Sheryl Sandberg

Brainstorming With Darlene Crane To Advance Careers & Lifetime Earnings For Women

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Own your value and take it to market.


That's the message Darlene Crane wants to bring to women in business. She wants us to pursue our greatest ambitions with clear purpose. Seek power, and use it to generate benefits for the broader population. Crane urges us to "embrace ownership, and entrepreneurship."

All messages that resonate with me, a newcomer to the business scene but already feeling like an old hand at embracing ownership of my ideas and content, and very familiar with the entrepreneurial spirit.

What also resonated was what Darlene says too many smart, educated women are missing. The opportunity to drive the future economy, and win their own healthy financial life in the bargain.

I met Darlene Crane, the business growth and sustainable finance consultant at the second meeting of her new discussion and action group -- named, for now, "The $700K Club" -- which aims to gather women to create a supportive new business culture. Thanks to Cynthia Mackey, the founder of the web strategy company Winning Strategies, who invited me, and to Tiffany Roesler's Women Inspire Tech group which brought me and Cynthia together.

The first meeting in February teased out this statement from Darlene:

The recent media blitz on the stalling of gender equality and leadership pushed me to challenge the focus on behavioral issues. Could the challenge be valuing our inherent talents, education, experience and ambitions to move markets and create the opportunities we seek? Imagine if the lifetime earnings of women with college and graduate degrees actually earned as much as a man with a B.A. Each woman could on average increase lifetime earnings $700,000 -- which could finance a small business, start saving for the long-term and purchase real property. If all 30.1 million women with degrees in the U.S. earned an additional $700,000, we would contribute $21.5 trillion to the economy. With a thriving economy families from all communities could experience improvements.


Opening the discussion sponsored by edu-tech entrepreneur Mary Jean Koontz at SOMA Central tonight, Crane referred to Sheryl Sandberg's LEAN IN advice. "We're still asking permission or trying to fix ourselves. We need to reframe the discussion. "

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 9.34.34 PM"Women are stalling in this economy and there's a huge economic cost to tolerating this situation. This is a positive response to that."

"Product is what makes money in the future. It gives you IP and control."



  • Product is what makes money in the future. It gives you IP and control.
  • Ask how can you make money so you can have freedom of choice.
  • Economic freedom through ownership ensures meaning is a part of your work.
  • If women pursue their ambitions know that it can effect the marriage relationship.
  • If you're married, get a line of credit ASAP and pay it back to show you have a track record of repayment. Get a bank credit card in your name only.
  • Find your public voice. Honor who you are, on a spectrum. Practice in safe spaces. Call on your trusted network to help find your authentic voice.
  • Ask for what you want.
  • Build on your strengths AND get comfortable doing the uncomfortable.
  • Don't knock bank debt, which is long term. Get to know a banker now.
  • Women need to learn the venture capital model. Investors are pattern matchers. You need to develop a network to groom you to get private investors attracted to your idea and do an offering.
  • Young women are at risk. If you don't define your career by 35 you're cut off at 50.

Resources for women business owners mentioned in the meeting: Women's Initiative. Working Solutions. Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center which helps you bank borrow. Score Small Business Development Centers. Catalytic Women. Astia.

Darlene's initiative aims to have quarterly meetings which are invitation only. If you're interested to join the $700K Club, please contact her directly.

"POWER OF MONEY" was scrawled on the white board in the SOMA Central recreation room when we arrived. It fit Darlene's notes for the evening. To be continued.

Darlene Crane Meetup $700k Club