Female Founder Q+A with Gesche Haas, Dreamers // Doers founder & CEO
In honor of Startup Grind’s Female Founder Month, Comcast NBCUniversal is featuring women innovators and founders throughout the month of May. We are proud to share these stories about women who are disrupting industries and changing the world.
Dreamers // Doers is a global community of trailblazing women that fosters collaboration and cooperation among both seasoned and budding female entrepreneurs and founders. Dreamers // Doers helps its members create more successful businesses by cultivating close-knit and supportive hubs of inspiration and imagination.
Founder Gesche Haas, was seeking a support network as she herself was working on her first company after a successful career in finance and the startup world. Dreamers // Doers started with the intention of simply learning from other like-minded, ambitious women. Haas sought to learn from their experiences and share her own.
Haas’ “passion project” soon took off, sprouting local Dreamers // Doers communities – full of talented female founders, leaders, and influencers – in some of the world’s largest and most innovative markets.
Since then, Dreamers // Doers diverse members across the globe have benefited in multiple ways. From receiving funding because of the resources and relationships they’ve acquired, to starting new companies, more successfully bootstrapping existing companies, and most importantly, collaborating together to awesome effect, the sky has proven to be the limit.
Haas has catalyzed Dreamers // Doers members to wield their combined knowledge, networking, and power collectively to inspire brave risks and inventive ideas. Instead of competing in a zero-sum game, Haas hopes to power the sharing economy for women and along these lines adds: “None of this would be possible without the amazing members of the community. Dreamers // Doers has taken a powerful life of its own. I am in awe every day over what members make possible for each other.”
The innate sorrel spirit Haas has worked tirelessly to curate is now coming to Philadelphia thanks to an exclusive partnership between Dreamers // Doers and Comcast NBCUniversal.
The first product of the partnership is a new Philadelphia chapter of Dreamers // Doers that will bring together a diverse group of remarkably talented and motivated women, furthering the community’s objective of an entrepreneurial climate that values sharing resources and experiences.
Haas envisions a startup culture of collaboration, sharing, and mentorship. Dreamers // Doers’ next move is to create a global online platform where female founders congregate for support, insight, and inspiration. It’s all part of the organization’s creed that any dream is achievable when you work “Better Together.”
1. Name / Title / Name of Company / Where you are based
Gesche Haas / Founder & CEO / Dreamers // Doers / NYC
2. Tell us about Dreamers // Doers.
Dreamers // Doers is a high-impact collaboration and co-mentorship community of trailblazing women with a mission of increasing the number of successful ventures launched by women. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.
Dreamers // Doers started in 2013 in New York City “by accident,” out of a personal need, when I was working on my first company but lacked a strong support system around me. Since then, we’ve expanded globally, reaching tens of thousands of women across the world.
3. Tell us something new and noteworthy about your company!
YES! We just partnered with Comcast NBCUniversal to launch a Dreamers // Doers Philadelphia chapter to supercharge the journeys of ambitious women in the area. We’ll be hosting local events that allow entrepreneurial women to connect and provide actionable support to each other.
4. What or who inspired you to become a founder?
I was working in finance for five years (on the investment side of a hedge fund). I really liked my work, but I realized I feel most alive when creating something from nothing. My initial transition involved working for several venture-backed startups before I had the courage to go out on my own. It wasn’t until I created Dreamers // Doers that I felt like I had the support and belief I needed to succeed on this path.
5. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned about yourself through founding a company?
I learned the importance of embracing myself, as well as valuing pain. As ambitious individuals, it’s easy to focus on all the things that we could be doing better. This not only stifles our ability to perform, but, quite frankly, makes the journey less worthwhile. And in the end, all we have is the journey.
When I founded Dreamers // Doers I had to dig deep inside myself and determine what dreams, goals, and values were most important to me. I was able to identify positive and negative day-to-day triggers and restructure my life accordingly. Most of all, I learned to celebrate wins more – no matter how big or small. Lastly, by viewing pain as something positive, I’ve accelerated my learning and propensity towards action.
The fact is that challenges are exciting. We consciously pick paths that are littered with problems worth solving. Being able to recognize this in the heat of the moment has made all the difference for me.
6. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned about your community by founding your company?
I’ve found that the strongest communities are those that are led with heart, vulnerability, and true passion. It’s also extremely important to determine for whom your community is or is not a good fit. Communities that try to be everything for everyone can sometimes lack in impact and appeal to those who stand to benefit the most.
Being a community-builder, it’s also very important to set boundaries in order to help as many people as possible. Learning how to scale yourself and create opportunities for community members to tap into each other multiplies the impact a community can have.
7. Complete this sentence: As a female founder, starting a company has been…
…The most humbling and exhilarating time in my life — I’ve never known myself this well or been this determined and sure about what I’m working on.
8. What is the best advice you’ve received on your journey?
To build something truly great you have to delegate. Do NOT do everything yourself – by doing so, you’re only holding yourself (and others) back.
9. Complete this sentence: We should celebrate female founders because …
…Our world is beautifully diverse in the way we think, feel, and create. By having more female founders succeed and build massive, impactful companies, our society benefits from disruptive new products and services, as well as from a new generation of business and thought leaders that will change the modern workforce as we know it.
I dare to say it: With more diverse/female leaders – workers will be a lot more passionate, creative, productive, and inspired.
10. How do you try to LIFT others? What should we be doing to LIFT others?
Encouragement. Showing others that we believe in them – and are rooting for them – makes all the difference.
Self-doubt has the tendency to kill most dreams. By joining forces, we can prevent this from happening. As we like to say in Dreamers // Doers: We are #bettertogether.
Learn more about how Comcast NBCUniversal supports entrepreneurs at ComcastPartner.com.