When I met Lani at Modern Well to interview her, it was like meeting a long lost friend. Not only was she warm and welcoming, but we both quickly learned we had spent the better part of our careers navigating the corporate side of Target. And, had probably crossed paths a time or two! Minneapolis is a small world like that. Lani is everything I expected and more. She’s driven by the desire to build up and support women. She gets her kicks out of learning what your goals are so she can help you achieve them. And she’ll give you the tools to make sure you do. This is the kind of culture she’s built in her consulting business as well as with The BWC. Read on to learn more about Lani and all the she does.
Let’s start at the beginning - What did you study in school and how did you get started in your career?
I studied Advertising/Marketing and after graduation was offered a job in NYC with McCann-Erickson but at the last minute decided to turn it down and stay in MN and see what I could find here. There was a management trainee job at Dayton’s that I went for, but didn’t get it, they felt I wasn’t ready. 6 months later, I got the job. I started on the training team and loved it. I then moved on to corporate and ended up being with Target for almost 22 years. I moved around a lot within Training, got to create a few of my own roles, and realized I was truly happy as an entrepreneur. Which was something Target couldn’t give me and I knew it was time to move on.
How did you end up co-founding the BWC?
When I realized I wasn’t happy in my job at Target, I reached out to one of my mentors to get her advice. I was planning on starting my own consulting business and I wanted her to help mentor me and I could be her apprentice. She basically told me “you don’t need me”, you’ve got this. Then she called me back the next day and asked if I was really serious about starting my own company, because she had an idea. That idea was the BWC and she wanted me to do it with her. When we started out, I focused on all the operations pieces (content, format, memberships, etc) and spent my time getting the circles set up. Three years ago I bought her out and now own the business.
Tell us what the BWC is.
The Business Women’s Circle is a collective of women in business who come together to talk Business, Leadership, and Life (our three circles). Being a member of the BWC holds you accountable to your goals. It gives you a space to connect, learn, mentor, share, and grow. The BWC is made up of circles of 10-12 women from non competing industries who meet monthly for 10 months out of the year. The focus of these meetings is on business and personal development. A typical meeting involves group problem solving for a particular business challenge and a learning topic that that circle has agreed is what they want to learn.
What do you think makes the BWC so special (member engagement is high!)
I think it’s a combination of things. I meet with everyone interested in joining to make sure it’s a fit and they know what they are signing up for. They need to be open to learning, vulnerable, looking for growth. I have an amazing facilitator team that provides great structure and support while that pushing their circles to foster growth and development. And finally, I think by bringing women together, they can share and grow together. That support goes beyond the circle and into everyday life.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t care so much what others think
Rapid Fire Questions:
AM or PM person: AM
Introvert or extrovert: Introvert
Three words to describe you: Problem solver, empathetic, open
I feel empowered when: I am accepted for who I am
Current Favorite restaurant in Mpls: Young Joni
Favorite Quote: “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thank you Lani for taking the time to share your journey and the BCW with us. You can find our more about the BWC on their website.