WOMXN IN BUSINESS ON CLUBHOUSE

The pandemic has made it increasingly clear that people miss being in an active community.
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The pandemic has made it increasingly clear that people miss being in an active community. 

Christina Holder, a D.C.-based finance professional and creator of Womxn in Business, the largest club for women on Clubhouse, recently drew contrasts between an audience and a community. On her Instagram post, she said an audience engages you when you engage it, while community members engage each other on their own.

Christina credits much of Womxn in Business’ success on Clubhouse to an understanding of this distinction.

Womxn in Business on Clubhouse is a rapidly growing community where women say they feel heard. While the club was created for a diverse array of women in business, Black women in particular are experiencing breakthroughs on this platform. Studies have shown that they, more than women of other racial backgrounds, inherently rely on each other’s shared experiences and support to grow.

The pandemic has made it increasingly clear that people miss being in an active community.

Christina Holder, a D.C.-based finance professional and creator of Womxn in Business, the largest club for women on Clubhouse, recently drew contrasts between an audience and a community. On her Instagram post, she said an audience engages you when you engage it, while community members engage each other on their own.

Christina credits much of Womxn in Business’ success on Clubhouse to an understanding of this distinction.

“At the end of the day, I want to change the face of power.”

The need for this peer-to-peer connection is necessary because Black women are often undervalued in business. A National Women’s Law Center analysis showed that, last month, 96 percent of the jobs lost in the U.S. economy belonged to Black women. That’s a whopping 154,000 jobs.

Since Clubhouse’s inception, it has held a reputation for being exclusive. As an invitation-based app with roots in Silicon Valley’s venture capitalist space, Clubhouse’s beta users were oftentimes celebrities, industry executives, and investor types.

Christina joined Clubhouse on October 22, 2020, when there were less than 20,000 users on the app. At the time, she browsed the platform looking for “rooms” for women to engage in substantive conversation. She felt the need for an easier way to find and connect with like-minded individuals so she could not only feel a sense of belonging, but build business support networks.

When she couldn’t find anything quite like that, Christina took it upon herself to create the Womxn in Business Club.

With the goal of creating a place where diverse groups of women felt welcomed, she designed the community as an inclusive space, different from many of the existing clubs on the app that had stringent rules for membership and only allowed influencers to moderate, get on stage, and host rooms.

Christina’s club democratizes knowledge so that any member could moderate a conversation, start a room, or nominate others to join.

“At the end of the day, I want to change the face of power,” Christina explains to WI Bridge when reflecting on the potential of the community she has built.

As Christina’s community grows like wildfire, already surpassing 100,000 members with another 50,000 people remaining on the waitlist,  Clubhouse’s value has reached $1 Billion, a figure 10-times greater than the app’s valuation eight months ago.

Though Black women have helped to grow the platform and engage users, the question remains of how do they benefit from platforms like Clubhouse. Similar to the way that many startups get funded, Clubhouse’s early investors were largely White, male, and based out of Silicon Valley. Right now, people fitting this profile are vying to lead Clubhouses next round of funding.

Social media firms use the customer to try out new features and collect feedback to generate revenue. That’s why on the Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris said, “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.”

Black female innovators, like Christina, have carved out a niche among Black users. As more have joined, they have changed the way that people engage with the voice-chatting app. There certainly lies an opportunity for Clubhouse to take the lead in welcoming Black women as early investors in the app.

For instance, award winning actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish was the first Clubhouse user to gain more than 1 million followers. During a recent event, she expressed interest in becoming an investor and revealed that no one from Clubhouse has contacted her, despite the evident value and powerful impact she is contributing as an early adopter.

Melissa Bradley, a District-based venture capitalist, expressed a similar notion to WI Bridge. “Once again Black people create culture, but we’re not reaping the benefits of the value that we’re creating for that company,” said Melissa, founder of 1863 Ventures. “In this moment of time there has been a significant creation of new funds focused on Black people. I think if we’re going to do it, this is our time,” she added.

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