Kathy Korman Frey, founder of the Hot Momma’s Project has created an award-winning process using a dynamic online site and in-person events to create a global leadership movement – linking strong women, and their stories, to mentor Generation Y and X women and girls. The results? Measurable increases in confidence and key success factors of 66 percent in three hours, and up to 200 percent in a semester/full program. I love this concept, and her passion and personality come through in the Q&A, and in Shashi Bellamkonda’s world and mine – that makes Kathy Huggable People. By the way, their new digital classroom launches Wednesday, June 13, 2012 be sure to check it out.
The Hot Mommas Project is the recipient of a National Case Award from Coleman Foundation and has been featured in The Washington Post Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Inc, Forbes, Scholastic, MariaShriver.com, NPR, among others.
What is the Hot Mommas Project? In Short, A Way to Create Dynamic Women.
According to their site: “We’ve cracked the code, and we bring it to you.” Eyebrow-raising name, eyebrow-raising results: We increase confidence of Gen Y, Gen X, and beyond, and can *prove* it. How?
- “Exposure to role models and mentors. We are the world’s LARGEST women’s case study library…”
- “Award-Winning curriculum. The Hot Mommas Project learning tools and events reflect the decade-long effort of testing, measurement, and refining….Professor Frey is a Harvard Business School case author, published in Prentice Hall textbooks, and her entrepreneurship curricula are taught to 40,000 high schoolers each year. Now we bring that expertise to women and girls around the world through our learning tools.”
You can also connect with Kathy and her crew via social media too:
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hot-Mommas-Project/271263526045
- Twitter:https://twitter.com/#!/HotMommasProj or https://twitter.com/ChiefHotMomma
Q1 Cathy Larkin: What drives you to reach out and help others?
A1 Kathy Korman Frey: Service is a big value in my family. I started working for the Virginia Senate when I was about 13 and really haven’t stopped with various service projects since. I’m pretty tired actually, now that I think about it. (Can someone bring me a margarita or something?) Second, I have a strong sense of justice. It’s one of the reasons I got involved in the senior citizen’s market – my second career – for about 20 years. It’s what brought the Hot Mommas Project to me. Plugging the hole in the boat is not enough. I like to get involved in things where exponential value can be provided. We believe part of what is at the root of everything from the wage gap to fewer women in corner offices to whether girls feel good about doing math is one thing: Confidence. So, give them that, and you give them the ultimate advantage. The Hot Mommas Project measurably increases confidence. So, when you ask what drives me….bottom line, it’s that there is a need, and my venture can produce results to fill that need. When it makes a difference in people’s lives and careers, that’s the cherry on top.
Q2 Cathy Larkin: Was there a moment of change, an incident or interaction with a young woman, when you knew you had to create this project or when you saw the potential effect this work could have on a larger audience?
A2 Kathy Korman Frey: When I was teaching at GW, female students would pull me aside every semester and ask, “How do you do it all? I mean, working, and having a family and serving on boards and all the things you do?” I realized, there was really nothing out there showing authentic role models with the personal and professional integrated. The professional is presented, but we are really left to figure out the personal for ourselves. For women, this is like falling off a cliff because there’s research that shows it’s one of the top two factors influencing our career success. What’s the other factor? Exposure to networks and mentors. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone with the Hot Mommas Project and build a mentors library, if you will. Teachable stories by women – about their lives and careers – that would teach other women and girls. There was a lot more that went into it, but this is the basic idea. Bottom line:
1) Women in school reading about career-only information.
2) Women in school need to learn about family/personal information to succeed.
3) This gap needed to be filled, so, we did that.
I wrote the first case myself, called it “Hot Mommas” (this is what I called the consultants in my first company as an inside joke). We won some awards, got some recognition, and next it was time for the software. This is when the floodgates opened. We had no idea the impact we would have. Women from Egypt to Eastern Pennsylvania were writing their own case studies, and we were teaching them how. After year two we were the world’s largest women’s case study library. Mentors and role models, free, online that women and girls could read anytime, anywhere.
Q2b Cathy Larkin (optional question): What has being a mentor meant to you, or how did women mentors and role models help you in your life; help you get to where you are today?
A2B Kathy Korman Frey: The very nature of our work is about mentoring. But, I would like to share how mentors and role models have helped me get where I am today. The truth is, I’ve always had great relationships with mentors throughout my life. A lot of storytelling went on in my family. I’m not sure if it was a sneaky technique for getting me to hear advice without saying, ‘You should do this,” but, as a result, I literally can sit around and listen to someone’s experiences and stories for hours. I find it fascinating, almost like a class. This is THE key skill to develop. Oftentimes people say “be a good listener” but I take it a step further: “Work on finding people fascinating!”
Q3 Cathy Larkin: What would you like to tell young women about believing in themselves, about being different in a good way, or about any aspect life?
A3 Kathy Korman Frey: Take off the blinders, plain and simple.There is a study that shows women of all ages often engage in what’s called “self-limiting behavior.” The visual on this could be imagining having blinders on, with no peripheral vision. Sure, you can see pretty well – but, you could see so much BETTER. Some have had them on so long, you just don’t even know if you’ve got them on – right? Because it can start in our early teens. It’s kind of messed up, frankly. And, because we are crushing it with all of our Master’s Degrees and PhDs (women get the majority of those now), we could STILL have blinders on, and mask it quite effectively. Bottom line: Do a check-in. ”Am I self-limiting? Am I holding myself back in any way? If so, why?” It’s a good gut-check. When you eradicate the challenges in the way of what’s holding you back, the blinders can come off. You’ve got full range of vision. You’ve got a REAL equal playing field. We can be our own worst enemy in this way, but we can also be own best source of empowerment. There are other factors that may hold us back, but we don’t have to be one of them. I’ve actually been the opposite of the wage gap, literally turning it on it’s ear. I took the blinders off (see value spreadsheet below, started doing this when I was in my early 20s).
A4 Kathy Korman Frey: These ideas [sic in the posts] can make you more money. The first one is about mentors. Seeking out mentors – when done the right way – is correlated to higher pay and status. The next is a trick I teach my students at GW and Hot Mommas Project digital classroom attendees: The Value Spreadsheet (see the second link above). It’s a fantastic negotiating technique wherein you quantify your value on a spreadsheet and I’ve had students make more money using this tool, alone.
Quick, Easy and Fun Questions
- Fun Question #1: If you could take your organization, mentors/role models, and Gen Y/X women/girls anywhere for a long weekend (at no cost & with no loss of business), where would you take them? and why?
- Fun answer #1: I would go to Grasmere Lodge in the South Island of New Zealand, Locanda dell’Amorosa outside of Sienna, Italy or Green Valley Spa in St .George, Utah. These are three of my favorite places in the world, and you need only click on the pictures to see why.
- Fun Question #2: What’s one website or blog you read just because you like it; or what might we find you doing when taking a break?
- Fun answer #2: Every now and then at the end of the day people may see me detoxing on Twitter withwww.Twitter.com/TheOnion and www.Twitter.com/DeathStarPR.
new digital classroom launch