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magazine | Gatherings | Gather for Change
The Myth of the Nice Girl Brunch at the Fairmont
Cortnie Fausner
by Cortnie Fausner
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Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, United States

Happy International Women's Day! To celebrate this day we are spotlighting an event that The Venue Report was lucky to be a part of with Fran Hauser, Investor/Advisor & Author and Joelle Hoff, founder of Wish & Pink. The gathering was in honor of Fran's new book, The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate, hosted at the brand new Jones Library venue space in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This event could not have been a more timely occasion as we celebrate females across the globe with Women's History Month and International Women's Day. 

We'd argue that being a career focused female already has it's challenges, but navigating how to be both nice and successful is truly an art, not a science. The transition between drawing hard lines in the sand and being a kind, inspiring female leader has its complexities. We've all had days when we return home from a work meeting and are met with conflicting internal dialogue of, "Did I just get steamrolled or was I too aggressive?"

Fran's book “deconstructs the negative perception of ‘niceness’ that many women struggle with in the business world. If women are nice, they are seen as weak and ineffective, but if they are tough, they are labeled a bitch. The book is a refreshing dose of forward-looking feminism that will resonate with smart, professional women who know what they want and are looking for real advice to take their career to the next level without losing themselves in the process.”

Not only were all of the vendors at the event female – florist Lauryl Lane, photographer Candida and Cassandra, founder of Borrowed Blu tabletop rentals – but Fran also invited 25 inspiring female entrepreneurs. Her guests ranged from motivational speakers and authors to investors, fashion designers, executives, editors and founders, "There were 25 women in all from different stages of my career (including some old friends from my Time Inc. days) and newer friends that I met in the startup world." 

The formula for the event couldn't have brought the women in the room closer together. When the guests arrived to the venue space they were greeted with mimosas and a menu of vegetarian breakfast burritos, fruit and other bites. We mingled and connected until Fran stood up to talk about the book and why she wrote it: "One of the things that I love the most about my professional life is that I get to mentor young women –  the question I get asked the most is 'How can you be so nice... and still be successful?' I wanted to give them a good answer and all I found was Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. I’ve been noodling over this question for YEARS through a ton of transition in my life and career – but it never went away, so I finally thought – I guess I have to write this book." This is advice that we as women have all needed at some point in our career paths. 

Next, each woman in the room stood up to introduce herself and talk about the most exciting thing she was working on at the moment. Every single person had a story. Some were emotional, some were funny, all were inspiring. It's hard not to feel absolutely emboldened after being around these women and talking to Fran about her motivation behind the book.

What inspired you to host this gathering?
Fran Hauser: I had plans to come out to LA to speak at Create & Cultivate and I started to make a list of friends who I wanted to see while I was there. The list started getting really long (!), so I thought why not bring everyone together for brunch. And then I learned that my dear friend Joelle Hoff was going to be in town from Seattle with a few of her friends, so we came up with the idea to co-host. I also figured that many of my friends may not be in NY for my book launch in April so I thought it would be amazing to create a moment around the book in LA.

Why do you think it's important for us to gather together? 
Fran Hauser: Human connection is everything. I love bringing people together and its always so exciting to see the collaboration and friendships that form.

How did you feel after leaving the event?
Fran Hauser: First of all, I didn't want to leave. The setting for the event at Fairmont Miramar was so beautiful... the library that opened up to the terrace overlooking the ocean... I mean, really, it was perfect! And it brought me so much joy to see these amazing women – who are all so generous, open and inspiring – connecting with one another. 


Why are gatherings so important?
Joelle Hoff: It is always such a joy to bring women together, learn from each other, inspire one another and celebrate each other.  Women need women and communicating with each other is healthy. 

Tell us why you left us each with such a beautiful gift. 
Joelle Hoff: Gifting is my passion and when Fran asked if I could provide gifts for all of the attendees, I jumped at the chance! When a guest can walk away with a lovely parting gift, they leave with memories of of the wonderful event that just took place. 

Why did you curate them the way you did? 
Joelle Hoff: Fran and I decided we wanted our gifts to create a feeling of calmness. So I designed a gift with the theme of Rest… Relax… Read. The gift included loose leaf tea, a tea diffuser, sweet pea and clover soy candle, breathe shea butter hand creme, pale pink ceramic mug and sea salt caramels.

Advice From Some of the Guests. 
If you're wondering how to navigate your current career journey, consider the advice from a few of the guests at the event.

“Surround yourself with people who inspire you.” – Louise-Marie Marguet, Founder & CEO, EmoJam

“Be authentic, be yourself, be a go getter and surround yourself with the best females you can. we are all awesome.” – Joelle Hoff, Founder Wish & Pink

"My advice to women is to think on your feet, not about your feet. Shoes are so important." – Taryn Rose, Shoe Goddess & Serial Entrepreneur

"There is room for all of us, so be kind and lift one another up." – Tetia Stroud, Founder, Letterbliss

"Be kind. Be honorable. Be honest. SUPPORT other business owners. DON’T be jealous. Realize that a win for female business is a win for us all. We are all on the same team. Let’s act like it." – Cortnie Purdy-Fausner, CEO The Venue Report 

Social media simply cannot replace social gatherings.

Anyone reading this knows that the power of in-person connections cannot be replaced with technology. Following the theme of Fran's book about being nice in business and supporting fellow females, the brunch lived up to just that. Finding a venue that has good energy, determining a flow for an event that allows for guests to make true connections and following up after the event with email introductions all makes for a truly great formula for a powerful and successful gathering. 

One of the first steps to being nice and successful is to celebrate one another with unbridled support. The power of your fellow community will be one of your greatest resources throughout your career, so today, on International Women's Day, we urge you to swap jealousy with camaraderie during your next female forward gathering.

Special thanks to: 

Venue: The Jones Library at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows x The Venue Report | Floral Design: Lauryl Lane Botanical Stylist | Tabletop Rentals: Borrowed Blu | Book: The Myth of The Nice Girl | Gift Boxes: Wish & Pink | Photography: Candida for The Venue Report | Rings: Vanessa Lianne Jewelry


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