Mission Statements + Manifestos

COTERIE's Mission:

COTERIE is designed to advance the lives of women worldwide through personal + professional empowerment.

CORE Values:

COTERIE is committed to connecting women of all backgrounds, socioeconomic status, ages, religions, needs, abilities and geographical locations. COTERIE is a community where collaboration, creativity, respect, change, growth, courage, giving, compassion, faith and curiosity are encouraged + fostered. 

 

I recently read an article about Theranos founder, Elizabeth Holmes. To say it made me angry would be a gross understatement. It still pisses me off. The author wrote two pages of phrases like "We can no longer point to Holmes as a credible example of what we can achieve when confidence is placed in our abilities." and "It’s a heartbreaking moment when you realize your idols are merely human, incapable of perfection just like the rest of us."

I've spent the better part of a week chewing on this article. I'm not giving you the link... I won't contribute to her conversion rate. What happened in that article is a solid reflection of the hurdles women, especially bold, visionary founders, face when they take the leap to build something innovative. The veritable public shredder that a woman is put through because she failed at something, anything, is obscene. It happens every day in boardrooms and classrooms and neighborhoods everywhere. This standard that we hold women to is in stark contrast to the standard men are held to. A female founder screws up and we call her a failure; a man does it and we call him a maverick. It's unreal.

Theranos, for those who don't know, is a clever medtech firm designed to deliver blood test results faster than any model currently on the market. It was so bold that heavy hitters in the investment world jumped in, committed hefty sums, the valuation {don't get me started on the bubbles that investors create, offering founders zero room to move for fear of it popping} of Theranos ballooned. When kinks were found in Holmes' armour, instead of recognizing the Le Mans level learning curve of a startup in a challenging market, and reinforcing the armour, investors and leadership fled in droves. They skewered Holmes for being human, for failing. 

Theranos' Mission Statement:

Our mission is to make actionable information accessible to everyone at the time it matters.

By making actionable information accessible to everyone in the world at the time it matters most, we are working to facilitate the early detection and prevention of disease, and empower people everywhere to live their best possible lives.

 

The contrast... Elon Musk. Musk is known for his brash ways, his renegade decisions, his untenable vision and the unrelenting approach to development of his vision(s). People, men and women alike, celebrate him. Even those who can't stand him... they still respect his commitment to his vision. He has lost billions. His investors still come back for more because they love the rush of betting on someone that bold.

Don't shake your head. It is the truth. Men and women alike do it. This isn't about a woman in a man's world. It's about a woman acting in a way that society feels uncomfortable with. Men take risks and they're brave. They take a loss or fail and they were courageous in their effort. When women make similar choices in an equally bold manner they are branded reckless, careless, irresponsible. And we wonder why more women don't take the stage in these arenas. We give them no room to fail forward

"Elizabeth Holmes was a beloved CEO and media obsession — widely touted as the next (female) Steve Jobs." ... "She represented a combination of qualities many young women and girls aspire to achieve: She was intelligent, respected, young and successful, to name a few." Comparing Holmes to Steve Jobs is more accurate than this author intended, I'm sure. Steve Jobs was hated by his industry in his early years, and only in his second life at Apple became the beloved and revered pioneer that we idolize now. If Job's history is any indication of what Elizabeth Holmes' future could look like, let's buy stock right now. To write about her in the past tense is short-sighted at best. 

Please reread our mission statement. We are committed to this not in spite of the debate that takes place in + outside of our walls, but because of the growth that respectful, healthy differences can cultivate. We invite you to fail forward. We want the bold and the timid, the rookies and the veterans. We know that there is more to be gained by leaping and failing together than there ever will be in playing it safe. We know that tearing one woman down, condemning her failure or her bold choices is a failure of grand scale. It is a disservice that cripples not one, but all women. 

To the author of that wretched article I will say this... I dare you to move from your desk and make a courageous leap that sets you apart from not only the women of your generation, not only the industry that you intend to serve, but from society as a whole, and have the courage to do it while under a microscope of naysayers and the armchair quarterbacks of life who wait for others to fail as sport. Elizabeth Holmes may not be the perfect idol you were hoping for, but she is, without question, a leader among women, a role model for the generation growing under her. Your failure to recognize that demonstrates your growth opportunity. We invite you to grow with us.

JB