The Lady Project (LPO) started out as a small group of women looking to connect with each other, share ideas, network their talents and support like-minded people. Sierra Barter, a social media coordinator at Johnson & Wales University, and Julie Sygiel, founder of lingerie company Dear Kate, started the Lady Project in 2011. “Our vision was an ‘Old Boy’s Club’ for fabulous women in The Creative Capital to network, connect with other like-minded ladies and to do so over a glass of champagne,” Sierra says.
It turns out they were onto something. From those first few networking events, The Lady Project has grown into a huge, vital force. Now, there are over 1,500 members of the non-profit, 600 of them in Providence, and another 900 scattered across the country in other Lady Project branches. Boston, Nashua, Boulder, Philadelphia, New Haven, New York, San Diego, Seattle, Washington D.C., Dallas & Tampa all have their own groups, dedicated to bringing women together to share ideas and resources. “It’s an incredible feeling to be able to impact so many women’s lives,” Sierra says. “I love meeting our amazing members and traveling around the country to our different launches.” And, her work isn’t done. This year, LPO plans to launch 5-10 new chapters. “We want to double our current member base,” Sierra says. “It’s our goal to give women around the country a national network of likeminded ladies.”
Every month, The Lady Project hosts fun, inspiring events for women to meet and connect. Think book clubs to discuss important, relevant current releases; exercise classes to get women moving on a Sunday morning; after-work networking events to bring together women looking to empower other women. This month, the lady project will host their national Lady Summit, happening on March 25 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The highly anticipated event sells out every year, and has garnered the attention of national media outlets, including Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party. This year’s keynote speakers include Rhonesha Byng of Her Agenda and Lisa Jakub, actor and author of You Look Like That Girl. Workshops cover topics as diverse as how to market yourself to local media, how to negotiate in the workplace and taking charge of your financial future. Beyond that, it’s a fun day designed to connect smart, engaged women to other women, and to inspire them to make positive changes in their lives, in and out of the workplace.
Beyond the summit, there are lots of ways to connect and be inspired by Lady Project members. Their monthly newsletter goes out to all members of all branches, and includes short, inspiring stories about the great work women are doing in their communities. Each chapter has a Facebook group where women share their successes, promote their good work and ask others for help and recommendations. They recently launched a members-only portal on their website, full of exclusive resources and benefits. “It’s been so wonderful to connect with so many talented, creative, and entrepreneurial ladies who are passionate about their interests and supportive of each others’ growth,” says LPO member Carole Ann Penney. “Lady Project is for anyone who identifies as a female and is amazing,” Sierra says. “I’m honored to be able to impact so many women’s lives.” Providence Monthly readers can use the code “PVDMonthly” for $20 off a business membership. Join at LadyProject.org/Join.