My speech for Women Entrepreneurship day 2019

I spoke at Women entrepreneurship day 2019 conducted by Female Founders of the Future at Klub in Copenhagen back in November.

I didn’t memorize my full speech as I wrote it (you really never do) – but here it is:

Hi there – My name is Henriette. I am an entrepreneur, a seeker, a climate activist, a feminist, I am a mother to a teenage girl, a leader, and currently the head of brand and engagement at the Climate NGO CARE as well as being Denmarks first + Social Good Connector under UN foundation.

I was invited here to talk to you about ‘investing in Gender Equality’. Which is something I feel very strongly about – probably because it’s something I have been working on as an entrepreneur, first trying to get a maternity fond for entrepreneurs implemented in Denmark, and later as the CEO and founder of Geek Girl Denmark and Geek Girl Magazine.

Geek Girl magazine I almost won an ivækst award for, in the female entrepreneur category – teaching tech to other women – doing stuff differently. As a ‘Female found media icon’ I got fed up with being a role model – because I am not really. I am chaotic and imperfect and I didn’t feel I could live up to everything they wanted me to

So -after geek girl magazine I decided to change lanes and head towards climate action – Something that has always been close to my heart ever since I was a young teen being told by my teacher that the ozone layer was going to kill the planet. I did a lot of research on sustainability and climate action at the biggest Nordic sustainable think tank where I was employed as a brand director. And I found my bridge between sustainability and gender equality:

Do you know, what, according to Paul Hawken, and his Project Drawdown is the number 1 thing we can do to conduct climate action?

Invest in Women and Girls.

 If I put my NGO hat on, It has been proven time and time again, that if you invest in a woman or a girl in the global south she will not only use the opportunity for growth for herself, she will also elevate the rest of the village. The return on investment in investing in women and girls is so much higher than if you invest traditionally.

The same goes for teams with a female co-founder in startups: Startups perform differently.

As the old saying goes, we can’t keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. Right now, not one single country in the world is on track to meet SDG no 5- Gender equality. Even though gender equality has been agreed upon as a human right.

 Denmark is leading on a number of factors under SDG 5, but we can ALL do something to save the world, and yes. I do mean save the world. When you help a girl, you help a village. When you help a woman you are constructively doing climate action. 

If you as a dane, as an entrepreneur  want to do social good, you can start by helping another woman – look at the person next to you and SMILE =) You can do something life altering for this woman, you can believe in her strength, connect her to other people. Help her see her own badassness. Help her see her ‘Mad Skills’. Give her chances she normally wouldn’t be getting. 

We need to make different choices. The world calls for our responsibility, our personal responsibility and the responsibility as humanity. As Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in his latest book ‘we are all the weather’ – we all need a personal climate plan, a family climate plan. We also need a personal gender equality plan. We need to find out HOW we will act around climate and gender and every other of the SDGs– how are we going to make ourselves accordable?

How are we going to make the global goals our personal goals? by making different choices. It seems super obvious but for every different choice we make for sustainability we are tipping the boat towards a healthier planet.

For a long time – first in tech and women and then in sustainability I’ve heard people saying ‘ enough talking, it’s time for action’ And we’re fucking still talking about how much time for action it is – but we are doing the safe things – men in suits are becoming ‘chief innovation officers’ all around the world and I can’t stand it. Where are the wildcards?– where’s the misfits? Where are the women? The ones needed to make a powerful change?

If you decide to make a woman a partner of your VC firm – you are doing social good. If you’re making a woman the co-founder of your startup. Social good. You are showing the world that you are innovative, that you are choosing differently, even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s EXACTLY these choices we need. As is eating less meat. Driving electric cars. And you know what Probably your whole team spirit will be elevated because of something new happening. 

Better yet – see if you can make half the partners or founders of your company female – be the difference you want to see in the world.

And those women will be the role models for other women who want to work in a startup – who wants to vet and invest in startups as VC’s. Those women will be visible beacons in a field where women are normally invisible. They don’t exist. This is especially if you ask the business conference organizers who are (still) creating all-male panels.

Look at us, as a group.  Take me as an example: When I started in the tech industry back in 2001 – we were 3 women out of a team of 100 men. A secretary, me as a developer, and an HR person. 

Now we’re at a sold-out event celebrating female founders. At my first web conference (reboot 2005) we weren’t that many women either. But it made us talk and network and think about that more women should be at these tech conferences – and some of us decided to do something about it. 

We can all make a difference – we can all be social good activists – we can all work to change this fucked up world -and we need to. 

What I came here to say Is not just ‘invest in gender equality’ – it’s more to ‘invest in different’ choices. Invest in your own actions making these badass women visible.

Thank you. 

My pain and gain from a life threatening illness

You see that bit in the tagline on the blogheader where it says “odes to life?” I want to tell you about my pain and gain. A brand new aspect of me that I have been in doubt about sharing with you all. I need to though.  A new layer to me, one might say that I have developed in 2014 – which has been my worst/most evolving year ever.

I have been really sick. I wrote a bit about it in my “meet Henriette” section of the blog. I don’t want my illness to define me more than it already has – and the reason for that is that it has meant life-altering changes in my life. Before the illness, I had a tendency to over-analyze people and turn my worklife into a living hell, because I was so insecure about myself. Ok and I didn’t like myself at all. The mental drag I was keeping in my head around people, clients not signing on anyway, clients pushing prices incredibly low etc. was so hard on me.

So I decided not to deal with it anymore, because it was a huge stress factor on me. I would lie awake in the middle of the night trying to figure out what to do. I wasn’t happy. I was miserable.

When the illness came into my life I was forced to look at everything that didn’t work and decide if it was something I would keep, or something I would change for the better so it would fit the “new” me. The one that’s here now. I changed everything from business, friends, stuff in the house, who I saw, how I spend my time, how much I read and paint and write – important stuff. And I found something in all of these changes. I found a woman in my mirror that I adored. That wasn’t scared of dying, because she had done the best she could and she was pretty bad-ass.

At that point when I started to change things around and looked at them differently, that was when the ultimate low hit me. Even though I was convinced I was going to get through this, the doctors at the first hospital started to doubt it. They didn’t say it directly to me, but after half a year on really heavy drugs – nothing had changed – my lungs wheren’t getting better and everyday was a challenge. Picture yourself not being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being completely out of breath. Picture yourself not being able to do any kind of activities and actually making a cup of coffee for yourself would be the victory of the day. That was me around 8 months ago.

Right after they (didn’t) tell me that they didn’t know how to deal with this decide I had a weekend from hell. Where I started to say goodbye to everything. Where I actually looked at my husband and daugther and thought “I think you will be ok, but I will miss you so dearly”. I looked at all the stuff I loved in my life and started to align myself with the thought that I might not get through this. That was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. If I should choose the darkest hour of my darkest year of the soul, it would be me sitting on a chair in the summer sun seeing my husband working in the garden and thinking “I love you – and I am going to miss you SO much – and take care of everything when I am gone”.

A couple of days later, I started as a specialist patient at Denmarks leading doctor in his field – which included this incredibly rare lung thingy that had decided to recide in me for the time being. He started to give me some other drugs and I slowly got better. Things started to change. One of the things that I visioned the most at this time was to be able to bike again. a couple of weeks later I biked again. I got life, but with a changed core. Mostly because everything had been up for review. It was like I took my whole life, the people in it, how it was set-up, where I was living, how I was spending my time – the works – wrote about all the things I loved and hated about it all and decided whether or not it was going to stay with me or I needed to toss it. But at the bottom of all of this pain and change was a thing that I told my rockin spiritual advisor Mariakaisa Bruun at the beginning of this when she asked me how I was feeling about it all. I told her that I knew I was going to get through this. Because a part of me just knew. I call it faith. I didn’t give up or gave in and I just took one day at the time.

Now? Life is a complete joy to me. I do stuff I care about. I do stuff I love. like writing and connecting with people. Creative things.

I am so looking forward to go skydiving for my 100th birthday. And the party I will have when I am off the drugs. And the books I will write. And the startups and brands I will advice on brand design and PR. And being a style icon always. All is good and well and I am so happy just to be here. When that is the output of everything – life changes. It’s not so complicated and you don’t fuzz around people or unimportant stuff.

Keep on rockin in a free world rockers !

rock on henriette weber

 

 

New beginnings.

First article in here since may 2014 – how I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the wordpress backend. I’ve missed connecting with you.  Those of you who don’t know it (yet) I have been ill for almost a year, and I haven’t been able to write anything anywhere with a commercial scope because it could mean business. However there’s a lot of pictures of my lovely dog on instagram that I have filled my time with.

Enough about that. I don’t want to talk about the lung thingy/ the illness. It’s still really close to me. The good thing is I am still here and I am working again. I have scrapped the previous blog layout and I am starting over with a new design and a new scope.

new web design

Another really big thing is that I’ve decided to sell Toothless Tiger and get a job as a thought leader – nothing conclusive on that yet – but people have been so kind and I have gotten some pretty kickass offers from cool agencies who wants a curly haired brainy tornado in their office. Geek Girl Magazine stays for now. New constellation coming up there though – which I am totally excited by.

I hope to keep henrietteweber.com just as relevant and radical to you rockers! But I have learned so much in the past year that I want to share as well. Hence the new tagline.

Some people talk about the dark night of the soul. This has been the dark year of my soul and body. I have a whole list of take-aways lingering in my notebooks that are going to be analyzed and written about for your pleasure soon.

So how am I feeling /where am I ?

When everything comes to everything – I am grateful. So grateful. I live in constant amazement over life. I know I can do anything because the universe has got my back. And I am not just saying that to be completely woo-woo (much more on that word later – which I love=) but because… I am alive. I don’t know if this will wear off eventually. I don’t know if it can. But I know that I have to make things count. I know every breath is important.  I get it now.

A lot of you have watched me grow from a” beginning of my 20s”- girl with bad english into a brand (still with a bit of bad grammar/ english) – A guru some would even say. But I feel more grown up after my year of illness. As I am turning 35 (on monday) I feel.. whole. Like myself. And I can’t wait to get started again. There’s so many times I’ve thought “oh that would be great for Henrietteweber.com”, and not be able to share it. Now is the time. Here’s to new beginnings.

Love to you all and keep rockin’ in your free world.

rock on henriette weber

On being nominated for the danish internet pioneer award 2014

nominated for the internet pioneer award 2014

Sometimes you go by your daily life and something happens. Something unexpected that sends shivers down your spine and makes you feel humble. Today was one of those days. While currently being under self-proposed “house-arrest” because of my hypersensitive lungs I found out that I was nominated for the danish internet pioneer award 2014 in the category “rethink”.  I must say, that it’s a tremendous honor. Without knowing a lot about this relative new award, I feel like my work over the years around the internet, internet knowledge, branding social media and digital tendencies has been recognized and that’s always an nice thing. Being listed for an award with these awesome people? Is completely kickass. There’s no words I could rather speak about it. Kickass at minimum.

So this being reflective musings on entrepreneurial life – what have I done to be able to be nominated for this?

hmm. I think my take on the internet always have been to take it offline. Meet people and have people meet each other, facilitate networking between people. It’s something that’s deeply integrated within me and has been the core of both BarCamp Copenhagen, Social Media Club Copenhagen, Geek Girl Magazine, Toothless Tiger and myself. True connections happens in past midnight in a bar with one too many bottles of champagne or over excellent coffee and cupcakes. That’s networking the Henriette Weber way for you. I haven’t been wildly succesful in having my companies being acquired. (had a bunch of clients at Toothless Tiger that has though)  I haven’t had a large voice in the danish internet agenda (at least not deliberately) but I have made people meet each other and I have gotten friends because of it. I think it’s a key thing of mine. It’s something that I always end up doing. Getting people together – both as a person but also through my work in my brand studio Toothless Tiger.

give peace a chance

Make your elevator pitch an entrance to discover the world of you

the elevator pitch wheel by henriette weber

An elevator pitch is the entrance to show new people who you really are.

Sometimes I think it’s interesting to look at  how much “usual” that exist in innovative industries – such as entrepreneurship. So what in particular are really usual perceptions when it comes to entrepreneurship?

Well some of the perceptions I often run into are these:

– you need to work 60 hours a week to be a succesful entrepreneur.

– you need to do cold canvas calling in order to get clients.

– you need to have an elevator pitch, so people can understand how wonderful you and your business are in 10 seconds.

I have different takes on all of these and I see myself as a pretty awesome entrepreneur.

But the thing I really want to discuss today is the elevator pitch. I know how vital it is that people get to know what you do you, but more importantly I think the elevator pitch needs to be the entrance to discover and want more of you.

Elevator pitch: Should you describe your value proposition? here’s some of my elevator pitch examples:

When people ask me what I do, I simply tell them that I do business unusual. Which is my value proposition. It’s a part of my core and it is what a lot of my work evolves around. Taking companies to the edge and look down and see what can be used to build a bridge to the other side.

Sometimes I say that I rock the business world and I have fun while doing it.

Sometimes it’s that I am the leader of a silent business revolution.

I don’t want to tell people that I do strategies, advice and implementation – what I really do, because it’s doesn’t sum me up. I don’t want to say talking and typing because that’s also what I really do, and what everybody does.

Another thing I think is really key to elevator pitches, is that they need to evolve all the time and you need to have 4 or 5 different ones on your rooster in order to target it to the people you talk to.

Answer the question “what is your crusade” or “what is your secret mission instead of “who are you?” in your elevator pitch.

Because it will help people remember you more. You tell a story about what you want to do for and with the world. It basically gives some Oomph! to the pitch.  I have helped  a lot of cool startups at tech conferences all over Europe, and one of the cool things about that is that I get to present the business idea behind the startup to potential readers/investors/users. One thing I have notised is that the potential investors don’t ask you “what you do?” they ask you “what is this? and why are you doing it?” and then you start describing what you have build. And why you have build it. And how it will make money. aka: what your startup is. 

You need to have the exact same self-esteem as the startups they have around their mission product. So instead of saying

“I do strategy and implementation”

I often say:

“I do fun stuff. I am a curly grounded scandinavian business avant-gardist who revolutionize the business world one company at the time by helping them getting more clear about the substance in their brand and how to create involvement”.

It speaks more of my vision instead of what I actually do. I could also have said “I type – a lot!”. Which is something I also do.

An elevator pitch is like an entrance to discovery

I make sure that people can go in and discover me and share my vision by giving them some of my “stuff” a business card. My sticker saying “sorry- I don’t do mainstream” and I ask them to hook up with me online in order to get involved. Either in business rockers or on henrietteweber.com.

Oh and my last piece of advice:

Whatever you do – balance your elevatorpitch between: how much you stand out, what your mission is, with how you can serve.

Like the elevator pitch wheel I have drawn in the beginning of this post.

 

 

entrepreneurial blogging

the various entrepreneurial network where I roam – don’t see what blogging can do for the selfmade (wo)man…

1. it is timeconsuming
2. it takes practise
3. is it worth it ?

blogging is about conversations and people – but can wellness companies, zonetherapists and coaches benefit from it ? will they be read by the people who has an interest in the company ?

Im puzzled. I see it from two sides:

– entrepreneurs are screaming for ways to make more money – and market themselves
– blogging is an inexpensive way to market yourself.
– it is a way for small companies to put a face behind the product, webwise…
– people can get to know you without meeting you at a network meeting – or any other place..

but:

entrepreneurs are allways busy as it is…. why should they make time for blogging if they want to reach their target group who isn’t bloggers – and haven’t heard of blogs before ?

I wonder.. debate anyone ?

jobsearch

Yesterday I found out that I didn’t get the job I had hoped for.
I was simply to creative.
it pissed me off a bit.

So if anyone out there is searching for the coolest kitten in PR/marketing/new media here I am.. you can see my cv under “personal” in the sidebar ( it is only in danish though.. I will translate it shortly)