Creating an Online Space for Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals

In 1997, I decided to move from Los Angeles, California to Washington, DC even though I didn’t have a job waiting for me. I figured I’d survive with my independent consulting business.

Two days before I left, I received a phone call.

It was the Vice President of Operations for a start-up DotCom in McLean, Virginia, then called “Women’s Connection Online.” The site was created as a guide and resource for women business owners and professionals. I had shared my resume to someone in a DC-area newsgroup for Internet professionals, and someone had forwarded it to him.

“Would you like to interview for the job of Director of Communications?” he asked.

“Sure!” I replied. I was getting used to these “coincidences.”

The following spring, in 1998, I drove cross country from along the old Rte. 66, and then north from Memphis, Tennessee. I arrived in Washington, DC when the cherry blossoms were in bloom, just as I had envisioned a year earlier. I began unpacking my belongings in my new apartment. It was located in Adams Morgan, the same neighborhood where I’d made my decision to move to DC a year earlier.

The day after I arrived, I drove to McLean, Virginia for my job interview with Women’s Connection Online, the DotCom that would later become WomenCONNECT.com: “the first stop for women on the Internet.” Two days later, the company hired me as its first Director of Communications.

At first, I loved my job. It felt good to promote a site that was helping women in business and women entrepreneurs.

Nonetheless, my list of responsibilities quickly began to grow well beyond the original job description. Within six months, I was writing columns syndicated to CNNfn and other original content on top of all of my responsibilities as the head of public relations. I didn’t receive a pay increase to compensate me for the ever-increasing workload, either.

Moreover, the company was located in a technology park with jaw-grinding traffic at every rush hour. On average, I had to wait about four to eight rounds of green lights before I could make the necessary left turn to exit the park! Commuting to and from DC drained me in every kind of way. I even called the Washington Post to suggest that they write a story about the gridlock, and they did. For years this story was cited by advocates of transit-oriented development and people-oriented planning.

I started looking for another job.