Olivia Owens is the Creator & General Manager of IFundWomen of Color, the platform for women of color to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, coaching, and the connections needed to launch and grow successful businesses. This funding ecosystem is designed to empower early-stage, women entrepreneurs and bridge the funding gap for women of color. Olivia was a founding team member of IFundWomen and managed Business Development and Partnerships. IFundWomen launched in 2016 and continues to help women raise millions of dollars in capital.
Before launching IFundWomen of Color, Olivia’s leadership brokered critical partnerships to help scale the business (Unilever, Visa, adidas). She supported the creation of IFundWomen’s proprietary coaching program and helped build-out one of the nation’s largest connected communities of women business owners through the platform. Olivia previously held positions at Under Armour in People & Culture. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland.
We recently caught up with Olivia to learn more about HerStory:
When did you know that you wanted to work in crowdfunding? I started as a freelance Social Media Coordinator for IFundWomen after moving to NYC in 2017 to switch career paths. About three months into the role, I realized how passionate I was about the work we were doing and how much I wanted to be a part of the team that pushed IFundWomen’s mission of funding women entrepreneurs forward. I never imagined being in this industry and now I can’t imagine a more perfect place for myself.
Who is a role model that you look up to? My mom is my forever role model. Her journey through entrepreneurship is what brought me to IFundWomen. Despite all of the odds stacked against her, she has remained dedicated to her mission of helping Black women build wealth by educating them on how to invest their money. After struggling to raise capital, she found IFundWomen and was able to raise the money she needed to push her business forward. I am truly grateful for her resilience.
What is a struggle that you’ve faced and how did you handle it? I struggled to find a sense of purpose in my career. I had a few jobs that I was good at but never felt a sense of fulfillment. It wasn’t until I took a risk and expanded my beliefs around what could be possible that I found a sense of alignment. I moved to NYC without a job title or company in mind but with a clear mission. I wanted a career that allowed me to help people become a better version of themselves and used that as my measuring stick against any opportunity that came my way.
What is something that you are immensely proud of? I am immensely proud of the work we are doing with IFundWomen of Color and the growth of the women in our community. Seeing them support each other and jump at the opportunity to lift someone up, make an introduction, or offer their time is exactly what I imagined for this community.
What qualities make a great leader? Thoughtfulness, empathy, and resilience
What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of leaders? I think the biggest challenge will be cutting through the noise of social media to find true alignment for themselves. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say.
If you could try another job for a day, what would it be? I grew up dancing and I’d love to be a professional dancer for a day.
If you could give your 18-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be? You don’t have to have it all figured out. Start walking and let the path reveal itself to you.
Favorite book? Forever favorite is The Alchemist and new favorite is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Ried
Where can we find you on your day off? When it’s warm, sitting in the park reading a good book.
Connect with Olivia online at https://www.linkedin.com/in/olivialowens/
Marsha Guerrier is a bestselling author, speaker, trainer, business analyst, business coach, and CEO of HerSuiteSpot®, a MWBE and SBE certified small business consulting and coaching agency that provides online and in-person support to early stage female founders looking to accelerate their business.