Issue #1: It all starts here 🎉

In the very first issue of Capital Women, we're going to look at some of the biggest news that has happened in the last month or two. Expect to learn about a D.C. lawyer who ditched her career for fashion, a women's only event at The Potter's House, and a new online group, called Troll Patrol: Defending Choice.

Do you have a way of politely declining people who ask you to let them use your connections? Someone recently asked me not only for recommendations for speakers for their (as of yet nonexistent) cannabis podcast, but also to make personal intros. I can't help but feel like that's taking advantage of me and putting me in the awkward position of recommending people for something I don't even know is good.

I hear variants of this question a lot: people who ask others (especially women, for some reason :thinkyface:) to help them out with finding people to speak on their panel, or with getting a job in their field, or with making a networking connection.

(imagine me saying this Obama style): let me be clear. Women gots to help each other out. We help people up the ladder; we don’t pull it up after ourselves. But we also have to safeguard the value of our labor, and our own reputations—because goodness knows no one else is gonna do it for us.

I think that you have two options: First, you can decline entirely. Honestly, if you don't really care about the person or what they think of you, you don't even need to respond; you don't owe them your time. That’s worth repeating: you don’t owe randos your time.

However, if this came from a friend or acquaintance that you do like, and you want to be kind and maybe even a little helpful without necessarily associating your own name with their (potentially sh***y) podcast, you could go with something like "Hello NAME, I absolutely wish you the best on your project but I'm not able to make any introductions on your behalf." No further explanation is needed; you’re not able to make intros because you decided you don’t want to.

For a bit of extra helpfulness, though, you could add "...but here are some good websites you can check out that might have some promising speakers you can reach out to yourself.” You’re still providing them with substantive help (especially if you’re helping to direct them to women or people of color, who are chronically (lol) under-represented in the marijuana industry), but you’re also not holding their hand through what is essentially a Google search on their end.

Good luck out there!

If you’ve got a work, job-search, or networking question for Kim, hit her up at kimberlee.stiens@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @ranavain

  • A group of local women formed a group, called Pineapple, in order to spotlight women in the food industry. Why the name? It’s apparently a classic symbol of hospitality. [Washington City Paper]
  • Hey, feminist entrepreneurs and activists! There is now a coworking space in Takoma Park created just for you. [Bisnow]
  • A new online group, called Troll Patrol: Defending Choice, was formed by D.C. area women for those “who want to share their abortion story, advocate and spread awareness for the right to choose, and support others who do the same,” per its mission statement. [Washingtonian]
  • The D.C. art world continues to celebrate women, such as Melanie Gritzka-del Villar. In her exhibition at the Hillyer Art Space, Melanie takes “cast away or overlooked objects” and refreshes them with meaning and “latent possibilities for alternative narratives.” [East City Art]
  • This D.C. lawyer decided to ditch her career in order to instead pursue her passion for fashion, especially when it comes to designing for taller ladies. [DCist]
  • September 8: The Potter’s House is hosting “Art Between Us,” an all-women event meant to create a safe space for ladies from marginalized arts communities.

  • September 10: D.C’s longest running neighborhood festival, Adams Morgan Day, will once again host an all-day event with family-friendly activities, live music, and more.

  • September 13: Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman will present their poetry in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

  • September 16: The GREY Parts of Me fashion show and networking party is on its way, hosted by Fordam Rowe, whose oh-so-fabulous slogan is “Women United We Are the Brigade.”

  • September 17: The National Museum of Women in the Arts will host a discussion about how Chicago is amplifying the voices of women. The talk will be between Alison Gass, director of the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, and one of the pioneers of feminist art, Judy Chicago.

Michelle Goldchain and Kim Stiens contributed to this newsletter.