I don’t think Mel, Kelly or myself could have asked for a better kickoff to our Ottawa Girl Geek Dinner chapter. A packed room, great food and an exciting, passionate entrepreneur and author as our speaker. We hope you guys had as much fun as we did and that you got a chance to meet at least one other amazing woman.
So the night started around 6pm at the Black Tomato as old friends and new started to arrive. First thing was first…we put in our food orders! Once we got that covered we gave the mic to our speaker, Tara Hunt. As anyone within a mile of her can tell, she is an entrepreneur at heart and she wishes that for everyone.
Tara speaks to Ottawa's geeky girl community about her career experiences in high tech and interactive marketing
Tara told us she started her first company while a single mom to a preschooler. She began to attract clients through speaking gigs, attending events and just good old fashioned networking.
She had big goals and during her first attempt to take over the world, or at least Toronto, she took some big risks that didn’t work out and ended up having to put her entrepreneurial dreams on hold.
Tara is a firm believer that taking big risks isn’t a bad thing. When she set out she wanted to “change marketing.” Why marketing? Like most of us, she spends a great deal of her time being a consumer and wants to be informed. Making informed decisions doesn’t only apply to buying great products and services, but also applies to buying from companies that (and while Tara put it a different way) lets just say “don’t suck.” We all work hard for our money and we want it going to a good place.
Inspired by The Cluetrain Manifesto Tara set-out to start her second company in San Francisco. With a smart blog, a great partner, and a mentor she could relate to, Tara stuck to her beliefs and continued to take risks making it all come together for the launch of Citizen Agency in June 2006.
Tara’s message to us:
Going into business is risky, you will fall on your face, you will be broke, you will wait for clients to pay…BUT…it is the most rewarding thing you can do.”
Her hope is that more women entrepreneurs will answer the call that has been put out by VCs and Angel Investors.
“There is money available and we need more women entrepreneurs, especially in the technology sector.
So there’s the secret. Find your passion, work hard, network, take risks, stick to your beliefs and find a way to turn your passion into your business.
I can’t end the post without thanking the people that made our first Girl Geek Dinner in Ottawa happen:
- Social Media Breakfast – who brought Tara to Ottawa and introduced her to us.
- Thornley Fallis – who sponsored 10 hard working students so they could attend our dinner.
- CanvasPop – who have offered all our attendees a discount and a $100 gift certificate for one lucky lady.
- Scott Lake – who donated a hot looking AND talking ipod shuffle.
- Natasha D’Souza – for sponsoring our blog and helping us move our content over here.
Of course we also owe thanks to the Ottawa Girl Geek community for making the event such a success! We’d love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on the event, Tara’s experiences and what advice / message she had that struck a chord with you.
OK, I just have one more thing for you guys. Don’t forget to follow Tara’s dog Ridley on Twitter who is not only very cute, but also wears a hat.