Nora Henick is the founder of La Femme Collective, an online resource for women to read about, and share their experiences in the work place. She's become a sweet friend over the past few months, as she launched her site, and now as I launch mine. We've got a few more tricks up our sleeves in the next year so stay tuned!
LFC had a huge launch month and has continued to be successful. Tell us the story of how it came to be.
Deciding to create La Femme Collective was an ever-evolving thought process that started with The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. At the time of the 2015 conference, I was working for a company doing marketing - which meant I was writing all of the blog posts for our website’s blog. As a woman who has always held an interest in tech, I thought this research would be enjoyable for me. I would get to read about the creme de la creme of women in tech, sharing who I felt were key players in changing the conversation in an industry predominately male. What I ended up with was disappointment. For every one article I read about a woman’s success, I read another four about women going unnoticed and uncredited for the work they had done, women being sexually harassed/assaulted by male colleagues, and many more unfortunate articles and stories along the same lines.
That’s around the time that I decided I needed a change. I grew up in a really liberal household, so I was always shocked when I met people in this day and age that were sexist, racist, xenophobic, etc. After doing all of this reading, I realized unless I was actively part of the conversation, I wasn’t doing my part. Just being understanding sometimes isn’t enough. So I set out on my mission of launching La Femme Collective - which was initially going to just be a platform for women to talk about any and everything. After initial conversations with financial supporters and team members, I decided I needed to get more specific. I wanted to choose a topic that was close to my heart, so that’s when I decided LFC would be a platform for women to discuss their careers.
What has been some of the fruit you've seen since launching the site? Has it been a positive experience meeting with other women?
LFC has been the best thing to come into my life during my 23 years of living - and will probably continue to be that as I grow. While there is obviously negativity that comes from all walks of life when taking a stand on something, the positive support system and network I have gained through this project completely outweighs that. I also love introducing all of these amazing women to each other. I get such a sense of pride when someone reaches out to me saying something like, “I love that woman you featured the other week - any chance we can learn more about her?” It feels so amazing to create a network of unbelievable women for unbelievable women.
In the feminism movement, we're always talking about moving forward. What do hope to see in the future for your work, and the movement?
I’m hoping to see, across the board, an inclusion of all humans, no matter race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. in the conversation. Currently, LFC has only featured women. That does not mean LFC will remain that way forever. I am a firm believer in the idea that you cannot fix a problem with only half of the parties present. I would love to feature men on the site, as well as others who may not identify with either of those genders, because everyone has a different story, perspective, and advice to share. And that’s what I hope continues to happen beyond LFC. I also want to make sure we remain industry agnostic as well. While a lot of our features have fit a certain mold, that does not mean those are the only types of women we want on the site. The conversation is there for everyone across the board and I want to make sure we continue to include more and more people as we grow.
In terms of what I would like the careers of women to look like in the future, I want to equality. But that doesn’t just mean changing things for women, it means changing things for men as well. When a family has a child, the father should be able to spend time at home with his new baby the same way the mother would get to. And a woman should not be making only three quarters of what a man makes for doing the same job. We’ve made a lot of change, but we still have room for so much more.