On this week's episode of Behind Her Empire, hear from Cate Luzio, founder of Luminary, a membership-based career and personal growth platform and collaboration hub for female founders.
The daughter of two civil servants, Luzio said she picked up on the values that her father championed. She shared how her father encouraged her to pick herself up when she was down, and to remember she was ok.
"You have got to make your mark and, you know what, you are going to get pushed down a million times in your life," Luzio said. "The defining part is can you get back up and just keep going."
Luzio never saw herself going into banking, much less founding a company. At the start of her career, she worked for a small tech startup, where she had the opportunity to work on joint ventures in China. Shortly after, she decided to go back to school to get her masters, and then was recruited by a bank.
"I remember thinking, 'why are they even talking to me? I know nothing about this,' she said. "All I know is what I've been doing. And I love international and I now have a master's degree."
Luzio loved corporate work, especially the stability. As she began to form the idea of Luminary, she said she returned to her corporate experience to make a business plan for herself, tracking the path she wanted to take.
"Just like I said no one would ever think I was a banker, I would have said, 'I can't run it. I don't know how to run a company. I don't have ideas.' And then I did."
Now, she makes a point to work with corporate members at Luminary as part of her ongoing networking efforts. Networking, she said, has been a cornerstone to her career, both as a banker and as an entrepreneur.
On the rest of this episode, Luzio talks about her goals for Luminary, about supporting and being supported by other female founders, and the confidence she finds knowing she can return to corporate work if she ever is inclined. She also discussed at length the measures she took to make it through the pandemic at such an early-stage with her company.
Cate Luzio is the founder and CEO of Luminary, a resource and physical space for female founders to connect and support one another.
"If you don't know who to talk to, ask your boss 'Hey, boss, who should I meet? Who should I know? Who should I spend time with? Who should I shadow?' And they say 'no one', then you're in the wrong place... And then the last thing I would say is, do not keep your head down— keep your head up, be visible." — Cate Luzio
dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.
On this week's episode of Behind Her Empire hear from Desi Perkins, a digital content creator, influencer, as well as founder and CEO of her namesake eyewear brand Dezi and skincare line Dezi Skin.
Before she rose to internet fame, Perkins worked in the service industry as a cocktail waitress. She describes how working in hospitality gave her indispensable skills like adaptability, problem solving and the ability to quickly connect with people. But, she said, it was incredibly difficult, and that she faced a lot of misogyny in her daily work environment.
At the urging of her then-boyfriend (now husband), she decided to quit working as a waitress. Perkins says this was "a big turning point in my life" and that it helped her to sort out what she really wanted to do.
"I always thought, 'I'm going to do something great with my life, I'm going to do something great.' And then I reached a point where I was like, wait, 'maybe I'm not'," Perkins said. "And that was so tragic for me that I even let my mind go there because I think you should always be in your own corner."
Perkins is a creative person, and her big break came when she was recognized as a makeup artist after helping create her husband's Halloween skeleton look. From there, she said she "just kept saying yes to these opportunities. And I realized, 'wow, makeup is a really amazing outlet for me creatively, and I'm gonna just try to pursue this'."
From that point in 2013, Perkins began posting on Youtube and other platforms. Today, she has over 3 million subscribers.
"What's great about these kinds of platforms is obviously your viewers, they grow with you," she said, adding that it also made it easier to be more authentic and personal.
Her rapid growth as an influencer meant Perkins had to become her own manager and editor. She put her own savings into making her own company because she was so passionate about it, bootstrapping so she wouldn't have to compromise on her vision.
Today, Perkins works with her family and a select few employees to run her brand, and is looking to expand.
Desi Perkins is a digital content creator, YouTuber, and the Founder/CEO of Dezi and Dezi Skin.
"Now anyone can be a creator, it doesn't matter if you're big or small. As far as followers, especially with platforms like TikTok, I think people just want to see something they can relate to. And the great thing about that is that there's like a platform for everybody, because somebody will relate to you." —Desi Perkins
dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.
Who run the world?
For Beyonce, the answer is "girls!" But, it doesn't feel like that in the male-dominated music industry where sexism and ageism reign supreme, according to a new report. Despite megastars like Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Madonna, women in the industry still feel it's difficult to climb the ladder of success and that it's causing women artists to quit.
MIDiA Research, in collaboration with digital music company Believe and its subsidiary TuneCore, released "Be the Change: Women Making Music 2021," a report on female creators' experiences in the music industry.
While most female creators surveyed believe transparency and discourse about gender equality have improved, over 80% of the respondents surveyed said it's still harder for female artists to receive recognition than their male counterparts.
"The main challenges are sexual harassment and objectification," said Mark Mulligan, MIDiA's lead music analyst who worked on the report. "Those are two different things, but they're also causally linked… [and they] are amplified or magnified within the music business — so many female artists are presented in a way that male artists are much less so."
MIDiA surveyed 504 respondents — of which are 401 female creators — around the globe. These respondents are all part of the music industry, as singers, songwriters, DJs, artists and producers. They have different degrees of independence as well — some are independent artists, others are their own managers or are signed to labels.
The vast majority of the women surveyed find that the music industry treats women differently. Eight out of 10 women surveyed experienced sexual harassment at some point in their careers.
"The representation of women in music, even at the top of the charts, has not improved in the last decade ... in some cases it has actually gotten worse," said TuneCore Chief Revenue Officer Andreea Gleeson.
Over 90% of women experienced unconscious bias — one singer-songwriter was told another female singer-songwriter on the festival bill was her "serious competition," when there were plenty other artists on the lineup. A female sound technician says she was told she was unable to move up in her career by male counterparts who were no more skilled.
As a result of their experiences in the industry, many women choose to work alone or exclusively with other women. Dominique — a singer-songwriter that participated in a panel presenting the study's findings — said she decided to work alone after being brushed off by male producers.
"You don't feel like your ideas are being taken into account, and you always get shot down," Dominique said. "Regardless of how bad my music may come out, I want to be the only person working on it."
She wound up writing a hit song called "Girls Can't Produce," which went viral on TikTok; the song's title was taken from a snidely sexist comment posted beneath a video she made detailing her aspirations.
These biases and attitudes toward women translate into experiences that make female artists uncomfortable, less confident, and ultimately, more likely to leave the industry, the report found. One anonymous respondent cited in the report said: "Why do women leave music or not go into it? For some, there's 'only so much sh*t you can take.'"
The study was partly inspired by TuneCore's examination of the artists that use its digital music distribution services. The company said it found only 28% of its artists are female. Although that percentage is higher than the 11% of female artists represented in the industry as a whole, TuneCore found it surprising, said Gleeson. Because its artists are pursuing a DIY distribution path by using their platform, they might expect a lower barrier of entry.
The survey asked respondents what urgent changes are necessary to improve the music industry for women. The most popular response was "more equality and opportunity."
"Now that might sound like a fairly self evident thing, but it's also really quite subtle," Mulligan said. "They just want to have the same opportunity to succeed — their male counterparts have the same aspirations, they work in the same industry — but the industry treats them differently."