KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What started as a small Facebook group in 2018, continues to grow into a large service group focused on women and leadership.
Lauren Conaway is the founder and CEO of InnovateHER, and says the group grows by 200 members a month.
Conaway says it’s all about connecting women from marginalized groups.
From online, to in person, InnovateHER is centered around women’s professional development, resource sharing and mentorship.
“There’s this misconception out there that women are forced to be competitive in spaces,” Conaway said. “I have found the exact opposite through InnovateHER. I have found a community of 5,200 women that all they want to do is support each other, want to lift up each other.”
Conaway says she’s helped connect people who wouldn’t normally meet.
“Many women have found employment through InnovateHER, many women have been contracted or found services through InnovateHER, really the possibilities are endless,” she said.
From job postings, to round tables, Conaway says it’s also led to breaking race barriers in several industries.
“I went to other wedding partners that didn’t look like me [and] unfortunately, they didn’t want to partner with me so I had to create my own space,” Rita Strickland, owner of SP 31 Creative Events and Designs said.
La’Nesha Frazier has seen it work too.
“Entrepreneurship is like a walk in the park, Jurassic Park,” Frazier said.
From hosting pop-ups, to experiencing pandemic shutdowns and years of trying to make it work, Frazier has now landed a Midtown brick and mortar.
“To see that dream, my dream, come to life and walk in those doors, this is it, this is bliss,” Frazier said.