the fill: whisper networks + how we use them as female founders in NYc

photo: brian zak, new york post

Let’s face it, we live in a world of constant content: blog posts, editorials, journal articles and if you’re really going off the beaten millennial path: an actual book! It’s up to us to sift through that content from what we can actually learn from, and occasionally we read something that really sticks with us. This week, we read something that really stuck with us in the new york post: how whisper networks can help you leverage negotiating and your career by aliza licht, who is the bestselling author + host of the LEAVE YOUR MARK podcast, cofounder of homesickdotcom and a writer [she must have a ton of free time]. 

First off, what’s a “whisper network”: a whisper network is a group of professionals who help each other with industry information and learning to grow their respective businesses. In other words, it’s a safe place where you can go to ask questions, discuss taboo questions and share work challenges, whether it’s your “5-person whisper network” like Lauren McGoodwin, founder + CEO of Career Contessa or a more formal “outside the confines of company walls” whisper network of senior female bankers where you can talk about secretive topics like compensation and toxic work culture formed by former banking exec Cate Luzio, who has now translated that experience into whisper network dinners at her female collaboration hub Luminary that encourage attendees to “share work challenges, and are encouraged to ask any taboo question that may be preventing them from succeeding”. Licht writes about how there are even exclusive, members-only apps like THELI.ST for this very purpose.

The whole concept of whisper networks really stuck with me because we’ve been engaging in one-on-one “whisper networks” since we started blankbox [and before, it on our “day jobs”] without even knowing it, and it’s been transformational.  For us, it’s been less about a place to explore taboo topics and more about these “one-on-one whisper networks”, or other people we can [and do] ask questions to: anything from asking other female founders “how much do you spend on Instagram ads / day” and “do you know a great videographer who won’t cost my first born child” to “will you send me the pitch email you used for _____” and “will you introduce me to _______”. We, too, get asked questions ALL THE TIME. We love having these one-on-one whisper networks, and equally love being them for people.

We’ve developed these one-on-one whisper network relationships with select women, from other self funded side hustlers to seasoned founder veterans, and it’s completely changed our ability to grow as individuals and as a startup.  For anyone reading this, do you act as a one-on-one whisper network for someone else? Do you have a list of 5 one-on-one whisper networks you can go to with questions? If not, highly recommend.  It all starts with an ASK. which brings me to the next fill topic…..stay tuned.

with love, gabi + catherine, blankbox cofounders

we hope you liked this + will pass it to as many friends / family / random strangers as you can! subscribe on our home page here and if you have any specific topics you want us to cover, shoot us a note hello@blankboxnyc.com.