S.H.E. Global Media founder Claudia Chan working to change the conversation from celebrity gossip to women’s empowerment.
Claudia Chan wants to be the Richard Branson of women’s empowerment—by championing social entrepreneurship to solve global problems. “I believe it needs to be its own industry,” she says.
And she’s taking steps to make that happen. Chan has created a media network S.H.E. Global Media Inc. She’s launched an annual women’s empowerment conference, and is working on a new project S.H.E. University that will offer classes and training to women online.
Chan has been focusing her business efforts on women since founding Shecky’s, a “girls’ night out” events company since the early 2000s. But it wasn’t until 2010 that she started to feel something was missing. She says her career lacked purpose and it seemed everywhere she turned, women’s media was consumed with stories about beauty, fashion, celebrities, and how to have a perfect body. At events for entrepreneurs, men always filled up the room.
At the same time, Chan started hearing more and more about women’s issues—from poverty plaguing women in the developing world to the massive underrepresentation of women leaders at Fortune 500 companies. Why weren’t more women talking about these issues?
What if Chan could use her girls’ night out rallying skills to get women in their twenties and thirties together around issues most important to them? “How do we get women to obsess about women’s empowerment the same way they do about the Kardashians and Us Weekly?” she asked.
Chan started interviewing women leaders, and has since amassed more than 200 interviews on her website. In June 2014, she ran the third annual S.H.E. Summit, which brought together inspiring women leaders like Musimbi Kanyoro, president and CEO of the Global Fund For Women and race car driver Simona de Silvestro. “I kept meeting extraordinary women and their stories weren’t being told,” says Chan. “We can’t be what we can’t see.”
Over the years working with women, Chan has learned to take a few key steps to help spread the message of women’s empowerment more successfully.