By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – In April 2015, four female entrepreneurs came together to form a Mastermind group, a peer-to-peer mentoring concept designed to provide support, solve problems, hold each other accountable and achieve professional goals—collaboratively.
These women found the Mastermind experience so helpful to their professional and personal growth and development that they decided to create a weekly podcast to share the strength and smarts they’ve found in numbers with a larger audience.
One of the founders of “Beautifully Equipped”—BE for short—is Jackie Rainford Corcoran, a health and culture coach, artist and art instructor who lives in Gallatin Canyon and has a strong Big Sky presence. She is joined by Bozeman business women Kate Jo, a contemporary artist working primarily in lens-based media; Jen Schimbeno, a fiduciary advisor; and Jen (Cox) Erhardt, a marketing strategist and manager.
“We wanted to get a group together to help each other through the ups and downs, struggles and unknowns of starting a new business,” said Schimbeno.
The group’s focus was launching a new business, but more broadly about fostering professional growth.
“As we were all looking at the various challenges we were having around growing our businesses, there was a constant theme of really diving into the online sector,” Erhardt said. “But we had a lot of fears and trepidation about it.” Creating the “Beautifully Equipped” podcast was a way to tackle their own intimidation while sharing the problem-solving tools and advice that they have found invaluable to their own success.
All four women have concrete examples of how the Mastermind group has helped them grow through the diverse perspectives in the group, from learning how to better negotiate with difficult clients to setting price points that match the value of their services.
Corcoran said she would not have had the confidence to submit an ultimately accepted application to speak at TEDx Bozeman last April were it not for the mastermind group.
“Kate said, ‘You’re going to throw your hat in the ring,’” Corcoran said. “She forced the hand.”
“We oftentimes see the strengths in others before we can see it in ourselves,” Shimbeno said. “Sometimes I find myself questioning my abilities or lose my backbone standing up in the corporate environment…my Mastermind group is that for me when I need it and I will be forever grateful for that.”
The first “Beautifully Equipped” podcast will be released on Sept. 26, with consecutive episodes released weekly, averaging 45 minutes each.
Although the initial episodes focus heavily on the Mastermind concept, the podcast’s main focus is on the rewards of collaboration, with a strong undercurrent of female empowerment.
“One of my personal goals is to help other women out there know that it’s okay to be real with who they are,” Erhardt said. “There’s just so much going on in our lives … and I don’t think there is always a place where [we] can just be real. We want to encourage people to be themselves and let their realness show.”
Listeners can subscribe to “Beautifully Equipped” via iTunes or any podcast app. Visit beautifullyequipped.com for more information.
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