestly is time because what Is kind of unique about what Chief does Is we focus on senior executive women Very specifically so VP level and above Is the best way to describe it which is Like the movie Trope of the busy woman Um and we really focus on the community Coming together to support each other Through your biggest professional and Personal challenges a lot of leadership Development and I think because we have Been more focused on Um that segment of consumer and true Like leadership development Um and we always like to say like we're A community that happens to have a space Not a space that then tries to build a Community I think that is what has Allowed us to endure especially during You know 2020 2021 when spaces were Closed so it allowed us to actually kind Of Thrive through the pandemic time Because it was a moment where People needed Community more than ever It is this like unique attention because

I agree Community was needed more than Anything last year and it was kind of The word of the year to the point where It became like the hype of the year and Now it's the stress test of the year and So even if the wing isn't your direct Competitor I'm curious how you kind of Navigate the fact that so many startups Are in the world interested in your Community or kind of around it and if Not trying to get your members directly Trying to preach kind of the similar Kind of mission and Market it's a Marketing game as well and I don't know If there's something that you would want To add there too yeah you know I think When we talk about women right it seems Like this is for women that's half the People in the world Chief is for women Who are executive leaders and so carving Out a niche of women who have very Particular needs around Mentorship networking Workshops events what they need is very Different than just going out and saying We're building a community for women Right and so you know there are a lot of Incredible organizations out there that Are catering to different groups and I Think we found near and dear to us a Need that wasn't being met by the Current communities networks or groups Out there yeah I mean huge 2022 you Crossed 20 000 members obviously raised

100 million at a 1.1 billion dollar Valuation opening up your SF office this Week and expanded to the UK this week as Well so thank you for all the news I I Want to know what like kind of the state Of the business right now in terms of What you charge and kind of just yeah The different revenue streams because to Me right now it's still this membership Based Network looks the same as it did When you launched is there a reason you Haven't necessarily expanded In terms of the monetization while you Haven't kind of the locations yeah I Mean so just to explain it a little bit Of like what Chief is and what we do we Are a membership model so annual Membership fee for 70 of our members it Is sponsored by the companies Um that uh employ them which is super Key right like I think there's a lot of Like b2c in this space where the person Needs to feel driven enough yeah to Apply and pay the money and yeah it's an Interesting like B to C to B model that We have created you're convincing Employers to pay well in the same way That you know a um an employee would go Back and say I really want an executive Coach or I really want to go to a Conference Um they can go and say I really would Love to be a member of Chief Um and where an executive coach can be

Thirty thousand dollars for a six month Engagement you get a lot of the Leadership development that you would Get from something like that plus access To this broader community so employers Have actually very much stepped forward And there's even you know quite a lot of Companies that now are saying we'd love To do a direct B2B relationship yeah and It's so important because companies say That they want women right like every Single company is trying to make sure That they are creating this diverse Workforce and yet we bring in women into Board rooms c-suite and then we're like Here you go can you Mentor some people When you get here that's the thing Because you're going to feel like the Only person in the room and just just Deal with it we'll get you an executive Coach right and so companies are really Eager to make sure that their you know Executive women are sponsored and They're extremely happy for them to Engage with Chief yeah I always wonder Like how you balance even advice between Do I become an advocate for this Marginalized group that finally made its Way to the boardroom or you know I'm Here how do I Aspire and now take over The CEO position instead of this Position and I don't know how like when That translates into a product strategy This is when Community gets super

Difficult prioritizing community so tell Me a little bit how you're thinking About that now that you're in this like Late stage startup game yeah well I mean So there are 5.5 million women who are VP level and Above in the US and we have 20 000 Members so there's still like a ton of Opportunity for us to build what we hope To be the most powerful network of women In the world Um so still lots to do there but I think For us it is truly how do you one of our Very core values is time travel which is Both at The Meta level of you know it's Going to take 200 years before women are Equally represented and want to try and Travel there but it's also at the micro Level of how do we give value to Somebody really quickly and so where a Lot of other communities you know the Product is the person and so they're Really focused on like average time Spent we're actually like as little time As possible that you can come in and get Exactly what you need from Chief that if You need somebody to give a Recommendation of an employment lawyer If you're looking for somebody to talk To about a new job that you're just Taking like how do we make those Connections really really quickly yeah Um so that the time to value is like Really really short for people to really

Be able to immerse in what we what we Create Right there's always this question of Like is this just a really fancy slack Group that I'm joining and I think a lot Of people have been burned by a Community too where they feel like they Were picture something else and then They kind of get there and it's like Well it's the people yeah and so I mean How are you measuring your success if It's not going to be time on the Platform and that's why it's so Important when people join Chief so we Look at Community really broadly we have 20 000 members but we also have 10 Person peer groups okay right and so we Hyper curate groups of ten they meet Monthly with an executive coach and that Becomes their personal board of Directors so you have 10 people who Understand where you're coming from Understand your challenges who probably Aren't from the same industry roller Function as you and are really added in That cognitive diversity so we have These incredible 10 person groups from There we have larger communities that Are meeting up in people's hometowns and Cities and finally we have that big Network of twenty thousand and so There's different layers of Engagement But it all is rooted in that group of 10 Where you can really unpack issues that

That nobody else really around you can Help you understand and won't Necessarily hold a mirror up the way That that group can how like specific Are you trying to make these 10 person Groups do they need to all have the same Love language or like is it how do we Pick the time yeah we put all Gemini's Together that's what I'm thinking that's The most dysfunctional yeah She's a Gemini she's a Gemini said with Love it's a 20-person group Um so we hyper curate by making sure That people are first of all the same Executive level the title is kind of BS Right so we're really looking at uh Strength length of impact of your career How many people do you manage Um how far up the chain are you how big Is your budget from there we are Bringing together people again we do VP We do c-suite we tend to Cluster that Level together and then we purposefully Uh bring in people from different roles Functions and industries because I don't Need 10 other marketers around me I can Easily go out I already have 10 Marketers I know what I really need is Somebody who has deep expertise in Finance I really need somebody who Understands legal to really give me that Full diversity that helps me get better Perspective and can make better Decisions as an executive woman so

There's a lot of curation but it's Actually to bring together other people Who get it but who can give back Different advice yeah okay got it I mean And there's peer groups there's just General peers workshops meetups Conversations any other products that I'm missing or even as you look to the Future that you're thinking about right Now in terms of making the membership Something that's living and breathing And changing Yeah I mean I think one of the biggest Things for us has been really unlocking A lot of times the community moves Faster than we can move and so it's been Really amazing is how much when you Actually open up the technology for them To create meetups for them to create the Conversations for them to create these Discussions how much that has actually Opened it opened up everything within Chief that we ourselves can't be the Ones programming every interest that Everybody would want and so that's been Really fun to see I'd say the last thing Which you know you mentioned we are Opening up a clubhouse here in SF on Thursday is our official opening so we Do actually have some physical spaces as Well Um this will be our fourth that we're Opening uh with the additional one in Here in SF and I think a big part of

That is that like we just recognize what The world Is and continues to evolve from and two You know it's uh it was obviously all Virtual for everyone for a long period Of time but now people really do want to Be able to have that blend of I want to Be able to tap in get the value no Matter where I am but I also want to be Able to have in-person connection and uh So I think a lot of what we focus on is How we can create that right blend I Know I was going to kind of ask you an Annoying question about the SF office Which is like it's expensive to build an Office and if you don't have to do Physical a physical space right now can You just avoid it as a Founder that's in A market that is telling you to save all Your money and it kind of looks like Chief is playing offense right now which Is smart but at the same time how do you Choose when to spend on something like a You know a new beautiful SF office Versus I don't know hiring more sales People Yeah well I mean I think the uh amazing Thing about where we have gotten as a as A model is that you don't have to have The physical space in order for people To get the value from Chief so you know We launched fully nationally at the Beginning of this year which means we Have four spaces in four cities and yet

We have women that have joined across Every city across the U.S so you do not Have to have the space But as we start To get density in certain locations and We know that there's meetups that are Happening within that community on a Regular basis we can actually facilitate Some of that and make it even better in A more elevated experience after instead Of the original model where we had to Create the space and then the community Would be built we can now do it in a Different way that is a you know uh Just better business model for us for Sure totally and I mean speaking about The business model the membership ranges From five thousand eight hundred to Seven thousand nine hundred depending on Level is there any plan to you know Increase that with physical spaces or How does that again talking about the Business model how does that change as The company scales and grows into its Valuation honestly you're you've hit This unicorn status that gets the Headlines but we learned from this year That that's also brings a lot of Investor pressure which I want to spend Some time talking about yeah I mean we Do have Um so the prices that you just quoted it Is an additional one thousand dollars if You want to have space access Um and what we have found is that people

Like even if it you don't have a space Within your Um city in geography you were still Often adding that on because everybody's Traveling now and it actually is really Nice to have that third space Um but the bulk of the value obviously And the bulk of what we and what Companies are really paying for is you Know that professional development in The Community aspects together yeah for Sure Lindsay I know you think a lot About brand and how to make sure it Evolves over time and when someone signs Up for chief they probably got a very Different experience the first day than Where you are today if we skip another Five or ten years how do you hope the Product changes and keeps up with making Sure the membership is worth it for Someone Well I think the core of the brand stays The same which is so related to our Mission of changing the face of Leadership yeah what that looks like is Going to evolve right our community Started with 200 incredible women in New York and now we are 20 000 strong and so What's really exciting is as the network Gets bigger it's more powerful and it's Actually a more powerful experience for Our members so we know what evolves and We know it's shifting but as Chief gets More powerful we're excited to see more

Members taking on c-suite positions Creating the ripple effect in their Organizations and changing the world Yeah I mean there's I was during our Prep call I was saying I have like a Million ideas of ways you can expand and I'm sure you both do too but one I was Thinking is like okay so right now the People who get accepted are c-suite C-level Executives accomplished VPS or Equivalent executive leadership and 15 Years of experience which is a really High bar There's more women entering these Positions but why not go broader it's a Question I'm sure you get all the time But is there any kind of thing coming up That's going to help you guys or what Make you guys want to go broader someone Who's a year in versus 15. well I'll say This one of the reasons we want to make Sure it's vetted and it's for executive Women is because of the experience we've Had where you get to this level in your Career where it's like welcome to the C-suite so we're going to need you to Mentor everybody right and we're going To need you to run an ERG and suddenly The person who has all of these new Challenges on their plate in addition to That you have the that mentorship that You want to do and you feel obligated to Do and so we really wanted to make sure We had a vetted Community where people

Had true peers because the mentors need To Mentor each other so really important For us to do that in order to create a Safe space and confidentiality I think There's definitely a world where again If our mission is to change the face of Leadership we started with women who are Already leaders who can create that Ripple effect but because time travel is So important to us and we want to make a Difference today but it's certainly You know part of a longer bigger plan For us to think about what comes next And who else can we impact in the near Future right because I imagine there's More even more of an impact if you get The one the person who wants that Position or even like Founders too I Mean the audience is full of them I'm Sure there's Founders who want to do be Accepted into Chief and they're not Right now able to They definitely are I mean it's it's um The way that we look at it is both the The length and uh impact of your Experience so like it's not that if you Don't have 15 years of experience you Can't get in it's actually the impact That you're having which could happen a Lot earlier in somebody's career Um so there's definitely an opportunity For people to join but to Lindsay's Point like our mission is to change the Face of leadership we have started in a

In a very specific demographic that we Personally understood what those Challenges were we wanted to feel really Vetted Um we're at 20 000 members of 5.5 Million in the U.S so there's so much Opportunity there but our mission is Very big of changing the face of Leadership and that opens so many Opportunities of what we can do Over the lifespan of Chief I'm so Curious if there was like a certain Challenge or moment that made it you Know it was such BS that it made you Guys want to start achieve and I know That's kind of an origin story because We need so much more time but tell me Like it's a whiskey yeah everyone has That awesome images But what made it be like like what I Guess what is the challenge you want to Answer what do you not want to see Happen To women in leadership right now Honestly I think Um for me the stories are not about like What happened to me personally it was When I started to get in the room where Decisions were happening and I realized That there were differences in the way That conversations were running Um for Um different people within the Organization and like that was just a

Really eye-opening thing for me to say Like okay and why I wanted to start with Senior executive women in particular of Just getting more of that 5.5 million Women who are VP level above truly in Positions of influence and the ripple Effect that that could have was a just Really interesting place for us to start Yeah what about you I signed so many Ndas no I'm kidding Uh you know I found myself having a kid At home and feeling so much pressure of Being this model woman VP Um and really as like an anti Authority Like person wanted to just like break Out of that Um and felt really trapped and felt like I didn't have a group of friends that I Could talk to that understood the Challenges of what it was to be an Executive and to carry this weight of of Caregiving and so it for me you know Just wanting to find other people and Feel less isolated and less lonely was Really inspiring to meeting Carolyn Understanding that we both felt Similarly in our careers and trying to Find other women that could relate to me Help me so I had the strength to go back And Mentor others yeah and it obviously Was a personal place for us the second We announced it we just had thousands Joins the waitlist we now have close to 60 000 on our wait list what can we talk

About are your investors super patient I Imagine that they're like can you let Them on that's all money that's waiting For you guys how why 60 000 on the Waitlist it's amazing this is the member Experience is most important so when you Ask about growth when we think about you Know we've only scratched the surface of Five million women in the U.S it is so Critical for us to make sure that Members are really loving their Experience getting value out of Chief 80 Of members say they feel more supported Once they've been a member of Chief in Their career over 50 percent of Chief Members have had a compensation Adjustment or promotion since joining oh Yeah right so we really want to make Sure that we're focused on their Experience before we just open the Floodgates and and make it bigger it's Kind of the mistake other communities Have made right like there is that Really exciting burst of interest but Then a lot of us are more like I Wouldn't say ambitious than we think but It's like good intentions you get there And then you don't really invest the Same way which I guess to end on this Before I want to talk about one of my Favorite topics which is girl bossing Um metrics of success what are we Tracking right now what's in the pitch Decks or the lp updates or it's our

Investor updates Yeah I mean I think for us the things And it kind of goes to this question That um you were asking before of like Why not let in 60 000 Um for us the number one thing is like The value that is being uh felt and Generated from our existing Community it Like it trumps growth in all Conversations and in many ways I think We were in very fortunate positions of As we were fundraising we found the Right investors that also felt the exact Same way so it's truly around like that Impact and all the measurements we can Have around the impact and ultimately Then retention of the community did Chief I'm curious like how if Chief has Fully recovered from the pandemic even Though it's still existing the the the Months when things stopped and there was The pivots like do you feel like you've Kind of completely Shaken that off or is it still kind of Existing in the back as a ghost I think it honestly helped us as a Business more than than anything because Um we had always we went into the Pandemic in a very in-person experience Um which required a lot out of our Members like you had to come to a Physical space to get value and we found Ourselves at the beginning of the Pandemic in a place where like in order

To continue we were definitely at the Like high end of every list of our Investors of what's going to happen to This company and not like the good list It's not the good list you want to be on For your investors Um and like probably the most proud Moment I've ever had as a as you know as Co-founders that we've ever had of how Quickly our team really pivoted into how Do you still get value from this in a Virtual world yeah and that is just a Much better experience for our members Who now like can tap into it wherever They are and it's a better like easier Scale to model so I think in many ways There was Um real silver linings that happened Because of the pandemic for us did it Help your diversity numbers I mean That's something that I think I'm Impressed by with Chief right now but I'm curious if that's kind of as a Result of the pandemic we're seeing it I think it allowed us to expand and so When we started Chief we looked at the Reports that said only 18 of women VP Through c-suite identified as a woman of Color yeah and so pre-launch we were Like let's double that right so let we Need 36 percent of our membership I Think we're tracking around 35 percent Of our members right now and by the way It's not just diversity membership we're

Also looking at retention of all of our Members to make sure that when women Join Chief they want to stay in Chief as Well Um but it absolutely helped us in terms Of getting out of of Metro areas and Being really thoughtful about women who Again that movie Trope of the busiest Woman in the world if we can somehow now Allow her to connect join Chief and be a Part of this network wherever she is it Allows us to bring in so many different People from different walks of life who Really need Chief without that you know Boundary of needing to take the subway To our original place in Tribeca which With me to my last area of questions Which is girl boss How do you guys feel when I say that Term I just want to look around and say like Show of hands for anybody who has Identified themselves as a boy boss Good good answer I see no hand and to me That's it which is like we don't use the Phrase boy boss we only use the phrase Girl boss because we've put women in Another category instead of just Assuming that a woman can be a leader And so I don't like the phrase because Of that I don't like thinking about you Know women in leadership it's just Leadership and so how can we celebrate Women not tear them down

Not infantilize what it is to be a woman Leader by calling them a girl boss and Truly make sure that women can lead and Do it in their own way as we were Creating Chief it was actually we were You know debating across a few different Names and we would talk to people about You know we're thinking we're going to Go with Chief and they're like that Sounds really masculine are you sure That's the right name for what you're About to build we're like that's the Point yeah one of my favorite VC firms Uh Graham and Walker it's a it sounds Like a law firm run by two white men but It's a female founded VC Ferman they Just wanted to immediately test your Bias is and so I completely resonate With that the reason I bring up girl Boss is you know a lot of women who have Been in charge of billion dollar Companies have also been scrutinized by The media by their employees I mean We've seen those stories about the wing Glossier away and I wonder as two women In charge of a billion dollar company Does it feel like a ticking Time Bomb Does it feel you know are you I'm sure You're not waiting for it but are you Thinking about it the scrutiny I would say that there's like a few Things that go through our mind one is Yes that um you know you see some of Your peers that are going through

Something like that but I also think That we recognize that we are a very Mission oriented business we have a very Clear Mission and I think that there is Extra scrutiny that goes on companies That are very Mission oriented in General that what they do internally or What they say externally they are also Very much mirroring internally it needs To fit and so I think for Lindsay and I That has always just been like Forefront Of everything that we have thought about As we've thought about like the teams And the culture and what we want to Build that was just really important to Us from the get-go that I think we have Actually felt more because of we are a Mission based company than Um being women CEOs or women Founders Yeah I don't think it's a time bomb I Think it's us thinking about making sure We're always walking the walk yeah Practicing what we preach and being Human first always how how have you made Sure you're practicing it internally as Well I know that diversity wise members It's 35 percent does that reflect in Your employee and executive team as well Yes exactly all the way up to our board We have an incredible team that we are Always supporting in terms of investing In ergs we just hired an incredible VP Of impact and inclusion to not just Support impact I'm sorry inclusion

Internally but also how are we impacting The world so when we raised our last Round of funding we committed million Dollars annually to make sure that we Can commit funds to non-profits Charities organizations that align with Our mission that maybe we day-to-day Can't always tackle and so we're excited To have somebody who's not just Thoughtful about Dei internally but what does that look Like in the world and how can we put our Money where our mouth is but I think It's also important for us and Um you know that we're never going to be Perfect and I think that is a thing that Like we've gone on our own you know Entrepreneurial journey of of like you Do feel that pressure of your a Mission-oriented business you're trying To do right but nobody is going to be Perfect all of the time and I think That's been really important for us Culturally to make sure that our team Feels as well is like that you can you Can have moments of failure and learning And then that's okay and my biggest hope Is that Um you know as we have seen some Articles of takedowns that have happened It has felt like those moments of Imperfection are not as Um Not as condoned in certain demographics

And I think it's important for us not to Get caught up in that either yeah I mean It's a more realistic time to be a Unicorn which feels healthier for the Moment yeah thank you both so much for This conversation this is awesome and I Hope everyone else enjoys the rest of Disrupt uh we'll see you backstage we'll Get dinner drinks all the things thank You [Applause]


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