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It’s been really exciting to see WIIM’s growth over the course of the last five months, especially since we launched our collective membership. And I feel like the group has gotten a lot of traction lately. But nothing’s really changed since the beginning. And I wanted to explain just a little bit about our roots and what we’re looking to achieve with the group. So hopefully this episode is a nice refresher about what we’re all about what we’re looking to achieve, and ways that you can get involved. So for anyone completely new to this podcast or this group, WIIM is short for women in influencer marketing, and my name is Jessy and I founded the group. So from the beginning, when I was managing talent at a very large talent agency, I actually started representing actors. I sort of saw the writing on the wall, things seem to be going all non-union and I was at an agency that took a lot of pride in only working on union work. So I wanted to represent a different type of talent, I wanted to do something a little bit more innovative and fresh. So my best friend was the one that actually tipped me off and said, Hey, Jess, you should really look into this influencer thing. I didn’t really know much about it at all. It’s like the dirty little secret. I’m really good at listening, not necessarily coming up with the ideas, but I listened really well. So she tipped me off. I did a bit of research and I proposed the idea to that agency. I said, how about if instead of representing actors, I started a division here that represented social media influencers. So they literally had no idea what I was talking about, nor I think, did they believe it would become something and not because they doubted me. In fact, I think that that’s why they allowed me to try it because they believed in me, which was really wonderful. But I also think that they didn’t understand at all the possibility, nor did I if I’m being completely honest. So signed a few clients simply by reaching out to them on Instagram, completely winged it and tested and learned as I went and print in a few months, certainly within two years, had a full division.
We had hired people to help assist and a great roster of influencer talent. Within about a year, year and a half. We were making more money with this small division of the agency then other divisions at that agency that had been around for decades. It was fun. It was an exciting time. I certainly relished in all that success, and I definitely had many moments of imposter syndrome. But I knew I had to continue forward. And I knew there was something here, but I had way more questions than I had answers. And that led me to a breakfast. So I went to breakfast with a colleague in the industry didn’t work at my agency, but that we had done business together and we’d sort of established a nice friendship. And I said to her, I was like, so I have this idea. What do you think? The idea, of course, was WIIM. I have the name. I have the acronym Women in Influencer Marketing and WIIM for short and that was cool. I was always passionate about women in business but I wanted to couple it with what I was doing these days, which was all about influencer marketing. And again, I had so many questions and very few answers. So the idea was, what if we put together a group like a networking organization, and got a bunch of women together and shared information with each other and asked these operative questions, and hopefully provided a resource or some value in some way to be able to improve the work that we were doing. So she thought it was cool. She thought it was a cool idea. So we each one off that day, implored the help of our respective assistants at the time, and put on an event here in New York City. Our event was probably a month and a half later, we invited our list of contacts. And to our surprise, we had about 75 women show up at this very first event. We were shocked. We literally thought that it would be the two of us, our two assistants, and maybe someone from her office who stumbled in because she was gracious enough to host it at our office. But lo and behold, there was something there 75 women at the first of its kind event, we had no idea what to expect but we were really surprised, pleasantly surprised at the response. The event consisted of a panel of gasps women that I had met over the course of the you know, entire year that I had been an influencer marketer. And they provided their expertise. As we asked them questions, I moderated the event. And then we have a simple get to know you networking event at the end where people can enjoy some food, some light snacks and light drinks and get to know each other.
That day was huge that at this point of recording this episode that was about five and a half years ago. And our mission then is still very much our mission today, which is all about connecting the most incredible women in the industry, information sharing, and the shared notion that we all just want to be successful together at the top. The origins of WIIM are not this incredible story but in fact, it’s just completely based on listening, responding, testing and learning. And this is a fundamental of something that I talk about all the time still to this day in this group. Whether you’re a business owner and represent influencers are whether you are an agency owner and support brands. Or maybe you’re an influencer yourself, it’s so imperative that you test, listen, and learn and pivot, whenever you get the reason to do so. At our foundation, we are an organization that supports and arms, our members so that they can be successful. It’s been an overwhelmingly powerful experience being at the helm of all of this, when I hear these incredible stories of women getting hired on a daily basis, or hiring these wonderful new additions to their team, I cannot describe to you how it warms my heart to hear that this group is really significantly changing people’s lives. But I’ll tell you what the biggest takeaway of this group has been has always been and will continue to be. It’s that if you lean in, and you make a conscious choice to architect the type of career and life that you want to live, only then will you be able to achieve it. Now, yes, we provide a ton of resources. We provide conversations, food for thought, opportunities to share information but I’ve said this a million times before and I’ll say it again, all of that is nothing without the members of our community. And recently, we’ve been elevating members of our community, those women who have been leaning in the most those who are part of our collective and saying, How can we highlight you in our Facebook group? Are you open for work? I want people to know that you’re hireable. I want people to read your thought leadership pieces. I want that posted on our blog shared on our Instagram and blasted on LinkedIn. And why? Because you have strong opinions. Your ideas are worth sharing worth reading about. I want people to know absolutely who you are, follow your career around and I want WIIM to be the platform that helps you.
So y’all consider me your biggest cheerleader. I love cheering people on. I love seeing their success. And WIIM is the vehicle that can get you there. I’ve seen it. I’ve personally witnessed it. And I’m never seeking out these stories people rush over to tell me how much the group has helped them. So consider this a little bit of a PSA, consider this a little bit of a brain dump or a gush over our incredible members have a little bit about our origin story, and our mission. And everything about WIIM and why it’s so important to me but this is just a little bit of a glimpse into that. Thank you guys so much as always for listening. And if WIIM story resonates with you, and it’s something that you think could help you and we can support you in any way. Whether it’s featuring you on our platform. Whether it’s getting castings in your inbox, connecting you with a mentor or just a subset of our community that’s right for you. Shoot me a DM. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Clubhouse. I’m everywhere guys, email me, it’s Jessy with a Y at iamwiim.com. But you can always check out our website if you just want to peruse around to become a member is to invest in your career and it’s an incredible investment into yourself. Thank you guys have a wonderful rest of your week and I’ll see you around.