FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MIB FROM ITS FOUNDER, SHARI REINHART
Who is Shari?
I am a freelance writer/editor and founder of MiB networking group for women. MiB was actually born from necessity. As a newbie freelancer I desperately needed to open some doors for myself. My writing services fill magazine pages and advertising brochures, define companies, build images, and sells ideas. MiB offer structured and comprehensive platforms from which women can pitch themselves and widen their world from all perspectives; skill building, self-development, information accessing, gaining referral momentum, growing contact lists and forming alliances.
Who is MIB's target market?
We serve any and all women in business for themselves. Solopreneurs, femalepreneurs, smart, sassy and ambitious women, young or old who want to surround themselves with others just like them. We welcome women who are generous in sharing resource information and exchanging referral names.
What is MIB's mission for its networking meetings?
What first sparked your interest in this business and why are you passionate about it now?
That’s an easy one. I’m a creative and commercial freelance writer, dependent on contract work and assignments. Between getting the job done and handling the daily carpool and extracurricular functions of my 3 children I could never get around to meeting the right people to make new contacts. Researching the various local networking groups I noticed that there weren’t any to fit my needs. I could not make 7 am meetings. I could not commit to being at every single meeting (kids get sick, husbands leave early, other commitments take priority…), I wanted a soft place to land at these meetings and was concerned I’d be the only one not in a suit and tie.
Who inspired you?
Everyone who knows me knows that would be Oprah Winfrey. She has always been a source of inspiration for me. Following your passion and being of service to others are the two key ingredients in a recipe for success and Oprah always has that note of inspiration to push me uncovering my passion. Through MIB and my various writing contracts creative energy flows into my work and enables me to give back to my community.
Why did you pursue your own business vs. working for someone else?
I had a successful career in the garment industry for 13 years. I started in the office entering customer orders to heading up my own division within the organization. I worked for someone who showed his employees little to no respect, was more often than not verbally abusive and demanding beyond any reasonable expectation. While I loved the creative process and perks that came with this job I had no idea the damage that was being done to my person until I left to start a family. The bullying boss was history but my injured spirit was still very present. That, coupled with the need for flexibility in my schedule so I could prioritize family first, I made a choice to heal and put faith in my recognized strengths and smarts to carve a new life for myself, on my own terms. It is and I am still a work in progress.
What are some of the obstacles you've faced and how did you overcome them?
Time is a big one. The day is short when you are the primary boo-boo kisser, story time reader, homework helper, chauffeur, shopper and shlepper.
My own voice: I have a habit of getting in my own way so I need to silence the blabber between my ears to yield high creative energy to result in a good end product.
I am fortunate in that I am surrounded by many who support me in my efforts to launch a career from home.
What is your business's proudest achievement so far?
I have been called ‘a gifted connector of people’ and that makes me very, very proud. At every meeting I organize someone will inevitably share a story and relay to me in confidence a connection they’ve made between the women who show up. Every single story I hear about those connections fills me with pride and keeps me going because I know that I am serving my community and making a difference. By chairing these meetings these connections are concretized for me by the stories I hear, the relationships I see and the gratitude I receive.
What are some of your future goals?
For MIB? It would be to constantly give people a fun and productive place to meet new people. I’d like to see the exhibitions and events I organize become large scale anticipated productions with great results for the participants. Eventually I’d love to bring the ladies together for a weekend retreat to detach, detox and delight in the power of us. I do and will continue to raise funds for worthy causes. I do and will always support local small business owners by providing opportunities for them to target local consumers and by me shopping in their stores and using their services.
For my career? I love the creative writing process. Oprah’s team loved what they read in my gratitude journal and had me read from it in November 2001. I hope my future holds a full time writing career that includes the launch of the one and only book I think must be on bookshelves in all households all over the world. Look out for it in the coming years!
What 'Pearl of Wisdom' can you offer to help other women starting out?
That’s easy. Align yourself with people who ‘rah! rah! rah!’ you and limit the time and energy spent with anyone negative about your focus and aspirations. Keep at it even on those days you’re asking ‘what am I doing?’ because the answer will become clear with every stride you make in the direction you want to go.
Do you have a favorite quote you'd like to pass on?
I have too many to choose from so I’ll give you one of mine, “we are real people in real time making real connections.”