Rise’s Radical Renegade is a monthly series featuring interviews with trailblazing career mavens. Meet Melinda Garvey, founder of On The Dot Woman – a women’s empowered organization dedicated to providing mentors to young women all around the world.
Why did you start your company and what motivates you every day?
It started 17 years ago when she was on what looked like a great career trajectory on paper, but wasn’t really happy at the company she was working at. After speaking with a friend who had told her about a cool women’s magazine in Iowa, she was inspired to start her own magazine. 7 months later, she co founded and starting writing for Austin Women Magazine, a magazine centered around supporting, promoting, and inspiring women. She stressed the idea that seeing is believing and you can’t be what you can’t see; and this later became the backbone of On The Dot Woman.
Come 2015, she realized that women’s movement was revving up, however everything about it was negative. It focused on how women were not getting paid, the lack of access to capital, and why they are falling behind. After doing some research, she discovered that there was an absence of relatable role models. She wanted to change this, and to make role models accessible to women everywhere. So, she created On The Dot Woman, and over the past few years, they have featured hundreds of relatable role models on their daily newsletter and podcast called Four Minutes with On The Dot. It is a digital media platform that aims to create a mindset of an abundance of success for women. She wanted her magazine to create the kind of content where they are telling the stories and representing women with the respect they deserve to make a real difference.
Tell us about a setback you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
One thing she realized when looking at On The Dot Woman from a business model perspective was that it is a global platform; this means that it needs a lot of marketing dollars. In the beginning, she was asked to speak at some companies where she spoke with a number of corporate women; these women were not only had very little network, but also were leaving in droves because they were unhappy at their work place. She started to solve this issue by launching On The Dot Diversity; it’s a software program that is essentially a virtual community in companies that can impact their career trajectory.
What are some of the major lessons you’ve learned along the way?
There has been an awakening since the women’s movement that has brought several issues to the forefront. If you look at it as a linear spectrum, one end is negativity and the other end is positivity. She believes that in order to go forward, one must also focus on all ends of the spectrum. While this is a challenge, she says: “we have to be on the other end which is the abundance. We have the ability to do.”
What advice do you have for women who feel stuck in their careers?
Take access and own your actions. We have the power of the purse and we need to own that power. We also need to make sure that we are taking care of other women and empowering them too. Seeing other women take charge is part of that abundance because it is creating a tangible representation.
What do you see for the future of women involvement in the workplace?
A utopian world for women would hopefully look like one with equality in every aspect; but specifically looking at workplace, it would mean that women are weighed as equivalents to men. However, there is still so much oppression from a global scale, so there is a long way to go.
But what she hopes women begin to learn is the power of a pay-it-forward mentality. When thinking about advancing in the workplace, women have to realize that the one that makes the best introductions wins; and by promoting others, they are also promoting themselves. Women have to inspire and look out for each other, and believe that to our core and not be in scarcity.