By Lavenia Chappel
Shannon Lee in 2015 founded the Nashville nonprofit Ladies Who Strive “to motivate, inspire and educate” young women to accomplish their entrepreneurial and career goals.
The organization is designed to be a support system for striving young women, something Lee felt was missing from the local business scene.
“Women always feel the need to compete with one another and instead we should motivate and help each other because there is enough room for all of us,” Lee said.
Lee, originally from Nashville, attended Tennessee State University for several years before embarking on a four-year journey to work for a real estate company in New York.
“When I was in New York, I got to know so many people that were willing to help me with anything I may have needed or wanted to know. Being from Nashville, I didn’t get that same welcome ,especially from other women and it was quite sad.”
Lee enjoyed her time in New York but wanted to start her own daycare business in Nashville. At the beginning stages, Lee realized no one was willing to help her or advise her on the steps she needed to take to get her business off the ground.
“I would call around to other daycare owners and I felt like I was getting the run around. No one genuinely wanted to talk to me, she said. “I was almost ready to give up because I didn’t have the proper guidance or tools. There was so much negativity surrounding me and unmotivated people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do so instead I formed a group for women that were or are going through the same thing as myself.”
She did not open the daycare center but has started a hair company, Be Hair Envy. She is also working to get the nonprofit going. Ladies Who Strive has a duty to ensure that women won’t fall short of their goals, no matter how small or large they may be, Lee said. The organization offers mentoring, encourages networking and teaches women the value of self research.
“I encourage women to attend workshops outside of the organization as well and when we meet twice a month, they can pass on information,” Lee said. “Everyone doesn’t have the time to attend workshops and it’s important to me that once members surpass their goals they can then teach other women how to do the same.”
Lee plans to host a tea-party style brunch informational session in April. She would like to see as many women as possible to attend “whether you are an entrepreneur, looking to move up in your current career or just looking for a good support group.”
Ladies Who Strive will be accepting new members in the coming months. Lee said she looks forward to connecting with a new group of women and helping them on their journeys.