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Female Founders: Cassandra Chase of Chase Consulting Group On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview with Candice Georgiadis

By being intentional around everything I do, and connecting back to my main value of service. Providing educational opportunities for the youth, job training for young adults, and running for public office I have always kept the personal values of serving my community intact. I have been able to help others by keeping their interests in alignment with my own success.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cassandra Chase.

Cassandra Chase is a business owner and social entrepreneur committed to providing marginalized communities with opportunities and essential resources. For ten years, Cassandra has dedicated her career to public service leading massive grassroots efforts in education, health, wellness, and social reform.

Cassandra founded Chase Consulting Group (CCG), a boutique business consulting firm that provides strategic management, business development, and new media marketing services to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government entities. She also co-founded Read Lead, a nonprofit organization that provides literacy and leadership training.

Her foundational work has impacted over 2 million residents in Los Angeles County. In 2020, NIKE recognized and featured Cassandra as a changemaker in the Legacy Project among seven other black women transforming the landscape in Los Angeles.

In her spare time, Cassandra spreads accessible information on wellness, veganism, and yoga. As a thought leader, Cassandra continues to foster a culture of civic engagement in the community in which she lives and works.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Well, ultimately I would say what led me to this career path is a value of service. My Mom is a registered nurse and my Dad is a United Methodist Minister. From a young age, they taught me to lead and serve my community. Activism and community service very much became a way of life growing up. My sister and I were always in a space of listening, and also learning how to strategize. Those aspects of my upbringing are really what sort of brought me to where I am today.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

I would say the most interesting part of my journey so far has been being a young leader. For my nonprofit we also hired a lot of young people, and being their leader I had to quickly learn different ways to take in everyone’s perspective. So just as a general point, understanding what it means to be a leader amongst peers has been the most interesting part of starting my own company.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I can’t really remember anything too specific, but I can say that I used to rush a lot. Sometimes I would not double check stuff with spelling mistakes or even who I was addressing in an email. Through those mistakes, I learned to find humor and became more humble in having my own sense of accountability.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Mom. While she worked for over 40 years as a nurse she was still an entrepreneur. She had her real estate license and taught me the importance of investment properties and owning multiple streams of income. She taught me about balance, doing what you love while also having a staple that can support your family. My mother understood the importance of voting, making sure you have a voice. She was the only one who could vote in my house growing up so she took that responsibility very seriously. We would have family meetings about what was on the ballot because she knew her vote represented the entire family. I have memories of walking into the voting booth with her as a small child because she always wanted to make sure her family was included in the entire process. She was a role model for me, a true leader.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I think getting the financial support to help scale companies is one of the biggest factors that continues to keep women out of the entrepreneurial space. Women of color are the largest growing demographic of small business owners, but they are mostly running those companies by themselves. Being a “solopreneur” is not bad, but it can be a lot harder to scale when you are running everything yourself. My consulting business started off in that space and it forced me to make sacrifices, without the funding to build a team it becomes more difficult.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

There are some really good initiatives that are out which provide support on a federal, national, and local level. One that comes to mind is the small business administration which has been very intentional around ensuring resources for women of color in the entrepreneurial space. There are a lot of free classes on creating a business and managing marketing for your company. At the end of the day though, entrepreneurs need money. An idea is only as good as its execution and execution can sometimes take funding to be successful. Another program that comes to mind is the Tory Burch Foundation that supports women who want to be entrepreneurs and provides them with not only education but financial investment as well. Organizations like Nike Los Angeles and the Black Community Commitment Fund are also a few from the host of companies now supporting women to create sustainable businesses.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women are the center of our universe, we are the leaders of families. Women have a special touch where we can lead with our hearts as well as our heads. We are able to speak about situations candidly from our own experience. Women are also the highest consumer demographic, so having the perspective of women in business is very important.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

The biggest myth is that being a founder is a very glamorous thing. It takes 10,000 hours and in many cases 10 years to get to a place where you are sustainable. I think the thought of what a founder is and what it means to be successful as a founder should be destigmatized. Being busy does not always equal being productive, and that is the reality of the challenges you face when leading a company. Being a founder does not mean you have to sacrifice your health in order to achieve your goals. The best entrepreneurs are those who take time to themselves and their community. You always want to run your business from a peaceful state of mind.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Stick-to-itiveness, I believe that is one of the biggest qualities you really need as a founder. You have to be willing to not give up, whether it is going well or bad in order to really get to a place to know if something is going to work or not.

Discernment, you need to have the space and grace to be conscious enough to know what will work and what will not.

Communication, you have to be a really good communicator in order to properly tell your vision for others to receive.

I don’t think everyone is necessarily cut out to be a founder, because it takes a lot of foresight to truly have a vision. I would say a “regular job” is for people who enjoy executing a founder’s vision.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, What are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Having a vision. (Have the foresight to see something that can possibly help people in the future.)
  2. Communicate the vision. (Explain the different aspects of what you are trying to create effectively.)
  3. Get people excited about the vision. (Develop a following with whom you can create a symbiotic relationship between.)
  4. Build a community around it, and ask for support. (Get help, create a team of supporters that make your foundation even more formidable.)
  5. Have fun while doing it. (Do what you love, in order to be truly successful you have to follow your passion.)

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

By being intentional around everything I do, and connecting back to my main value of service. Providing educational opportunities for the youth, job training for young adults, and running for public office I have always kept the personal values of serving my community intact. I have been able to help others by keeping their interests in alignment with my own success.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I think it would be two-fold. The first part being centered around education, I would want to provide the highest quality of education to learners of all ages. I believe education is the foundation of success, so providing that to people who are in the need of it most would allow us to see a better world through that process. The other thing that I think would help us change the world would be a greater sense of awareness. People becoming more aware of who they are and calling into their lives what they wish to see. By doing this, we will be able to transform the world between our thoughts and actions. In order to accomplish any of this we have to be well ourselves, and take care of who we are.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Marie Forleo would be the person for me. She calls herself a multi-hyphenate entrepreneur and works in so many different interests just like me. She articulates who I am personally. I love how as her success grows she continues to hold onto the things that she loves. Marie is an authentic leader who has inspired me so much in my own career.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this

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