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 “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.